by Lyubomir Dobrev | 4,9 / 5,0 | Approximate reading time: 2 Minutes

 ·  Source: U-he and Bitwig


Back in December, developers U-He and Bitwig announced a new plug-in format under development called CLAP. The initial announcement is now followed up by a detailed presentation complete with a list of DAWs and developers supporting the project. The likes of Arturia, Avid, FabFilter, Image-Line, and Xfer Records back the efforts. With a strong start and rich functionality, CLAP will hopefully reach beyond niches and become a legitimate alternative to the established formats.


CLAP plug-in format: what’s happened so far

Plug-ins as we know them are a thing since 1996. So far, they keep coming in three established formats – VST, AU, and AAX. Each comes with its own set of functionality and licensing limitations which inevitably hinder some developers’ ambitions.

An open-source project called CLAP (Clever Audio Plug-in) began in 2013. Along the way, it acquired the support of Bitwig and U-he, among other well-known audio developers. The time has come for an official introduction along with a brief feature presentation.

As expected, CLAP is shaping up as a plug-in format ‘by developers, for developers’. CLAP is developed as an open-source standard and distributed under the MIT license. I believe in its potential to spark innovation.

u-he Hive 2.0

u-he Hive is available in beta CLAP format for testing

This is what CLAP offers for developers and users

Feature-wise, CLAP provides an interface between DAWs and plug-ins which makes better use of multi-core CPUs. It also implements a new metadata system for faster plug-in scans. An extension which allows DAWs to save data used by the plug-in (such as samples and wavetables) directly in the project file. This can potentially solve problems with missing files after switching between storage drives, operating systems, computers and so on.

CLAP also supports MIDI 2.0 with per-note automation and modulation options. Developers of polyphonic virtual instruments can use that to modulate all per-voice parameters. Additionally, a simple expansion system facilitates easy integration of future standards.


Which developers are already interested?

There’s a long list of software developers interested in exploring CLAP as a new plug-in format. DAW makers such as Avid (Pro Tools), Cockos (Reaper), Image-Line (FL Studio) and Presonus (Studio One) are on it. On the plug-ins side, industry veterans like Arturia, Fabfilter, Expressive E, ValhallaDSP, VCV, Vital Audio, and Xfer Records (Serum) are present. Even Epic Games, the Unreal Engine and Fortnite developer, is among the interested parties.

However, the lack of several big names such as Ableton, iZotope, Native Instruments, Slate Digital, Spectrasonics, and Waves Audio is definitely noticeable. It remains to be seen whether, and how quickly these leading developers will follow suit.

At the time of writing, CLAP is already integrated into the latest Bitwig Studio 4.3 beta version. Beta versions of U-He plug-ins such as Ace, Diva, Hive, and MFM are ready for testing.

Learn more about CLAP


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  • u-he Hive 2.0: u-he

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9 responses to “CLAP: new plug-in format officially presented by U-He and Bitwig”

    Stephen says:

    I only have two questions: Did no one understand that “the clap” is slang for a STD? Did you consider AIDS (Audio Interface Dynamic Sub-system)?

      Humbert says:

      Yeah I thought about the marketing 101 lesson about always knowing what your product name means in other languages. They probably don’t realize that it’s probably the first thing folks in the US think when seeing the word ‘clap’ unless it’s in the context of being a verb.

    Vincent Vice says:

    Gives a new sense of humor if i now say “I’ve got the clap, baby!”
    Couldn’t have chosen a “better” name, these Germans.

    elias says:

    Well I don’t know guys, maybe we don’t get the slang because it’s not our first language, but those comments sure were arrogant as hell.

    Perhaps you could just chill, or – I don’t know – enroll to a foreign language lesson to get out of your comfy little judgemental zone?

    Jesus Christ says:

    Some of you people posting are real *ing morons.

    Words can mean different things.

    Are we going to rename clap tracks and relabel every drum machine ever made because clap is also slang for gonorrhea?

      Vincent Vice says:

      Are you the second cumming? Btw neither is English my mother tongue. You and elias complaining about us complaining merely shows that both of you have no broader & crossover cultural knowledge, also no serious and professional product manager wouldn’t discuss and vet naming suggestions very thoroughly, especially if they gonna be used globally.

        Jesus Christ says:

        You are a moron. Clap is an extremely common musical term, so the context is very clear in this case.

    Ongaku says:

    I think this is awesome, and a exciting change for the world of virtual instruments, especially if NI, waves, and others get on board… wonder what Steinberg things about this haha

    Also I think the name is great. I never heard of what the other commenters are talking about as far as sexual issues go. However, I think if you can keep your mind on positive things the name is perfect for this application. This is because most producers, and musician use, and love claps as far as in music. A virtual software resource named musically like this, and could potentially be drum instruments or drum CLAPS (instead of vsts) is cool and unique.

    moodog says:

    You know what – who cares if Ableton, iZotope, Native Instruments, Slate Digital, Spectrasonics, and Waves Audio are not on board? These people are nowhere near the top of my list of plugin developers making innovative, exciting, stable and great-sounding plugins. I hope this succeeds – the people behind u-He are awesome and very fair in my opinion. Something like this is badly needed in a world where Steinberg idiotically abandoned VST2.x.

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