Where to Put VST Plugins in Cubase 5?

By Seamus Islwyn

Updated September 22, 2017

VST instruments can emulate an entire symphony orchestra.
i Digital Vision./Digital Vision/Getty Images

Steinberg's Cubase digital audio workstation has many functions; one of the most useful is its ability to host VST plugins. VST plugins, which may come in either the VST2 or VST3 format, add additional effects and virtual instruments to Cubase. Thousands of VST plugins, both free and commercial, are available for download, and their creative possibilities are nearly limitless. Cubase looks for VST plugins in a specific folder; this allows you to quickly access them in the program's interface.

Cubase Folder

By default, Cubase stores VST2 plugins in the "Steinberg\VSTPlugins" folder. It stores VST3 plugins in the "VST3" folder. Using the default folders makes things simple: you don't have to change any settings in the program if you're using these folders. However, if you use a second digital audio workstation in addition to Cubase, the other program may not be able to easily access VSTs stored inside the Steinberg folder.

Shared Folder

Storing VST plugins in a shared folder like "Common Files\VSTPlugins" makes it easier to use them in another digital audio workstation. If you decide to use a shared folder for your plugins, you'll also need to set this folder to "shared" within Cubase. To do this, open the "VST Plug-in Paths" section of Cubase, navigate to the shared folder and click the button for "Set as Shared Folder." You can only use a shared folder for VST2 plugins.

Cubase for Mac

The Mac OS X version of Cubase only stores VST plugins in one folder: "Library/Audio/Plug-ins/VST." VST3 plug-ins go in the "VST3" folder. If you're not logged in with administrative access, these subfolders are in the "Users/[Username]/Library/Audio/Plug-ins" folder. Unlike the Windows version, Cubase for Mac automatically stores VST plugins in this common, shared folder.

Changing Folders

If you decide to move your VST plugins into a different folder, you'll also need to tell Cubase where the new VST plugin folder is located. To do this, open the VST "Plug-in Paths" dialog box and click "Add." Navigate to the location of the new folder, select it and click "OK." When you're installing new VST plugins after changing the plugin folder location, be sure to specify the new location in the program's installer, as most plugins will automatically install into the Steinberg directory.