Cycling ’74 RNBO Lets You Use Visual Patching To Build Custom Guitar Pedals, Eurorack Modules, VSTs & More

Cycling ’74 has introduced RNBO (pronounced ‘rainbow’) – a new ‘what you hear is what you get’ patching environment that lets you use a visual editor to create audio patches that can be exported to create web experiences, hardware music devices, audio plugins, and more.

If that’s not hardcore enough for you, RNBO generates source code that you can use however you want.

RNBO supports a multitude of export targets right out of the box, including:

  • Raspberry Pi — Build custom guitar pedals, Eurorack modules, sequencers, and much more
  • Web Export — Run your patches on the web, using WebAudio (WASM) technology with a Javascript API
  • VST/AU — Run your patch in any DAW as a VST or AudioUnit plugin
  • Max Object — Compile to a self-contained, shareable Max object with defined parameters
  • C++ — Export efficient, self-contained source code to be integrated into existing projects

Beyond the built-in targets, RNBO also ships with project templates for building JUCE-based (C++) Plugins/Applications and Websites (HTML/JS), as well as starter projects for exporting VCV Rack modules and SuperCollider UGen.

Here’s the official intro to RNBO:

As you are patching in RNBO, you hear the compiled code — making exports true to your vision and expectations. Plus, you can reuse the same code and deploy it to multiple targets with consistent results.

RNBO’s visual patching environment is inspired by Max, with a powerful subset of objects pulled from the Max library. Building your own customized sequencers, synthesizers, samplers, MIDI processors, and audio effects in RNBO will be very familiar to anyone who has used Max.

Feature highlights include:

  • Events and signals can be mixed in the patcher, just like in Max
  • Full Gen integration, with the addition of event support and interactive UI objects
  • Robust support for MIDI and a simple interaction API across export targets
  • Thorough documentation and help files for every object
  • Define the controls and interface for your RNBO export using param, inport, and outport objects
  • Mix patching and code using codebox and expr objects, available for both event and audio processing
  • Easily make your patches (and subpatchers) polyphonic with the @polyphony attribute

RNBO also ships with two packages that provide high-quality, documented, and reusable examples of what RNBO can do:

  • RNBO Guitar Pedals — A set of full featured, and -authentic-sounding guitar effects that can be exported as-is or combined to build your own effects chain.
  • RNBO Synth Building Blocks — Provides all the essential elements to build a great-sounding synthesizer. Patch together these building blocks to build your own instruments.

Pricing and Availability

RNBO is available now, via either a $10/month subscription or a $299 permanent license.

20 thoughts on “Cycling ’74 RNBO Lets You Use Visual Patching To Build Custom Guitar Pedals, Eurorack Modules, VSTs & More

  1. This is huge – Abandoned using Max about a decade ago when they went Ableton only and cut off support for using patches as an AU plugin. Mostly have used Reaktor for my needs since, but that leaves a lot to be desired in certain areas, so pumped to dive back into Max!

  2. This is what C74 should have done years ago, IMO. I’ve slowly drifted away from Max over the years, too many options for DIY hardware out there and I’ve always disliked being tied to Apple/Win, but this will bring me back. I hope C74 keeps moving in this direction.

    1. You can also try the $10/mo subscription.
      If you make enough money with your super VST plugin you can always buy the full license.

        1. There are plenty of professional developers who wouldn’t think twice about using Max to quickly prototype ideas – they just do it, because they understand how powerful of a tool Max really is.

            1. I figured you meant either exactly what you said, or there’s an implication that you’d only use commercial software developed with “serious” tools and not something like Max.

              Either way, describing Max as a “WYSIWYG creator” is a good indication that you’re mistaken about what Max actually is. Don’t let the boxes-and-wires paradigm fool you.

  3. translating a software design into a hardware device sounds really awesome…. it almost sounds a bit too good to be true actually

    1. yeah someone should invent a 3D printer, it would be “really awesome,” you could like design stuff on the computer and then turn it into real stuff, wow, it almost “sounds a bit too good to be true,” or how about a 3D computer program, you could call it Lightwave and release it like 30 years ago, or you could come up with a cool saying like “back to the drawing board,” and it would literally explain how “design” becomes “hardware” stuff.

      That would be “really awesome,” Bro.

      Or you could watch Pinocchio and see a puppet become a real boy! That would be “really awesome,” like this one time, at band camp…

      “Actually” it could. lol

  4. I guess I don’t get it. What would someone gain by spending all their free time messing with this as opposed to using commercially available virtual instruments? Will you develop something better and more polished than what a pro music software company can? I know I can’t, and I used to be a programmer.

    1. People come up with ideas that are different from what’s available on the market. Sometimes ideas that are fairly simple, but just aren’t out there to buy. Plus it’s fun to create stuff.

    2. I think it could be useful for very niche, personal vsts that commercial developers aren’t interested in making. Something personal to your setup. There are also some maxforlive plugins that I wish I could use in other DAWs. So, maybe some of those could get ported to vsts.

    3. It’s hard for a professional programmer to know exactly what you want to do.
      Just the same as it might be hard for a sound designer to design exactly the preset you want for your track, so some resort to programming their own sounds and do not use presets.
      Max is made to make the programming part easy and I think the majority of people use Max to make smaller patches that save time and do some specific thing.
      But it can still be worthwhile to have that functionality as a VST or in hardware.

  5. It looks great and the web demos are splendid.
    You’ll need Max8 to use RNBO, they don’t come together.
    So that’ll be another $10 / month for Max.
    All priced subject to VAT.
    In the UK that works out at £22 inc VAT / month for both.
    Or a permanent license of £670 inc VAT

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