Windows PCs are from Mars, Macs are from Venus, Windows VST plug-ins won’t ever run on the Mac — wait, not so fast.

Ornament Uncle writes with a solution for running Windows VSTs on the Mac as if they were native plug-ins. The tutorial describes a fairly meticulous process – if you’re expecting this to be plug and play, don’t. You’ll want to read the steps thoroughly, and results may vary on different OS versions or with different plug-ins. (I feel obligated to say that as, even with free solutions, we sometimes hear readers complain when things don’t work easily on the first try; you should consider yourself a tester here and expect that things may not work!)

A little effort and time spent reading the tutorial, though, could easily pay off: it means opening up a world of previously Windows-only plug-ins to the Mac and having them work alongside your Mac plugs. Details:

Hi! I’ve described in detail on my blog a couple of years ago how to setup a wrapper called wacvst for Mac users to be able to use Win VST plugins. Very recently I’ve put together a better option and gave it a name, plugwire, my Wineskin setup. It’s all people need for Win VST plugins on Mac. Please check it out and if you think it’s any good maybe make a post for people to be made aware about it. Cheers!

Check it out, and let us know how it goes:

Add your face Win VST plugins to the mix [tips for your os x daw]

Image at top courtesy Ornament Uncle, showing a range of plugs in action.

  • PaulDavisTheFirst

    I’m not sure, but I think this would be a lot easier to do without AudioPort. From reading the blog post this setup seems to involve a “network” connection between Wine and the DAW of choice.

    Wine and the DAW of choice could be directly connected via JACK (or stuff like SoundFlower for that matter). Much simpler, much less overhead.

    I’ve never tried this myself because I’ve spent enough time getting WinVSTs to run on Linux that I have no energy for this sort of cross-OS bastardization :)

  • ST8

    I ran oatmeal and a few other windows vsts under wacvst for a couple of years. Though i did compile wine from scratch and am still running 10.6 on this particular machine. It wasnt always the most stable configuration but worked when needed! I guess ill give this setup a go

  • Øivind Idsø

    It’d have to be a pretty *fantastic* plug-in for me to want to go through this ordeal to make it work.

    • A

      Doesn’t fruity loops load as a VST? Only thing I can think of that doesn’t have a OSX equivalent . Can someone show it working? I’d buy it. It’s funny, it feels a lot like an os9 program! 😉

      I can’t see bothering too much with free plugins for money saving reasons on OSX when Mainstage is $30. Pick up Five12 Numerology or Renoise if you want to sequence or Reaper or Logic for audio later.

      Still, there are a lot of interesting plugins out there, but I’d caution anyone to mess with cross platform stuff trying to save money.

    • radiokoala

      Talking about Numerology, if Mac>Win Plugwire is to follow, it would be the first app I’ll try no doubt. Maybe one day…

    • kolorkeys

      Sonigen Modular

  • Brian Horst

    yes but can you do it the other way round?

    • PaulDavisTheFirst

      AudioUnits invariably rely on large parts of Apple’s “Cocoa” infrastructure to function. Whereas Wine has replicated most of the Windows infrastructure, no comparable replication has been done for CoreAudio, CoreMIDI or even large parts of CoreFoundation. The answer, therefore, is no, at least not in a non-VM-style system like Wine (which is what this hack uses).

  • Ornament Uncle

    Thanks a lot Peter, really appreciate it!

  • Joshua Schnable
  • Ben Long

    Peter, nice work – now I can try out all those free VSTs at !

  • Sam @ The Edit Rooms

    At last DBlue Glitch & Mac combo – Get your presets out!! – Sam @ The Edit Rooms

  • Nikola

    i can confirm Mountain Lion compatibility. 28ms delay, though.

    • Ornament Uncle

      Can you give more details please? Which DAW you’ve tested with? Is the latency still there after you click Disconnect/Connect as per instructions? On my blog if it’s possible. Thanks

  • Chris Jones

    Yep, got it working. I need a little help assigning/controlling MIDI via IAC in DP7.