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CLAP: The New Audio Plug-in Standard
Old 15th June 2022
  #1
News Desk Editor
 
The Press Desk's Avatar
 
🎧 20 years
CLAP: The New Audio Plug-in Standard

CLAP: The New Audio Plug-in Standard-bitwig-news_2206_clap-announcement-story-sd.png

Bitwig and u-he are excited to announce CLAP (“CLever Audio Plug-in API”), the new open standard for audio plug-ins and hosts. CLAP offers modern features, innate stability, and rapid support for plug-in and host developers. And since it's open source and liberally licensed, CLAP is a safe bet for the future.

Advantages of CLAP for Musicians
Developed in collaboration with experts from diverse fields in the music software industry, CLAP is a cutting-edge plug-in standard, designed for modern computers, software, and paradigms. CLAP caters to novel DAW concepts, and opens up new horizons for what a plug-in can do or be.

Here are some immediately useful advantages of CLAP:

Better Performance From Modern CPUs
Developed with modern CPUs in mind, CLAP takes multi-thread management to a new level, with a clear and efficient allocation of roles between plug-in and host. Specifically, CLAP allows collaborative multicore support between plug-in and host through a so-called “thread-pool”, also allowing hosts to manage CPU-threading for plug-ins that provide their own multicore support. Preliminary tests show significant performance gains compared with current solutions.

Better and Faster Organization
CLAP hosts can read plug-in metadata and help organize your plug-ins. As CLAP hosts can retrieve information from plug-ins without having to wait for them to initialize, plug-in scans can be much faster.

Furthermore, we’re currently finalizing an extension which lets plug-ins tell the host which files they need (e.g. samples or wavetables), and the host can consolidate those in the project file. That means you'll never lose a sample while transferring a project between systems!

Better Modulation
The CLAP standard promotes new ways to create music with automation, modulation, and expressions. Here are a few examples:
  • CLAP supports per-note automation and modulation (in accordance with the recent MIDI 2.0 specifications).
  • Going one step further, CLAP’s parameter modulation concept allows for temporary parameter offsets. Parameter modulation is non-destructive, so as soon as the modulation has finished, the target parameter will return to its original state.
  • CLAP makes it possible for polyphonic plug-ins to have their per-voice parameters modulated for individual notes (“MPE on steroids”).
With this new standard we aim to inspire host developers to add exciting new features to their products. Initial implementations by Bitwig, u-he and the Surge project demonstrate just a few of the possibilities.

Information for Plug-In and Host Developers
The KISS (keep it simple, silly) mantra belongs to CLAP. From the C-only ABI, which allows binding to any programming language, to the transparent client-server model between host and plug-in, the robustness and clarity of the threading model, and the single event queue for all kinds of parameter changes, timing and MIDI. Despite being so comprehensive, everything in CLAP is easy to find and easy to implement.

A single cpp/hpp glue layer for C++ offers a quick start into the ABI, and its built-in “proxy layer” finds common threading bugs in an instant. Apropos C-only ABI: There are no platform specific dependencies: In theory CLAP should also run well on embedded platforms, game consoles or specialized supercomputers.

Open Source & Liberal License
CLAP is open source, released under the MIT license: No fees, memberships or proprietary license agreements are required before developing or distributing a CLAP capable host or plug-in, and the license never expires. In a nutshell, there are no entry hurdles for developers, and plenty of open source projects already benefit from CLAP.

MIDI Just Works!
Inspired by MPE and MIDI 2.0, CLAP can adapt to any future MIDI standard. Wherever a solid standard exists, we allow developers to freely decide how to apply it. Plug-ins can receive and send any MIDI event on multiple ports.

Extensibility & Governance
A simple system for extensions makes CLAP future-proof. Companies can offer proprietary extensions if required for specific features.

CLAP 1.0 is the result of a multi-year project initiated by u-he and Bitwig, with design and implementation contributions by a group of commercial and open source audio developers from across our industry. As we proceed beyond the initial set of extensions, we are committed to establishing a transparent process to govern the standard which allows participation from the entire audio software community. We welcome participation from the development community today, and we will share details of these processes and governing models over the second half of 2022.

An Invitation to Collaborate and Explore
CLAP does not only exist on paper; there are several ways you can try it out now. See the links below for projects from u-he, Bitwig, and others. Several other industry players are currently evaluating the CLAP standard.

Available From Bitwig, u-he and Others Today.

For more information: https://www.bitwig.com/stories/201/
Attached Thumbnails
CLAP: The New Audio Plug-in Standard-bitwig-news_2206_clap-announcement-story-sd.png  
Old 15th June 2022 | Show parent
  #2
Lives for gear
 
Dr Gruv's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
It would be nice to see Apple support this new plug-in
Old 15th June 2022
  #3
Gear Maniac
 
Good luck.
So, VST, AU, AAX, and now CLAP.
Old 15th June 2022 | Show parent
  #4
Gear Maniac
 
Erik_Lucas's Avatar
Very exciting.
Old 15th June 2022 | Show parent
  #5
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr Gruv ➡️
It would be nice to see Apple support this new plug-in
In the mid-2000's, when we had the GMPI discussion/process to design a new cross-industry plugin API, Apple's representative(s) at the initial NAMM gathering said, essentially:

"We've just gone through a plugin API design process and come up with the best one around. We're not interested".

Given that they've subsequently released a new version of AU, it would be a (pleasant) surprise to me if they had any interest at all.
Old 15th June 2022 | Show parent
  #6
Lives for gear
 
Dr Gruv's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Apple needs to update to the latest standards and would be great to see them participate/integrate and use or adopt Clap
Old 15th June 2022 | Show parent
  #7
Lives for gear
 
zvenx's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by dawhead ➡️
In the mid-2000's, when we had the GMPI discussion/process to design a new cross-industry plugin API, Apple's representative(s) at the initial NAMM gathering said, essentially:

"We've just gone through a plugin API design process and come up with the best one around. We're not interested".

Given that they've subsequently released a new version of AU, it would be a (pleasant) surprise to me if they had any interest at all.
I am pretty sure Steinberg feels the same way about theirs too.

Avid considering though is a huge surprise for me.
They never follow anyone else's standards
rsp
Old 15th June 2022 | Show parent
  #8
Lives for gear
 
muziksculp's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Super Cool

I hope Presonus decides to implement/support CLAP format in Studio One Pro 6.
Old 15th June 2022 | Show parent
  #9
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr Gruv ➡️
Apple needs to update to the latest standards and would be great to see them participate/integrate and use or adopt Clap
Apple doesn't *need* to do anything. They own one of the flagship DAWs and to this day do not support anything but their own plugin API there, which doesn't seem to cost them too much in the way of users or enthusiasm.

For most developers, delivery format for plugins is of less and less importance. They use a toolkit like JUCE, and check a box for the plugin APIs and platforms they want to support. Not many people will write directly for CLAP, just as not many people write directly for VST or AU or LV2.

What's exciting in terms of features in CLAP comes mostly from the fairly radical concepts regarding modulation that Bitwig pioneered. Retrofitting those into an older host so that they become meaningful and powerful is a non-trivial task, and is also only of value to particular production workflows. It has no value at all, for example, for "traditional" recordings of live performances.
Old 15th June 2022 | Show parent
  #10
Lives for gear
 
Dr Gruv's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by dawhead ➡️
Apple doesn't *need* to do anything. They own one of the flagship DAWs and to this day do not support anything but their own plugin API there, which doesn't seem to cost them too much in the way of users or enthusiasm.

For most developers, delivery format for plugins is of less and less importance. They use a toolkit like JUCE, and check a box for the plugin APIs and platforms they want to support. Not many people will write directly for CLAP, just as not many people write directly for VST or AU or LV2.

What's exciting in terms of features in CLAP comes mostly from the fairly radical concepts regarding modulation that Bitwig pioneered. Retrofitting those into an older host so that they become meaningful and powerful is a non-trivial task, and is also only of value to particular production workflows. It has no value at all, for example, for "traditional" recordings of live performances.
I disagree if Apple can implement the features of clap then I’m happy with that or support that plug-in inside logic that would be great but There has to be Broad support from the manufactures - it looks like it’s starting to get… and the users have to demand it inside of logic. There is a course for feedback to the logic user teams inside of logic….
Old 15th June 2022 | Show parent
  #11
Lives for gear
 
🎧 5 years
Got the email from bigwig (which i don't use [yet] and got exited. then i thought 'but damn, i'm a Logic user'....
Sounds like this format delivers what i recently read some ppl have been doing; using 'j bridge' to "spread" the cpu load much better
Old 15th June 2022 | Show parent
  #12
Gear Addict
 
Schmeckitup's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr Gruv ➡️
I disagree if Apple can implement the features of clap then I’m happy with that or support that plug-in inside logic that would be great but There has to be Broad support from the manufactures - it looks like it’s starting to get… and the users have to demand it inside of logic. There is a course for feedback to the logic user teams inside of logic….
I would love it if Logic even fully supported the AU standard. I always get a little jealous when I see how Protools works with plug-in catagories and reporting eq curves and gain reduction.
Old 15th June 2022 | Show parent
  #13
Gear Maniac
 
Apple has a long history of actively opposing any cross platform standard or consistency. They are built on a platform of radical proprietary development. I would be shocked if they change that, but would love it.

I hope other companies adopt though, as my two DAWs are already on board it looks like, Reaper and Bitwig. The CPU thread distribution is really the most exciting component to me. Hope Acustica is looking at this, or will soon. That would be so cool with the new generations of CPUs coming out this year... 😀
Old 15th June 2022 | Show parent
  #14
Gear Maniac
 
jackURbody's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by muziksculp ➡️
Super Cool

I hope Presonus decides to implement/support CLAP format in Studio One Pro 6.
Good call, sounds like a promising tech.
Old 15th June 2022 | Show parent
  #15
Gear Maniac
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by zvenx ➡️
I am pretty sure Steinberg feels the same way about theirs too.

Avid considering though is a huge surprise for me.
They never follow anyone else's standards
rsp
My guess, Avid is looking at it to see what they can use inside of AAX. I don't see them going away from or supporting it.
Old 15th June 2022 | Show parent
  #16
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by dawhead ➡️
Apple doesn't *need* to do anything.
What's exciting in terms of features in CLAP comes mostly from the fairly radical concepts regarding modulation that Bitwig pioneered. Retrofitting those into an older host so that they become meaningful and powerful is a non-trivial task, and is also only of value to particular production workflows. It has no value at all, for example, for "traditional" recordings of live performances.
I think everyone likes better performance from their VST (test show 'significant performance gains) and midi 2/MPE is rapidly becoming more mainstream...most DAWS support MPE now...

Moreover the 'Open Source & Liberal License' ethos (i.e. not having the most popular format for all DAWS owned and licenced by Yamaha) gives a lot more community power and rapid development for the future...I think it is what developers want...it's the opposite of 'apple' methods.
Old 15th June 2022 | Show parent
  #17
Lives for gear
 
zvenx's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by RecStu ➡️
My guess, Avid is looking at it to see what they can use inside of AAX. I don't see them going away from or supporting it.
I had that same thought an hour or so ago..
I suspect so too.
rsp
Old 15th June 2022 | Show parent
  #18
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Schmeckitup ➡️
I would love it if Logic even fully supported the AU standard. I always get a little jealous when I see how Protools works with plug-in catagories and reporting eq curves and gain reduction.
The "category" part of at least the original AU spec is broken. Apple pushed it into 1 part of a 3 part tuple used to describe the spec, and there wasn't enough room to fit useful information in (IIRC, it seemed to be because Apple forgot that the manufacture info took up 1 of the 3 available fields).

With Ardour/Mixbus, we had to do our own tagging of plugins in order to create meaningful categories, and I suspect Digi/Avid did the same.
Old 15th June 2022
  #19
Gear Head
 
Dj Walker's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
From the u-he website.
"Following companies and projects are already evaluating CLAP for their host and plug-in software"
https://u-he.com/community/clap
Old 15th June 2022
  #20
Gear Nut
 
Thanks for the CLAP!
Old 16th June 2022
  #21
I hope Apple gets the CLAP
Old 16th June 2022
  #22
Lives for gear
 
screentan's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I wonder if it will be a fast spreader? Jokes aside though it looks interesting.
Old 16th June 2022
  #23
Here for the gear
 
sociatechpr's Avatar
 
It’s always worth checking when you name a new product what it means globally. Clap in the UK is slang for a sexually transmitted disease. Hence the term "avoid it like the clap."
Old 16th June 2022
  #24
Lives for gear
 
Calagan's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Didn't know the slang meaning of clap.
I find it funny actually, and I hope it spreads everywhere...

Joke apart, I find it very exciting and I hope it changes the plugin industry...
Old 16th June 2022
  #25
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Yup, if they wanted it to stand for Clever Audio Plugin surely CAP would have been better! Anyway, it’s a small point, people will get tired of the pun….eventually! I bet when they named it they thought people would be making ‘round of applause’ puns not STD references!
Old 16th June 2022 | Show parent
  #26
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by SLiC ➡️
Yup, if they wanted it to stand for Clever Audio Plugin surely CAP would have been better! Anyway, it’s a small point, people will get tired of the pun….eventually! I bet when they named it they thought people would be making ‘round of applause’ puns not STD references!
Yes CLAP is an unfortunate name, due to societal immaturity, but I'd rather focus on the actual technology.
Old 26th June 2022
  #27
Gear Addict
 
🎧 5 years
We already have enough. While it's not plugin related, Native Instruments tried to create format standards, but it's not doing anything.
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