Steinberg has announced that support for VST2 plug-ins will be phased out in its host applications within 24 months. This means that you’ll no longer be able to use VST2 plug-ins in upcoming versions of Cubase, Nuendo, Dorico and Wavelab. Furthermore, Steinberg’s own plug-ins will be available as VST3 versions only.
Steinberg discontinues VST2 support
If you’re still using VST2 plug-ins in Cubase, Nuendo, Dorico or Wavelab, it’ll soon be time to switch to VST3 for good. Steinberg announced yesterday that it plans to phase out support for VST2 plug-ins over the next 24 months, marking the final step in the transition to VST3.
It’s long been known that Steinberg was moving towards supporting VST3 only. Which shouldn’t come as a surprise, as VST3 has been around since 2008 – an eternity in the world of software. But some developers have been slow to adopt the new platform, even though the VST2 SDK (software development kit) hasn’t been updated in a long time. To my knowledge, Steinberg hasn’t given out VST2 licenses to new developers since at least 2018.
Meanwhile, Cubase and the company’s other host applications continued to offer support for VST2 plug-ins, and Steinberg also continued to compile VST2 versions of some of its own plug-ins like HALion, for example. That is now coming to an end. Within 24 months, all of Steinberg’s hosts and plug-ins will support VST3 only.
What happens to your older projects?
So what does this mean if you rely on VST2 plug-ins for your workflow? I think that most popular plug-ins by major developers shouldn’t really present an issue. There’s hope that those that have yet to transition to VST3 will do so in light of Steinberg’s announcement. The problem is, if you’re like me, you probably have a couple of older plug-ins in your plug-in folder whose developers have discontinued support or – even worse – ceased to exist. As of now, it looks like those will become obsolete for good when they’re no longer supported in Steinberg’s host applications.
Users on the Steinberg forum were quick to compile a list of plug-ins that have yet to transition to VST3. You can find the thread here.
What do you think? I’m a bit torn – I’m not usually one to oppose change, and I think it’s understandable that Steinberg wants to move on and devote the resources needed for VST2 support to new developments, especially since VST3 has been around for so long. But backwards compatibility is always an issue, and everybody knows that trying to open older DAW projects can be a huge PITA. With support for VST2 now ending, that’s not going to get any better.