Presentation of Usine Hollyhock

Usine Hollyhock is a unique piece of software which introduces several revolutionary concepts.

Usine is dedicated to live music and real-time installations. It’s not a traditional Digital Audio Workstation so, it has a very specific approach.
Also it’s a modular environment, which means that, even if you can find many ready to use examples, the main goal is to create and customize your live set to fit it exactly to your needs.
Usine is different but finally you’ll realize that it is one of the most powerful audio software you can find.

Compatible Windows & MACOSX

Usine Hollyhock is compatible with Microsoft Windows and Apple MacOSX. Workspaces or Patches developed on a platform can be opened on any others.

Actually available as 32 bits (Windows, MACOSX) and 64 bits (Windows). See Hollyhock compatibility notes.

Usine is portable application, which means that there is no installation procedure but just an “unzip and play”. Several copies of the application can be installed at the same time.
Nothing is modified on your system, no hidden files dispatched on the hard drive, no file association, driver, system library, nothing…
Travel light with a simple USB stick!

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Simple and powerful interface

Usine is a modern all-in one Digital Audio Workstation with very user friendly interface.
  • Open something? just drag & drop it from the browser.
  • Delete something? just drop it on the trash.
  • Retrieve something deleted? just open the trash and get it back.

If you are tired with huge, complex and abstract menu bars, Usine has a contextual menu on all objects. Click and see what commands you can do with an object.

You can Zoom in/out on any control to feel more comfortable on stage or use Usine with a muti-touch screen monitor.

Rack concept

Most of Usine is based on the concept of audio Rack.

A Rack contains any number of Audio samples, FX, VST, VSTi, Audio Unit Plug-ins. Racks can be chained without limitation. It has an input and an output panel where you decide what is coming in and where it goes.

A Workspace can contain an unlimited number of Racks.

Of course a Rack can be saved separately and reopened later in another project. It has its own preset board to memorize up to 16 different configurations.

A Rack may have several audio inputs or outputs to provide the hugest routing you can imagine without dealing with complex auxiliary Buses. Each input/outputs volumes can be set separately for each Devices or chained Racks

Moreover a Rack can handle MIDI flow as well as Audio. Chose the MIDI Device you want to use in your Rack, add various MIDI effects, VSTi to be triggered with incoming MIDI. Send MIDI flows to any output connected Devices.

External devices

Usine works also with external devices. For example it contains several devices modules like the Leap Motion module, the serial port module (to work with Arduino and other serial devices) and the Wiimote module.


Create some interaction with movements and gestures with the Leap motion. Built your own midi devices with the Arduino and sensors and conduct your patches with the Wiimote.

A Grid to organize your sequences

More powerful than a sequencer or an audio tracker, Usine has an integrated Grid to organize your live set.

All racks can be triggered at a precise time and can last as long as you want.

Each line has its own duration and any controls can have an automation curve.

Only current actives racks can be visible which means that your vision is not polluted by unnecessary items.

Devices based architecture

In Usine all connected hardware Devices are grouped in the Devices panel. Any kind of Audio, MIDI, OSC devices can be created.

Each Devices can contain several per-processing, like an EQ on a microphone input, MIDI channel transformations on connected controller.

Then just Drag & Drop those Devices to Racks inputs or Racks outputs.

Data and OSC devices can be easily used with the Binds Concept.

Modular environment

Don’t forget that Usine is a modular Audio Workstation. It means that behind any object you’ll probably find, what we call, a Patch.

In few words, a Patch is a set of small boxes called Modules. Modules are connected together to achieve a particular treatment, which can be Audio, MIDI, or anything else.

Create our own Patch from scratch or customize easily existing ones, from the library or from the user’s Add-ons page.

Total VST & Audio-Units integration

Usine provides a complete integration of VST’s (WIN, MACOSX) and Audio Units (MACOSX) plug-ins.


Just Drag & Drop plug-ins files from the browser to any rack or patch.

Then you’ll have an access of all the plug-in parameters inside patches of Usine. You’ll realize how it is simple to apply a LFO or a Random generator to a parameter of your favorite plug-in.

Surround, up to 64 channels

Usine is a complete Surround Audio Workstation. All audio objects of Usine (samplers, filters, delays, bit crushers, etc.) are up to 64 channels natively. Of course internal audio buses are 64 channels too.

Moreover, in Usine, a rack can handle several surround outputs at the same time without any problem. For example the main out can be in 8.1 and stages monitors simple mono. You’ll appreciate all the routing facilities of the new interface.

The built-in surround panner lets you to choose the speakers positions, the areas and is compatible with the physics engine.

Share patches over the lan

This is probably the one of most advanced feature of Hollyhock: the capability to share patches from a computer to another.

A shared patch can appear on all (or a restricted list) connected computers. Then it becomes a simple remote of the original (called master) one.

As well, synchro informations (like tempo, start, etc) can be sent automatically to all remotes to maintain the computers synchronized.

Moreover MIDI devices can send data’s all over the network. So you can use a MIDI device connected to a computer to modify parameters of another computer.

This feature can be very useful in several contexts like:

  • teaching: with a single master computer for the teacher and remotes for students.
  • on stage: musicians have only remotes on stage and the master stays near the sound Engineer.
  • lan parties: live sets with several musicians playing together.

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Native multi-touch

Usine was the first native multi-touch Audio Workstation (WIN only). We keep our technological leadership.

Of course, each visual control can receive multi-touch information that you can use in patches.

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Highly muti-core optimized

Usine provides one of most advanced multi-core optimization. Each rack is calculated in a separate thread and the CPU load is dispatched on all the cores.

A powerful real-time process management, derived from Artificial Intelligence, gives a zero-latency buses calculation.
In other words, unlike most of Digital Audio Workstations, there is no additional latency for complex audio routings.

User friendly Start page

A new Start Page welcomes you at the launching of Usine.


On this page you can easily open your recent Workspaces, some ready made Templates (that you can customize yourself), some demos, playlist, etc.

Get ride of the old fashion File/Open click, just press the picture of your latest Workspace (or touch it with a touch screen!) to open it.

Customizable mixer

The Mixer integrated into Usine is, of course, totally modular.

By a simple Drag & drop, you decide which Rack you want to display, its order, color, etc.
Apply a MIDI assignation with your favorite controller in a single click.

You can also decide where you want to display this panel, for example inside the main Workspace, or inside the Toolbox.

Synthetic view

As we saw Usine has unique routing capabilities. If you feel lost with a routing open the Synthetic view to display an overview of all audio and MIDI flows.

In this panel displays all input devices, all rack, all output devices and links to see what’s gone with all of them.

With a simple click on each item you have an access to all levels that you can set very quickly. For example a click on the Monitor 1 output audio device, let you you adjust all sources levels redirected to it.

Play-list

Get ride of the mouse on stage!

If your live set is made of several Workspaces use the Playlist.

With the Playlist, determine the order of your tunes and recall them very easily. This can be achieve quickly without any prompt or confirmation dialog, even with a simple MIDI learn or Keyboard assignation.

Recording audio (Direct to Disk)

Record your performances and concerts directly on the hard-disk of your computer with the Direct to Disk. This functionality turns Usine into a powerful real-time audio recorder.


By a simple Drag & Drop add to this panel a Device or a Rack you want to record.

The recording is made in a background process with a minimum impact (in CPU charge terms) to your current live session.

Record movements

Tired of static audio effect? Make your session alive with quick and easy movement recording.

This function lets you record a movement on any visual objects, like the knobs, faders, step and more.
Just clicks on the record button, click & move the mouse on a visual object, once you release the mouse, the object will repeat the movements.

Integrated physical engine

Each panel of Usine can be turned into a powerful physical engine. You’ll get bouncing balls effects on your patches very easily.

On all visual controls of Usine, without exception, you’ll retrieve physical informations that you’ll be able to use in your patches in order to get huge effects and behaviors.

For example it can be speed, angular speed, rotation angles, collides, informations connected directly in patches.

Fully customizable interface

All the interface design is totally customizable. On all controls you can set most of layouts settings like, size, font, style, colors, rotation angle, blurriness, zooms, borders, etc.

Then you’ll create very personal interfaces, saves their settings and reuse them later in others patches.

Scripts and Open Source SDK

Usine is powered by an easy to use Open Source SDK (under MIT licence). With the SDK Hollyhock you can create your own User Modules or devices.

If you are a warrior in programming stuffs, Usine has a powerful Scripting Tutorial to provide more specific computations within patches.

Not enough? All Usine is based on a the Internal Messages Language (IML) to create or modify patches dynamically. Also the Templates Engine can be used to add new user interface capabilities.

hollyhock.txt · Last modified: 2013/11/04 17:17 by nay-seven