So what is VCV Rack? VCV Rack is an open source, and therefore free, modular synthesizer program for Windows, Mac & Linux. Instead of a “pre-cabled” synth you have to decide what your synth should be able to do. In order therefore to make it work, you need a lot of knowledge.
There used to be a time when I didn’t know what VCV Rack was and for what I could use it for. I highly regret this time.
The most powerful learning tool, is a tool that you can also use for your work and recommend without a single doubt to other friends. VCV Rack falls into that category. It comes down to watching a lot of tutorials, reading the manual, asking around on the official program forums and just a lot of trial and error. Constant training is therefore needed in order to have success. It’s easy to download it and start it up. But will you know what you’re doing? Maybe if you’re from the 70s era where modular synthesizers boomed in sales or maybe because you had some half modular systems, but in general everything looks confusing in the beginning. I would be lying if I told you that I knew how to get the full potential out of this program,
The limitation of this program is only your knowledge.
At the unbeatable price of… its for free!!!
Every big rock star or EDM producer / DJ or bedroom promotes his favorite gear. Maybe you watched some of your favorite artists. Software for music production is expensive, hardware even more expensive, when it comes to digital synth and when you then even invest into analog synthesizers and modular racket panels, everyone might be lookin’ at you like you robbed a bank or they start thinking you robbed a bank. Maybe you sold your soul, some organs or the black market or you became a drug dealer. It has been 50 years now. 50 years since civilians as ordinary as you and me can start purchasing their own digital, computerized or analog instruments. In those 50 years those prices dropped somewhat radically. But define ‘dropped prices’. Back then you could buy eight apartment buildings with one good synthesizer. Nowadays you get 50 good instruments for the price of a property flat. Money is always lurking over your shoulder. So why not treat it with the proper respect and grab yourself therefore a free VCV Rack copy. Most of the additional plugins in there are free but some of them cost around 20 – 50$. With that kind of money you can support the developers. Emphasis on the word ‘CAN’ not ‘must’.
I lurked around at the Steinberg forums, I lurked around at the NATIVE INSTRUMENTS forums. Sometimes people
ask stuff, sometimes people answer, but with the VCV Rack forum, you got another thing coming. I mean that in a positive kind of context though. I asked a question in March 2019 and I got over 60 answers in the first 3 days not to mention all the stuff I answered and questioned in the same thread as well, which made around 15 answers after that. Even 7 months after I asked my question. So don’t go in there and ask stupid stuff. Inform your self, read the manuals, watch the videos as before mentioned and then… when you really can’t progress, then you should ask. You will get a pile of answers in few hours. So really take your time with it. You should take your time for all the answers you will get. Plan half an hour maybe into your schedule when you enter the forum.
Addable as a casual VST in your preferred DAW:
I experience it all the time. I use a program or VST or whatever and I use it in stand-alone mode or in a DAW.
After some fumbling around I say:”Yeah, nice to play with it in stand-alone, but I’d rather use it in my DAW.”
That’s it most of the time. I don’t use it anymore as its own. With VCV you can choose as well. Integrate it
into your DAW of choice or use it all alone. As a first time user you will be overwhelmed with VCV itself, so
why bother even integrating it into your DAW in the beginning therefore?
I also could imagine that you’re able to load your DAW into VCV Rack.
This would be kind of a funny thing when you think about it.
Integrate VCV Rack into Cubase and Cubase into VCV Rack. Layer it all up until either
your PC is begging you to stop or until it all crashes. Since this kinda stuff takes
up way too much unnecessary CPU, RAM & HDD power.
Not to mention the MIDI and CV support. Inside the program is a “host” program that’ll allow
you to connect it with your hardware synth or MIDI controller / keyboard.
I also read about some people that they use it just as effect pedals, in a technical sense of matter,
therefor you have access to the cheapest and most intricate guitar pedal on planet earth, by definition!
Everything you need:
Yes, it is hardcore to build a full track with it. Yes there are unhandy aspects that throttle you down, when you get hand of that workflow though… when your brain is on autopilot and you see how you put together whole songs more than thinking about it. This is the catharsis level you try to reach and a different approach to conventional music programs that try to nudge you into 4/4 grooves and simplistic schematics for simple Pop music. It is an instruction on how you will fall in love with chaos and mayhem and how you want to organize and rationalize everything by this approach.
Closing of a letter
I wanted to cover this program for a longer period and I’m glad I finally did. There are currently still a lot of updates coming up and I’ve never ever seen such piece of good software easily updating its plugins. I didn’t delve too much into the VCOs and Filters and VCAs, LFOs and all that mumbo-jumbo, because I think it is up to you to discover the full potential.
I highly recommend that you create yourself an account for it and log-in into your account. You will see on the upper bar a red dot, this will mean that there are updates. You click on “update all” and all the plug-ins get updated and VCV Rack restarted. As always, I hope this program will help you out a lot and I’ll see you next time.
Omri Cohen is a very active dude in the community. His tips are very helpful for beginners. He is very active
in the VCV Rack community and he also responds super fast on his YouTube comment section. He has a patreon
page if you feel like helping him out and in general a cool guy.
I’ll leave you 2 links therefore if you want an introduction with visual appeal:
Please let me know if I got something wrong or what your opinion is about VCV Rack. It is definitely worth the hype.
Write some comments to me and I’ll get right back at ya with answers.