Installing & Running

System Requirements

VCV Rack is free software, so you may simply download and run the software to see if it works. However, if you are experiencing performance issues, make sure you have at least the following hardware.

  • Operating system: MacOS 10.7+, Windows 7+, or Linux (Ubuntu 16.04+, etc)
  • CPU: Intel/AMD 64-bit processor from ~2011 or later
  • Graphics: Dedicated Nvidia/AMD graphics card from ~2013 or later. Integrated (non-dedicated) graphics such as Intel HD/Iris are not recommended and cause significantly increased CPU usage.
  • RAM: 1GB
  • Disk space: 1GB

Installing Rack

Download Rack on the VCV Rack website.

Installing on Mac

Download, unzip, and copy the Rack app to your Applications folder.

Installing on Windows

Run the installer.

Installing on Linux

Unzip the zip file.

Installing plugins

On VCVRack.com or the VCV Plugin Manager, add each plugin you wish to install. If not logged in to your VCV account, you will be prompted to log in or register. Once the desired plugins are added to your account, open Rack and log in using the toolbar at the top of the window. After logging in, click “Update plugins” and the new plugins will be synchronized to your computer.

If your computer is offline, you may download plugins using another computer and transfer the Rack/plugins folder to the offline computer. Downloading plugins directly from the Plugin Manager website is not supported at this time.

Installing plugins not available on the Plugin Manager

Install third-party plugins at your own risk. Like VST plugins, installing plugins from unknown sources may compromise your computer and personal information.

Download the plugin ZIP package from the vendor’s website to <Rack user folder>/plugins-v1 (See Where is the “Rack user folder”?). Rack will extract and load the plugin upon launch.

Note: Do not download the plugin via GitHub’s green “Clone or download” button. These are source code ZIP packages and do not contain the compiled plugin binary. If the vendor distributes their plugin with GitHub, look in the “Releases” section for the compiled ZIP packages.

Running Rack

Running on Mac

Launch Rack from the Applications folder or the dock.

Running on Windows

Click on Rack in the Start Menu.

Running on Linux

Double click the Rack binary. Or with the command-line, cd into the Rack folder and run ./Rack.

Command line usage

To launch Rack from the command line, cd into Rack’s folder, and run ./Rack, optionally with the following options.

  • <patch filename>: Loads a patch file.
  • -s <dir>: Sets Rack’s system folder.
  • -u <dir>: Sets Rack’s user folder.
  • -d: Enables development mode. This sets the system and user folders to the current working directory, uses the terminal (stderr) for logging, and disables the Plugin Manager to prevent overwriting plugins.