The journey of VCV Rack has been completely nuts. Since it first emerged development of third-party modules has been ridiculous. It’s like every day their Facebook feed seems to be full of new modules and glimpses of forthcoming releases. VCV Rack has certainly captured the imagination of the virtual modular community. We don’t usually do articles on incremental updates unless they seem important and I feel that VCV Rack is probably going to be one of the most important releases of the year, so let’s check in with where they are with the release of 0.5.
In a nutshell, it’s a virtual modular environment emulating the Eurorack format. It began with a handful of very cool emulations of known Eurorack modules from the likes of Mutable Instruments, Befaco and Synthesis Technology. Since then it has grown in all sorts of directions. There are drum kits and cowbells, ring modulators and entire 808 drum machines. There are modules inspired by existing hardware and plenty of original ones.
When the beta first came out I moaned about the lack of a basic LFO. Well, now there’s more modulation available than I can poke a wobbly stick at.
The design philosophy tends to keep to the idea that it should look and work like a Eurorack module. The modules should be individual and interact in the same way physical hardware does. However, and it’s somewhat inevitable in software, this may not always happen and a bit of software, pre-patched jiggery-pokery may creep in. But we will see how it pans out.
Currently, version 0.5 is, of course, a pre-release beta and so not officially supported. It’s also free and you’ll find all the support in the world on the Facebook group. The open source nature is evident in trying to install third party modules. You have to deal with a bit of GitHub and drop extracted downloads into the right folders, but it’s not too difficult to achieve.
If you haven’t tried VCV Rack out then what on earth have you been doing? Version 0.5 is available for MacOS, Windows and Linux. Download it this instant and puzzle over how the hell you get sound out of virtual modular that’s pretending to be as much a pain in the arse as hardware is. Quick tip – you’ll need to add an audio interface module to wire up as the output. The rest is exploration. Looking forward to the full release.