VCV and a free DAW, but which one?

Hi all. I’m looking for a free DAW that enables me to make it easier to structure my sound experiments in VCV. I was thinking of using MIDI control data for this purpose. It is possible to create structure within VCV itself but it’s complex, time consuming and above all tedious. I’d like to make that a lot easier and faster. I suppose I need loopMIDI or something similar to make the DAW and VCV communicate? I don’t need the DAW for extensive audio editing or even mixing. The only thing it should really provide is triggers and maybe fade ins and outs for structuring. Currently I’m looking at Tracktion waveform free. If anyone has any helpfull suggestions that’d be greatly appreciated. Thnx in advance and have a nice one.

Reaper is momentarily free!


Hi there!

Actually it is less of that then you would think right now, once you get your head around it.

Depending on how much of the patch is self-generating and how much of the patch needs to be linear, you can get great results by switching through clocks and the division of clocks with switches.

I kinda compare it with conducting an orchest.

Anyway, before you go the route of sending midi from DAW to VCV, which actually is very time consuming and in some situations trully tedious. I recommend you to take a look at Entrian Sequencers plugin, which brings the whole concept of linear structuring (if that is your goal) right there inside VCV.


where do you get it free?

I know only of the 60 days evaluation version and the different licenses (discounted vs. commercial)

I think that’s what they meant :slight_smile: “Free” for 60 days

MPC beats and Zenbeats are also 2 other free daws, but i’ve never tried them, so i’m not sure how good they are

It still works fine long after the 60 days.

Thnx all for your input. I’ll try to reply short and to the point. Reaper is indeed temporarily free, but only till the first of februari. So, not really an option as I’d like to keep things on a freeware basis (for the time being). This limits my scope but since I have zero revenu from the sound structures I make… Concerning the Entrian option: not free either. I guess I’ll have to keep looking and via trial and error figure out what works best for me. Some of my pieces are quite linear some are not, some are a mixture. And maybe I stille have to learn a lot about all the (free) VCV modules available. I tried counters, the Jooper and Janneker combo and some other stuff but it all remains rather confusing though that might just be the way my mind works. Anyway I’m always interested in tips or tricks or simply the way you go about structuring pieces in VCV. Enjoy.

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Using Reaper with Rearoute and syncing following this tutorial from Omri Cohen is the way to go. You can actually start and stop Reaper from within VCV using loopMIDI (free) and Count Modula Manual Gate. If you decide to go with Reaper I have a template created that I use for the start of every project that has everything already mapped.

You can use it for as long as you want as long as you don’t mind waiting 5 seconds to press OK Screenshot_20210114_161239

Read the last line. I really should just buy it.

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Also if you can afford the [low] price it’s totally worth it. If you can’t afford it there’s nothing wrong (imho) with using it for free. Every few years after some major update they make you buy it again, but it’s not super often.

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@jpvanrumste did you try to google “free daw’s”? these are some of the first articles that come up. as far as vcv compatibility you will probably need to trial and error them yourself.

EDIT: sorry @Squinky.Labs didnt mean to reply to your post.

There’s also LMMS, multi-platform and open-source, but I don’t know how it compares to others. Ah, I just saw it’s mentioned in the first list you linked, I’d be curious to know if anyone in here has tried it with Rack.

@persy Yes I tried googling free daws and am stil at it. It seems to be much more complicated than I anticipated. I can get a clock signal (midi clock) from reaper into vcv but find no way to make clocked sync to that signal. The other way round - syncing reaper to vcv- I haven’t figured out yet. Besides that there seem to be all kinds of problems with syncing vcv, according to the forum. So basically I’m still nowhere.

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This is a curious statement to me. Could you elaborate on what you mean?

Just keep reading this thread, or the other dozens of threads that discussed this subject numerous of times.

Simply put, for some it will work instantly, depending on what their aim is. For others it might become a loophole with problem running into another problem.

I’m all for application / hardware interoperability, but for some others (for example someone that just started) it might become a nightmare or all together put them off from working with software/computer.

I didn’t follow much of anything from that answer, I guess, but I appreciate the reply anyway. I haven’t had any trouble routing MIDI to and from things, hence why I found your statement curious.

Hi jpvanrumste! I warmly recommend Ardour because it is awesome. By the way, Renoise is not free BUT it has a GUI like Fasttracker or Protracker and something like that and it will make you build structure very fast, because you can all do with keybord. (and controller of corse) I use it with Linux and be very happy every day. :smiley:

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then maybe you should try to help the OP instead of simply patting yourself on the back. :thinking:

I’ve been using Cakewalk (Windows only) for many years and now it is free: it has been acquired by Bandlab and is regularly updated. The piano roll view is nice and you can use “notes” on different channels/tracks to send triggers, gates or CV to VCV (using loopback MIDI ports created with the loopMIDI utility).

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I haven’t seen anything that I could help with, yet.

But thank you for your input.