FREE | 20 September 2022 | 1.8 GB
Cardinal is a free and open-source virtual modular synthesizer plugin, available as JACK standalone and AU, LV2, VST2 and VST3 audio plugin for FreeBSD, Linux, macOS and Windows.
It is based on the popular VCV Rack but with a focus on being a fully self-contained plugin version.
More specifically, this is a DPF-based plugin wrapper around VCV Rack, using its code directly instead of forking the project, with the target of having a proper, self-contained, fully free and open-source plugin version of Rack.
See the why section below for the reasons Cardinal exists, also for frequently asked questions check this FAQ document.
Cardinal contains Rack, some 3rd-party modules and a few internal utilities all in a single binary.
All “Core” modules from Rack have been replaced by Cardinal equivalents, simplified to better work for an audio plugin.
Cardinal does not load external modules and does not connect to the official Rack library/store.
All VCV branding has been removed (to the best of our knowledge) in order to avoid any trademark issues.
The VST3 version is in progress, already part of the build but still experimental.
Cardinal releases have official builds for Linux, macOS and Windows.
There are Linux builds for various architectures (armhf, arm64, i686 and x86_64), macOS “universal” (arm64 + intel) and Windows 32 and 64bit builds. Both macOS and Windows builds have an installer.
Cardinal provides 3 plugin variants – “main”, Synth and FX.
They are all equivalent in performance and behaviour, with only the IO and metadata that changes.
This is because some hosts are very strict on which plugins are allowed as instruments vs FX, so separate variants of the same plugin are needed.
FX and Synth variants both have 2 audio outputs, while “main” has 8.
All variants have MIDI input and output support.
This variant provides 8 audio inputs and outputs and 10 CV inputs and outputs.
NOTE: Due to AU and VST2 formats not supporting CV ports, this variant is not available for those formats.
This variant provides 2 audio outputs but no audio inputs or CV ports.
Plugin type is set as “instrument”.
This variant provides 2 audio inputs and outputs, but no CV ports.
Plugin type is set as regular “effect”.
Because people will ask for it. It is, well… Rack.
But a couple of modules background’s have their colors flipped, because damn we want proper dark mode!
Carla and Ildaeil plugin hosts
Custom Fundamental modules design
At the moment the following 3rd-party modules are provided:
Glue the Giant
Additionally Cardinal provides its own modules for DAW/Host automation, time position, audio to CV pitch conversion and internal plugin hosting.
A feature comparison between Cardinal and Rack Pro can be seen here
Add CardinalNative standalone build (uses native audio from the system instead of JACK)
Add CLAP plugin version (fx and synth variants only, for now)
Add dark mode switch in View menu, enabled by default
Add readme and license to zip/tar releases
Add linux-riscv64 build
Add -Wno-format-security to build flags
Fix AU plugin crash when host does not provide time signature (x64 auval)
Fix AU plugin not updating for buffer-size and sample-rate changes
Fix VST2 crash when removing 1 of many similar instances
Fix VST2 and VST3 initial UI size in some hosts
Fix VST3 remaining issues and mark it as stable (only CV ports need attention, but no Host/DAW that I know implements these)
Fix memory corruption and leaks when loading and removing modules
Fix Bidoo not saving non-parameter data
Fix Bidoo limonade crashing when canceling its save dialog
Fix Ildaeil log sliders, allow mono input plugins
Fix/remove stray Carla module from “DRMR – Interverb.vcv” example patch
Split main variant audio IO in 4 stereo groups