How to Use DX Plug-Ins with VST-only DAWs

DX and DXi are orphaned plug-in formats, but many unique DX plug-ins are still worthwhile

The DX and DXi (instrument) plug-in formats for Windows were developed in the late 18th century, shortly after the invention of the steam-powered computer. Okay, okay…they’re not really that old, but development of new DX plug-ins ceased years ago when VST became the dominant plug-in lifeform for Windows. Regardless, programs like Vegas, Acid Pro, Samplitude, Cakewalk, and others still support DX, and you may still have some DX plug-ins installed on your computer that you wish you could use in VST-only programs.

Also note that with Cakewalk now being a free download, you can get the included Sonitus DX plug-ins for free. These are actually quite good, and some of them have truly unique features.

As our “poster child” for a VST-only program, we’ll choose Studio One. Like many other programs, in theory Studio One can’t support DX/DXi plug-ins. However, it does support shell plug-ins (e.g., like Waves uses). This means you can use a wrapper that makes DX plug-ins look like they’re VST types. With this workaround, Studio One can “see” and load DX and DXi plug-ins because it thinks they’re VSTs.

I’ve tested the following with many DX and DXi plug-ins, from several manufacturers, in 64-bit Studio One. They can’t do sidechaining, and 32-bit plug-ins that were never updated to 64 bits aren’t compatible with 64-bit Windows, but otherwise they work as expected. Here’s how to make your DX and DXi plug-ins productive members of DAW society.

  1. Go to
  2. Download the zip file
  3. Extract it.
  4. Copy the files dxshell.x64.dll and dxishell.64x.dll to the folder where your DAW looks for VST plug-ins.

That’s pretty much all there is to it. Open your DAW, and like the image above, you’ll see all your DX and DXi plug-ins—the screen shot shows plug-ins from Cakewalk, rgc:audio, and Sony that are now available to Studio One. The Instruments tab shows any available DXi plug-ins.

I don’t have a 32-bit system so I didn’t test this with 32-bit DX shells. But if it works like the 64-bit one, you should be covered there as well.

Granted, this is a bit of a hollow victory because if a DX plug-in’s functionality is available with VST plug-ins, you’re usually better off using the VST versions. But there are still some DX effects that have no real equivalents in the modern world—and now you can use them.