Rust Audio

Idea: Rust VST Host Project

Having a VST Host written in Rust would be hugely beneficial to those developing with the vst crate.

Currently, people need to rely on:

  • A proprietary/paid DAW, which raises the barrier of entry (for example Bitwig)
  • A platform specific application / one with poor UX (for example VST Host)
  • A non-standards conforming DAW which may make troubleshooting difficult

By writing our own host, we could also implement a few other features. We also would have some benefits:

  • Have information shown to the host from a plugin in a way that makes sense cross platform and doesn’t require use of a debugger
  • We would consume our own library which is a great way to catch usability issues

We also have some negatives, such as

  • Maintaining another project

This is an idea for discussion. Please let us know your thoughts, concerns, or ideas!


Host, or standalone wrapper?

I think this would be beneficial for dogfooding the host side of rust-vst, which I think is a little neglected at the moment.

TailyFair on the Telegram chat had this issue when trying to make a host:

Has anyone else tried to make a host recently? We have (can’t link more than two links because I’m new…) but it seems like it doesn’t do anything with AudioBuffer.

Do we need to land #65 and #85 before we can do anything?


I’m not familiar with the difference between the two. I imagined a standalone application that could host a number of plugins. Would that be standalone wrapper?

I mean like a standalone wrapper around a rust-vst plugin, if one of the goals is debugging. Similar to the JUCE standalone plugin exporter.

Like I’m picturing your crate would have the lib for the plugin itself, and a binary target for the standalone. Since hosting is a little bit different than debugging a single plugin.

I assumed you were talking about a library for hosting VSTs, and that your debugger app would be one of the clients of this library. That would be cool, though I’m not sure how much work it would end up being in practice.

I completely agree with the need of an specialised VST host to help in the development of VST plugins. Right now, I need to re-start Ableton every time I recompile the plugin, which is cumbersome.
In that regard I am working on a DAW engine in my spare time, which I’d like to add support for VST as a host as soon as I have the internal architecture ready. That said, it might take still several months for me to arrive there, as I don’t have much free time.
Anyway I just wanted to share my +1 to the idea of having a VST host for development purposes.


Hmm, I’m using Ableton live 10 lite and it doesn’t require complete restart when recompiling VST. I just need to remove VST from rack and add it again. Which version are you using ?

But I as well support idea for VST host.


Howdy chris-zen, thanks for your input. I’m looking through hero-studio and it looks pretty awesome! If you need help working on it feel free to reach out: I’m pretty busy at the moment but will have more time in a few weeks when the semester is over.

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TailyFair, thanks for the tip, I have the same version as you, and I did try removing it and adding it back again, and re-scanning the plugin folders. I will try again, just in case I missed something :slight_smile:

Interested in the project, any way I can help out? Do you hang out in any chats or anything?