Where are Pro Tools Plug-ins Stored? (Plug-ins Folder Guide)

When installing plug-ins, users are usually prompted by the installation wizard applications to define an installation directory. These are usually applicable to VST plug-ins and stand-alone applications for the plug-in that one is trying to install. It is important for Pro Tools users to remember that Pro Tools (version 11 and onward) uses Avid Audio Extension (AAX) plug-ins. These plug-ins are installed in their own special directories depending on what version of Pro Tools is being used. Pro Tools scans these directories for plug-ins whenever the application is opened. It is important to know how to access these directories so as to help users when troubleshooting problems related to plug-in installation.

Setup Wizards and AAX Plug-ins Folder

During the plug-in installation process, some setup wizards may prompt a user to instruct the wizard on where to install AAX plug-ins. It is usually best to leave this to the default directory as this is where the Pro Tools application scans for AAX plug-ins.

AAX Plugin Folder Pro Tools

Some setup wizards however will not ask the user to specify where to install plug-ins of the AAX format despite asking for a directory in which to install VST plug-ins and those of other formats (VST2, VST3, AU etc). These types of installers will install AAX plug-ins in the above default directory.

Plug-in Installation Folder for Pro Tools 11 and Later Versions

So, for Pro Tools versions 11 and onward which only use 64-bit AAX plug-ins, the plug-ins are installed to these locations by default

Windows

  • C:\Program Files\Common Files\Avid\Audio\Plug-Ins

Mac OS

  • Macintosh HD/Library/Application Support/Avid/Audio/Plug-Ins

Plug-in Installation Folder for Pro Tools 10

Pro Tools 10 used 32-bit AAX plug-ins as well as the now obsolete Time Division Multiplexing (TDM) and Real-Time Audio Suite (RTAS) plug-ins.

The directories below are where users can find the 32-bit AAX plug-ins

Windows

For 64-bit Windows systems

C:\Program Files (x86)\Common Files\Avid\Audio\Plug-Ins

For 32-bit Windows systems

C:\Program Files\Common Files\Avid\Audio\Plug-Ins

Mac OS

Macintosh HD/Library/Application Support/Avid/Audio/Plug-Ins

These directories are where to find the RTAS and TDM plug-ins

Windows

For 64-bit systems

C:\\Program Files (x86)\Common Files\\Digidesign\DAE\Plug-Ins

For 32-bit systems

C:\\Program Files\Common Files\\Digidesign\DAE\Plug-Ins

Mac OS

Macintosh HD/Library/Application Support/Digidesign/Plug-Ins

Plug-in installation Folder for Pro Tools 9 and below

Pro Tools 9 and earlier versions of Pro Tools use TDM and RTAS format plug-ins. Like with Pro Tools 10, these plug-ins are installed in the following locations

Windows

C:\\Program Files\Common Files\\Digidesign\DAE\Plug-Ins

Mac OS

Macintosh HD/Library/Application Support/Digidesign/Plug-Ins

Plug-in Preferences

In addition to the installation directories for plug-ins, Pro Tools users also benefit from knowing where to locate the Plug-in Preferences folder. In this folder one can find the Preferences files. These files update whenever the user installs or updates plug-ins. Deleting them can help resolve plug-in related issues by making Pro Tools rescan plug-ins when the application is launched and creating new preferences files.

plugin preferences pro tools

To find the Plug-in preferences, Pro Tools users should go to these locations

Windows

C\: Users\*Username*\AppData\Roaming\Avid\Pro Tools

Mac OS

Macintosh HD/Users/* your username */Library/Preferences/Avid

Before deleting the files in the “Pro Tools” folder in these locations (or the Pro Tools folder itself), remember to create backups by copying them to a different location or an external drive.

Conclusion

From the above information, we can see that depending on the version of Pro Tools installed on one’s computer and depending on the operating system that one is using; Pro Tools plug-ins will be installed in different directories. Knowing where to find these directories as well as where to find the Pro Tools plug-in preferences will come in handy when ensuring that plug-ins have been properly installed or when trying to resolve plug-in related issues.