How do I install plug-ins on Linux?

Audacity on GNU/Linux supports a large number of Nyquist, LADSPA, LV2 and VAMP effects. VST effects are now supported in Audacity on Linux and can be installed as described at VST Effects. However native Linux VST effects are quite rare. Consequently, if a specific VST effect is required on Linux, it may be necessary to employ workarounds such as running Audacity for Windows in a virtual machine.
Audacity supports 64-bit effects in VST, LADSPA and VAMP format on 64-bit Linux systems (conversely, 32-bit plug-ins in those formats will not load into Audacity on 64-bit Linux).
Individual Nyquist and LADSPA plug-ins can be installed by putting the plug-ins into the Audacity "Plug-Ins" folder:
  • /usr/share/audacity/plug-ins if Audacity was installed from a repository package
  • /usr/local/share/audacity/plug-ins if you compiled Audacity from source code.
These locations are usually set as read-only, so the plug-ins will need to be copied as root (for example, by issuing an appropriate root command in the terminal, or by using the terminal to open a file manager application with root permissions).
Warning icon Updating the repository package of Audacity may remove plug-ins that are not part of the package. To solve that problem you can:
  • Create a folder called .audacity-files in your home directory, create a sub-folder called Plug-Ins (or Plugins) then add your plug-ins into that
  • Add plug-ins to the Plug-Ins folder in the .audacity-data folder in your home directory.
The dot in the folder name .audacity-data and .audacity-files indicates that it is a hidden folder, but the "Plug-Ins" subfolder in either folder is accessible without root permissions and will not be modified by installing a new Audacity package.
Audacity installed from a repository package or compiled from source should automatically find LADSPA plug-ins installed in /usr/lib/ladspa. This may not be the case if you are compiling older source code. If necessary you can set an environment variable to indicate to Audacity where LADSPA plug-ins are installed. For Debian-based distributions this can be done by entering the following code at the command prompt (change <user> to your account user name):
export LADSPA_PATH=$LADSPA_PATH:/home/<user>/.ladspa:/usr/local/lib/ladspa:/usr/lib/ladspa
If you wish this path to be set each time you boot, the LADSPA_PATH environment variable may be added to ~/.profile or this file may be created if it does not exist. An example of how to add the LADSPA_PATH environment variable:
LADSPA_PATH=$LADSPA_PATH:/home/<user>/.ladspa:/usr/local/lib/ladspa:/usr/lib/ladspa
export LADSPA_PATH
For OpenSuse 64, LADSPA plug-ins may be found in /usr/lib64/ladspa. This path can be set by adding the following line to your /etc/environment file:
LADSPA_PATH=/usr/lib64/ladspa
LV2 and VAMP plug-ins cannot be placed in the Audacity "Plug-Ins" folder or your .audacity-files folder. LV2 plug-ins should be installed by placing the complete .lv2 folder (not the individual files in that folder) in the root of ~/.lv2, /usr/local/lib/lv2, /usr/local/lib64/lv2, /usr/lib/lv2 or /usr/lib64/lv2. Alternatively the environment variable may be set as in this example:
export LV2_PATH=$HOME/.lv2:/usr/local/lib/lv2:/usr/lib/lv2
VAMP plug-ins may be installed in $HOME/vamp, $HOME/.vamp, /usr/local/lib/vamp or /usr/lib/vamp. Alternatively the VAMP_PATH environment variable may be set to any of those specified VAMP installation directories. VAMP plug-ins will normally be placed in the Analyze Menu of Audacity.
Warning icon After installing effects, go to the Manage Effects, Generators and Analyzers dialog to enable them in Audacity.

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