Superbooth 2019: Steinberg Retrologue 2 VST becomes a hardware synth

Mind Music Lab’s ELK system used to build VST-powered hardware synth.

Steinberg has teamed up with Mind Music Labs to present a hardware version of the popular Retrologue 2 VST synth.

This is possible thanks to a technology launched in January by Mind Music Labs called ELK MusicOS. This is an ultra-low-latency Linux-based hardware platform for hosting plug-ins. It allows plug-in developers using the VST and Rack Extension formats to make hardware versions of their instruments and effects.

The technology also boasts sub-1ms round trip latency making the playing experience, in theory, indistinguishable from using analogue hardware.

With the hardware synth, the Retrologue 2 VST plug-in remains the sound generation engine, but it is hosted within a self-contained hardware device covered in hands-on performance controls, and can also be addressed via MIDI.

Although the Retrologue 2 hardware synth is just a prototype, it’s an interesting development in the world of hardware synths and raises the question: Could we see other classic VSTs being turned into hardware synths in the future?

Florian Haack, Senior Marketing Manager at Steinberg thinks so, commenting: “We immediately saw the potential of ELK MusicOS, and that’s why we added it to the official VST SDK [Software Development Kit]. The development of the ‘Powered by ELK’ Retrologue 2 hardware prototype has further strengthened our belief that, with the help of ELK MusicOS, VST can become a standard for not only software, as it is today, but also for hardware.”

Stay tuned to for all the latest news from Superbooth 2019.