Pro Tools Plugins Format Standards: Detailed Explanation

Pro Tools Plugins Format Standards

‘Pro Tools’ is a DAW, commonly known as Digital Audio Workstation, created by Digidesign, which is now merged with Avid. It is specially designed for Microsoft and Mac. It is an excellent option for sound recording and sound production purposes. There are many plugins available for the better results. In this article, we are going to discuss various audio plugin formats of Pro Tools. Here, I am providing some of the popular plugin formats and the list of DAWs which support them. By referring them, you can also find out the difference of AAX vs VST or others.

  • Ableton Live, Cubase, Nuendo, and Reaper, etc. support ‘VST’ plugin format.
  • Ableton Live also supports ‘Audio Unit’ plugin format. Apart from it, Logic Pro supports the same.
  • ‘AAX’ plugin format is supported by Pro Tools 10 and all the other DAWs after that. Pro Tools 10 also supports RTAS.

Types of Plugins Format

VST Plugins

VST plugins are also known as Virtual Studio Technology plugins. It was initiated by Steinberg in 1996 with the version of 3.02 in Cubase. Most of us have heard about VST as it is one of the most popular interface types for giving various effects. Nowadays, there is one updated version available which is commonly known as VST3. Any of these versions are supported by Digital Audio Workstations like Ableton, Cubase, Sonar and more.

AAX Plugins

AAX is the abbreviation of Avid Audio eXtension. There are two variations of AAX – one is AAX DSP, and the other one is AAX Native. Avid developed these plugin formats as 64-bit versions of Pro Tools. With this plugins, one can share any sessions between DSP and AAX Native without leaving any one of them. This format can give better workflows and sonic parity between both the systems. Avid has made a setting which allows time for the third party developers so that they can prepare their plugins for the advancement of Pro Tools technology.

AU Plugins

AU plugins (A.K.A. Audio Units) are a part of Core Audio powered by Apple’s proprietary audio technology. It is a part of Mac X operating system, and so it provides low latency and system-level support for the interface. AU plugins are famous for the extraordinary stability and system-level solution. Many of the DAWs are developed for Mac X as it supports AU and AU means faster processing. If you are looking for the AU vs VST, then this is a big difference to consider. Apart from Apple, other audio workstations like Ableton also use Audio Units plugins to solve the sound production purposes.

Other Useful Plugins

We briefly discussed all the plugins, which are high in demand. But, there are two other plugin formats which are highly prevalent and also trending in the market. Those are RTAS plugins and TDM plugins. RTAS stands for Real-Time Audio Suit and TDM means Time Division Multiplexing. RTAS plugins are readily compatible with the Pro Tools series of digital audio workstations. In fact, they are consistent with Pro Tools only, and that too with the versions up to Pro Tools 10. TDM plugins are not suitable for Pro Tools.

So, these are some Pro Tools Plugin formats. Audio plugins are essential for supporting in loading in different digital audio workstations. When you want to update any of the new plugins, firstly, you have to make sure that your digital audio workstation allows that specific format of the plugin. I hope this article is informative enough to answer all of your questions regarding Pro Tools Plugins. Enjoy your musical journey to its fullest.

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