Steinberg announces Windows VST Plug-in limitation issue

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Steinberg announces Windows VST Plug-in limitation issue

Post by alexis » Sat Aug 20, 2016 12:21 am

Dated 8-18-2016: http://www.steinberg.net/en/newsandeven ... -3852.html
In the past months, reports by windows users have been accumulating (OS X customers are not affected), who — working with projects that contain many VST plug-ins — reach a point, at which no further plug-ins can be loaded. After selection of the required plug-in, the insert slot simply remains empty.

During our investigation concerning these events, indications have arisen that a technical limitation of the operating system could be the cause of that problem. In the next step we will therefore lead talks with Microsoft and exchange ideas with third-party VST plug-in manufacturers, to push for the solution of the problem.

We immediately inform you, when we have new findings available.
I read this on a non-Steinberg forum. The last "Announcement" is dated July 28th as of the time of this writing. Has Steinberg announced this on the forum? Has anyone received an email (I have not)?

I note that this has been reported by at least one user in W7, so it's not purely a W10 issue.

I wonder how many "many" is?
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-Cubase "Safe Start Mode" (CTRL-ALT-SHIFT)
-Get variable-tempo audio to follow a grid here,
-Replacing freely-timed section into a variable tempo project

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Re: Steinberg announces Windows VST Plug-in limitation issue

Post by jaslan » Sat Aug 20, 2016 12:45 am

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Re: Steinberg announces Windows VST Plug-in limitation issue

Post by peakae » Sat Aug 20, 2016 12:54 am

It's not just Cubase, same thing in protools and studio one. Or really any program using hundreds of plugins can be affected.
Can't say I have experienced it yet, though.
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Re: Steinberg announces Windows VST Plug-in limitation issue

Post by alexis » Sat Aug 20, 2016 1:09 am


The OP was to disseminate official Steinberg communication to the forum (not clear that had been done?), was that the same link you duplicated?
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-Cubase "Safe Start Mode" (CTRL-ALT-SHIFT)
-Get variable-tempo audio to follow a grid here,
-Replacing freely-timed section into a variable tempo project

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Re: Steinberg announces Windows VST Plug-in limitation issue

Post by jaslan » Sat Aug 20, 2016 3:06 am

The links i posted are a forum topic in which a moderator discusses the news (near the latter part of the forum topic) and another "news and announcements" link discussing it.
Not sure if i answered your question or not... Sorry if i didnt.
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Re: Steinberg announces Windows VST Plug-in limitation issue

Post by foolomon » Sat Aug 20, 2016 2:37 pm

It may be a "max number of loaded DLLs" issue, though I will confess that I'd be shocked if that were the case.

Is there any indication if this happens on both x86 and x64 systems?
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Re: Steinberg announces Windows VST Plug-in limitation issue

Post by Home Studio 87 » Sat Aug 20, 2016 3:21 pm

Happen on Win system (x64 for me) and on all major DAW on Win. very annoying :(
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Re: Steinberg announces Windows VST Plug-in limitation issue

Post by That70srocker » Sat Aug 20, 2016 6:54 pm

This has happened to me on Cubase 5 on Windows XP for years.
And it's not just the included plugins in Cubase.
It happens most often with plugins which make more demand on CPU and/or RAM. I can recall it happening with Nomad Factory MAGNETIC on projects with a lot of tracks and plugins running. At some point I can't add it to any more tracks.
Also with Nomad Factory ECHOES. I suspect that one, being a delay, demands a lot of RAM.
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Re: Steinberg announces Windows VST Plug-in limitation issue

Post by alexis » Mon Aug 22, 2016 4:07 am

Whiskey. Tango. Foxtrot.
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-Cubase "Safe Start Mode" (CTRL-ALT-SHIFT)
-Get variable-tempo audio to follow a grid here,
-Replacing freely-timed section into a variable tempo project

Cubase 9.0.20; i5-4570 3.2GHz, 16GB RAM; W10 Pro 64-bit on Samsung SSD 840 Pro 256GB; Seagate 1TB SATA 600 Audio; UR28M; Motif8; UAD-2 Solo; Jamstix 3.6; RevoicePro3.3; EZDrummer 2

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Re: Steinberg announces Windows VST Plug-in limitation issue

Post by Raphie » Mon Aug 22, 2016 6:45 am

So what's the summary here? Maximum of 64/128 plugins or instances? What are we talking about?
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Re: Steinberg announces Windows VST Plug-in limitation issue

Post by Niles » Tue Aug 23, 2016 12:36 pm

Raphie wrote:So what's the summary here? Maximum of 64/128 plugins or instances? What are we talking about?
Maximum of unique plugins within the host. The maximum amount differs per system because it also depends on what other services/components/libraries are running in the current DAW application (host).

You can load (virtually) unlimited instances of the same (already loaded) plugin.

Hosts that are able to run VST's in separate processes (e.g. Reaper, Bitwig) are not affected when they do so.

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Re: Steinberg announces Windows VST Plug-in limitation issue

Post by foolomon » Tue Aug 23, 2016 4:42 pm

I'm glad to see my memory on stuff like this is still halfway decent. :D
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Re: Steinberg announces Windows VST Plug-in limitation issue

Post by NorthWood MediaWorks » Tue Aug 23, 2016 5:53 pm

I've bumped my head on this once... was wondering what the *@(# was going on. Good to know.

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Re: Steinberg announces Windows VST Plug-in limitation issue

Post by TEEF » Wed Aug 24, 2016 2:02 pm

This freaks me a little. I haven't come across this problem, BUT the question is what if I did? What would be the workaround? If you freeze tracks, would this allow you to continue on with your work. If so, what would happen if you thawed out the tracks to make adjustments?

Another idea, would a plugin chainer free up resources?

I would love to know what or if workarounds are available. Steinberg Developers, would love to have your input on this so we all have a game plan on how to approach our work if this issue arises.
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Re: Steinberg announces Windows VST Plug-in limitation issue

Post by TEEF » Wed Aug 24, 2016 2:09 pm

Scoured the other thread and found this:
This is unlikely to be fixed in a short time, being a matter of software architecture and having various parties involved. I can only recommend to use less UAD, as it looks like the limit is reached faster with those plug-ins, and move some of the unused components out of the C:\Program Files\Steinberg\Cubase 8.5\Components folder (do not move Baios, exceptiondumper, mediaservice, stepdesigner and VSTPlugManager). This will allow to load a few more plug-ins, but won't keep you running much longer I'm afraid.
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Re: Steinberg announces Windows VST Plug-in limitation issue

Post by Raphie » Wed Aug 24, 2016 2:28 pm

i loaded all my plugins, nothing happened?
how many unique plugins does one need to load in order for this to happen?
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Re: Steinberg announces Windows VST Plug-in limitation issue

Post by TEEF » Wed Aug 24, 2016 4:34 pm

What operating system are you running?
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Re: Steinberg announces Windows VST Plug-in limitation issue

Post by Raphie » Wed Aug 24, 2016 4:43 pm

Win10 loaded about 50 different plug-ins or so.
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Re: Steinberg announces Windows VST Plug-in limitation issue

Post by Niles » Wed Aug 24, 2016 7:51 pm

Raphie wrote:i loaded all my plugins, nothing happened?
how many unique plugins does one need to load in order for this to happen?
It's hard to call an exact amount. On my system it stops loading unique plugins at 120 unique instances, the exact same number goes for all hosts on my system (Studio One, Cubase and Bitwig and Reaper both without bridge mode). But I've also seen people reporting it with less and more unique plugins.

If you slap a different brand and type of VST on each channel you can run into this issue. But if you have your regular set of VST's that you use accross different channels, I won't worry to much about it. In practice most of us never ran into the issue and it was always there. The only difference in the past was, our systems couldn't even handle these amounts of VST's.

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Re: Steinberg announces Windows VST Plug-in limitation issue

Post by TEEF » Wed Aug 24, 2016 8:21 pm

Thanks for that Niles.

Do you know what constitutes a unique instance of a plug-in? Are you saying that if you use a plug-in inserted on multiple tracks, that is still counted as one unique instance as far as the dll limitation goes? Does it vary between track types? Group versus audio versus FX channel?

Sorry for all the questions. I just want to make sure that I do not run into this problem.
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Re: Steinberg announces Windows VST Plug-in limitation issue

Post by Raphie » Wed Aug 24, 2016 9:03 pm

To be honest I don't think this is going to be an issue for my regular productions, outside the Cubase Plugins I own Valhalla, Console 1 and Arousor. And some vsti synths.
Not sure how others work in real world projects, but a 100 unique plugins sound like a lot to me?
Makes me think how much plugins one needs to have installed and loaded to discover this in the first place :lol:
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Re: Steinberg announces Windows VST Plug-in limitation issue

Post by Niles » Wed Aug 24, 2016 10:19 pm

TEEF wrote:Do you know what constitutes a unique instance of a plug-in? Are you saying that if you use a plug-in inserted on multiple tracks, that is still counted as one unique instance as far as the dll limitation goes?
Exactly. When Plugin X is loaded on 16 channels, it's counted as 1 unique plugin with 16 instances. Or in other words, once a plugin is present in your project it won't add toward the limit when loaded again somewhere else in the project.
TEEF wrote:Does it vary between track types? Group versus audio versus FX channel?
No, it's application wide.
Raphie wrote:Not sure how others work in real world projects, but a 100 unique plugins sound like a lot to me?
Makes me think how much plugins one needs to have installed and loaded to discover this in the first place :lol:
I won't come remotely close either, but people building huge templates with preloaded VST's could be affected.
Also in case the DAW is able to load several active projects within it's own single instance (exe), things can add up pretty fast.

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Re: Steinberg announces Windows VST Plug-in limitation issue

Post by Raphie » Thu Aug 25, 2016 8:03 am

I've stopped building templates prepopulated fully stacked with 3rd PTY plugins on every channel and subgroup long time ago.
Those "fully armed" templates just suck bandwidth. Now I've got my physical outboard sources and repetitive stuff configured and routed, but on the VST side of things everything is empty. Plugins get loaded depending on what the track needs. Don't want to make a judgenent call on workflow, just happy it doesn't affect mine.
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Re: Steinberg announces Windows VST Plug-in limitation issue

Post by foolomon » Thu Aug 25, 2016 11:04 pm

Niles wrote:
TEEF wrote:Do you know what constitutes a unique instance of a plug-in? Are you saying that if you use a plug-in inserted on multiple tracks, that is still counted as one unique instance as far as the dll limitation goes?
Exactly. When Plugin X is loaded on 16 channels, it's counted as 1 unique plugin with 16 instances. Or in other words, once a plugin is present in your project it won't add toward the limit when loaded again somewhere else in the project.
Exactly. VSTs are just DLLs which are loaded into shared memory if it's on the same process. So each subsequent instance of a VST will use the DLL instance already loaded and (presumably) another set of memory allocated to the new instance for storing variables, etc.
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Lenovo T450 laptop (Windows 7 64-bit + 16GB RAM + 500GB SSD)
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Other hardware: Too much to mention here
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