How to Install VST Plugins in FL Studio (Step-by-Step and Tips 2022) - Guitar Gear Finder (2023)

FL Studio comes with a lot of great plugins and effects, but you can also install third-party plugins in FL Studio to access new sounds, effects, and virtual instruments.

This guide will show you step-by-step how to install VST plugins into FL Studio, how to manage your plugins, and extra tips to make it easier for you to access and use your plugins.

Once you install some plugins, check out these guides to help you get more out of FL Studio:

  • Ultimate Guide to Guitar VST Plugins
  • Ultimate Guide to Drum VST Plugins
  • How to Record Guitar in FL Studio
  • How to Create Drum Tracks in a DAW
  • Ultimate Guide to DAW Controllers (highly recommended for FL Studio users)
  • Recording Guitar FAQs (ask your questions here)

Table of Contents show

Step 1: Downloading Plugins Compatible with FL Studio

There are a few different formats for plugins and you need to install the types that are compatible with FL Studio.

Make sure the plugins you want to install are compatible with FL Studio by checking the below information.

Plugin Bit Versions

VST Plugins can come in 32-bit or 64-bit versions.

If you’re using a 64-bit version of FL Studio (most people will be), try to install 64-bit plugins. 32-bit plugins will work, but the best practice is to match the plugin bit version to the bit version of your version of FL Studio.

Some plugins will automatically install both 32-bit and 64-bit plugins. That’s fine. FL Studio can combine the two versions so you don’t have them doubling up in your plugins list.

Check what version of FL Studio you’re running by going to theHelp > Aboutmenu.

How to Install VST Plugins in FL Studio (Step-by-Step and Tips 2022) - Guitar Gear Finder (1)

You’ll see either 32 bit or 64 bit on this screen.

Plugin Format

There are four different plugin formats you may find: VST, AU, AAX, RTAS. The different formats work with different DAWs.

FL Studio uses VST and VST3 format plugins. VST3 plugins are 64-bit and recommended if you have the choice.

Many plugin installers will ask you to choose which formats to install for the plugin as shown below:

How to Install VST Plugins in FL Studio (Step-by-Step and Tips 2022) - Guitar Gear Finder (2)

If you only use FL Studio and no other DAWs, you can uncheck the other formats and only install VST formats. If you also use other DAWs such as Ableton Live, you may want to install other formats as well as explained in my Guide on Guitar Plugins.

Downloading Plugins

When downloading most plugins, they will include an installer to help you install the plugin to the correct directory. Where to install the plugin is covered in the next step.

If you download a plugin and all you get is a .dll file, don’t panic. All you need to do is move/copy that file into the correct folder as covered in the next step.

(Video) How to Install and Manage Plugins in FL Studio (2021 Tutorial)

If you download a plugin and it comes in a zip file, you need to open the zip file to either access the installer or find the.dll file.

All of this will make sense after the next step.

Step 2: Finding FL Studio’s Plugins Folders

FL Studio looks for plugins in specific folders by default. If a plugin isn’t installed in one of these folders, FL Studio won’t be able to use it.

Find out where your version of FL Studio looks for plugins by going to theOptions > Manage Pluginsmenu.

How to Install VST Plugins in FL Studio (Step-by-Step and Tips 2022) - Guitar Gear Finder (3)

The above screenshot shows FL Studio’s Plugin Manager. This is where you can install, edit, and manage your plugins.

The directories shown on the left ‘Plugin search paths’ panel shows where FL Studio looks for plugins.

How to Install VST Plugins in FL Studio (Step-by-Step and Tips 2022) - Guitar Gear Finder (4)

In the above screenshot, you can see that FL Studio looks for plugins in five different directories. The different directories are used for different types of plugins (eg: VST vs VST3) as well as FL Studio’s own plugins.

If you want to add a different directory to this list, click the folder + icon as shown below:

How to Install VST Plugins in FL Studio (Step-by-Step and Tips 2022) - Guitar Gear Finder (5)

Select the directory you want to use for your plugins and it will be added to the list. If you have used other DAWs in the past, your plugins may be stored in folders created by the DAW. Adding those folders to FL Studio’s list is the easiest way to use those plugins.

Step 3: Installing Plugins to the Correct Folder

Now that you know where FL Studio looks for plugins, you can install your plugins to those folders.

In this example, I’ll show how to install one of the LePou Amps – a collection of free guitar amp simulator plugins covered in my guide on Best Guitar VST Plugins. You can follow these steps for any plugin.

First, download the plugin from the plugin’s website. This plugin gives you the option to download either Windows or Mac versions and choose between 32 and 64 bit. I’ll download the Windows 64-bit version.

How to Install VST Plugins in FL Studio (Step-by-Step and Tips 2022) - Guitar Gear Finder (6)

Once you have downloaded your plugin, either run the installer (if it comes with one), or copy the plugin files to a folder FL Studio can scan.

The file I downloaded was a.zipfile, so I need to open the file and extract the plugin file into my plugin folder, which was C:\Program Files\VstPlugins\ as shown in FL Studio’s plugin manager.

How to Install VST Plugins in FL Studio (Step-by-Step and Tips 2022) - Guitar Gear Finder (7)

While the method you may follow may be different depending on what type of file you are given in the download, the end result should always be the same. There should always be some sort of file (eg: .dll or .vst3) installed in your plugins folder.

Step 4: Adding New Plugins to FL Studio

Once you have installed your plugin to one of the folders FL Studio can scan, open FL Studio.

(Video) How to Install a VST in FL Studio 20 - BEST METHOD IN 2021 | FL Studio Install Plugins Tutorial

Go to the Options > Manage Plugins menu.

There are a few scan options you may want to enable/disable such as rescanning plugins that have had errors in the past or whether you want to combine 32-bit and 64-bit versions.

How to Install VST Plugins in FL Studio (Step-by-Step and Tips 2022) - Guitar Gear Finder (8)

Click theFind More Plugins button at the top and FL Studio will scan the folders for any new plugins.

Once the scan has completed, scroll through your list to see if your plugin shows up.

The below screenshot shows that the HyBrit plugin from LePou has been found and added to the list of plugins:

How to Install VST Plugins in FL Studio (Step-by-Step and Tips 2022) - Guitar Gear Finder (9)

Sometimes the name shown on this list doesn’t perfectly match the actual plugin name. Use the search bar at the bottom or look at the filename column to find your new plugins.

If your plugin doesn’t show up after scanning, check that it is installed in the correct folder and you have installed the correct format (covered in step 1).

Step 5: Managing Your Plugins

If your new plugin shows up in this list, you can start using it straight away. But there are a few ways to make it easier to access and use your plugins.

Depending on the edition of FL Studio you buy, you might have a long list of plugins. This can make it awkward to quickly find your most-used plugins.

Here’s how you can organize your plugins for faster access.

Click on a plugin in the Plugin Manager and click the ‘Plugin’ tab on the left:

How to Install VST Plugins in FL Studio (Step-by-Step and Tips 2022) - Guitar Gear Finder (10)

The left panel now shows all of the options and details for the selected plugin.

You can rename the plugin if you want to something that’s easier to remember or clearer on what the plugin is. For example, the ‘HyBrit’ plugin is based on a Marshall amp, so I’ll rename the plugin to ‘HyBrit (Marshall amp)’ so in the future I can easily find it.

Favoriting Plugins

Favoriting plugins is a great way to make it easier to find and add your most-used plugins to any project.

You can add any plugin to favorites in the Plugin Manager by clicking the start next to the plugin in the list.

How to Install VST Plugins in FL Studio (Step-by-Step and Tips 2022) - Guitar Gear Finder (11)

At any time you can add or remove plugins from favorites to clean up your list.

When you go to add a plugin to a mixer channel, you’ll see the plugins you have favorited at the top of the list (unless they are sorted into a category as explained later):

(Video) Install Guitar Rig Pro 5 on Pc than Copy VST Plugin in to the Fl Studio

How to Install VST Plugins in FL Studio (Step-by-Step and Tips 2022) - Guitar Gear Finder (12)

If you want to better organize your plugins, check out the tips below and learn how to create custom categories for your plugins.

FL Studio Plugins Tips and Best Practices

Here are some tips and best practices for using plugins in FL Studio:

Create Custom Categories

To use a plugin in FL Studio, go to the mixer and click one of the insert channels to highlight it as shown below:

How to Install VST Plugins in FL Studio (Step-by-Step and Tips 2022) - Guitar Gear Finder (13)

At the far edge of the mixer panel, you will see empty slots you can use to add plugins to a channel:

How to Install VST Plugins in FL Studio (Step-by-Step and Tips 2022) - Guitar Gear Finder (14)

Clicking a slot will bring up your list of plugins. You’ll see that FL Studio separates the plugins into categories by default:

How to Install VST Plugins in FL Studio (Step-by-Step and Tips 2022) - Guitar Gear Finder (15)

Note:if you don’t see any categories when you open the list of plugins, make sure you have the ‘Categories’ view selected (at the end of the plugin list there are view options).

You can create custom categories to sort out your plugins as you like. If you feel like your list of favorite plugins is spiraling out of control, set up some custom categories to sort them out.

In the Plugin Manager, click a plugin, then enter a category name for that plugin on the left panel under the favorite heading.

How to Install VST Plugins in FL Studio (Step-by-Step and Tips 2022) - Guitar Gear Finder (16)

You can see in the above screenshot that I’ve added the HyBrit amp plugin to a custom ‘Guitar Amps’ category. Click the favorite button or else the custom category won’t show in your list.

Click the ‘Apply Changes’ button to save your category.

If you now open your list of plugins, you’ll see your plugin sorted under your custom category. You can see that the HyBrit plugin now shows under the ‘Guitar Amps’ category:

How to Install VST Plugins in FL Studio (Step-by-Step and Tips 2022) - Guitar Gear Finder (17)

Note that the custom name I set for the plugin also shows here.

Extra tip: the categories are sorted alphabetically. If you want your custom categories to show up at the start of your effects list, create custom categories that start with ‘A’ such as ‘A Guitar Amps’, ‘A Drums’, ‘A Virtual Instruments’, etc.

It’s not ideal, but that will ensure that your custom categories show at the top of the list.

Use the Plugin Picker

FL Studio has a visual tool you can use to access your plugins instead of selecting them from a list.

(Video) FL Studio Guitar Amp MK1

You can access the inbuilt plugin picker at any time by pressing F8 on your keyboard.

How to Install VST Plugins in FL Studio (Step-by-Step and Tips 2022) - Guitar Gear Finder (18)

This might look messy, but once you get the hang of it, it can sometimes be faster than trying to find your plugin from a long list.

You can easily jump between categories by hovering your mouse over the category names at the bottom of the screen. The plugins for each category will instantly show.

You can see that when I hover over my ‘Guitar Amps’ custom category, it only shows the plugins I’ve added to that category.

How to Install VST Plugins in FL Studio (Step-by-Step and Tips 2022) - Guitar Gear Finder (19)

Some plugins may not show thumbnails. To enable a thumbnail for any of these plugins, open the plugin in FL Studio, click the top left corner arrow and select ‘Add Plugin to Database’

How to Install VST Plugins in FL Studio (Step-by-Step and Tips 2022) - Guitar Gear Finder (20)

Once you find a plugin you want to use, click and drag the plugin and add it to any track or mixer channel.

In the below screenshot, you can see that I have dragged the HyBrit plugin into the ‘Insert 1’ channel on the mixer. It now shows in the list of inserts on the far right of the mixer.

How to Install VST Plugins in FL Studio (Step-by-Step and Tips 2022) - Guitar Gear Finder (21)

Sometimes you will prefer using the text list of plugins and other times you might prefer the plugin picker. Practicing using both methods to see what works best for you.

Installing Plugins in FL Studio Summary

Here is a quick step-by-step overview of how to install plugins in FL Studio:

  1. Download a compatible VST plugin
  2. Open FL Studio and find the plugin directories used in the Plugin Manager
  3. Install your plugin into the correct directories
  4. Scan for new plugins in FL Studio’s Plugin Manager
  5. Sort and organize your plugins by favoriting, renaming, and adding plugins to categories

Once you have followed the above steps, you can add your plugins to your projects as you like. How you add your plugins depends on whether you’re using a generator plugin (eg: synths and virtual instruments), and effects plugins (eg: guitar amp simulators).

Video Tutorial

Here’s a quick video tutorial walking through the above steps:

After you install some plugins, check out these guides to help you get more out of FL Studio:

  • Ultimate Guide to Guitar VST Plugins (Best free and paid guitar plugins)
  • Ultimate Guide to Drum VST Plugins (Best free and paid drum plugins)
  • How to Record Guitar in FL Studio
  • How to Create Drum Tracks in a DAW
  • Ultimate Guide to DAW Controllers (highly recommended for FL Studio users)
  • Recording Guitar FAQs (ask your questions here)

Related Guides and Lessons:

Ultimate Guide to Drum VST Plugins (Best Free and Paid Plugins)How to Connect Guitar To PC/Laptop: Gear, Software, TipsUltimate Guide to Recording Guitar Videos for YouTubeiRig Mic Studio by IK Multimedia ReviewIK Multimedia iRig HD 2 ReviewRecording Your First Song Tutorial


How do I install a VST plugin? ›

IMPORTANT: VST plug-ins for Digital Performer must be in one of the following file paths: C:\Program Files\VSTPlugins.
  1. Go to Options and select Preferences.
  2. Select VST, click Edit, and select Add.
  3. Navigate to the folder where your plug-in(s) are installed, and click Rescan.
16 Feb 2021

How do I add VST to FL Studio 12? ›

Follow the steps below to add your NI VST folder to FL Studio:
  1. Open FL Studio.
  2. In the menu bar, click on Options and select Manage Plugins.
  3. The FL Studio Plugin Manager appears. ...
  4. Navigate to the folder containing your Native Instruments plug-ins and press OK.

How do I find my VST folder in FL Studio? ›

Open FL Studio. In the menu bar, click on Options and select File Settings. A pop-up window will appear showing extra search folders for samples and plug-ins. Click on the folder icon located beneath the VST plugins extra search folder and select the install location of your VST plug-ins.

Should I use VST or vst3? ›

Audio Signals

One other big advantage of VST3 is that audio data, as well as MIDI data, can now be passed through a plugin. With the old VST standard, MIDI was the only way to go, but with the VST3 implementation, you can send any kind of audio signal to your plugin.

Why isn't my plugin showing up in FL Studio? ›

Plug-ins Aren't Showing Up. There could be a number of reasons why your plug-ins aren't showing up in FL Studio. It could be due to bad installation, the plug-in not being installed to the correct scan path, or it could simply be that it isn't enabled within FL Studio.

Does FL Studio use VST or vst3? ›

FL Studio Windows - Supports 32 and 64 Bit VST 1/2, VST3 and Image-Line's own enhanced proprietary FL Studio native format.

How do I install third party plugins? ›

Third-Party Plug-ins: How to Install
  1. Go to Extensions→Install/Uninstall and make sure the Install subsection link is clicked.
  2. Click the Choose File button and navigate your computer to locate the plug-in archive file (usually a ZIP, but also might be TGZ, GZ, or TAR).
  3. Click the Upload File & Install button.

Where should you install VST? ›

dll file is installed.
Where should I Install the VST on Windows?
Digital Audio WorkstationVST Location
FL StudioC:\Program Files\VSTPlugins
Studio OneC:\Program Files\VSTPlugins or C:\Program Files\Common Files\Steinberg\VST2
5 more rows
17 Sept 2021

How do I download and install plugins? ›

To install the plugin, you visit the website of the plugin's developer and click on a link that will download the installer for the plugin you have selected. You can save the installer to an easy to find location such as the Desktop or a specific folder you have created to organize all of your downloads.

What does VST stand for? ›

Virtual Studio Technology (VST) is an audio plug-in software interface that integrates software synthesizers and effects units into digital audio workstations. VST and similar technologies use digital signal processing to simulate traditional recording studio hardware in software.

Where is VST3 plugin system folder? ›

AUDIO plug-ins are installed by default (C:\Program Files\Common Files\VST3).

Where are VST3 plugins located? ›

C:\Program Files\Common Files\VST3 (64-bit VST3) C:\Program Files\Common Files\Avid\Audio\Plug-Ins (AAX)

Are VST and VST2 the same? ›

VST2 and VST3 are simply different versions of VST. Many additional features were introduced in the VST version 3 (VST3) and these plug-ins are now supported by most hosts and DAWs.

Should I install VST2 or 3? ›

VST2 or VST3 – Which One Should You Use? What is this? If you have plugins that come in both VST2 and VST3 versions, it's recommended to use the VST3 version unless you have a reason not to (e.g. if the VST3 version is causing issues or is buggy).

Are all VST3 64 bit? ›

xx format. VST3 plugins are always 64-bit-compatible, offer sidechaining options and dynamically assignable outputs.

Which plugins is best for FL Studio? ›

FL Studio Synth VSTS
  • New York Compressor.
  • MJCUjr By Klanghelm – Free compressor.
  • Imperial Delay.
  • Decapitator By Soundtoys.
  • Phase Distortion Snapin By Kilohearts.
  • FuzzPlus 3 By Audio Damage – Free.
  • U-he Diva.
  • Steinberg Model E – Free Bass VST.
10 Aug 2022

Do VST plugins work in FL Studio? ›

Virtual Studio Technology (VST) Plugins (Windows and macOS) VST is a software interface standard that allows you to load VST software synthesizer and effect 'plugins' in FL Studio.

How many plugins fl studio all plugins edition? ›

Over 100 plugins included

FL Studio All-Plugins Edition includes over 100 instrument and effect plugins covering automation, sample playback/manipulation, synthesis, compression, delay, equalization filtering, flanging, phasing, chorus, reverb, distortion, bit-crushing and more.

Do I need both VST2 and VST3? ›

But, 64-Bit VST2 or VST3 is what we want as music producers. (You may need to install both if you use your DAW and video editing program, as your DAW will use VST3, as music production is usually one step ahead on technologies, and your video editor will use the dated 64-Bit VST2 version).

What file type is a VST? ›

What is a VST file? Files with . vst extension are vector image files created with Microsoft Visio and act as template for creating further files. These template files are in binary file format and contain the default layout and settings that are utilized for creation of new Visio drawings.

Can I use a VST without a DAW? ›

It is possible to run a VST plugin as standalone without using a DAW. The easiest way is to use something called a VST host. A VST host is a lightweight program with the sole purpose of running the VST.

Why can't I load a plugin? ›

Corrupted or missing system files could also lead to the “Chrome couldn't load plugin” error. In this case, you should run System File Checker (SFC), a Windows 10 built-in tool for checking and fixing system files.

How do I know if a plugin is activated? ›

If you know of a class or function that is included with the plugin you're checking for, you can easily use the function_exists() and/or class_exists() functions to determine if the plugin is active. If the function or the class is registered, meaning the plugin is active, the checks will return true.

What is the difference between an add on and a plugin? ›

A plug-in, which can also be called an add-on or an extension, is third-party software that adds new functions to a host program on a computer, without altering the host program. Basically, they allow you to add new components to a host program or extend its capabilities beyond its original design.

How do I install a zip file from a plugin? ›

Install a WordPress plugin from a . zip file
  1. Sign in to WordPress.
  2. In the left-hand menu, select Plugins > Add New.
  3. Select Upload Plugin.
  4. Select Choose File.
  5. Locate and select the plugin . ...
  6. Select Install Now.
  7. Optional: Select Activate Plugin if you want the plugin to be active after the installation.

How do I enable plugins? ›

Google Chrome

To enable it, click Chrome's menu button and select Settings to open the Settings page. Click Show advanced settings, click Content settings under Privacy, scroll down to Plug-ins, and select Click to play.

Which VST is the best? ›

Here's our quick list of the best VST Instruments available in 2022:
  • GForce Software Oberheim SEM.
  • Arturia Pigments 3.
  • Spectrasonics Omnisphere 2.6.
  • Roland Zenology Pro.
  • Spectrasonics Keyscape.
  • Xfer Records Serum.
  • Spitfire Audio BBC Symphony Orchestra.
  • Cherry Audio Synth Stack 2.
31 Jul 2022

Which VST has the best sounds? ›

Our picks for the best synth VSTs of 2022 are:
  • Spectrasonics Omnisphere.
  • Xfer Records Serum.
  • Gforce Oberheim OB-E.
  • Arturia Pigments.
  • VCV Rack Pro 2.
  • Arturia V Collection.
  • U-He Diva.
  • Korg OPSIX Native.
31 Mar 2022

How many plugins should you install? ›

You should install as many WordPress plugins as necessary to run your website and grow your business. On average, its quite common for a business website to have at least 20 – 30 plugins. If you're using WordPress to it's full potential and have many advanced features, then this count can easily go into 50+.

What is the most important thing to remember about activating a plugin? ›

Activating a Plugin

If the plugin depends on other plugins, these plugins are listed along with their activation status. If the plugin has optional features that depend on other plugins, those plugins are listed under Some files will not be loaded because these plugins are inactive.

Is VST and plugin the same? ›

VST, otherwise known as Virtual Studio Technology, are plugins utilised by professional and amateur recording artists and engineers who use these tools to strengthen their audio projects. Essentially, a plugin is a variety of software that performs inside another fragment of software.

Are VST and plugins the same thing? ›

This would also include those used by DAWs that have their own non-VST format of effects. So, a “plugin” and a “VST” are two ways of describing the same thing and they are often used together as in “VST plugin” or you may find “VST effect” or “plugin effect” used as well.

What does VST stand for Yamaha? ›

Vapor Separator Tank (VST) Filter

Attached to the electric fuel pump in the Vapor Separator Tank (VST).

Why can't I find my plugins in FL Studio? ›

Go to the Options menu and click Manage Plug-ins. 2. In the plug-in window, make sure that the folder you installed your plug-in is listed and also has a white checkmark. If it isn't listed, click the folder with a plus sign icon, and add it.

Where do I install plugins? ›

Starting with free plugins:
  1. Go to “Plugins” in your WordPress dashboard. Start by going to your admin panel – and click on “Plugins” in the sidebar menu:
  2. Click on “Add New” ...
  3. Find your plugin via search. ...
  4. Install your plugin. ...
  5. Activate the plugin.
15 Nov 2022

Where is the plug-ins folder? ›

The plug-ins folder on Windows is located inside of the user directory.


2. BEST Guitar VST - How To Install Ample Guitars (AGM) In FL Studio 20
(Jay Cartere)
3. How to Record Guitar in FL Studio 20: Step by Step Tutorial
(Aaron Matthies)
4. How To Install Waves Plugins In FL Studio 20 (Step-By-Step) Tutorial
(Jay Cartere)
5. How To Install Izotope Plugins In FL Studio 20 (Step-By-Step) Tutorial
(Jay Cartere)
6. Ultimate Guide To Installing VST/AU/AAX Plugins
(Hyper Production)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Horacio Brakus JD

Last Updated: 11/17/2022

Views: 6468

Rating: 4 / 5 (51 voted)

Reviews: 82% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Horacio Brakus JD

Birthday: 1999-08-21

Address: Apt. 524 43384 Minnie Prairie, South Edda, MA 62804

Phone: +5931039998219

Job: Sales Strategist

Hobby: Sculling, Kitesurfing, Orienteering, Painting, Computer programming, Creative writing, Scuba diving

Introduction: My name is Horacio Brakus JD, I am a lively, splendid, jolly, vivacious, vast, cheerful, agreeable person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.