I'm hoping for advice from musicians with experience with a number of DAWs and plugins, particularly VSTs.

I've created a VST instrument which includes over 1000 presets. Each preset is a single file which can be dragged and dropped into the UI. Of course, this is not very usable or efficient.

I've been trying to figure out if there's a standard way to handle this problem, but surprisingly I haven't found an obvious one. What I've found is:

a) Most DAWs support the VST "programs" feature, but that's often limited to 127 or 255 programs.
b) Many plugins implement their own preset browser, probably due to the limitations of a)
c) There are FXP / FXB files which are supported by many (but not all DAWs), but these don't really seem to solve the UI issues

With 1000s of presets, I guess a UI that supports folders, searching, and a previous / next mechanism might be good. It seems a shame that this needs to be re-implemented in every plugin though. And since I'm a programmer and not a musician, I'm not really sure what actually works best.

Please let me know what you think!

Try the thing Dexed comes with.

Afaik there is no international standard for this, but on the briht side: It's a good opportunity to score some points wih your users. As for reimplementation: at least you can save your code chunks and don't have to write everything from scratch again. smile

Most VSTs I use go with the approach, that has been proven over the last decades. Banks which hold either just a number, or themed presets in them. Think in terms of old synthesizers. They had cards with presets. If you wanted other presets you had to change cards.

Two of the best preset systems for me are in the Korg legacy VST collection. The M1 has the mentioned card structure and the Monopoly is a bit easier on the eye. Nevertheless, a must have in my opinion is some sort of structured sorting like "leads", "pads" etc.

a: thats what program change banks are for:
https://www.mutools.com/info/docs/mulab … anges.html

That being said, native instruments absynth has a nice way to filter massive amounts of presets using the meta data:

I would suggest a combo of both, where banks are like 1-128 Bass , 1-128 Leads etc and program changes or filter search loads or filters

Thanks a lot for the suggestions! I'll take a look at the UIs mentioned. Banks of named presets definitely sounds like a good starting point.