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VST-Scanner : the VST-plugin validating tool (Freeware)

VST-Scanner is a small software program (for the PC) allowing you to register and test VST plugins. It consists in two tabs : the "Scan Plugins" section searches for VST plugins and validates them, and the "Test Plugin" section allows you to do a sharp analysis of a particular plugin and to put it in the context of real use to tackle possible problems.
VST-Scanner screen shot

VST-Scanner :

The SCANNER section is here to make a list of the plugins available on the system. This list is saved in a proprietary format database and stored in a dedicated folder. Let's add that using VST-Scanner cannot lead to problems or conflicts with the computer's settings.

For each plugin, the program will check several different things :

- That a plugin is valid. This consists in making sure that the dll file conforms to VST standards and that the plugin meets VST-Scanner's requirements (if it does not, the reason appears in the "Error/Comments" field).

- That only one version of the same plugin is installed. VST-Scanner makes sure that no other plugin reports the same UID (a unique identifier). If this is not the case, the latest version of the plugin will be validated and the oldest version will be ignored.

- That there is no fatal error when creating the list. During the scanning process, a dll file may produce a CRASH (the program suddenly quits) or FREEZE the system (the program freezes and no longer responds. Then, the user may decide to force it to quit). In this case, the scanning process will start again, after the faulty dll file.

Make a list of available VST plugins

VST-Scanner will search for VST plugins in the folders (and sub-folders) that you have stated in the uppermost list. By default, in this field, the program will specify the folders of your hard drive where you'd be likely to find VST plugins (the "Steinberg/VSTplugins" folder, as well as Wavelab and Cubase SX's plugin folders if these programs are installed). The GUI gives users the choice to take particular folders into account or not (checkboxes on the left), to add or remove folders, and to specify whether the scanning procedure should be carried out into sub-folders or not (checkbox on the right).

VST-Scanner's validation protocol aims at being faultless and 100% compatible with the VST format from version 1.0 onwards. This is why this program will be frequently updated, either to add missing features (all the VST-protocol features have not been implemented, but those that have been implemented so far were thoroughly tested and validated) or to meet the specific requirements of a particular plugin developer (as long as these requirements do not challenge the logic of implementation).

DOWNLOAD VST-Scanner (V 1.042)
(250Ko ZIP file 17-APR-2008).
VST-Checker screen shot


The "Test plugin" section allows you to test a given plugin. The BROWSE button will load a dll file as a VST plugin. The GUI button displays the plugin's user interface. The STREAM button will allow you to process a realtime audio stream through the plugin (either mono or stereo, at any samplerate, fully depending on the WAVE file you'll be choosing).

The digital audio stream's characteristics are chosen via the "Latency" and "Processing" menus. The first menu will set the maximum size (in samples) for the audio buffers sent to the plugin and the audiocard. The default audio device is the one that Windows is using (see the control panel). The second menu allows you to check the relevance of the "Process" and "ProcessReplacing" functions.

VST-Checker : The Latency Buffer Menu

By default, the VST-Check application calls for the plugin's "ProcessReplacing" function (if supported) to process sound. The input "buffer" is the same as the output "buffer" (in = out). If the "Process" function is called for, the output bus is nil (silence). The menu displayed below allows you to modify these options.

VST-Checker : The Processing option menu

Plug-ins Information

The right-hand section gives information about the plugin. Note that if the STATUS field is not ENABLED or if the "Error/Comments" field displays a problem message, some pieces of information might be untrue.

- DLL Name : the original dll filename related to the plugin.

- Plugin Name : the name reported by the plugin. If there is no name, VST-Scanner will use the dll name.

- Product Name : the product brand name, supplied by the plugin.

- Vendor Name : the name of the vendor or company releasing the plugin.

- Category : the plugin type, according to the Steinberg terminology.

- VST Version : supplied by the plugin. The version number of the VST SDK that was used to program the plugin.

- VST Uniq ID : the unique identifier. This 32-bit integer number is unique and gives the possibility to identify the plugin precisely.

- I / O : tells the number of inputs/outputs featured by the plugin.

- PRG / Params : respectively tells the number of presets and the number of parameters available to the user.

- Capabilities : tells you the basic features of the plugin. whether or not it supports ProcessReplacing APIs, has a GUI, supports CHUNK-based context management or allows the processing of a mono stream (CANMONO).

- Latency : gives the plugin's internal processing delay (or latency) in samples.

- State : tells the current status of the plugin. If it reads DISABLED, then have a look at the "Error/Comments" field.

- Error / Comments : tells you the reason for a possible problem with the plugin.

VST-Scanner, a mediator between developers.

VST-Scanner was originally developed with VSTMANLIB, a commercial software component created by Vincent Burel©2004-2005 to enable VST-plugin hosting in any application. In order to guarantee a minimum of safety and reliability, VST-Scanner was designed according to two main concerns :

1 - Preventing the host application from self-detecting the VST plugins available on the system. As Steinberg did not provide for any reliable installation and detection procedure for VST plugins, the process remains dangerous and may be harmful. Therefore, VST-Scanner will be in charge of that task.

2 - Reducing the time it would take to diagnose and solve possible problems. The VST standard is used by hundreds of different products which were created over a long period of time (10 years) during which the standard itself was modified. Being 100% compatible has become a challenge, on the plugins' side as well as on the hosts' side.

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