The open source framework for sample based instruments
Clone or download


The open source framework for sample based instruments.

HISE is a cross-platform open source audio application for building virtual instruments. It emphasizes on sampling, but includes some basic synthesis features for making hybrid instruments as well as audio effects. You can export the instruments as VST / AU / AAX plugins or as standalone application for Windows / macOS or iOS.

More information:

HISE website

System requirements

Supported OS:

  • Windows 7-10
  • OSX 10.7 - 10.12
  • iOS 8.0
  • Linux (experimental, tested on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS)

HISE is tested on Windows and OSX with the following hosts:

  • Cubase
  • Ableton Live
  • Logic
  • Reaper
  • Protools

It supports x86 and x64 on Windows, altough the 64bit version is highly recommended (it uses memory mapping for accessing samples and because of the limitations of the 32bit memory address space it needs a slower fallback solution).


Sampler engine

  • fast disk streaming sampler engine using memory mapped files
  • Import SFZ files, Mach5 files or AIFFs with metadata from Keymap Pro
  • File name parser for automapping samples
  • multi mic sample support (with purging of single mic channels)
  • looping with crossfades
  • sample start modulation
  • crossfade between samples for dynamic sustain samples
  • customizable voice start behaviour
  • regex parser for mapping samples
  • custom monolith file format for faster loading times
  • switch sample mappings dynamically


  • complex modulation architecture for nested modulation of common parameters
  • includes the most common modulators (LFO, envelopes)

Audio Effects

  • fast convolution reverb
  • filters / eq
  • phaser / chorus
  • delay / reverb

Javascript interpreter

  • superset of Javascript built for real time usage (no allocations, low overhead function calls)
  • write MIDI processing scripts
  • change voice properties (volume & pitch)
  • create plugin interfaces with a WYSIWYG editor
  • built in IDE features (autocomplete / API reference, variable watch, console debugging)
  • combine DSP routines for custom effects

C / C++ compiler

  • embedded C JIT compiler for fast prototyping of DSP routines (based on TinyCC)
  • API for adding DSP modules via dynamic libraries
  • one click C++ build system for building VST / AU / AAX plugins (based on JUCE) from within HISE (using msbuild / xcodebuild)


  • export HISE patches as plugin or standalone application
  • supported plugin architectures: AAX / VST / AU
  • supported platforms: Windows / macOS / iOS (I can't offer actual Linux support because of my Linux-noobness, but feel free to try compiling it and let me know if something doesn't work)

How to compile HISE

Windows / OSX

  1. Clone this repository. It also includes the (slightly modified) JUCE source code, so it might take a while.

  2. Get all necessary 3rd party code:

  3. Open the Projucer (there are compiled versions for every supported OS in the tools/projucer subdirectory) and load the HISE project (either projects/standalone/HISE Standalone.jucer or project/plugin/HISE.jucer)

  4. Make sure the VST / ASIO path settings is correct on your system. If you don't have IPP installed, set the USE_IPP flag in the hi_core module to 0.

  5. Click on "Save Project and open in IDE" to load the project in XCode / Visual Studio.

  6. Hit compile and wait...

Compiling without IPP on OSX

If you don't have Intel Performance Primitives installed on your machine, you need to change the Projucer file. Open the .jucer file in the Projucer (like in step 3 above), click on the Xcode (MacOSX) target and delete this from the Extra Linker Flags field:

/opt/intel/ipp/lib/libippi.a  /opt/intel/ipp/lib/libipps.a /opt/intel/ipp/lib/libippvm.a /opt/intel/ipp/lib/libippcore.a

Then remove the include directories from the Debug and Release configurations (Remove everything in the Header Search Paths and Extra Library Search Paths. As last step, you'll need to change the USE_IPP flag. Click on the hi_core module and change the USE_IPP field to disabled. Then proceed with step 5...


  1. Get these dependencies (taken from the JUCE forum):
sudo apt-get -y install llvm
sudo apt-get -y install clang
sudo apt-get -y install libfreetype6-dev
sudo apt-get -y install libx11-dev
sudo apt-get -y install libxinerama-dev
sudo apt-get -y install libxrandr-dev
sudo apt-get -y install libxcursor-dev
sudo apt-get -y install mesa-common-dev
sudo apt-get -y install libasound2-dev
sudo apt-get -y install freeglut3-dev
sudo apt-get -y install libxcomposite-dev
sudo apt-get -y install libcurl4-gnutls-dev

and, since JUCE 5, also these:

sudo apt-get -y install libwebkit2gtk-4.0 
sudo apt-get -y install libgtk-3-dev

  1. Clone this repository.

  2. Open the Projucer (a precompiled Linux binary can be found at tools/projucer). Load the project projects/standalone/HISE Standalone.jucer and resave the project (this will generate the Makefile with correct Linux paths).

  3. Open the terminal and navigate to this subdirectory: projects/standalone/Builds/LinuxMakefile

  4. Type make CONFIG=Release and wait. If you need the debug version (that is slower but allows you to jump around in the source code, use make CONFIG=Debug.


HISE is licensed under the GPL v3, but there will be a commercial license for closed source usage. Every instrument you'll build will inheritate this license so in order to release a closed source product you'll have to obtain a HISE commercial license as well as a JUCE commercial license. Please get in touch with me for further informations.

Included frameworks

For FFT routines and some vector operations, it is recommended to build HISE against the Intel IPP library (not included).

Apart from the JUCE C++ library, there are some other 3rd party frameworks and libraries included in HISE, which are all non restrictively licenced (either BSD or MIT):

  • ICSTDP DSP library: A pretty decent DSP library with some good and fast routines. Website
  • Tiny C Compiler Awesome little compiler that translates C files into machine code within milliseconds. It is embedded into HISE as development tool. The compiler is LGPL licenced, so it is linked dynamically into HISE, but for closed source plugins, the C files will be compiled by a "real" compiler anyway.
  • Kiss FFT: A easy and C-only FFT library with a clean interface and acceptable performance. It is used as fallback FFT when the IPP library is not available.
  • WDL (just for the convolution, it might get sorted out in the future)
  • MDA Plugins: a collection of audio effects recently published as open source project.
  • some other public domain code taken from various sources (, etc.).