VCV Rack + Carla - great fun

Hi. Was experimenting patching ‘this to that’ and wanted to try and use my soundfonts (sfz/sf2 formats) in rack. I had been using Carla for a while as it plays Windows and native VSTs on my linux box as well as soundfonts, LV2 and LADSPA plugins.

Naturally using Jack audio I could route audio from Carla to Rack but I was limited to two channel inputs as my audio card only has 2 in/ 6 out. But Carla can now run Jack apps internally so I tested running Rack under Carla.

What it ‘magically’ gave me (magically because I don’t understand why :smile: ) was all 16 input and output audio channels.

I wrote a simple patch in Rack to send 2 sequences from Foundry on midi channels 1 and 2 to Carla - one goes to HG Fortune’s ‘The Tiger’ vst and the other to my harpsichord soundfont.

Routed the audio back on 4 channels back to Rack to use Plateau.

Carla is also available as LV2 and VST so I plugged it into my MusE DAW. So DAW->Carla(all my plugins + 16 channels)->VCV Rack-> and back again. CPU didn’t seem to complain as it was the same load as running Carla and Rack normally.

Too many connections (and fun) to poke a stick at! :crossed_fingers:


Tip, Carla have a couple of plugins CV to midi and midi to CV which mean you can connect a LFO, atenueverter or whatever CV you like directly to your jack output and use it in your favorite vst

take a look of SKjack

edited: actually I m not recomend SKjack,


Thanks David. I actually caught up with a back log of reading docs last night and saw SKjack. Looks interesting. Will experiment soon :fireworks::exploding_head:


can you explain for the rest of us linux musicians out here how, exactly you did this?

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Carla is a vst, lv2, LAPSDA and Jack host, witch mean you can connect in a modular environment all the software compatible (for instance the vcvrack, your vsts, ardour and whatever) you can establish communication between the software via Jack, MIDI and CV

to launch it , you should install and Run JACK (here is a guide)

Install and Run Carla

install and Run the Carla compatible software (VCV rack and mostly of the linux audio software and pluggins ) and establish comunication via Jack, MIDI , Jack MIDI bridge and CV over Jack -just connecting your CV in to a Jack I/O- using the Carla Patchbay or your favorite LADISH

as recommendation I suggest use the VCV rack audio I/O module instead of SKjack since its not much stable in the development

and have fun!

edited: to run the rack hosted by Carla, hit on “add jack aplication”, I used to launch a script with ./rack (“rack” is the name of the tex file in my home folder pointed to my rack hidden folder .Rack) allowing the execution of the file, but actually you dont need launch it through Carla to connect with it

cd .Rack

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What David said :slight_smile:

Since my OP the plugin world exploded. RJModules now has the ESSEFF plugin which loads soundfonts directly in rack.

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Bonus points: Carla also has a wine bridge and if you install it, it can host Windows VSTs too. Kind of amazing and mostly eliminates the need for Host or VCVFD…

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i dont seem to have a “add jack application” button for some reason. running ubuntu studio 18.10 with all of falkTXs repositories, so carla should be up to date. what am i missing?

install the KXStudio repositories, and enable Carla experimental features, however, it is not necessary, since you can connect the vcv rack whichever Carla application through Jack, and it is much more stable.

Btw, Claudia and Cadence are great patchbay too it allow save the connections between your audio applications and plugging, real time and freewheel render to your patches without pops and clicks among others features

edited:I think you dont need the KXStudio repos should be enought the falkTXs repos, just enable the experimental features in the configuration

thank you!

Carla 2.1 RC1 is here! On 2020-01-19 by falkTX

Hello again everyone, it is release day! (kinda, just a casual 4 days late…)

This is the announcement of the first release candidate of Carla 2.1.


is there a ppa for Carla?

I download a pre-compiled linux binary directly from kxstudio