FabFilter User Forum

Can Pro Q2 and Pro Q3 installations coexist?


Congratulations on your release of Pro Q3. Can I have both Pro Q2 and Pro Q3 installed on my computer at the same time?


Uncle Freddie

Hey Fred,

Yes, they can.


Thanks for the update!
Just my two cents, I I prefer if new versions of plugins replace old versions, rather than existing side y side. This helps me be confident that I can open an old project many years from now..


Ben, for archival purposes, it is best to have both plugins versions separate so that old sessions can open up without problems and remain intact as they were when they were made. This was a big problem with the Pro L for me. Now sessions that have the Pro L (that need to come back EXACTLY as they were) get converted to the Pro L2 and thats not cool.
I'm glad that the Q2 and Q3 can live together on the same system.


AJ: We totally agree with you and that's why Pro-L and Pro-L 2 can coexist on the same system in exactly the same way that Pro-Q 2 and Pro-Q 3 can. Sessions with Pro-L are definitely not converted to Pro-L 2 automatically. I'm not sure how that could have happened to you.


Frederik (FabFilter)

Just for clarification: Let's say today I finish a project that uses Pro-Q2.

5 years from now, I want to reopen that project, but the current version of your software is Pro-Q6. Are you telling me, unless I install the outdated Pro-Q2, the EQ settings will not import correctly in the newest version?


Tobias - Think of it as a whole other plugin.
Your DAW will look for pro-q2 but it won't exist.

This is exactly for the sake of backward compatibility.
If you want an old project to load *exactly* as it was, you have to use the exact same plugins.

As long as Fabfilter gives you the option to download the old versions, you're good.
If you still prefer to use the latest pro-q version, you can always open a new instance and copy the settings manually (or by exporting/importing presets)


Sorry, but I don't agree with you at all.

In what world do I need to have the exact outdated version of a software in order to get functioning backward compatibility? It would be like Steinberg telling me I need Cubase 9.5 for 9.5 projects, Cubase 9 for 9 projects and so on.

But in reality of course I can easily open all sorts of older projects with Cubase 10. And with all due respect, the complexity of a DAW like Cubase is higher than a single EQ-plugin, so it is definitely possible.

Now, if Pro-EQ is your only Fabfilter plugin, keeping the old versions may be feasible. But just imagine using a Fabfilter bundle: The only solution for backward compatibility would be to keep all outdated versions of all plugins installed all the time.

I really hope someone at Fabfilter can come up with a way to avoid this scenario and to allow newer versions to read old settings if the outdated plugin isn't installed anymore.


Well, to be fair, the DAW vs plugin comparison isn’t exactly right. You can still load older ProQ presets in v3, as you can load old projects in Cubase.
Most plugins that get updated work like this actually, I’m now thinking about it and I can’t think of any that didn’t change their ID with a major upgrade. I’m surprised you seem so taken aback by this, as it happens all the time (not to say I don’t understand your point). Makes sense too, if any sonics changed with the upgrade you’d be in for a big surprise when opening old projects if the new version automatically is used.


Bram, FYI there's one plugin that does this.
omnisphere 2 overwrites omnisphere 1, which I really appreciate.


My experience and a quick google search seem to suggest otherwise: Plugins from Waves, Soundtoys, Melda, Sonnox, Celemony and HOFA are supposedly at least backwards compatible to the previous version and should load upon opening an older project, or am I mistaken?

Now, of course I agree with you that one can not demand 100% backwards compatiblity when there are fundamental changes to plugin algorithms, such as the filter model. I also understand when developers stop supporting 32-bit versions or an outdated OS.
But I had the impression Pro-Q3 added mainly new features and filter types, but did not make any changes to the basic sound?

In addition, if it is supposedly possible to load presets from Q2 into Q3 - why not call the plugin "Pro-Q", keep the version number inside the plugin and transfer the settings automatically from older versions upon loading a project in your DAW?

Then again, it may not be a huge issue - Pro-Q2 is still working prefectly fine and nothing keeps me from skipping the current upgrade and just continue using version 2.

It's just when looking at Fabfilter's "additional downloads" page for legacy installers, I wonder what it will look like in a few years.
Again, some people may not mind installing 10+ additional legacy installers if they need to recall an older project a few years down the line. I personally, however, don't think the current way of handling the issue is an elegant solution.


Hi Tobias,

Believe me, we have thought about this a lot! The problem is that if you don't rename the plug-in and use a new plug-in identifier, you really need to be 100% backwards compatible. That means you can't change anything to the sound, which is really limiting, and you can't reorder or change parameters.

For example, in Pro-Q 2 there is a "state" parameter for each band with three options: unused, enabled, or disabled. That created problems for people controlling these parameters with a MIDI controller or a Pro Tools control surface, so in Pro-Q 3, we split these into separate "used" and "enabled" parameters. We wouldn't have been able to do that otherwise. For Pro-Q 2, we moved to an entirely different EQ engine which creates subtly different curves: again we wouldn't have been able to do that if we had needed to remain 100% compatible.

In short, the current approach allows us to start "fresh" with each new major plug-in version which has very real benefits. Since we typically only release new major versions every four, five years, I'm not too worried about the growth of old versions that we need to support.

Hopefully this explains our thoughts a bit!


Frederik (FabFilter)

For what it's worth, I agree that it would be very helpful to have a way to easily copy settings from one version to another (q2 to q3 in this case).

In many cases you do need 100% compatibility, and you will only get that with the exact same plugin.
Imagine having to uninstall pro-q3 because you need to load a project which originally used pro-q1, and it won't let you.

I sure hope that someday we will be able to choose between using the old versions, or the new ones automatically


Note that you can save a preset in Pro-Q 2 and then access it easily in Pro-Q 3 with the V2 Preset Folder submenu in the presets menu.


Frederik (FabFilter)


Thanks for taking the time to explain your thought process.

While I still rate the ability to recall settings from earlier versions very highly, I can accept that there is no solution for this issue without some sort of compromise.

I personally might have made a different choice, but I can't blame you for deciding you want to create the best product you can - even if that ultimately means there is no backwards compatibility.


This may be a suggestion, when I jumped from Live 7 to Live 9, some add-ons showed an update button.


There's also a potential solution to do something like Native Instruments.

If a project is saved with Kontakt 5, but your computer only has Kontakt 6 installed, then the settings will migrate to Kontakt 6.

If both are installed, then the settings will open with Kontakt 5.

This seems to satisfy both sides.

I know you have your reasons, but it's worth mentioning that I'd have upgraded to Pro Q 3 immediately if this was taken care of. Now that I know your philosophy, I'm likely to slowly stop using Fabfilter products, even though I like them.


Ben Juodvalkis

Hi Ben,

The feature that Kontakt uses is not available for VST and AAX users unfortunately. We'll look into it though to see if we can take advantage of it. However, even if you can seamlessly migrate to a newer plugin version, that means the newer version needs to make exactly the same sound so we can never upgrade the processing components in a way that (subtly) changes the sound. We really like to have this freedom when doing a major version update.

Keep in mind that we only do major version upgrades every 4-5 years or even less, so you don't have to worry about e.g. keeping track of a new plug-in version every year.


Frederik (FabFilter)
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