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#8 in Audio

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Build Status Current Crates.io Version

A safe, fast, and ergonomic framework to create LV2 plugins for audio processing, written in Rust.

This library is a work in progress.

It provides the following features, through the LV2 Core specification:

  • Lightweight, realtime non-blocking and allocation-free audio processing.
  • Generates all the boilerplate to make a LV2 plugin binary, usable by any LV2 host.
  • Any number of ports / Any channel mapping, which can be different for input and output.
    This obviously includes Mono, Stereo, Surround, etc., any configuration your CPU can handle.
  • Can be extended to support any additional features, extensions and port types.
    They can be official, unofficial or completely custom.

Through the LV2 official additional specifications, this library also provides many additional features, including:

  • MIDI processing
  • Serialization of custom data structures, and plugin-plugin or plugin-GUI communication and property manipulation
  • State management
  • Asynchronous work processing
  • Custom Graphical User Interfaces, both in a toolkit-agnostic and in a platform-agnostic way (Not yet implemented)
  • Presets handling (Not yet implemented)
  • ... and more! (Not yet implemented either)

Note that this library will only provide Rust bindings for the official LV2 specifications, however it is compatible with any other arbitrary or custom specification, and other, external crates are able and welcome to provide Rust bindings to any other specification that will integrate with this library.


This example contains the code of a simple amplification plugin. Please note that this isn't the only thing required to create a plugin, see the documentation below for more details.

// Import everything we need.
use lv2::prelude::*;

// The input and output ports are defined by a struct which implements the `PortCollection` trait.
// In this case, there is an input control port for the gain of the amplification, an input audio
// port and an output audio port.
struct Ports {
    gain: InputPort<Control>,
    input: InputPort<Audio>,
    output: OutputPort<Audio>,

// The plugin struct. In this case, we don't need any data and therefore, this struct is empty.
// LV2 uses URIs to identify types. This association is expressed via the `UriBound` trait,
// which tells the framework that the type `Amp` is identified by the given URI. The usual
// way to implement this trait is to use the `uri` attribute.
struct Amp;

// The implementation of the `Plugin` trait, which turns `Amp` into a plugin.
impl Plugin for Amp {
    // Tell the framework which ports this plugin has.
    type Ports = Ports;

    // We don't need any special host features; We can leave them out.
    type InitFeatures = ();
    type AudioFeatures = ();

    // Create a new instance of the plugin; Trivial in this case.
    fn new(_plugin_info: &PluginInfo, _features: &mut ()) -> Option<Self> {

    // Process a chunk of audio. The audio ports are dereferenced to slices, which the plugin
    // iterates over.
    fn run(&mut self, ports: &mut Ports, _features: &mut ()) {
        let coef = if *(ports.gain) > -90.0 {
            10.0_f32.powf(*(ports.gain) * 0.05)
        } else {

        for (in_frame, out_frame) in Iterator::zip(ports.input.iter(), ports.output.iter_mut()) {
            *out_frame = in_frame * coef;

// Generate the plugin descriptor function which exports the plugin to the outside world.

Using this framework


There are multiple valuable sources of documentation:


Internally, this framework is built of several sub-crates which are re-exported by the lv2 crate. All dependencies are optional and can be enabled via features. These are:

  • lv2-atom: General data IO.
  • lv2-core: Implementation of the core LV2 specification.
  • lv2-midi: MIDI message extension for lv2-midi. Support for the wmidi crate can be enabled with the wmidi feature.
  • lv2-state: Extension for LV2 plugins to store their state.
  • lv2-time: Specification to describe position in time and passage of time, in both real and musical terms.
  • lv2-units: Measuring unit definitions.
  • lv2-urid: LV2 integration of the URID concept.
  • lv2-worker: Work scheduling library that allows real-time capable LV2 plugins to execute non-real-time actions.
  • urid: Idiomatic URID support.

Sub-crates with an lv2- prefix implement a certain LV2 specification, which can be looked up in the reference. Enabling a crate only adds new content, it does not remove or break others.

There are also feature sets that account for common scenarios:

  • minimal_plugin: The bare minimum to create plugins. Includes lv2-core and urid.
  • plugin: Usual crates for standard plugins. Includes lv2-core, lv2-atom, lv2-midi, lv2-urid, and urid. This is the default.
  • full: All sub-crates.


Since the bindings to the raw C headers are generated with bindgen, you need to have Clang installed on your system and, if it isn't in your system's standard path, set the environment variable LIBCLANG_PATH to the path of libClang.


Does my host program support it?

Plugins created with rust-lv2 are compatible to all LV2 hosts that comply to the specifications. If your application uses lilv, it's a good sign that it will support your plugin. Some prime examples are Carla and Ardour.

What targets are supported?

We currently support stable and beta Rust running on macOS and Linux. Windows will probably work too, but the Windows build environment of Travis CI is currently broken and we therefore can not support it.

We would like to also support Windows as well as ARM-based embedded devices like Raspberry Pis. If you can help us with these targets, please do so!

Can I host plugins with rust-lv2?

Currently, hosting plugins is not supported. This project was initialy started to create plugins using safe Rust and therefore, it is very plugin-centric. There are plans for integrated plugin hosting or a spin-off project, but those won't start in the near future.

However, there is a lot of code that can be re-used for a hosting framework. If you want to create such a framework, you should take a look at lv2-sys, urid, and lv2-atom.

A bare hosting framework would require an RDF triple store which can load Turtle files, an internal store for plugin interfaces and their extensions, a centralized URID map store, and a graph based work scheduling system to execute run functions in order.

Why bindgen?

lv2-sys uses bindgen to generate the Rust representation of the LV2 C API. Rust can not handle verbatim C code, but is able to define type and function definitions that exactly match those from the C headers. However, since serveral importants details in C aren't properly defined, these bindings need to be different for every platform. One example: While Rust's u32 is always an unsigned, 32-bit wide integer, C's int may be 16 to 64 bits wide and may be signed or unsigned; It depends on the platform.

One solution would be to generate bindings for every supported target, but if we would only support stable, beta and nightly Rust on tier 1 platforms, we would still have to maintain 21 different versions of the same crate. If we would add tier 2 platforms too (which would include e.g. the Raspberry Pis), there would be 216(!) different versions.

I guess it's obvious that this isn't a maintainable situation. Therefore, the bindings need to be generated every time they are build, which requires the build dependency to bindgen.


Licensed under either of

at your option.