CLAP is a new plugin standard for plugin/host communication by Bitwig & u-he

CLAP is a new plugin standard for plugin/host communication by Bitwig & u-he

Image Credit: u-he

CLAP (Clever Audio Plugin API) is a new open standard for audio plugins and hosts.

Bitwig and u-he have announced CLAP: a new plugin standard to allow more efficient communication between plugins and their host system, reports KVR. CLAP is designed to give us modern technical features; further plugin stability, and support for plugin developers’ host applications. Oh, and it’s open source too!

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

u-he and Bitwig


CLAP: the processors champion

CLAP has the modern CPU in mind. There is clear allocation between plugin and host, and it allows for collaborative multicore support between plugin and host via a “thread-pool”. This thread-pool allows hosts to manage a plugin’s CPU threading if it provides its own multicore support.

As a result, CLAP hosts can read a plugin’s metadata and contribute to organizing your plugin library. In other words, a CLAP host can retrieve information from your plugins without a need to wait for it to initialize. Therefore scanning for plugins is about to get much faster!

An additional extension is in the works too. Upon finalisation, CLAP will allow plugins to inform their host system of the type of files they require – like samples or wavetables – so the host can fetch them automatically. This will be a big relief to anyone who has lost files while moving work across systems.


CLAP is improving parameter modulation

But CLAP also has ways of enhancing modulation & automation in mind too. For example, it supports automation and modulation for individual notes in line with MIDI 2.0 specifications. In addition, it allows for temporary parameter offsets. This means that as soon as modulation has finished, the modulated parameter returns to its original state.

CLAP is now at V1.0 and is ABI stable. Now developers are actively encouraged to build on top of the foundation. And musicians can investigate CLAP in Bitwig Studio betas and a few u-he plugins.

Do you think CLAP is the future of plugin & host communication?

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