Using J-Bridge to convert 32-bit plug-ins (Win)
- Live Versions: 8.4 - 9
- Operating System: Win
Only 64-bit plug-ins can be used in the 64-bit version of Live. 32-bit plug-ins will not show up in Live's browser.
As most modern, frequently-updated plug-ins are issued in 64-bit, we recommend installing the native 64-bit versions of the plug-ins where available. For any older, legacy plug-ins which are only available in 32-bit mode, it's possible to use third-party tools such as jBridge which allow them to be used within the 64-bit version of Live.
An overview of using Live with plug-ins
For detailed instructions of using VST plug-ins on Windows, please check our dedicated article.
It is best to install and store 32-bit and 64-bit plugins in separate folders - all 32-bit plug-ins should reside in one folder, and all 64-bit plug-ins in another.
If plug-ins support both 32-bit and 64-bit, two separate dlls get installed, and you're usually asked to choose a suitable folder for the 32-bit and 64-bit versions during the installation process.
You can use the following default system folders for VST plug-ins on Windows. Most plug-ins will install into these folders by default, but in certain cases it might be necessary to manually point the installer to the correct location:
- 64 bit plugins: C:\Program Files\Steinberg\Vstplugins\
- 32 bit plugins (on 64 bit systems): C:\Program Files (x86)\Steinberg\Vstplugins\
It's also possible to create custom VST folders. For the following tutorial we'll create these separate, custom folders on the top level of the system drive:
In this example, you would set the VST Plug-In Custom Folder to C:\VST_plugins_64 in your 64-bit version of Live. The custom folder can be set in Live's File/Folder Preferences.
Finally, as jBridge requires the plug-in host to be running with administrator rights, let's enable this for Live:
- Navigate to the Ableton Live 9.exe. By default, it is stored under C:\ProgramData\Ableton\Live 9 Beta\Program.
- Right-click Ableton Live 9.exe to open the context menu and select Properties.
- Show the Compatibility tab and, under Privilege Level, check Run this program as an administrator.
Installing and preparing jBridge
Please note that jBridge is not freeware. You will have to pay a small fee once the demo has expired.
Performing plug-in bridging
Bridging needs to be done as a specific task before the plug-ins can be used. Again, the process is also walked through in the detailed jBridge setup description.
- Run the jBridger tool.
- In the first window, confirm that you'll be using an x64 (64-bit) host.
- An options window will be shown. Leave most things at the default state, but
- Uncheck Create bridging files for 64 bit plugins and
- Choose the recommended file creation method that creates the necessary files inside a directory you specify.
- Select the folder that contains the 32-bit plug-ins to be bridged - this would be C:\VST_plugins_32.
- Specify the directory where the necessary files will be created. Select the directory that already contains your 64-bit native plug-ins - C:\VST_plugins_64.
- After confirming, the jBridger will analyze all plug-ins inside C:\VST_plugins_32 and create bridging files inside C:\VST_plugins_64.
If you now start Live (64-bit), it will re-scan the VST plug-in folder and the bridged VST plug-ins will appear in Live's plug-in browser.
After the bridging process has scanned all available 32-bit plug-ins, you'll most likely see bridged versions of VST plug-ins that are also available as native 64-bit plug-ins. Since the bridged versions are unnecessary here, follow these steps to remove them:
- Navigate to the plug-in folder C:\VST_plugins_64.
- The bridged plug-ins appear with a .64 appendix to their name and also with an accompanying text file of the same name.
- Manually delete all those .64 dll & txt files that are laying inside the folder as twins of regular 64-bit plug-ins.
Updates to Live will not affect this functionality, so your jBridge settings and bridged plug-ins will still work after updating.
Updates to jBridge should be installed over the older version. Nothing else needs to be done.