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> Introducing JackAss
On 2014-05-16 by falkTX

JackAss is a VST plugin that provides JACK-MIDI support for VST hosts.
Simply load the plugin in your favourite host to get a JACK-MIDI port.
Each new plugin instance creates a new MIDI port.

Here's JackAss loaded in FL Studio:

And an example setup in Carla for it:

JackAss sends the notes from the host to its JACK-MIDI port.
It also exposes 50 parameters, which send a MIDI CC message when changed.
You can use this to easily control external applications that accept JACK-MIDI input and possibly CC for automation (like Carla).

Additionally there's a JackAssFX plugin, which only exposes parameters to send as MIDI CC, in case you don't need MIDI/notes.

JackAss currently has builds for Linux, MacOS and Windows, all 32bit and 64bit. Just follow this link.
As a bonus, you also get special Wine builds - load it in a Windows application running in Linux via Wine and you get a real, native JACK-MIDI port from it!

You can find JackAss source code and bug tracker in Github:

PS: Why JackAss? Because it outputs to JACK. ;)

> The first Carla 2.0 beta is here!
On 2014-04-22 by falkTX

Carla 2.0 is a full rework of the first Carla release.
It's currently under development with a planned release later this year.
Today the first beta is released, and we'll show you what to expect when the final version arrives.

To download binaries or source code, jump into the KXStudio downloads section.
If you're using the KXStudio repositories, you can simply install "carla-git" and "carla-plugins-lv2" instead.
Bug reports and feature requests are welcome! Jump into the Carla's Github project page for those.

DISCLAIMER: This is a beta release! Although all features mentioned here are working right now, they may be incomplete, have bugs or even eat your cat!
You've been warned.



Canvas Integration

When using the JACK multi-client mode, plugins will be mapped to their respective canvas group.
Double-clicking the plugin group will show its UI, while pressing 'delete' will remove the actual plugin.
There's extra right-click options, and the keyboard and meters will react accordingly.


New Look

Each plugin gets its own slot skin.
Different colors are attributed to each kind of plugin (EQ, delay, distortion, etc).
Specialized skins that match the author/maker are used when appropriate.


Carla-Rack as a Plugin

Carla itself working as a plugin (rack-mode).
This allows to use several rack instances inside a single Carla instance.
Internal patch-bay mode is also planned, but probably only for 3.0.


Internal plugins as LV2

Carla internal plugins are now exported as LV2.
This includes carla-rack and zynaddsubfx!
Plugins that released separately (such as DISTRHO and ZamAudio) are not included.


Plugin Bridges

Running plugins in a separate process for crash-protection.
Using a separate process also makes it possible to load plugins with a different architecture from the host,
such as 32-bit plugins on 64-bit Carla and Windows plugins in Linux.

NOTE: This feature is currently only available within the KXStudio repos.

More stuff

  • Qt5 ready (already used in Windows builds)
  • Save and restore canvas connections
  • LV2 CV ports and Worker extension are now implemented, allowing to load ams-lv2 and setBfree among other plugins
  • VST3 and AU plugin support

There's some other things planned, but they might be delayed until 3.0 so that this release doesn't take too long to happen.
You can find the complete TODO list here:

> KXStudio repositories are now ready for Debian!
On 2014-04-10 by falkTX

The KXStudio repositories are now ready for Debian and its derivatives (including the upcoming Ubuntu 14.04).
They should work for all Debian versions since Wheezy and Ubuntu 12.04 or above.
See the Repositories section for more information and how to enable them.

There's a list of available applications in the repository here and plugins here.
These 2 lists will quickly grow as more stuff is added in the repositories.

You can request new software to be packaged in this LinuxMusicians forum topic (although things seems a bit slow now, we'll eventually get to everyone's requests).
Please report any issues regarding packages here.

If you use the repositories, please donate to help keep packager(s) motivated. See
All this month donations will go to ensure falkTX has a good trip to the Linux Audio Conference next month!

PS: AVLinux users wanting to use the KXStudio repositories should be patient.
Something cool might come up when falkTX and GMaq meet in next month's LAC. ;)

> Small Carla notice for JACK1 users (and 1.2.3 release)
On 2013-12-26 by falkTX

While I was doing a Carla video I got into a show-stopper bug in JACK2 (it kept crashing because of complex MIDI mixdown, see this).
So in the meantime I have to use JACK1, and while doing so I found a pretty nasty bug...
No system connections were shown in the patchbay canvas!

I don't know if others suffered from the bug (I always run JACK2) or though it was how it really worked.
In any case, the Carla patchbay will show all JACK connections now - wherever they are from Carla plugins or system ones.

Updating to version 1.2.3 is recommended, specially if you use JACK1.
For a list of changes you can check the Carla stable git log here, which allows to directly see what changed in the code.

> Carla 2.0 development progress report
On 2013-12-17 by falkTX

This is a progress report for the new Carla, version 2.0.
It will take a while to get a release ready, but there are already a few things done and stuff to show.


First, the backend is being rewritten to not use any system toolkit.
In 1.x series I've used Qt4 to handle graphics, but that might be a problem soon with Qt5 (cannot mix Qt4 and Qt5 stuff together).
Plus I want the Carla backend to be toolkit agnostic, so that in the future it may be re-usable for others no matter what their main toolkit is.
The main backend header files are now ANSI C compatible, thus increasing the chances of re-usability (as some Linux developers have a weird aversion to C++...).

Because Qt is no longer used in the backend code, I needed something else to handle graphics and other advanced stuff - Juce was selected for this.
Juce is a C++ framework focused on audio applications and plugins, which suits Carla nicely.
There's a lot of useful things inside it that will make developing new features much easier (like the internal patchbay mode).
Other things like AU and VST3 plugin hosting will be possible too thanks to Juce, although they are not relevant to Linux.

Loading Carla as a plugin is also being worked on.
There target two main targets with this:

  • Load entire Carla projects - rack or patchbay - as a single plugin in the graph (avoiding clutter);
  • Carla itself as an LV2 plugin;

If you been following the LinuxMusicians forums you know that internal Carla plugins are already available as LV2 plugins (yes, that includes zynaddsubfx-lv2!).
Once the Carla internal plugin work is complete, you automatically get an LV2 version of it as well! :D


There has been a few changes on the UI side as well.
For example, the plugin edit dialog now looks like this:

As seen the image, the user will be able to use "Stereo Balance" or "Mono Panning".
The new layout also allows for a much smaller window size.

Lastly, there's plans to bring custom skins to plugin "slots", in a similar way to Reason.
This is something I still have to investigate to find the best possible way to do it.
It should be expandable so that random plugins can also use skins, probably via a new LV2 extension.
More on this later.

That's all for now.
Soon there will be a new DISTRHO release, so stay tuned!

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