64bit without compatibility problems

We all want 64bit for getting access to (almost) unlimited memory, unfortunately that means we’re stuck in a maze of compatibility problems, bit bridges and the like – even worse, there is no end in sight.
Right ?
Wrong !
Let’s look at the problem from a fresh angle:

  • what do we need 64bit for? Correct, only the real heavy RAM hogs, i.e. samplers.In my case that’s exactly two VSTis, Kontakt and Superior II. You might use different ones, maybe a few more, doesn’t matter. So those would benefit from 64bit access.
  • all the remaining FX and VSTis combined will probably never even get close to the magic 4GB limit a 32bit project has, unless your name is Hans Zimmer.
  • so it makes sense to keep potential compatibility issues to those few RAM hogs instead of fighting the wars for every little FX plugin in your arsenal again and again …

Here’s what you need :

  • more than 4GB RAM
  • a 64bit OS
  • a 32bit host!!!
  • ideally, 64bit versions of your RAM hogs, though 32bit versions would still work fine for most, giving you 4GB for each instance
  • and a clever little program called jBridge. It’s similar to the horrible built-in bit bridges in most 64bit hosts, only better, more flexible and virtually trouble-free.  And it can bridge 64bit plugins into a 32bit host, making them run in a separate process with almost unlimited RAM!

Now all you have to do is this :

  • leave your host and all conventional plugins untouched, they’ll remain 32bit and continue working like before.
  • collect the 64bit dlls of your RAM hogs in a folder outside of your VSTplugin directory
  • create another folder called “jBridged dlls” and let the jBridger tool dump the modified dlls there. Takes a few seconds …
  • next replace the original dlls in your VSTplugins folder with the jBridged dlls, you might want to backup the originals  somewhere outside of your VSTplugin directory
  • fire up your host and forget about any 64bit issues

In my case (C6/32, Kontakt 4/64, Superior II/64) even older projects automatically load the new jBridged 64bit versions, keeping all settings, a complete no-brainer. Depending on what you use, things might look a bit different in rare cases, but there is a demo and great support, so what have you got to lose ?

All credits go to jBridge, its devs and users, I’m merely reporting my very positive experience here. Who needs full 64bit – not me any more!

written by susiwong


  1. YES YES YES! Been using it for over a year like this. 100% satisfied (on XP64).

    • cool !
      I hear you, been using XP64 till last week with perfect results,
      Win7 is a step backwards in many stupid ways, what finally convinced me to switch was the TRIM support for SSDs.
      Spent over a week to restore useability, now it looks and feels 90% like W2K again, including nView, hacked Logitech drivers and other beloved, practical tools and tweaks that were supposed to die with XP and still have no current equivalent. 🙂

  2. What’s the difference between this, and using a x64 daw and j-bridge to open x86 plugins?

    • It’s much easier to ensure compatibility for a handful of fat VSTis which typically don’t change often (Kontakt and Superior are all I can see me ever using atm, how many big samplers do you need ?), instead of messing around with an ever changing multitude of small VSTis and FX which work great in 32bit, but start acting up when bridged using the hosts’ unholy bridges.
      jBridge would fare much better here, too, I’m sure, but why do it the hard way ?
      Ymmv of course …

  3. or just switch to REAPER. 🙂

    • Certainly an alternative, but I’m so comfortable with Cubase I have no plans for a change personally.
      And then, Reaper is far from being troublefree either with regards to compatibility, just like any other host, so I choose the known enemy. 😉

  4. I think that if we all try to embrace the 64bit era (espicially software makers) rather than try to resist change, it will be for the better in the long run.

  5. Go back to using real music making hardware, problem solved 😉

  6. “In my case (C6/32, Kontakt 4/64, Superior II/64) even older projects automatically load the new jBridged 64bit versions, keeping all settings, a complete no-brainer.”

    Only at a first sight !!!!!

    I also first thought to be in seventh jbridge heaven, running bridged 64bit VSTi within my 32bit Cubase5 on my Vista64 System. The video worked and my waves and urs and favourite free plugs were happy. But then i realized lots of sound drop outs and clicks independend on any latency setting, and after buying a Quadcore2,8Ghz and combining my two Sample disk to a RAID0 array, i finally found out, that the only problem was the double bridging in my Computer.

    1. Vista64 to Cubase 32bit -> 2. 64bit VSTi in Cubase 32

    After taking the same project over to Cubase 64 -> No Problems anymore, even not with the same plugins, that i now had to bridge to 32 of course. Because now it only was 1 time bridging.

    • Works flawless down to 32 samples buffer here, Superior II with a heavy 24bit kit and a few Kontakt tracks plus processing. Still got power to spare for audio and/or VSTis.
      Obviously 32 samples are only for testing, but it’s rock solid.
      There are many variables that can cause glitches, so far I haven’t encountered a single issue with that setup.
      Granted, it’s a fresh, virtually bloat free installation without internet, unnecessary background tasks (updaters, tray watchers etc) and no eye candy, only OS, drivers, host and FX.
      And it’ll remain that way. 🙂
      But all 7 slots are populated, 5 DSP cards, VGA and audio interface, some USB controllers and dongles

      2600K, Gigabyte Z68, 16GB PC1600, old 7600GS, RME HDSPe
      W7/64 Pro SP1, C6.02/32, Kontakt 4.24/64, Superior 2.3/64, jBridge 1.3

      • I wasnt talking abut Kontakt ! The problem is called EAST WEST PLAY, the worst sampler ever. While Kontakt almost remains on its CPU consumption, EW PLAY heavily increases the more voices are in use. So the 15% CPU for (lets say) 5 instances become 80% when playing the entire orchestra. And only in a native 64bit environment all this happens without artifacts, or lets say “significant less”, cause even then a bridged 32plugin from Waves with its ancient Waveshell can crash the party.

        • Shame on EW then – haven’t touched anything made by them since the HC Bass joke … but at least that one did use the NI platform.
          With Waves it’s the opposite more or less, afaik they would run happily on my type of hybrid setup and only act up when bridged into 64bit, like you describe.
          That’s exactly the scenario I’m trying to avoid, and Waves is not the only potential troublemaker by far.

  7. Succes here. Running 4 instances of jbridged Kontakts (32b) on Cubase 5 32 bits on Win7 64bits.

    I have 8GB RAM and the full template takes around 7,6 and i can work at low latencies without problem. Cant think of a reason to move to anything else. Having said that, if VoS plugins were 64b i´d give it a try for sure.

    • Great ! 🙂
      You are aware you could just as well use the 64bit versions of Kontakt in C5/32 ?
      Just saying, it probably won’t make a big real world difference in your current setup atm, as you’re using several Kontakt instances anyway.

      • Yeah i am aware of it, but i can run up to 4GB on each 32b jbridged Kontakt and so far i havent reached this so..i´ll keep up with this setup cause its working flawlessly. Besides, i read some posts ago that going 64b OS – 32b Host – 64b plugin could give some problem so why bother? 🙂

  8. Wrong! Why? Well, 32 bit systems are more or less obsolete now and they will die out in the near future. Promised. Instead of persisting on 32 bit compatibility it makes much more sense to convert existing plugs to 64 bit and – much more important – it makes more sense to use the 64 architecture for new developed plugins. Bit bridges are great for those kind of well beloved plugins which can’t be updated because they’re too old or the development had been suspended.

    • As a user, give me a problem free hybrid system that runs all my favorite plugins any day – over a true-to-form 64bit system that locks me out from half of the current plugin world …

      • “Wrong! Why? ”
        Thats nonsense, if you use 32Bit plugins bridged in Cubase 64 you have less performance.
        If you use 32Bit Plugs in Cubase 32Bit you have a performance boost 20-30% same Project.
        So its better to use 32 Bit Plugins as they are in 32Bit Hosts and 64Bit Plugins bridged to 32Bit Hosts.
        You can try that with your projects just run the same project on 32Bit and 64Bit with 32Bit Plugins of course.

        • “Thats nonsense, if you use 32Bit plugins bridged in Cubase 64 you have less performance.”

          I don’t want to use bridged 32 bit plugins in a 64 bit host. I’d like to use 64 bit plugins whenever possible.

  9. Every right to every 32-bit user in here but I’d really like to see the VoS-VSTs in “real” 64. Please! As for the mass of favourite plug-ins: Lately I found myself using only a handful of real good plug-ins over and over again. Most of the other “favourites” I didn’t need once. In analogy to analog I stick to the tools that are easiest to use, that’ll sound best and which I can afford – in other words: Not many.

  10. I guess that means we won´t see Bootsy´s plugins in 64 bits anytime soon, eh… That´s sad.

  11. Hej,what about 32bit host? Do I need to JBridge it either?

  12. Reply if, like me, you’d be willing to donate $25 USD (or equivalent in your local currency) for Variety of Sound plugin that you use if a 64-bit version of that plugin was released.

  13. I didn’t even know that you can run the 32bit version of Cubase (or any other host) in Win64! I’m still a Win32 (XP, SP3) user and since my computer is getting old I thought about getting a new one soon. Since it will be most likely a Win64 system i was afraid of having to miss the VOS plugins – lucky that there is a way to keep them!

  14. Bob Golden says:

    Hi, today I made several tests with Cubase 6.5 32 bit vs 64 bit. I made test projects to see if there is any difference in asio consumption. And sadly there is. Cubase 64 bit performs better. A Cubase 64 bit project (with 64 bit plugins only) that used 53% asio power used 62% on 32 bit (with 32 bit plugins only). 64 Bit Cubase with 32 bit jbridged plugins used around 71%.

    So it´s not only about RAM. I thought the same like you until today.

    • Thanks for the report!

    • Thanks, interesting !
      Not doubting what you report, but have you tried with different plugins/project sizes ?
      Might also have to do with quality of the plugin-specific optimizations, don’t know.
      Same host here, Kontakt 4 and Superior performed identical here in all 3 scenarios last time I checked.
      16GB RAM, K4 using a few hundred MB, S2 around 1300 MB typically. No other heavy RAM hogs.
      Did you make sure to keep project size well below, say, 2GB (assuming you have 4GB or more installed) to rule out the possible influence of memory administration (swapping or similar), in Cubase32 things tend to get pretty ugly when your project size gets close to the theoretical limits.
      A fair test e.g. using Kontakt would rely on heavy FX load as opposed to heavy sample usage.
      What all this means to everybody’s individual scenario is a different topic altogether.
      Ymmv, obviously,

      • Bob Golden says:

        My tests did not involve Kontakt or huge RAM usage in general at all. I made projects (with the exact same setup for each cubase version) that used fx plugins like Slate Digital VTM, Discord 3 and the like. Mostly plugins that use a lot of asio power (but not RAM).

        By the way, why did I test this? As I said before, Cubase 64 bit was not interesting to me, as I do not use alot of RAM in my usual projects. And some of my plugins are not 64 bit anyway. But yesterday I tested Reaper and was surprised that it used less asio power than my Cubase. So I investigated further and it seems that the reason was, that Reaper was 64 bit and Cubase (at that time) 32 bit.

        • Allright then, sounds perfectly reasonable so far.
          Afaics atm, the only explanation would be plugin specific differences …
          I don’t have any of the ones you mentioned, can’t doublecheck.
          An interesting test would be comparing projects with many instances of a single plugin vs projects with another single plugin.
          Since C7 will be out next week with a reworked ASIO engine and meter, we should probably do some more benchmarking then anyway.
          I’ve had good experience with DAWbench in the past, so that’s what I’ll use.
          More data will show up once the 64bit UA versions are out (expected soon), quite a few benchmark guys there.
          Reaper has always been a bit lighter on CPU/ASIO than Cubase, no matter if 32 or 64 bit.
          Hopefully that will change now …
          In the end, it’s a very individual decision.
          And it’s a great idea to base that on benchmarks, definitely !
          My personal plugin arsenal is 75% 32bit only, Kontakt and Superior work fine jbridged 64 to 32, so I couldn’t realistically switch right now anyway. I certainly will keep bridging to a minimum, and only use jbridge, not Steinberg’s own “Bridge of Avignon”. ;-P

  15. Steve Rowman says:

    Now after 12 Years of use WinXp with Cubase (also Cubase 6.5) and over 200 releases i’ve change my system on a Win 7 64bit l, because i am a Plugin lover and with every new Plugin the Support of WinXP it droppes.
    Some examples: Waves, NI, Steinberg.

    Also the Plugins needs more power and with new systems are WinXP not more really compatible. Example: SSD

    Yes also Sample Librarys needs more RAM, but hey..this is the way of life.
    I use: Kontakt (Komplete Ultimate 9), Nexus, and many Bestservice Instruments.

    I was even with 32bit, but i’ve to see and understand…the time of 32bit are over.
    It was hard at the beginning, but i don’t really miss it.

    That’s my personal opinion.

  16. ViceVerser says:

    Just give us x64 versions, it’s the logical next step anyway.

  17. Sadly, 32bit “DAW”s are disappearing. Cubase, Studio One, and Cakewalk for Bandlab(former: Cakewalk SONAR) release their new versions to 64bit only.

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