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.