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 Are you telling me, unless I install the outdated Pro-Q2, the EQ settings will not import correctly in the newest version?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In what world do I need to have the exact outdated version of a software in order to get functioning backward compatibility?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)

Couple of things to note here:

NI used to have the same approach as FF with Kontakt. Kontakt 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 were completely separate products, with separate authorizations, and separate plug-in ID's. But with Kontakt 6 they've finally changed that: Kontakt 6 is known as plug-in "Kontakt" -- and that strongly implies that if they decide to come out with Kontakt 7.0 in the future (which I'm sure they'll charge for) there won't be a need for users to replace older versions of the plug-in, since it will automatically upgrade.

I do understand what you're saying about wanting the freedom to change the plug-in architecture, and that identical settings in Pro-Q 1, 2, and 3 may sound different because you changed things under the hood.

However, from a user perspective, I would *rather* have imperfect compatibility and guaranteed upgradeability than no upgradeability at all. If I open a old session in the future and the old version of Pro-Q is no longer installed (or worse, no longer compatible) with my current computer, then I have to start from scratch with all my EQ'ing, which is a very substantial amount of work.

All the other plug-in families I use do ensure forward compatibility, and I have to confess that ever since FF started the Q2 and Q3 and L2 systems, I've subconsciously been thinking about this question: would I rather use FF where I don't know if it'll still be compatible in 5 years, or another plug-in which has never given me these kinds of issues? I hesitate today to commit serious work to a plug-in that might not still be available several years from now.

The other factor here -- and I have seen this with other manufacturers -- that over time there will be new OS versions -- High Mojave or whatever comes next -- and at a certain point the developer will decide that v1 or v2 is not worth updating any more because it's not worth their time because barely anyone is using it. And from the time I update my machine, all my projects that used v1 will (unbeknownst to me) no longer recall correctly because v1 won't install. What do I do then if I need to recall a project using v1?

That's why I think this is such an important forward-compatibility issue. The depressing thing is that I would gladly use Pro-Q on every track of every project of mine. But not if I can't be sure my work won't be washed away once this specific version might not be supported/compatible in the future.

Again, back to Kontakt. NI has made some under-the-hood changes and some sounds, effects, and modulators have changed subtly over time. BUT NI has always guaranteed full backwards compatibility. I have opened old projects that utilized Kontakt 1 patches (from around 2005!) and they still open perfectly in Kontakt 6!

David Das

Hi David,

We'll definitely think about how to handle this better in the future. I absolutely agree that we want to give our users peace of mind regarding being able to open existing sessions in the future.

I would love to be able to seamlessly migrate to future plug-in versions and guarantee 100% compatibility. Unfortunately that means you can never change existing plug-in parameters because that would break existing automation in sessions. That really locks down the way a plug-in works and makes it impossible to ever start with a clean slate.

On the other hand, I also recognize that the current system of just using the plug-ins side by side is not ideal either. We will however keep updating Pro-Q 2 and Pro-L 1 if needed to make sure they keep working on future OS versions.


Frederik (FabFilter)

Count me in on the 'glad they're still separate plugins' list. It fills me with far more confidence knowing an older project is loading the plugin I actually used making it so I know for sure it'll sound 100% identicle.

Besides, its highly unlikely DAW's are gonna be making a fundamental shift in AU/VST compatability any time soon. Hell I'm still using plugins that are over a decade old just fine in Cubase!

And like others have sad, if you are paranoid that your older plugin will stop working with future version of the DAW in 10 years time, you can load the presets from v2 into v3, just re-save them as v3 versions and you're done :)


One solution I like is what Waves did with their Element synth. You load Element and you can switch inside of the plugin between V1 and V2. Would be cool if a Fabfilter plugin could do the same, i.e. that way you can use the same ProQ name/ID and approach things completely differently in future versions. The user, however, could potentially just switch its state.

I think this would be a great compromise. I too don't like to keep older versions along with newer versions and if I want to swap Q3 with my Q2 then I would have to manually go through every track of every song, save a preset and load it in Q3 before I could uninstall Q2. This is actually the reason I haven't upgraded to Q3 yet.


Ken Porter

You don't have to replace every Pro-Q 2 on every track of every song. What we recommend when upgrading is that you start using Pro-Q 3 in new sessions and keep Pro-Q 2 installed so you can open existing sessions.


Frederik Slijkerman

Sorry, if I wasn’t clear in my email, but preferably I wouldn’t want to have both versions on my computer as it clutters things up if everyone would do it like this. I would like to have one FabFilter Pro-Q installation only. Great example is Hive 2. Just purchased the version 2 upgrade and it just opens instead of my version 1. Only one installed. That’s the way it should be. Everything else is a bit messy.


Ken Porter

i agree with ken porter. one pro-q installation only please! i stopped using twin v1 and volcano v1 because of this, and now i stopped using pro-q2. this is actually pretty annoying!

Claudio A.

My $.02 - you should be able to import a saved eq setting into a later version, even with the caveat that it might sound slightly different. I have been working with Pro Q for the last week. Yesterday I went to my mixer's studio to have him polish up my work. He couldn't load Pro-Q so he worked with Pro Q3. Now I'm back at my studio, having bought a bundle, and I can't load my Pro Q work into version 3, even though I spent 800 bucks. It sucks. you need to at least make saved settings able to import to a later version. Other than that your software is awesome.


I wish I knew this before buying the everything bundle. The plugins are great, but the lack of compatibility with previous version make these plugins useless


Hi Francisco,

If you need access to an older version of a plug-in, your account automatically offers you a license key for earlier versions of plug-ins that you own. First log into your account: www.fabfilter.com/myaccount

Click 'View license key' next to your most recent order for a plug-in, e.g. Pro-Q 3. Then, click on 'View license keys for earlier versions' in the top-right corner of the page. The license keys for earlier versions will now be displayed.

You can download all earlier plug-in versions here:

Besides the option to run the older version, you can also open presets created in an older version of a plug-in in the current version. So if you would like to replace an instance of Pro-Q 2 with Pro-Q 3, you can first install and authorize Pro-Q 2, save the settings in a preset, replace Pro-Q 2 with Pro-Q 3 and load the created preset. It will be in the preset folder called "V2 presets".


Ralph (FabFilter)
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