MIDI Effect Plugin characteristic- best practice?

I am working on a plugin that accepts MIDI, transforms it, and outputs the result.

Of course this would qualify it as a ‘MIDI Effect Plugin’- but setting this flag in Projucer breaks it from working in my primary DAW, Ableton Live 11, as well as some others that don’t yet support MIDI Effect Plugins.

My workaround has been to set the characteristic ‘Plugin is a Synth’ instead, and then use routing techniques within Live to make use of the MIDI the plugin outputs.

What I don’t know is if not having the ‘MIDI Effect Plugin’ flag set or having the ‘Plugin is a Synth’ flag set will in turn break its usage in DAWs that do support MIDI Effect Plugins.

What is the best practice here, to end up with a single distributable that will be usable in some form in any DAW?

This has been discussed quite a lot in the forum, so definitely start by searching.

To summarize:

  1. VST3/VST2 don’t support the concept of a MIDI FX. It has to be a synth (on all DAWs), and then output MIDI.

  2. AU do support MIDI FX, but not while also existing as a synth.
    For our case, that requires delivering two separate plugins for that format, one with sound and one without sound.

  3. AAX used to only work similar to VST3, but native MIDI FX support was recently announced by AVID so that will come out soon.

However, if you want it to work with older versions of PT it would have to be a synth with MIDI out AFAIK.


not on bitwig :slight_smile: and i hope the other DAWs learn from bitwig too. the workarounds are ridiculous

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Bitwig has the UI concept of running a MIDI FX plugin on the track, but in terms of how the plugin is set up in VST3, it’s still a Synth with MIDI output.

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you can also make normal audio fx but also let them modify midi

Yes, the VST3 format allows to to do that as well and that will work on other DAWs too.
What VST3 doesn’t do AFAIK is a “MIDI FX”, regardless of how it appears in the UI.

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