Does Audacity Support VST? [2023]

Are you an audio enthusiast looking to enhance your editing and mixing capabilities? If so, you’ve likely come across the term VST. VST, or Virtual Studio Technology, is a plugin format that allows you to add various effects and instruments to your digital audio workstation (DAW). But does Audacity, one of the most popular free DAWs available, support VST plugins? In this article, we’ll dive deep into the world of Audacity and explore whether it supports VST plugins or not.

Table of Contents

Quick Answer

Yes, Audacity does support VST plugins. This means you can take advantage of the vast selection of VST plugins available in the market to enhance your audio editing and mixing experience within Audacity. Audacity’s support for VST plugins opens up a world of possibilities for audio enthusiasts and professionals alike.

Quick Tips and Facts

  • Audacity is a free and open-source audio editing software available for Windows, macOS, and Linux.
  • VST, or Virtual Studio Technology, is a plugin format used by many audio software applications.
  • VST plugins allow users to add various effects and instruments to their DAWs, enhancing the creative possibilities.
  • Audacity supports VST plugins, making it a versatile choice for audio editing and mixing.

What are VST Plugins?

Before we dive into Audacity’s compatibility with VST plugins, let’s take a moment to understand what VST plugins are and their significance in the world of audio production.

VST, which stands for Virtual Studio Technology, is a plugin format developed by Steinberg, a renowned audio software company. VST plugins are essentially software modules that can be integrated into a DAW to add various effects and instruments. These plugins can range from simple effects like reverb and delay to complex virtual synthesizers and samplers.

VST plugins have become a standard in the audio industry due to their versatility and wide availability. Many developers create high-quality VST plugins that cater to different needs and genres, offering audio professionals and enthusiasts a vast selection to choose from.

Does Audacity Support VST Plugins?

Now, let’s address the burning question: Does Audacity support VST plugins? The answer is yes. Audacity does support VST plugins, which means you can use VST plugins within the Audacity software to enhance your audio editing and mixing capabilities.

With Audacity’s support for VST plugins, you can explore a wide range of effects, virtual instruments, and other audio processing tools to take your projects to the next level. Whether you’re looking for a specific guitar amp simulation, vocal tuning plugin, or a unique sound effect, Audacity’s compatibility with VST plugins gives you the freedom to experiment and create your desired sound.

To use VST plugins in Audacity, you’ll need to install the plugins on your computer and configure Audacity to recognize them. We’ll explore the process in the next section.

How to Add VST Plugins to Audacity

To add VST plugins to Audacity, follow these steps:

  1. Download and install the VST plugin: Find a VST plugin that suits your needs and download it to your computer. Most plugins come in a zip file format, so make sure to extract the files before proceeding.

  2. Locate the VST plugin folder: In Audacity, go to “Edit” > “Preferences” (Windows) or “Audacity” > “Preferences” (macOS). In the Preferences menu, navigate to the “Effects” tab and click on “VST Effects.” Note the location of the “VST Plug-Ins” folder.

  3. Copy the VST plugin files: Open the VST plugin folder you downloaded and extracted earlier. Copy the individual plugin files (usually with the extension “.dll” on Windows or “.vst” on macOS) and paste them into the “VST Plug-Ins” folder mentioned in the previous step.

  4. Rescan for plugins: After copying the plugin files, close and reopen Audacity. Go to “Effects” > “Manage” > “Rescan VST Effects.” Audacity will scan the “VST Plug-Ins” folder and add the newly installed plugins to its effects menu.

  5. Access the VST plugins: To use the installed VST plugins, go to “Effects” > “Add / Remove Plug-ins.” A window will appear with a list of available plugins. Check the box next to the plugins you want to enable, and click “OK.” The enabled plugins will now appear in the Audacity effects menu, ready to use in your projects.

Adding VST plugins to Audacity expands its capabilities and allows you to access a vast library of effects and instruments. Experiment with different plugins to find the perfect sound for your audio projects.

Alternative Plugins for Audacity

While Audacity supports VST plugins, it’s worth mentioning that there are alternative plugins specifically designed for Audacity. These plugins offer seamless integration with Audacity and may provide additional features and functionalities tailored to the software.

Some popular alternative plugins for Audacity include:

  • Nyquist plugins: Nyquist is a programming language used in Audacity to create custom audio effects and generators. Nyquist plugins are specifically designed for Audacity and can be a powerful addition to your toolkit. They offer flexibility and customization options beyond what traditional VST plugins provide.

  • LADSPA plugins: LADSPA (Linux Audio Developer’s Simple Plugin API) plugins are another type of plugin format supported by Audacity. These plugins are open-source and widely available, making them a popular choice for Audacity users.

While VST plugins offer a vast selection of effects and instruments, exploring alternative plugins designed specifically for Audacity can provide a unique and tailored experience.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What VST plugins work with Audacity?

A: Audacity supports a wide range of VST plugins. You can choose from various categories, including effects, virtual instruments, and processors. Some popular VST plugins that work well with Audacity include:

  • FabFilter Pro-Q 3: A versatile equalizer plugin with advanced features.
  • iZotope Ozone: A comprehensive mastering suite with various modules for audio enhancement.
  • Native Instruments Kontakt: A powerful sampler instrument with a vast library of sounds.
  • Waves SSL E-Channel: A channel strip plugin emulating the classic SSL console sound.

These are just a few examples, and there are countless other VST plugins available for Audacity. Explore different plugins based on your specific needs and creative goals.

Q: Where is the VST plugin in Audacity?

A: In Audacity, you can access the VST plugins under the “Effects” menu. After installing the VST plugins and rescanning for effects, they will appear in the “Add / Remove Plug-ins” window. From there, you can enable the desired plugins, and they will be accessible through the “Effects” menu.

Q: Can you add plugins to Audacity?

A: Yes, you can add plugins to Audacity. Audacity supports various plugin formats, including VST, Nyquist, and LADSPA. By installing compatible plugins and configuring Audacity to recognize them, you can expand its functionality and access a wide range of effects and instruments.

Q: Can Audacity run VST3 plugins?

A: As of the latest version (3.1.3), Audacity does not natively support VST3 plugins. However, you can use a VST3 to VST2 wrapper or bridge plugin to run VST3 plugins within Audacity. These wrapper plugins act as intermediaries, allowing Audacity to recognize and utilize VST3 plugins.


In conclusion, Audacity does support VST plugins, making it a versatile choice for audio enthusiasts and professionals. With Audacity’s compatibility with VST plugins, you can explore a vast library of effects and instruments to enhance your audio editing and mixing experience. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced producer, the ability to use VST plugins within Audacity opens up a world of creative possibilities.

So go ahead and unleash your creativity with Audacity and the wide range of VST plugins available. Experiment, explore, and create unique sounds that elevate your audio projects to new heights.

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