Saturday, November 2, 2013

The difference between Vst 1, 2, 3, and between 32bit and 64bit Plugins! a guide for dummies

Hello everyone and welcome to this week's article.
Today we're going to understand the difference between 32 and 64 bit Vst plugins.
First off let's say that the older computer generation features a 32 bit processor, a 32 bit OS and a 32 bit Daw, and this is the way it has been for the last (at least) ten years, and in many studios it's still today the standard.
A 32 bit Os and Daw can only handle less than 4gb of Ram, which means that if you add more memory slots, they will not be detected from the computer.
With the increasing of the computing power needed to run the latest plugins, 3 gb of RAM weren't enough anymore to handle big projects, so lately the market has seen the blooming of 64bit cpus, often with multiple cores, that can handle much more than 4gigabytes of Ram.
With a 64bit cpu we can run a 64bit Os and a 64 Bit Daw, and this chain will let us use all the Ram we have installed, with a lot of benefits in terms of speed and stability (actually a 64bit cpu has many more upsides, but we're musicians, not computer techs so it's not our concern :D).

If we can, it's very important today to have a 64bit processor and Os, in order to be able to use all the ram we can, that is one of the most important things needed in digital music production.

What if we have a 32 bit Daw and it doesn't see our 64bit Vst plugin, or we have a 32 bit plugin that is not being loaded on our 64 bit Daw?
There is some Bridge program, like Jbridge, that helps us in this transition phase, until we will all have only 64 bit software (some Daw already features a bundled bridge program, though).

The 32 and 64bit plugins topic is also a obviously connected to the Vst standard.
Vst plugins have evolved in terms of optimization from their first standard, to the version 2, up to the latest Vst 3 version, which is specifically optimized for the 64 bit computers, and offers more routing options, along with other upgrades that makes this standard more stable and cpu-friendly.

(the video on the top of this page is a song mixed and mastered by me for Subcortical Inertia, using 64 bit Vst plugins).

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