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Airwave is a wine based VST bridge, that allows for the use of Windows 32- and 64-bit VST 2.4 audio plugins with Linux VST hosts. Due to the use of shared memory, only one extra copying is made for each data transfer. Airwave also uses the XEMBED protocol to correctly embed the plugin editor into the host window.


  • wine, supporting XEMBED protocol (versions greater than 1.7.19 were tested, but earlier versions also may work). To solve the blank window issue you can apply this patch to wine.
  • libmagic
  • Qt5 for the airwave manager application (GUI)

Building the source

  1. Install the required packages: multilib-enabled GCC, cmake, git, wine, Qt5, libmagic.
  • Arch Linux (x86_64) example:

    sudo pacman -S gcc-multilib cmake git wine qt5-base
  • Fedora 20 (x86_64) example:

    sudo yum -y install gcc-c++ git cmake wine wine-devel wine-devel.i686 file file-devel libX11-devel libX11-devel.i686 qt5-devel glibc-devel.i686 glibc-devel
  • Ubuntu 14.04 (x86_64) example:

    sudo apt-get install git cmake gcc-multilib g++-multilib libx11-dev libx11-dev:i386 qt5-default libmagic-dev
    sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ubuntu-wine/ppa
    sudo apt-get update
    sudo apt-get install wine1.7 wine1.7-dev
  1. Get the VST Audio Plugins SDK from Steinberg. I cannot distribute it myself due to the license restrictions.

  2. Unpack the VST SDK archive. Further I'll assume that you have unpacked it in your home directory: ${HOME}/VST3\ SDK.

  3. Clone the airwave GIT repository

git clone
  1. Go to the airwave source directory and execute the following commands:
mkdir build && cd build
sudo make install

Of course, you can change the CMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX as you like.


  1. Run the airwave-manager
  2. Press the "Create link" button on the toolbar.
  3. Select desired wine loader and wine prefix in the appropriate combo boxes.
  4. Enter a path to VST plugin DLL file in the "VST plugin" field (you can use the "Browse" button for convenience). Note, that the path is relative to the selected wine prefix.
  5. Enter a "Link location" path (the directory, where your VST host looks for the plugins).
  6. Enter a link name, if you don't like the auto-suggested one.
  7. Select a desired log level for this link. The higher the log level, the more messages you'll receive. The 'default' log level is a special value. It corresponds to the 'Default log level' value from the settings dialog. In most cases, the 'default' log level is the right choice. For maximum performance do not use a higher level than 'trace'.
  8. Press the "OK" button. At this point, your VST host should be able to find a new plugin inside of the "Link location" directory.

Note: After you have created the link you cannot move/rename it with a file manager. All updates have to be done inside the airwave-manager. Also, you should update your links after updating the airwave itself. This could be achived by pressing the "Update links" button.

Under the hood

The bridge consists of four components:

  • Plugin endpoint (
  • Host endpoint (airwave-host-{arch} and airwave-host-{arch}.exe launcher script)
  • Configuration file (${XDG_CONFIG_PATH}/airwave/airwave.conf)
  • GUI configurator (airwave-manager)

When the airwave-plugin is loaded by the VST host, it obtains its absolute path and use it as the key to get the linked VST DLL from the configuration. Then it starts the airwave-host process and passes the path to the linked VST file. The airwave-host loads the VST DLL and works as a fake VST host. Starting from this point, the airwave-plugin and airwave-host act together like a proxy, translating commands between the native VST host and the Windows VST plugin.

Known issues

  • Due to a bug in wine, there is some hacking involved when embedding the editor window. There is a chance that you get a black window instead of the plugin GUI. Also some areas might not update correctly when increasing the window size. You can workaround this issue by patching wine with this patch.


The following list is not complete. It contains only plugins, that have been tested by me or by people, who sent me a report. Please note about d2d1.dll mentioned in the list: currently I know that only one version of d2d1.dll is working:
version: 6.1.7601.17514
size: 827904 bytes
md5 hash: 3e0a1bf9e17349a8392455845721f92f
If you will get success with another version, please contact me and I will update this information.

VST-Plugins works? Notes
AlgoMusic CZynthia yes
Aly James LAB OB-Xtreme yes
Analogic Delay by interrruptor yes
Bionic Delay by interrruptor yes
Blue Cat Audio Oscilloscope Multi no doesn't work with wine
Cableguys Volume Shaper yes you need to install native d2d1.dll and override it in winecfg
Credland Audio BigKick yes you need to install native d2d1.dll and override it in winecfg
FabFilter plugins yes haven't tested them all
Green Oak Software Crystal yes
Image-Line Harmless yes
Image-Line Sytrus yes
LennarDigital Sylenth1 yes you need to override d2d1.dll in winecfg
LePou Plugins yes LeCab2 has slight GUI redrawing issues
NI Absynth yes
NI FM8 yes
NI Guitar Rig 5 yes activation doesn't work
NI Kontakt 5 mostly up to v5.3.1, can import libraries only in Windows XP mode
NI Massive yes only 32-bit
NI Reaktor 5 yes
Magnus Choir yes
Martin Lüders pg8x yes
Meesha Damatriks yes
Odo Synths Double Six partly GUI issues
Peavey Revalver Mark III.V yes
ReFX Nexus2 yes
ReFX Vanguard yes
Reveal Sound Spire yes starting from 1.0.19 you need to override d2d1.dll in winecfg
Sonic Academy A.N.A. yes
Sonic Academy KICK yes
Sonic Cat LFX-1310 yes
Sonic Charge Cyclone yes
Smartelectronix s(M)exoscope yes
Spectrasonics Omnisphere yes
Spectrasonics Omnisphere 2 yes May require copying STEAM dir manually to place on install. Runs too slow with many presets to be usable on a decent laptop.
SQ8L by Siegfried Kullmann yes
SuperWave P8 yes
Synapse Audio DUNE 2 yes
Synth1 by Ichiro Toda yes
Tone2 FireBird yes
Tone2 Nemesis yes
Tone2 Saurus yes
u-he plugins yes Linux version is also available
Variety of Sound plugins yes
Voxengo plugins mostly inter plugin routing doesn't work (architecture issue)
Xfer Serum yes install native GDI+ (run winetricks gdiplus)
EZDrummer2, BFD3, XLN AD2 yes host need multi-channel support


Airwave is a WINE-based VST bridge, that allows for the use of Windows 32- and 64-bit VST 2.4 audio plugins with Linux VST hosts





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