DISTRHO Plugin Framework
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DPF - DISTRHO Plugin Framework

This file describes the available features for each plugin format.
The limitations could be due to the plugin format itself or within DPF.
If the limitation is within DPF, a link is provided to a description below on the reason for it.

Feature JACK/Standalone LADSPA DSSI LV2 VST2 VST3 Feature
Audio port groups Yes* No No Yes No No* Audio port groups
Audio port as CV Yes No No Yes No No* Audio port as CV
Audio sidechan Yes No No Yes No* No* Audio sidechan
Bypass control No No No Yes No* No* Bypass control
MIDI input Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes MIDI input
MIDI output Yes No No Yes Yes Yes MIDI output
Parameter changes Yes No No No* Yes Yes Parameter changes
Parameter groups No No No Yes Yes No* Parameter groups
Parameter outputs No No No Yes No No* Parameter outputs
Parameter triggers Yes No No Yes No* No* Parameter triggers
Programs Yes* No* Yes* Yes No* Yes Programs
States Yes No Yes* Yes Yes Yes States
Full/internal state Yes No No Yes Yes Yes Full/internal state
Time position Yes No No Yes Yes Yes Time position
UI Yes* No External only Yes Embed only Embed only UI
UI bg/fg colors No No No Yes No No? UI bg/fg colors
UI direct access Yes No No Yes Yes Yes UI direct access
UI host-filebrowser No No No Yes No* No* UI host-filebrowser
UI host-resize Yes No Yes Yes No No* UI host-resize
UI remote control No No Yes Yes No Yes UI remote control
UI send midi note Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes UI send midi note

For things that could be unclear:

  • “States” refers to DPF API support, supporting key-value string pairs for internal state saving
  • “Full state” refers to plugins updating their state internally without outside intervention (like host or UI)
  • “UI direct access” means DISTRHO_PLUGIN_WANT_DIRECT_ACCESS is possible, that is, running DSP and UI on the same process
  • “UI remote control” means running the UI on a separate machine (for example over the network)
  • An external UI on this table means that it cannot be embed into the host window, but the plugin can still provide one

Special notes

Parameter triggers

Trigger-style parameters (parameters which value is reset to its default every run) are only supported in JACK and LV2.
For all other plugin formats DPF will simulate the behaviour through a parameter change request.

JACK audio port groups

DPF will set JACK metadata information for grouping audio ports.
This is not supported by most JACK applications at the moment.

JACK parameters and programs

Under JACK/Stanlone mode, MIDI input events will trigger program and parameter changes.
MIDI program change events work as expected (that is, MIDI program change 0 will load 1st plugin program).
MIDI CCs are used for parameter changes (matching the midiCC value you set on each parameter).

JACK custom UI only

There is no generic plugin editor view.
If your plugin has no custom UI, the standalone executable will run but not show any window.

LADSPA programs

Programs for LADSPA could be done via LRDF but this is not supported in DPF.

DSSI State

DSSI only supports state changes when called via UI, no “full state” possible.
This also makes it impossibe to use programs and state at the same time with DSSI, because in DPF changing programs can lead to state changes but there is no way to fetch this information on DSSI plugins.

To make it simpler to understand, think of DSSI programs and states as UI properties.
Because in DPF changing the state happens from UI to DSP side, regular DSSI can be supported.
But if we involve programs, they would need to pass through the UI in order to work. Which goes against DPF's design.

LV2 parameter changes

Although this is already implemented in DPF (through a custom extension), this is not implemented on most hosts.
So for now you can pretty much treat it as if not supported.

VST2 potential support

Not supported in DPF at the moment.
It could eventually be, but likely not due to VST2 being phased out by Steinberg.
Contact DPF authors if you require such a feature.

VST2 programs

VST2 program support requires saving state of all programs in memory, which is very expensive and thus not done in DPF.

VST3 is work in progress

Feature is possible, just not implemented yet in DPF.