Elk (formerly Mind Music Labs) has released the Elk Audio OS audio operating system allowing existing VST and other plug-in formats to be run on hardware instruments and audio devices in real time with ultra low latency using only ​general-purpose ARM and x86 CPUs.

Elk audio operating system‘The idea behind the Elk Audio OS is to make a whole new generation of connected musical instruments possible – instruments that can connect people around the world and spur new kinds of musical creativity,’ says Elk CEO, Michele Beninicaso. ‘We believe there are so many potential instrument makers out there who could create fantastic things if they just had the right tools, and it is for them we have created Elk. So today I’m very happy to announce that we have reached a major milestone in our company, when we can make Elk available to everyone through the open source release.’

A beta version of the Elk Audio Operating System will be made available under a Dual licensing model (open-source and commercial), but OS SDK and documentation is already available and free to anyone to start using. There is also an Elk Audio OS Development Kit for Raspberry Pi available on the company’s website that includes a custom Elk Pi Audio Hat. The Elk Pi Hat alone is one of the most advanced pro Audio Hats in the markets with down to 1 ms latency, multichannel and support for Raspberry 4 coming up in the very near future.

Elk Audio OS is officially endorsed by Steinberg, owners of the VST format, is supported in the VST3 SDK and is fully compatible with plug-ins written in Juce, targetting Elk at companies and makers interested in developing new digital hardware instruments.

With VST being a de facto standard for software instruments and effects, there is already an extensive library of existing plug-ins waiting for a new life as hardware. An example of this is the Retrologue desktop prototype synth built on the VST synth with the same name debuted earlier this year at SuperBooth in Berlin.

‘When working with Elk Audio OS on the Retrologue we immediately recognised something that could be a game-changer,’ says Steinberg’s Florian Haack. ‘Running the same VST plug-in on hardware as you do on desktop opens up for new possibilities and new ways of working. Getting Elk Audio OS available under open source is really exciting and I believe that this could make Elk a standard for digital hardware instruments.’

More: https://elk.audio

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