Native Windows VST synthesizers on linux

In response to the question, "will my VST instruments work with linux?" the short answer is, "probably." And generally, if one synth performs well, then other synths made by the same developer will probably work, too. With linux, the VST (Virtual Studio Technology) format is handled by a compatability-layer application called WINE, an acronym for "Wine Is Not an Emulator." (The Wine website includes a wealth of information about the application itself, and includes the most recent release available for download and compiling, in case your system's repositores have an older release.) With Wine installed, most of these VST instruments should perform fine in your preferred VST-plugin host. Currently available VST plug-in hosts for linux include: FeSTige (part of the KXStudio meta-packages), FSThost or VeSTige (included with the LMMS Digital Audio Workstation which is available in most repositories). Airwave is another interesting application for managing VST instruments. Airwave is a VST bridge that creates a VST instrument that can be used in linux VST hosts. And last but definitely not least, Reaper is a non-free DAW that hosts most VST instruments on the linux platform very nicely. Like Airwave, Reaper also requires installation of WINE.

Installing Wine

Once Wine is installed, go to the folder where your VST synth is located, and (if in .exe format) type in a terminal wine [yoursynth].exe to start the installer and install the .dll file. Once installed, make sure your plug-in host can find it.

My own VST synth testing

I've recently undertaken to help maintain the LMMS Tested VST Database. For now, this is where I will be posting test updates. I've been testing using either 64-bit Ubuntu Studio or 32-bit AntiX, and the current Wine release in the KXStudio repositories. (Wine is available in most linux distros.)

The text file at the link below is the "old list" which I started a while back. Many of the synths in the list haven't yet been added to the LMMS database but should still run fine. The instruments in the list were tested using FstHost and/or FeSTige. If neither synth ran correctly due to graphical errors, significant glitches or xruns, sluggish responsiveness or crashing, then that synth was marked as "failed." As Wine is an ongoing project, it may be that previously failed synths are now running well under a new Wine version. (Occasionally, the reverse may also be true.)

Finally, if you would like a synth tested that isn't yet on the list, send me an email and I'll see what I can do. :)

"Old" VST Synth Test List