VCV Rack 2 Pro and Free versions available now!

VCV Rack 2After a huge amount of development, the long-awaited version 2 of VCV Rack has just been released in a Free standalone version and a Pro VST plugin version.

VCV Rack 2

There are a lot of new features but the most important one is that it can now run as a VST plugin if you buy the Pro version – that’s the upgrade everyone has been waiting for. There’s a new Dark Room mode to make the interface less bright and the whole interface has had some work done. The browser is better and the ability to move modules and groups of modules is much smoother. The real-time audio engine has been optimized in every way imaginable.

VST

As a VST plugin you can now save patches within your DAW, integrate it easily with other projects and other instruments and use it as both an effects processor and a virtual instrument. You get up to 16 audio inputs and outputs and 16 MIDI channels. There’s parameter automation with control over up to 1024 knobs if can you imagine that?

Rack 2 Free Standalone

There will always be a free and open-source version of VCV Rack. While it benefits from all the enhancements of version 2 it will continue to be standalone only just like it always has been. I think that’s terrific and a wonderful resource for anyone wanting to get into modular or discover the world of synthesis.

The Free version is available for macOS, Windows and Linux and can run on Apple ARM via Rosetta 2.

Rack 2 Pro

For professional support and VST2 compatibility alongside the standalone version then you need to come up with some cash. It’s $99 up until the end of the year and then $149 after that. You can buy it in a bundle with VCV Drums and VCV Sound Stage for $139.

I think that’s terrific value considering the immensity of the project, the usefulness of VCV Rack and what it’s brought to the community.

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Waves Audio Retro Fi: conjure analog lo-fi sounds from your DAW

Waves Retro FiWith the surprise release of the new Retro Fi, Waves builds on the functionality introduced with Lofi Space, its Black Friday freebie. We got the appetiser first, now we get the full effects plug-in for creatively downgrading audio with analog charms.

Waves Audio Retro Fi

Retro and LoFi aesthetics seem so hip! So many plug-ins in this direction have appeared this year that we are utterly spoiled for choice. If you want to give your beats, songs or individual tracks the nostalgic stamp, this is how Waves envisioned the right tool for the job.

Retro Fi has several individual effects working together in a chain to create the desired vibe. First in line is the Device, which is about coloration. It uses impulse responses from what is (presumably) real hardware to send the audio material on a trip back between 1950 to 1980. Next is the Squasher, which is a compressor capable of both upward and downward compression. It feeds into Space, which combines the echo and reverb you may know from the Lofi Space freebie. You can switch between spring and plate reverb here. The delay is also saturated and runs either freely or synchronized to the project tempo.

Finally, Noise offers a selection of 60 different textures, including staples like tape hiss and vinyl crackling. Note that the plug-in doesn’t treat these sounds like static loops, as there is a generative component at play. You can also ‘place’ these textures before or behind the Space section and edit them with ducker or gate effects.

Retro Fi also covers mechanical tape effects in the Mechanics module. It has a pair of modulation engines providing tape wow and flutter at the chosen rate. You’ll probably love it when the effect gets to drag a bit! Finally, the Master section has a high and low-pass filter.

Retro Fi: Price and availability

Retro Fi is on an introductory sale for USD 29, down from the regular price of USD 199. With Waves, there’s always a sale or discount around the corner, so I’ll be genuinely surprised if the plug-in ever reaches its ‘regular’ price.

Retro Fi works under macOS 10.14.6 or later (including M1 support) and Windows 10 or later in 64-bit VST, VST3, AAX, and AU formats. A demo version and a PDF manual can be downloaded from the website. The effect ships with a collection of 250 presets.

More info about Waves’ Retro Fi

Video

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