VSTs Coming To ELK (‘The Android Of Music Instruments’)

Mind Music Labs has announced that, starting with version 3.6.11, Steinberg’s Virtual Studio Technology plug-in format will natively support their ELK Operating System, opening the door for a wide range of VST-based plugins to run on ELK-powered instruments and audio processors.

Introduced at the 2018 NAMM Show, ELK is a low latency operating system, designed specifically for musical instruments. The company describes ELK as “the Android of musical instruments”.

ELK will be the first available embedded platform to officially support all plug-ins developed under VST 3 specification. This opens the door for manufacturers to create hardware that supports a huge range of VST instruments and effects, and makes it easy for software developers to create software for ELK-based instruments and effects processors.

The first device to implement this, DVMark’s Smart Multiamp, is scheduled for release in early 2019 and will include Overloud’s THU VST Suite.

“For the past 20 years, VST plug-ins have been the de-facto standards for desktop-produced music,” notes MIND Music Labs’ CEO Michele Benincaso. “We are ready to help VST become the standard for smart musical instruments and audio processors as well.”

7 thoughts on “VSTs Coming To ELK (‘The Android Of Music Instruments’)

  1. “The Android of musical instruments” made me giggle. “Low-latency operating system designed for musical instruments.” … not the first thing that leaps to mind about Android.

    But seriously, this does seem like a pretty cool development. I don’t know what kinds of devices would run ELK, but it does sound like it opens some cool doors.

  2. Licensing and careful change-management will be key. One could write a thesis on all the lessons learned from previous initiatives that looked great on paper but failed to gain traction as a standard. As with any OS, it will be all about the apps and the ease of which app developers can engage their marketplace.

  3. I quite like this idea. It makes it possible to, for example, have a reasonably priced tabletop device which can run the various Valhalla reverbs, which have more flexibility and sound as good as $500 reverb units (Strymon Big Sky, Eventide Space Reverb, Empress Reverb, etc.). Just pay $50 to add Valhalla Vintage Verb, and Boom, the sound of Valhalla Vintage Verb without using a DAW.

  4. That sounds fabulous (on paper) but the real question is, how do they handle all the copy protection schemes there are like Pace Ilok, Syncrosoft, Codemeter or these subscription services like Gobbler. Because in the end of the day this determins what you can use and what you can‘t . Time will tell me tinks…

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