VCVRack virtual modular synthesizer

Ok after having spent some time with V2 I can say I absolutely love it !
I am starting to use the VST as well, it is nice indeed to be able to patch a synth, an effect, and then use it in a “regular” DAW, also it is really nice to be able to multitrack a big patch with cross patching between voices and still be able to mix afterwards with mono or stereo stems. Incredible !

I miss a few modules I used all the time in V1, like Tesseract, the Best modulation source out there (way out there in fact, self patching this one lead to almost alive behaviors, really good for feedback control), and also Orca’s heart ( @scanner_darkly thank you a lot for this one) ! I love that sequencer, I used it a lot and look forward to see it come back, it is so musical and easy to use (dear Santa, pretty please ?).

Right now it has completely replaced Reaktor for me, not that I won’t use Reaktor again, but I don’t feel the need to open it to do something I won’t be able to find in “normal” plugins anymore. Also VCV preset system and patching facilities is way easier for me than Reaktor’s…
It is not easy on my 2019 i5 MacBookPro, but then what is ? That CPU is not something to write home about.

Also, on a side note, I was kind of loosing myself in the end phase of writing / mixing / making sure everything is A-OK of a VCV made album, and having V2 helped me decide when to stop : now ! So thanks for the help of going out of that spiral.


Seeing various folks comments on cpu issues, is anyone running vcv2 on a 2015 MacBook Pro?

It sounds like I’m probably looking at a pretty tough slog on my machine…

Mine has this inside :

Capture d’écran 2021-12-13 à 13.10.51

I am sure your 2015 has a faster CPU…

It does not stop me from using it though.
You can try the standalone for free of course.
About optimization, mine runs at 44100 Hz, I set the thread use at “more modules”, the refresh rate at 10 Hz (the lowest…) and the buffer size at 4096 samples ! It is a lot but I don’t use it with a controller, so I don’t mind.

Edit : with those settings I can run this patch without problems

There is still some CPU room for a few stuff even.


thank you! i’ve updated orca’s heart for vcvrack2, just need to find somebody to help with testing on linux and macos. if you want to try it now, you can find the builds here: debug actions 3 · scanner-darkly/vcv-collection-one@3f8f995 · GitHub


I’m running Rack 2.03 on a 2015 MBP with an 2.8GHz i7. I haven’t had any issues so far.

In V1 I would have to dial back the frame rate to prevent my laptop from overheating. I have it set to 30Hz without problems at the moment. I haven’t bothered to run it at 59Hz because 30Hz seems quite fine to me. At 20Hz and below the LEDs can start to go out of sync, but if you do experience any CPU overloads and your laptop is very hot, I’d try this before upgrading your computer.

I haven’t really tried any monster patches in V2 yet, but I have been using higher sample rates to avoid aliasing (192KHz!) and surprisingly haven’t noticed any crackling or glitches.


I think my most used VCV 1.x modules were Teleport and 8Face.

There’s much to love in 2.0, but those are tough to live without, once you’ve experienced them.


Needs to be manually built, but v2 is here (not sure of library timeline): GitHub - mgunyho/Little-Utils at rack-v2


Instruo’s collection is back and updated for VCV 2.

And they’ve brought 3 new modules into the fold - neóni (through-zero oscillator), eãs (logic module), and [1]f (fader module).


Yeah, just saw them when I loaded VCV Rack this morning. How great. Just for some context for folks, here’s a link to my interview (also mentioned earlier in this long thread) with Instruō’s Jason Lim on the development of the VCV suite: “How Instruō Went Virtual.”


I just discovered a useful thing to do with the VCV plugin:

MIDI aftertouch → VCA input
MIDI gate → slew → VCA control
VCA output → MIDI modwheel out

Then in synths like Aalto or Arturia Easel, you can assign the modwheel instead of pressure to the LPG, and it will cut off after releasing a gate. Normally (at least in Bitwig), MIDI CC can get stuck after releasing all notes on a controller.


I believe I read this to be a bug but I wanted to make sure i’m not missing something.

with Rack pro standalone seems to be peachy king!

but in ableton 11.0.12 running VCV(2.04) as a VST im only getting the VCV modules to show up in my module section. None of my library modules are populating.

I was originally only getting the 9-12 IO core modules then I deleted the fundament file in Documents/rack2 for Mac and then I was able to get the 38 VCV base modules to show. (Audio/MIDI IO,LFO,Seq 3 etc.) But zero 3rd party modules seem to be accessible. even though they show up to date in the drop down. (and version 2+)

In the mean time, Can I place my vcv library plugins somewhere to get Ableton to recognize them? From the VCV community it sounds like they are aware of this and a fix is in the works.

+ableton 11.0.12 running VCV(2.04)+

Hey, hope this is the right place to post this.
I have an ES-9 and use iOS as my preferred virtual platform (MiRack / Drambo / AUM). However, when I connect the ES-9 to my MacBook Pro, I’ve never been able to talk to VCV (1 or 2) properly. VCV can send signals to the module outputs, but I’ve been unable to send from the inputs into VCV.
I am able to send Audio back and forth via Ableton as normal (can’t test the anything else because I don’t have cv tools etc), so I think it might be more a VCV issue.
As mentioned, iOS is my preferred platform, and I use it there with absolutely no I/O problems at all since day 1. Here’s a screenshot of my “Hosted” configuration if it helps…

And here’s me testing on VCV 1 + 2

Any ideas?

There is Cardinal, which is, and I’ll just paste bits from the README here, a "free and open-source virtual modular synthesizer plugin, available as JACK standalone and LV2, VST2 and VST3 audio plugin for FreeBSD, Linux, macOS and Windows.

"More specifically, this is a DPF-based plugin wrapper around VCV Rack, using its code directly instead of forking the project, with the target of having a proper, self-contained, fully free and open-source plugin version of Rack. See the why section below for the reasons Cardinal exists, also for frequently asked questions check this FAQ document.

"Cardinal contains Rack, some 3rd-party modules and a few internal utilities all in a single binary. All “Core” modules from Rack have been replaced by Cardinal equivalents, simplified to better work for an audio plugin. Cardinal does not load external modules and does not connect to the official Rack library/store. All VCV branding has been removed (to the best of our knowledge) in order to avoid any trademark issues.

“All included modules are open-source and have a GPLv3+ compatible license. (GPLv3-only modules are not allowed). It is a requirement that the final Cardinal binary is GPLv3+ licensed. … An overview of the included code and linked submodules can be seen here. … An overview of the included artwork licenses can be seen here.”

VCV forum thread. Chat is fairly active, and the first beta release is coming very soon.

Edit: that’s the first release out now.

@DMR There is an open inter host/app CV system; JACK/LV2 CV ports


Just got back into vcv (got a new computer that can handle it!) Wanted to give a shout-out to @Allieway_Audio ’s wonderful Series 1 collection. I’ve barely scratched the surface and am having so much fun exploring their behaviors. (AlliewayAudio_Series_I/manuals at main · AlliewayAudio/AlliewayAudio_Series_I · GitHub) They are each unique and imaginative, but also very intuitive to use. They don’t behave like anything I’ve used before, but the parameters have so many sweet spots that they can be approached with a patch, listen & tweak mindset.

Koan is a mu-law compander with tons of tricks up it sleeves. In practice it feels like a delightful distortion playground. It sounds amazing on its own. Throwing filters/effects in between the stages opens all sorts of mesmerizing doors.

I won’t try to explain bumper and cartoon running. But I will say, they can also be approached very intuitively, with a tweak and listen mindset. Cartoon running is a weird chaos source. But the fact that at it’s core it wants to party with either or both a cv/audio source and a trigger source makes it very approachable. (Ok it’s also very weird, in a good way.)

Bumper generates stepped cvs and gates. I love how many interesting behaviors I can get by simple patch programming (including self patching.) I’ve even had good results inserting it in a benjolin-esque patch (instead of a Rungler.)

Here are 3 different recordings of the BenjoBump patch. Modulation from the NLC 8 bit cipher (currently my preferred rungler alternative) is (mostly) off on these recordings. We’re listening to OSC 1’s triangle output fed through koan > vult unstabile. The delay/verb is from supermassive. (Apologies, I haven’t trimmed the audio in post, so the start and end are a bit off.)

Screenshot of the patch


Oh no my secret is out! Koan is dope. Bumper is dope but feels like I could do it with TT if I had the gumption, but it wouldn’t have a nice interface if I did. Cartoon Running has been harder to get my head around, but I have gotten strong results patching it with Chilly Cheese.

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@OhWell @misuba Thanks so much for the kind words both of you, it really means a lot to me, and it makes me so happy to hear sounds made with my modules - please send me any cool tracks you make, it makes my day :smiley:

Am in the middle of a busy internship right now, but module #4 is almost finished! It’s name is ZigZag and it’ll be a best friend of bumper (or any receiver of gates/clocks really) - Here’s a clip of an early version being used as a polyrhythmic clock generator with the VCV Drums module, no sequencer in sight!

And yeah, “Cartoon Running!” is definitely the oddest of the odd ducks - I think you can get a feel for how it works by sending the Excite input a slow clock and watching the outputs as you turn knobs, but it’s really meant to introduce some circuit-bent weirdness and chaos where it’s required hehe :stuck_out_tongue:

Please feel free to let me know if you have any questions or feedback here, or on my Discord :slight_smile:


i don’t suppose anyone has implemented a way of sending cv from vcvrack to hardware and back via crow?

it would be excellent if i could accomplish this with modules i already know and love, after all!

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Hi everybody

I wanted to share this little experiment :
I was watching videos about the Xaoc Sofia oscillator and I would really like to be able to try one, so I thought I’d try to recreate its basic principle in VCV in the meantime.
It is only based on the idea of adding two “ripple components” tuned differently (but synced) and controlling their amplitudes with very short enveloppes, one ripple component for each half of the main oscillator cycle.

It is really basic but I like the simple tones I get from it !

Here is the patch :
POC Xaoc Sofia.vcv (7.2 KB)

And a screenshot :


I use my ES-9 to do this, but the ES-8 should be able to handle it too. There’s a thread of other suggestions on the VCV board here.

If you wanted to do it through Crow, it would mean creating a VCV Rack module that can somehow talk to Crow. I feel like it’s likely to be possible (especially as there are already VCV versions of earthsea, meadowphysics, teletype, and white whale), but my C++ skills are very definitely insufficient for the task!


Song sketch featuring KOAN. Had fun with this on the plane today. All the sounds made with a chaotic patch with plaits as the sound source and KOAN in the audio chain. I recorded a bunch of samples then (crudely) arranged in Bitwig. I like this audio color palette.