Free Software Synthesizer, VCV Rack 1.0, Now Available

VCV Rack 1.0 – a major update to the free, multi-platform software modular synthesizer – is now available.

Developers describe the update, the result of over 8 months of development, as the single largest update since Rack 0.3’s announcement in September 2017. The update brings hundreds of new features, bug fixes, and performance improvements, making Rack “a professional tool for your modular synthesis workflow”.

VCV Rack is an open-source software modular platform, featuring a Eurorack-inspired user interface. VCV Rack is available for Linux, Mac & Windows as a free download. Additional modules for the platform – both free and commercial – are also available.

Here’s what’s new in VCV Rack 1.0:

  • Polyphony. Use up to 16 voices with the full flexibility of modular patching. Cables automatically turn polyphonic when requested by MIDI modules, sequencers, etc.
  • MIDI output. Control MIDI hardware with Rack modules. New modules include CV-GATE for drum machines, CV-MIDI for desktop synths, and CV-CC for Eurorack interfaces.
  • MIDI mapping. Control knobs, buttons, and sliders directly from a MIDI controller. Using the new MIDI-MAP module, click a virtual parameter and move a hardware control to create a mapping.
  • Module Browser. Search, filter, and view modules in your collection. Click and drag to directly place modules in the rack.
  • Multi-core engine. Use multiple CPU threads to maximize the number of modules. Accelerated polyphonic engines on many VCV and third-party modules.
  • Dozens of other new features and fixes, including manual parameter entry, module disabling, module “force” dragging, module expanders, easy zoom gestures, and more.

If you want to know about the developer behind VCV Rack, see this interview: Open Source Synthesis: Behind The Scenes With VCV Rack Creator Andrew Belt.

Pricing and Availability

VCV Rack is available now as a free download.

22 thoughts on “Free Software Synthesizer, VCV Rack 1.0, Now Available

  1. This is really great , I love Rack.
    Sadly though everything I’ve made with the previous version will not yet load because it seems many really great 3rd party modules were not updated to be compatible with VCV 1. No fault of VCV rack of course, but hopefully all those who wrote amazing modules feel the urge to update to whatever VCV1 requires.

    My plugins folder looks very empty, and every load just throws up a big list of “not available” messages.

    I look forward to using it when those guys update.

    1. FWIW there’s a lot of activity on the VCV Community board around developers updating for 1.0. They’re working really hard on it!

  2. That “What’s New” list puts this one in “Phantom of the Paradise” territory. Its easy to imagine someone taking it on as a centerpiece instrument. The mention of third-party modules is on a par with synths that accept WAV files as sound sources. I’d love to tackle it from one angle, but my brain doesn’t have enough ports for it, awwww. Its an impressive instrument for sure.

  3. OMG I had the whole day off for dental work and this drops! Jeezus. Really enjoying the Midi MAP module and the Midi Out. Feels refined now. I am as happy as a clam today.

  4. I think the Turing Machine is still my favorite module. I mean, to be able to use that thing for free… it almost makes up for all the other horrible things in the world.

  5. “MIDI mapping. Control knobs, buttons, and sliders directly from a MIDI controller”… definitely what I felt was a shame that it wasn’t implemented.

  6. Such a cool piece of software, but for some reason it makes my fairly recent Macbook wheeze and overheat. I wonder if this update addresses that issue?

    1. No – in the change log on the VCV forum they specifically say it may cause recent MacBooks to overheat due to the new approach to processing.

  7. The biggest problem with Rack V1 is … it can no longer be used with a DAW
    Bridge is deprecated in version 1 and VST wont come until version 2. So… uh, as amazing as it is I have no way to integrate it into my music. Without that it’s sadly not very useful.

    “Bridge.vst and are not available in Rack 1.0. Bridge is deprecated and will be replaced with the Rack VST when version 2 of Rack is released. You can try using the 0.6.2 version of Bridge. If you encounter problems there are possible workarounds:”

  8. I’ve rarely had issues on OSX, so long as I’m running a version or two (of macOS) behind. Linux support has generally been pretty good (even on shitty computers like the ras-pi). Not sure what it’s like on Windows. To be sure, I’m not referring to the jack-vcvrack modules (which may be fine), but just initiating the jack server and using JackPilot/Qjackctl to route wherever.

    Also on Mac, there is Soundflower (less powerful, but does the trick). Lastly Reaper ReaRoute is similar and last time I used it in ~2011 on Windows I had no trouble.

    Good luck!

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