Beginners guide to VCV Rack

(Lars Bjerregaard) #1

If you’re just getting started with VCV Rack, this post is for you!

It aims to be a quality list of links to videos and articles, that will help you get Rack installed, make some sound, introduce you to the basic modules and get you through your first couple of patches, until you can start the exploration for yourself. I will aim to curate it on a semi-regular basis.

The basic links -

I recommend these first steps as the start of your journey:

  1. Go to the VCV Rack website and register an account. This allows you to install all the wonderful plugins.
  2. Download the Rack software and install it.
  3. Start up Rack, enter your account details at the top and login. Then click the “Manage plugins” button.
  4. Install the following plugins to start with: Audible Instruments, Befaco, JW-modules, ML_modules, Bogaudio, Vult modules (free). You do so by clicking the blue button next to those plugins, and then click “Update plugins” in Rack.
  5. Watch a couple of getting started tutorials below, to make some sound, and then start experimenting.

Note: Many of the YouTube links below are links to the first video in a series, so check the playlist to the right, in YouTube.

You will find that this community is full of helpful and fun people, so don’t hesitate to make posts and ask questions. First though, search before you ask - a lot of questions have already been answered. VCV Rack is about exploring and having fun - join the party! :slight_smile:

Modular Curiosity - starting with the basics:

Beginners patches:

VCV Rack starter tutorial by Cy Ball:

VCV Rack - How It Works - A graphically enhanced manual, by Edgar Rothermich.

Introduction to Audio Synthesis - A great little guide to the basics of synthesis, written by Michael G. Maxwell in this forum, using examples from VCV Rack. The nuts and bolts you’ll be playing around with in Rack. IntroAudioSynthesis.pdf (2.2 MB)

Andrew Mercer (aka. Bucky Durdle) - great starter series:

The Klirr Factor - getting started:

KarateSnoopy - getting started:

Ablaut - starter overview:

Omri Cohen - basic series:

Talking Rackheads - wonderful long-form series:

Andrew Mercer’s VCV Rack tutorials page on steemit:

More tutorials by Omri Cohen:

Overview of YouTube channels and tutorials, by Ananda Bhisma:

Modular synth basics, much of which also applies to Rack:

Classic in-depth synth tutorials on Sound On Sound:

Learning Modular synth glossary of terms, always relevant:

Some classic synth books:

Patches for beginners
I-don't-know-what-I-am-doing first patch ;)
Looking for tips for getting started with VCV Rack
Barriers to Plugin Adoption
Member Introductions :smiley:
STS The Illiad: A tutorial for this new beast from STS? ... Omri?
The Library
Video format to post?
(Paul Schonfeld) #4

I’m working with a group of 6 students and some of them are unable to find the ‘register’ (Sign Up) button on the VCV Rack website. I’ve noticed that others commented that they are experiencing this issue, but we’ve been unable to resolve it with the suggestions found here: Reddit forum

Do you know about this issue or how I can resolve it?
thank you.

(Stephan) #5

you should see it as I marked it on the picture of the website:

just hit this button [Register / Login]

(Daniele Zerbini) #6

Smart post, thank you! Btw, it made me think of many other recurrent and effective threads that get lost or constantly exhumed in the FB Group. It would be worth progressively replanting some of them as topics in this forum, where they can stay more organized, grouped and searchable. Although this is already partially happening, and we can rely on the trend that recurrent topics will likely reimplant by themselves here in a spontaneous way.

(Stephan) #7

another interesting book/website is here;

the site:

the book:

(Josep) #8

A new FREE! VCV Rack book:

“VCV Rack - How It Works” a Graphically Enhanced Manual by Edgar Rothermich

  • plus the Signal Flow Diagrams of some Synthesizers (in the same page)

(Fahmi M.) #9

Thanks a lot! useful

(Lars Bjerregaard) #10

Yup, that’s great! Added.

(Josep) #11

I think this should also be here, since it is a GREEEAAAT source of information for both beginners and others not so beginners :wink:)

(Jonathan Moore1) #12

These are also great (all with a subtractive synthesis bias but phase distortion and FM are in the mix too):

The teaching is based around the semi-modular ARP 2600 but it’s simple to build module networks that realize the concepts that are discussed.

The original patch book is a fantastic learning resource too:

Finally a good old fashioned book! And it’s the one that taught me the most about the nuts and bolts of synthesis techniques when I was an over-excited teen back in the 80’s:

A synthesist’s guide to acoustic instruments by Howard Massey