4.6 Using VSTs

For this section, download and install the VST Synth1. You can find it here. When downloading other VSTs, you should try to download them from their official sites. However in VST Resources you can find several safe sites dedicated to hosting VSTs for download.

So why Synth1? It is our proof-of-concept VST.

When you download VSTs, unpack them in the folder you have entered as your default VST folder in the preferences of your LMMS installation.


VST-PLUGIN DIRECTORY is where LMMS will look for VSTs.

In Synth1's case, it will need to be installed. This is not always the case with VSTs, but for the few that ask you to specify the installation folder, be sure to always use the same one. It is also recommended that you use a sub-folder structure for the various VSTs. This is especially important for VSTs that have their own banks and/or multiple files they require to run.

Let's load one instance of Synth1. Normally you will load VSTs into already open projects, and it is important that you always save before loading VSTs.

  1. In LMMS, click on the Instrument plugins button on the left sidebar. This should open up a list of built in instruments. Loading from this list opens the instrument in its default state - something that is very important for successfully opening VSTs in LMMS,

  2. Locate VeSTige in the list and drag it into your project

  3. Open the instrument GUI, e.g. click on the instrument in the Song Editor

  4. To the right of the text "No VST Plugin loaded" there is a folder symbol - click on it

  5. Browse the VST folder

  6. Click on the .dll and wait for LMMS to load the VST

When it loads, the VST's GUI will open.

Be careful when opening/closing VST GUIs as it tends to freeze LMMS, so use "Show/Hide" button whenever you need to hide the GUI.

If you successfully loaded Synth1, you should now be able to use it in your project. You can also automate the dials and sliders in your VSTs. Directly below the folder icon there is a wrench icon. Clicking on it will show the interface for the VST's controllers. You can Ctrl+drag any of these dials into an automation track or connect them to a controller.

Synth1 LMMS dial array

LMMS can save and load VST presets:

  1. Name the instrument

  2. In the VeSTige window, click on the save con

  3. In the save window that opened, create a new folder called "VeSTige" in the presets folder, located in your LMMS installation. You can then make sub-folders for specific VSTs if you'd like. This keeps things tidy and structured, but is completely optional.

Loading saved VST presets is just as easy:

  1. Remember to always save the project first!

  2. Load a new VeSTige plugin into the project, from sidebar

  3. Open the VeSTige GUI

  4. Right-click the preset in sidebar. This will open a menu. Choose "Send to Active Instrument Track"

  5. Wait for it to load

4.6.1 VSTs in Linux

This guide is for usage of Windows-built VSTs, used on Linux through Wine.

You can only use 32-bit VSTs!

You need to install Wine before you install LMMS' AppImage for Linux. The first time you start LMMS through the AppImage file, Wine may ask you to install upgrades - accept them all! Afer installation, go into Edit > Settings > Misc. Disable Sync VST plugins to host playback. This works best for Linux.

4.6.2 Instrument Tabs

The instrument-plugin for VSTs is empty because it is not supported. You can use all the features of the FUNC tab, and you can also use effects on VSTs.