Plugin Organization (Mac)

Hi, I see the mention of Sononym here, and it’s great. But that’s to do with our samples. Now, let’s address smart(ish) organization/simplification of our plugins. I’m a Mac user so I’ll hit it from that angle, but others are welcome to address other OS’s and perhaps have separate threads for that, for the sake of simplicity. I’m looking for tips. It’s a time of year when folks are buying a lot of plugins (Black Friday & Holiday/Easter sales).

Personally when I get a plugin, I install it in both AU and VST3. The VST3 option allows for it to be used in Bitwig, in case I ever want to use that. But apparently even Bitwig doesn’t necessitate non-AU, if one also installs/uses Blue Cat’s MB-7 Mixer.

Regardless, this is more about how to logically organize the files and folders.

-There are things installed at the root level.
That is, “/” AKA “Macintosh HD”

-Also, there are things installed in two user folder (home & shared).
That is, “/Users/Username”
& “/Users/Shared”

Is all of this necessary? Jesus. Is it recommended to leave the installations where they were put during the installation process, and only change from the default installation locations (for the sake of organization) in the cases of being given the option in the installation process?

It just seems bizarre. I’m the only one who uses my computer. Why separate between root and user? And why have stuff in the “shared” folder? Sharing with who exactly? It’s my computer and they want their own I’ll give them some old Mac for X-Mas. Granted, “Shared” is created if you create multiple users. And I have, simply to prevent being locked out (both users are me and both have administrative access). For users who don’t have a “Shared” folder to deal with, just ignore that part. You probably still face the other stuff. Though I don’t see why I “shared” folder would even be needed, if plugins were simply installed at the root level. In fact, I saw a years-old page on the official apple website indicating that it’s best to install plugins at the root level, for that very reason.

And furthermore some things are spread out across the hierarchy/subfolders of all three (root, home & shared). Will it go in “Application Support,” “Music,” “Library,” “Audio,” “Plug-ins,” etc. etc.

It’s crazy and is just chaos. Let’s talk about how this stuff can be simplified/streamlined/made more sane. As in, what are the possibilities and limitations. Cheers

To contribute to my own thread, I’ll share a couple of things that have made this shit more manageable.

  1. I use this free app for searching my hard drive:

  2. I’ve disabled “Home” Library from being hidden, killing the need for keyboard shortcuts/commands just to access it. That can be changed by going to your home folder, choosing “view,” and selecting “show view options.”

Albeit, still a far cry from having your plugin locations being sane and organized.

Upon comparing, it does seem that the lion’s share (in my case) are at the root level, just as Apple recommended some years ago. That is, in terms of the contents of the Component & VST subfolders within “Audio.”

That said, there’s a lot of folders spread throughout the hierarchy of the home folder and it’s horrible, particularly since it’s spread all around throughout the root and shared folders as well.

I posted a similar topic elsewhere and someone recommended this instead of EasyFind. Gotta say, it’s faster. I’m a fan.

Thanks for the tip for a easyfind replacement. Was looking for that a long time.

I am not fully sure what you mean by your posts above, but what you described there seems to me a common macos design problem: Software doesn’t seem to meant to be uninstalled ever. And almost all audio plugin vendors spread their software files over the system.

On the other hand there is a strict logic, very similar to linux, regarding system level vs. user level. So the system directory structure will be repeated in each user dir. The normal defaut locations for vsts are either /lib/audio/plugins/vst3 or ~//lib/audio/plugins/vst3. For appstore support, developers have then to put their config/data files to specific directories within the users dir, e.g. documents. Some plugins follow a multi user concept, so these put files into the shared user dir. I never would put anything on the root level of the drive, looks to me that this could mess up file access rights. Regarding Renoise and Redux, I would say both keep a lot of stuff in place, not spreading too much around.