How to Install VST plug-in: Illustration using Adobe Audition, Reaper, Audacity & Notion3

Add VST Plugin to Audacity (e.g. adding ReaEQ parametric equalizer VST)

1.) Go to the VST plugin directory of the Rea plug: C:Program FilesVSTPluginsReaPlugs

2.) Copy reaeq-standalone.dll to Audacity plugin directory in this path: C:Program FilesAudacity 1.3 Beta (Unicode)Plug-Ins

3.) Launch Audacity, you should see the VST plugin listed under “Effect”. If not, go to Edit – Preferences – Effects – check “Rescan VST effects next time Audacity is started”. Click OK and restart Audacity.

Example installation of proprietary plug-in: Focusrite effects

Proprietary plugin is a bit different. It requires activation of the plugin (through a license key, activation code, etc.) before you can use it with your DAW. You must keep the activation code in a safe place. The activation code is a sticker placed in the paper CD cases of the Focusrite installer CD. If you lost it, you will never be able to activate and use the plug-in.

When I install the Saffire Pro40 drivers in Windows XP, I accidentally lost the paper CD case cover that includes the activation code. If you also lost your activation code, I suggest you will follow the steps below:

1.) Get the serial number at the back of the Focusrite Saffire Pro 40. In case you are not sure which of those is the correct serial number; list all of them such as shown below:

PF6XX99XX77X
153XX008X5
MOSFXX05X

2.) Contact Focusrite Support here.

And state that you need to retrieve your activation code because its lost. Provide the support with all of those numbers you have listed.

3.) Focusrite support will then reply to you with the activation code.

Install the Focusrite Plug-in Suite in Windows XP

Now you have the activation code, you can now proceed to install the plug-in. Refer to the steps below:

1.) Insert the installer CD in your computer.
2.) Inside the CD, look for “Focusrite Plug-in Suite”, e.g. see below:

Plug-in suite installer

Plug-in suite installer

3.) Double the click the installer and follow the instructions.

4.) In most cases, it will tell you that the latest plug-in update is available and the installer will download and proceed with the installation.

5.) If there are no errors shown, you have successfully installed the plug-in.

Configure Adobe Audition 1.5 to use the Focusrite Plug-in Suite

Since the VST plug-in is now installed in your operating system, you can configure your DAW to use the plug-in. Let’s start with Adobe Audition 1.5:

1.) Launch Adobe Audition 1.5.
2.) Go to Edit View and then in the “Effects”, click “Refresh Effects List” and click OK.
3.) Load a sample audio in the Edit view.
4.) Since Focusrite Plug-in Suite is a VST plug-in, go to Effects – VST. However, you will not see the plug-in there, only dots such as shown below:

vst plugin activated example

vst plugin activated example

However if you do not see any dots or the plugin, you need to manually add the plug-in directory by clicking the “Add/Remove VST Directory” under “Effects”. Then close Adobe Audition, restart it and click Refresh Effects list again.

5.) Click one of the dots.
6.) Focusrite will require you to activate the plug-in by entering the activation code. Click “Submit Activation Request”. You will then see the Focusrite Plugin Suite Software Activation page.

7.) Enter your full name, email address, operating system, country, the activation code and then click submit.

8.) Check your email for the license file. This file is attached with the email and uses an .fnlf file extension. Download this license file to your computer.

9.) Back in the Adobe Audition 1.5, click the “Install License File”. See screenshot below:

Install the License File

Install the License File

Navigate to where you have saved the license file and click OK.

10.) The plug-in should now be activated. For example, below is the Focusrite Compressor:

Focusrite Compressor Plug-in

Focusrite Compressor Plug-in

Configure Reaper DAW to use the Focusrite Plugin Suite

1.) Make sure the plug-in is installed first with your OS (see instructions in the previous section).

2.) Launch Reaper DAW.
3.) Go to Options – Preferences.
4.) Under “Plug-ins”, click “VST”.
5.) Under VST Plug-in paths click add then navigate to the “Focusrite Plugin Suite” folder. See below:

VST plugin paths for installation

VST plugin paths for installation

6.) Click Rescan then click Apply and OK. Exit Reaper.
7.) Restart Reaper and try to insert one track in Reaper with audio.
8.) Click “FX” button, you should now see the Focusrite Plug-in under the VST section.

Focusrite plug-in activated

Focusrite plug-in activated

Other Important Tips on using VST Plugin

1.) Make sure you are using VST plugin that is not buggy and slow. Read reviews on the forum or ask for expert opinions about the plugin before using it seriously in your projects.

I have used several VST plugins before that are buggy when at times, it crashes my entire project! There are also plugins coming from unknown sources, so they might contain malware, virus, etc. Make sure you fully scan the exe file before using it. Or if you are still doubtful, don’t install plugins from developers you don’t trust.

2.) It is why most professional studio environment is using standard plugins such as developed by reputable companies like Steinberg, Cockos Inc., WAVES, etc. because they are guaranteed to work and with lots of users or documentation.

3.) Make a backup of your VST installer (as well as the license key if it’s not a free plugin) and don’t delete it. There are times when your computer crashes for some reason (disk problems,etc) and you are required to re-install everything including your plugins.

If you don’t make a backup of your plugins, then you will not be able to re-install them again. It happen to me before, I lost one plugin and I deeply regretted it. And there are around 6 projects that uses that plugin, as a result it does not work anymore and I’m forced to use another plugin.

It takes a lot of time again to get the mix right with the new plugin substitute. But at least I learned a lesson from those mistakes.

Content last updated on October 8, 2012

  • Cory Enderby

    Thanks for the great information, especially about scanning for integrity. Never think too much about that.