Guide to using 32-bit VST effects with Audition CC via jBridge

It’s a crisp December morning, and I’m looking out my office window at the little corporate building bunny rabbit that lives in the bushes.  He pretty much keeps to himself nibbling on grass, playing with the robins, and hiding from the corporate stray cat that roams through once in awhile.  But every once in awhile, I can hear him talking to me through his big, soulful eyes.  Usually I can dismiss it as the ramblings of a silly rabbit – I mean, c’mon – but this morning he said something that really struck a chord with me.  He mentioned, in a very matter-of-fact manner, that he’s flummoxed with getting his 32-bit VSTs working in Audition CC.  After crafting an e-mail, the standard method of communicating back to psychic bunnies, I figured I’d better share it with our blog readers, even though I’m pretty sure y’all are smarter than this rabbit.

boring picture of bunny

Yes, he looks mild-mannered and cuddly, but he’s a master manipulator, and prone to engineering elaborate pranks. Do not take his advice at face value.  He does have a good ear for mixing a session, though.

 

Quick review of 32 vs. 64-bit plug-ins, and VSTs in general

Until Audition CC was released, Audition was strictly a 32-bit application.  Basically, this means there was a finite amount of RAM Audition was able to utilize – around 4 gigabytes.  As projects have grown bigger, plug-ins and media have become larger, and more high-resolution video files are used in sessions, many users have started to hit this limitation.  After Audition CS6 shipped, we made the decision to update the tool as a native 64-bit application and be on par with most of the other Adobe Creative Cloud tools.  Not only would this allow access to more memory, but it improves performance in many areas and enables features in the latest hardware and operating systems to be fully utilized.

There was a problem, though.  32-bit VST plug-ins are not natively compatible with a 64-bit host application.  While Waves and other large plug-in authors began releasing 64-bit editions of their tools, it turns out there are a lot of folks still using old, often abandoned, 32-bit plug-ins that are unlikely to see an update.  In order to “bridge the gap” between 32-bit plug-ins and a 64-bit host, you’ll need to install a “bit-bridge.”  (Do you see what I did there?  Bit-Bridge.  Bridge the gap.  I got a million of ‘em!)  A bit-bridge acts as a go-between and does all the intermediary math that’s required to fool both the plug-in and the host application to believe that they’re talking to each other.

We got in touch with the folks at jBridge who had been developing and distributing a bit-bridge tool for a few years.  We found jBridge to work very well for most effects we tested, and implemented direct Windows support, though Mac was still in beta when Audition CC wrapped development .  (As a brief aside, the programming quality of your average free VST from the net can vary WILDLY.  Most of the crash reports in Audition over the years have been the result of a plug-in stepping outside its bounds, and much work has gone in to minimizing and preventing these problematic plug-ins from doing too much damage.)  If you’re struggling without your favorite effects, please consider installing and purchasing this tool if you find it works well.

 

Using jBridge with Audition CC on Windows

As noted, Audition CC for Windows implements direct support for jBridge.  Download jBridge and run the installer .EXE file.  Due to OS security measures, you’ll probably need to instruct Windows to run the jBridge processes as an Administrator.  You can find full step-by-step instructions by visiting How to use jBridge – A detailed walkthrough, but basically you’ll need to right-click the three .EXE application files in C:\Program Files\JBridge\ and check “Run this program as an Administrator” in the Properties panel.  This change gives jBridge permission to share plug-ins with Audition and other DAWs.

Launch Audition and select Edit > Preferences > Effects in the menu bar.  Check the preference “Scan 32-bit VST effects using jBridge.” and click OK.

Check this preference to allow jBridge to blend your 32-bit VST plug-ins with your other plug-ins.

Check this preference to allow jBridge to blend your 32-bit VST plug-ins with your other plug-ins.

With this enabled, you’re ready to scan for effects!  Click Effects > Audio Plug-in Manager… from the menu bar and make sure the sure the directory path for the VST effects you wish to use is added.  The default location for 32-bit effects is typically C:\Program Files (x86)\VstPlugins\  Click Scan for Plug-ins and you should see Audition scanning your 32-bit VST effects as if nothing out of the ordinary were going on.  You may see the following warning pop-up, but we know better now, don’t we?

It has no idea what we're about to do!

It has no idea what we’re about to do!

 

Once the scan is complete, you should see a list of all the recognized, valid VST plug-ins found.  Click OK and you should find your effects under Effects > VST in the menu bar.  Hooray!

Screen Shot 2013-12-19 at 11.23.04 AM

 

 

 

Using jBridgeM with Audition CC on Mac OS X

As I mentioned before, jBridgeM (jBridge for Mac, in case you’re slow of mind) is the equivalent tool for OS X users, but at the time we implemented support in Audition, the tool was still in beta testing.  While there are much fewer 32-bit VST effects for Mac, we did want to make sure your bases were covered as well.  jBridgeM has the ability to generate new, wrapped VSTs which appear to Audition as a new, 64-bit VST.

First, download jBridgeM and run the installer .PKG file.  Your system may require a restart after the installation is complete.  Go ahead and come on back here when that’s complete.  I’ll wait…  Ready?  Great!  You should now see a new folder in your Applications labeled jBridgeM and inside there is jBridgerM.app  Launching this should present you with  the following dialog:

These options are shown on launch!  No additional clicking necessary.

These options are shown on launch! No additional clicking necessary.

You can generally just use the default options, and click I’ll be using a 64bit VST host.  It will start scanning your installed VST effects and it’s generally best to just sit back and let it do its thing since it tends to pop back into focus with each effect which can be maddening if you’re trying to write a blog post at the same time it scans in the background.  Once it’s complete, it gives you a bit of details as to how many 32-bit effects it found and successfully wrapped.  (It creates a new file on disk, and the host DAWs will see these new files as valid 64-bit effects.)  Next, launch Audition and click Effects > Audio Plug-in Manager… in the menu bar then select Scan for Plug-Ins.  After a few moments, you should see your newly-wrapped plug-ins appear below!  Click OK and access them by selecting Effects > VST in the menu bar or through the Effects Rack panels!

Well done!  If you have additional questions or problems, feel free to visit us in the Adobe User to User forums.  Have a great holiday and new year, and I can’t wait for 2014.  Now, if only that bunny would stop getting songs stuck in my head.  He has such poor taste.

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