How To Use VST/AU Plugins in Pro Tools 12 & First (Videos)

Pro Tools First VST Plugins

There are a few different way to use VST and AU plugins in Pro Tools 12. It’s even possible to use VST/AU plugins in Pro Tools First, the free version of Pro Tools 12.

One of the things that separates Pro Tools from other DAWs is the proprietary AAX format that it uses for plugins.

Not all plugins are available in AAX, especially some really good free ones, so Pro Tools users have to find workarounds to get their favorite VST and AU plugins to work.

Luckily there are a few methods that can get the job done.

Unfortunately none are free, but they all have demos to try for free, and each offers a number of other features as well.

Not all of these options will work with Pro Tools First since one of the main limitations with the free version is you have to get all the plugins through Avid’s marketplace.

Pro Tools First does supports ReWire, though, and that’s a big plus because that means it can run other DAWs that support ReWire. It can use Ableton Live’s built-in instruments, for example, and if you ReWire with Reaper it can run VST plugins within Pro Tools. Bidule is another option that works with Pro Tools First.

Using Reaper in Pro Tools to Host VST Instruments and Plugins

Reaper is a good option to use VST plugins in Pro Tools because it has a 60-day free fully-functioning demo and it only costs $60 to purchase. Plus it’s a full DAW and not just a plugin like the other options.

How To Use Any Virtual Instrument Plugin in Pro Tools First

The folks at Pro Tools Expert uploaded the helpful video above showing how to use Bidule with ReWire to load VST instruments into Pro Tools First. Bidule sells for $95 and can be used for a number of other things as well.

How To Use VST/AU in Pro Tools 12 with Blue Cat Audio Patchwork

Another option to run VST and AU plugins in the full version of Pro Tools 12 is with the Blue Cat Audio Patchwork plugin. It’s capable of hosting up to 64 VST, VST3 or Audio Unit plugins in one instance. It sells for $99 (79 euros).

Pro Tools 12 and Metaplugin – Wes Renaud

The Metaplugin is an AAX plugin that can host VST and AU plugins in the full version of Pro Tools. It supports up to eight individual channels and sells for $49.

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2 Responses to “How To Use VST/AU Plugins in Pro Tools 12 & First (Videos)”

  1. Im looking at this artical as im strongly thinking of moving to pro tools from cubase 7.5. I have been a cubase user since the begining almost and love the features, workflow and tools. I just cannot cope with the constant stability issues, which kills all creativity. That said i have invested in 1000s on plugin instruments and fx plus some great freebees. Anybody else out there faced the same predicament and taken the plung?

    • Pro Tool isn’t really known for being one of the most stable DAWs either. I guess it depends on what platform you’re using but with Windows I encounter problems somewhat frequently. It hangs for like 40 seconds when launching the MIDI engine at startup. I can’t use the Xpand2 plugin anymore because it just gives an error. If I try to move Amplitube while the plugin window is open it will give an error and disable the plugin. Sometimes it will stop audio while adjusting amp sim parameters, giving an out of memory error when RAM usage is only at like 30%.

      Mostly I use Ableton Live Lite for composing and I never have any problems whatsoever, but they make audio editing a pain in the arse so I won’t buy the full version. I’ve heard that Reaper and Reason are known for being very stable as well. I’d suggest trying the free version of Pro Tools for a couple of projects to see how it works with your setup before fully taking the plunge.

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