VCV has released an updated version of the VCV Rack open-source virtual modular synthesizer for Windows, macOS, and Linux. The update comes with over 300 improvements, including the long-awaited VCV Bridge feature which connects VCV Rack to any digital audio workstation capable of hosting VST/AU plugins.
While the introduction of VCV Bridge is great news, the functionality is not yet 100% there. In its current state, VCV Bridge makes it possible to use VCV Rack as a virtual effect by sending audio from the DAW to the modular environment and then back to the DAW. Playing VCV Rack as a virtual instrument via the DAW is not yet possible, unfortunately. However, the functionality is expected in a forthcoming update and the changes introduced in the latest version of the software are a big step forward this particular goal. The only type of MIDI communication possible at the moment is sending CC messages to VCV Rack.
As to using VCV Rack for processing your DAW’s audio, the setup process is rather simple. Install the latest version of VCV Rack (v0.6.0) and make sure to also install the new VCV Bridge utility which is available in VST and AU plugin formats. Load VCV Bridge as an insert effect on an audio channel inside the DAW and load the Audio module in VCV Rack. Set the Audio module’s input to Bridge and make sure that the port number matches the one in the VCV Bridge plugin. The DAW audio channel with VCV Bridge loaded should now be passing through VCV Rack and back into the DAW.
On a related note, you can now find all open-source add-ons for VCV Rack in the Plugin Manager. Adding new modules has never been easier, simply click the ADD button next to the module you’d like to use and you’re good to go. You can also purchase numerous commercial expansions.
VCV Rack is available for free download via VCV (8.03 MB download size, EXE installer, 64-bit standalone application for Windows, macOS, Linux).