It looks like the dedicated hardware plugin boxes (UAD etc) use traditional DSP chips like the Analog Devices SHARC for their horsepower. Is anybody using graphics card processors via GPGPU (General Purpose GPU) approaches such as CUDA or OpenCL to accelerate plugins?

Updated: I discovered the Acustica Audio Nebula plugins which can use CUDA. Looks like much of the net chatter about these plugins is about excessive latency, possibly attributable to CUDA, and the fact that using CUDA doesn't actually increase the overall max track or plugin count.

  • Cool idea. I wonder if the big guys (Wavves, NI, UAD, etc.) think OpenCL & CUDA capable cards are prolific enough to warrant developing for now?
    – Ian C.
    Commented Mar 28, 2011 at 19:11
  • What I would be more interested in is a host that uses OpenCL. That way any plugins would benefit. Being ignorant to how VST plugins and their hosts operate, I don't know if this is possible.
    – d-_-b
    Commented Mar 29, 2011 at 3:23
  • @sims: unfortunately that's not really possible. But a cool idea nonetheless.
    – Ian C.
    Commented Apr 1, 2011 at 18:55
  • @Ian C.: I'd be interested in knowing why? Can you point me to some white papers or such?
    – d-_-b
    Commented Apr 3, 2011 at 13:43
  • You can't run x86 machine instructions on the GPU. You have to compile for it. VSTs are fully compiled binaries so they're machine instructions. They just have a predefined interface for use by the hosts.
    – Ian C.
    Commented Apr 3, 2011 at 14:31

1 Answer 1


GPU Impulse Reverb VST by Nils Schneider does convolution using OpenCL allowing you to get really good Reverb/Cabinet emulation effects without taxing your CPU. The author has been keeping people updated and providing support on this thread at KVR for some years now.

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