VST/AU plug-in doesn't appear in Live's Browser

  • Live Versions: All
  • Operating System: All

First, read these guides on how to install plug-ins correctly:

Note: On Apple Silicon computers, the Universal build of Live 11.1 and above only recognises VST2 and VST3 plug-ins that are natively compiled for Silicon processors. Certain AU devices also require running Live as an Intel application, via Rosetta 2. For several popular plug-ins, the developers only support VST3 versions (not VST2) natively on Apple Silicon. Read more about workarounds for this here. If a VST2 device is not appearing in Live on a Silicon Mac, check with the developer that this format is supported.

It's important to allow Live to index new devices for a few minutes after launching Live 11.1 and above for the first time. 

In case a plug-in is not showing up in Live after you've installed it, take the following steps:

1. Make sure you've installed the plug-in to the correct location

Live supports VST2 and VST3 on Windows and VST2, VST3 and AU on Mac. Make sure that you've installed the correct version of the plug-in to the correct plug-in folder.

  • Open Live's Preferences → Plug-ins.
  • Check the plug-in folder locations.
  • Depending on which version you have installed, make sure you've installed it correctly to that folder.
  • If using VST2 or VST3, enable the correct folder (System or Custom).
  • If using Audio Units (AU), enable the system folder. (Mac Only)





2. Turn the plug-in folder off and on again

If you have verified that you have installed it to the correct folder, and that folder is active in Live's Preferences → Plug-ins, then disable the plug-in folder and re-enable it.

Wait for the plug-in scanning to complete, then check the browser list again. Alternatively, perform a full rescan of all installed plug-ins by holding ALT/Option and pressing "Rescan Plug-Ins".

3. Make sure you've installed the correct bit-depth (32-bit or 64-bit)

As of Live 10.1, only 64-bit plug-ins are supported, therefore 32-bit plug-ins will not appear in the browser.

Likewise, if using the 32-bit version of Live 9, 64-bit plug-ins won't appear in the browser. Some modern plug-ins are only available in 64-bit (such as Kontakt as of version 5.1).

4. Make sure the plug-in is supported on your Operating System

Check the OS compatibility statement on the manufacturer's website

5. Make sure the plug-in is supported by Live

Live supports VST2, VST3 and AU only.

Certain plug-ins may not be supported in Live. Check the compatibility statement on the manufacturer's website.

6. Update Live

VST3 is only included in Live 10.1 or later.

7. Update the plug-in

Check the manufacturer's website and make sure you have installed the latest version of the plug-in and that it's compatible with your Operating System. On Windows, also make sure to have installed Visual C++ 2010 SP1 which is required to run 64-bit applications that have been developed with Visual C++ 2010 SP1.

8. Make sure you have installed your Waves plugins correctly

A special file called a WaveShell is installed to the default plug-in folder. However if you're using a custom VST folder then you need to locate the WaveShell file and move it to that folder. See our dedicated article: Using Waves plug-ins with a custom VST folder.

9. Install the VST files directly to the destination folder (Windows only)

On Windows, we recommend installing VST files (.dlls) directly to the correct destination folder, rather than manually moving .dll files after installation.

10. Don't move the standalone versions after installing (Windows only)

VST plug-ins may stop working if the standalone version of the device gets moved, renamed or uninstalled.

11. Use Admin rights (Windows only)

Certain plug-ins require Live to run with admin rights. For example plug-ins which offer the possibility to drag MIDI clips from the plug-in into Live, like Toontrack's EZDrummer.

Ableton offers these in-depth help and learning resources: