dssi-vst-rt is a Linux plugin which allows VST plugins compiled for Windows to be used in Linux audio applications, using a standard DSSI or LADSPA plugin host. It is a fork of the excellent dssi-vst plugin by Chris Cannam, and has extra patches to enable true realtime plugin support, written by Kristian Amlie.

dssi-vst-rt depends on Wine to load the VST plugins, and because of this extra layer, graphical elements of plugins may run more slowly. The actual plugin effect should run at full realtime speed, however.


dssi-vst-rt is licensed under the GNU General Public License, version 2. with a special exception to permit redistributing it in binary form when built with the non-free Steinberg VST SDK. (The default build does not use the non-free SDK, and so is completely GPL.) No proprietary license is available.


dssi-vst-rt is a useful tool to have, but it has some major limitations that prevent it from being a general solution to the problem of using Windows VST effects on Linux. Some of these limitations are intrinsic incompatibilities between VST and DSSI, while others are simply things not yet implemented. They include:

  • Transport information is not passed to the VST plugin. This means that plugins cannot synchronise automatically with the tempo or meter in the host.
  • VST “chunks” are not supported. This means that many plugins are unable to save and restore presets and other data.
  • Graphical elements in the plugin GUI that are intended to respond to audio input may be inactive.
  • Plugins that have complex hardware-specific installation procedures, such as those using USB dongles, usually will not work. Many plugin installers will not run under Wine, even if the plugins themselves would.



To build dssi-vst-rt, you will need:

Then, step by step, execute these commands in the dssi-vst-rt folder:

  • make
  • make install

And voila, you are ready to use VST plugins! To test a plugin, type “vsthost <myplugin.dll>“, and it should launch a jack client with a test instance of that plugin.

To use dssi-st-rt in other DSSI plugin hosts, make sure that the DSSI_PATH environment variable contains the path where dssi-vst.so was installed. The VST_PATH environment variable should contain the path (or several paths, separated by ‘:’) to your VST plugins.

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