For 30 years, WINE has bridged the gap between Windows and Linux for running applications, particularly games. But its utility extends further, even into the realm of audio. Enter yabridge, an application that unlocks the doors to running your beloved Windows audio plugins right on your Linux system.

This guide outlines the steps for upgrading WINE on Linux, installing yabridge, and setting up your favourite Windows audio plugins for seamless use within your Linux environment.


INSTALL WINE-STAGING

When running Windows application through WINE it’s (usually) best to get the latest and greatest. If you’re running Ubuntu, Debian, or Fedora the quickest way to go about that is installing Wine-Staging from WineHQ.

For this example, I’m going to be installing Wine-Staging on Debian 12.

Enable support for 32-bit

sudo dpkg --add-architecture i386 

Install the WineHQ keyring

sudo mkdir -pm755 /etc/apt/keyrings
sudo wget -O /etc/apt/keyrings/winehq-archive.key https://dl.winehq.org/wine-builds/winehq.key

Add the WineHQ repository

sudo wget -NP /etc/apt/sources.list.d/ https://dl.winehq.org/wine-builds/debian/dists/bookworm/winehq-bookworm.sources

Update your package information

sudo apt update

Install Wine Staging

sudo apt install --install-recommends winehq-staging

Install DXVK

winetricks dxvk


DOWNLOAD AND INSTALL YABRIDGE

Download the latest version of yabridge from GitHub.


Extract the archive to ~/.local/share

tar -xf *.gz -C ~/.local/share

INSTALLING WINDOWS AUDIO PLUGINS

Download and install your Windows audio plugin using WINE. For this example, I’m using the FabFilter Total bundle.

Install the executable using WINE

wine *.exe

INSTALLING AND SYNCING PLUGINS WITH YABRIDGE

After installing your Windows audio plugin, you need to add & sync them using yabridgectl.

Go to the yabridge installation directory

cd ~/.local/share/yabridge

Run the command that matches your installed plugins.

VST2

./yabridgectl add "$HOME/.wine/drive_c/Program Files/Steinberg/VstPlugins"

VST3

./yabridgectl add "$HOME/.wine/drive_c/Program Files/Common Files/VST3"

CLAP

./yabridgectl add "$HOME/.wine/drive_c/Program Files/Common Files/CLAP"

Now sync the plugin

./yabridgectl sync

The plugin will show up after rescanning installed plugins in your DAW.


PERFORMANCE

Running windows plugins under Linux comes at a cost. On the bottom, we have Roughrider 3 running natively on Linux. RT CPU usage is around 4% and FX CPU is 0.05%. Compare that to the Windows version running through WINE, it’s averaging 7% RT CPU usage and 0.15% FX CPU.

While one plugin isn’t really that big a deal, 20 of them might be. Something to keep in mind.


COMPATIBILITY

Bitwig and Reaper have the highest level of compatibility, while Ardour struggles with anything that’s not a VST2. Check out the known issues and fixes section if you encounter issues.

HostVST2VST3CLAP
Bitwig Studio 5.1✔️✔️✔️
REAPER 7.07✔️✔️✔️
Carla 2.5.5✔️✔️Does not support CLAP
Qtractor 0.9.29✔️⚠️ VST3 editor windows may not have the correct size⚠️ Qtractor may not support every CLAP plugin
Renoise 3.4.3✔️⚠️ Renoise doesn’t handle VST3 editor window sizing correctlyDoes not support CLAP
Waveform 12.1.3✔️✔️Does not support CLAP
Ardour 8.1✔️⚠️ Some plugins may cause Ardour 7.3-8.1 to freezeDoes not support CLAP
Mixbus 7.0.140✔️✔️Does not support CLAP

The easiest way to check plugin compatibility is to follow this simple equation.


VERDICT

For the past year, I’ve relied on yabridge to bridge the gap between Linux and Acon Digital’s Restoration Suite 2. While a rogue WINE update once forced yabridge to implement a workaround, overall the experience has been remarkably stable.

Have questions about your setup? Ask in our forums.

VennStone

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