How to scan for AudioUnit Plugins in windows?

I am making my first project. In MacOs when you open the AudioPluginHost it shows two options->

  1. Scan for new or updated audiounit plugins
  2. Scan for new or updated VST3 plugins
    but for windows its shows (2) option only.
    I have already built the 3 project files → Sharedcode, StandalonePlugin, VST3.
    and manually put the vst 3 files in the common files.

How to scan for the audiounit plugin in windows?

It is not possible to run Audio Unit plugins on Windows, which is why the menu option is not shown there.

So do i have to use macOs and xcode for audio plugins or is there a way to do this in windows.

AudioUnits are created using Apple frameworks, so you have to build/run/test on macOS.

I’m not sure if you are mixing up AudioUnits and audio plugins in general here?

There are a number of common formats for audio plugins in general, the most important ones are:

  • VST(2): The format that started it all, created by Steinberg, available for all operating systems. Steinberg wants it to disappear, so you are not allowed to build new VST2 plugins unless you signed a contract that allows you to do so a few years ago. Sometimes people use VST as a synonym for audio plugins in general
  • VST3: The successor of VST, also created by Steinberg. Available for all operating systems. Probably the most future proof format, supported by nearly all mainstream hosts today
  • AudioUnit (AU, AUv3): A format created by Apple and therefore only available on macOS. Most DAWs on macOS can load them, Apples DAWs like Logic, GarageBand and MainStage don’t take anything else than AU.
  • AAX: A format created by Avid, available for macOS and Windows. Only Avid hosts can load them, and Pro Tools, one of the most popular DAWs in the professional sector won’t take anything else than AAX.

A JUCE plugin project can be used to create all formats from within the same project and sources – which is one of the main selling points of JUCE. So you basically can just develop your plugin in a format and operating system of your choice and then easily build it for other formats and operating systems later from the same code.


Thanks for the reply. Yes, I meant AudioUnit and my doubt is cleared from the post.

Also keep in mind that e.g. a VST3 or AAX plugin built on Windows won’t run on macOS, so in case you want to support macOS at all you need a macOS build machine anyway

Just FTR: there are also linux plugin formats:
VST3 (if compiled for/on linux)

I don’t use any of those, so somebody else would need to fill the details.
I don’t know about the current state of affairs regarding juce plugins on linux, there was some movement lately but I didn’t follow.