AudioToolkit: creating a simple plugin with WDL-OL

Audio Toolkit was started several years ago now, there are more than a dozen plugins based on the platform, applications using it, but I never wrote a tutorial explaining how to use it. Users had to find out for themselves. This changes today.

Building Audio Toolkit

Let’s start with building Audio ToolKit. It uses CMake to ease the pain of supporting several platforms, although you can build it yourself if you generate config.h.

You will require Boost, Eigen and FFTW if you want to test the library and ensure that everything is all right.


Windows may be the most complicated platform. This stems from the fact that the runtime is different for each version of the Microsoft compiler (except after 2015), and usually that’s not the one you have with your DAW (and thus probably not the one you have with your users’ DAW).

SO the first question is which kind of build you need. For a plugin, I think it is clearly a static runtime that you require, for an app, I would suggest the dynamic runtime. For this, in the CMake GUI, set MSVC_RUNTIME to Static or Dynamic. Enable the same output, static for a plugin and shared libraries for an application.

Note that tests require the shared libraries.

macSierra/OS X

On OS X, just create the default Xcode project, you may want to also generate ATK with CMAKE_OSX_ARCHITECTURES to i386 to get a 32bits version, or x86_64 for a universal binary (I’ll use i386 in this tutorial).

The same rules for static/shared apply here.


For Linux, I don’t have a plugin support in WDL-OL, but suffice to say that it is the ideas in the next section that are actually relevant.

Building a plugin with WDL-OL

I’ll use the same simple code to generate a simple plugin that does more or less nothing except copy data from the input to the output inside a plugin.

Common code

Start by using the script to create your own plugin. Use a “1-1” PLUG_CHANNEL_IO value to create a mono plugin (this is in resource.h). More advanced configurations can be seen on the ATK plugin repository.

Now, we need an input and an output filter for our pipeline. Let’s add them to our plugin class:

#include <ATK/Core/InPointerFilter.h>
#include <ATK/Core/OutPointerFilter.h>

and new members:

  ATK::InPointerFilter<double> inFilter;
  ATK::OutPointerFilter<double> outFilter;

Now, in the initialization list, add the following:

inFilter(nullptr, 1, 0, false), outFilter(nullptr, 1, 0, false)
  outFilter.set_input_port(0, &inFilter, 0);

This is required to setup the pipeline and initialize the internal variables.
In Reset() put the following:

  int sampling_rate = GetSampleRate();
  if(sampling_rate != outFilter.get_output_sampling_rate())

This ensures that all the sampling rates are consistent. If this is not required for a copy pipeline, for EQs, modeling filters, this is mandatory. Also ATK requires the pipeline to be consistent, so you can’t connect filters that don’t have matching input/output sampling rates. Some of them can change rates, like oversampling and undersampling ones, but they are the exception, not the rule.

And now, the only thing that remains is to actually trigger the pipeline:

  inFilter.set_pointer(inputs[0], nFrames);
  outFilter.set_pointer(outputs[0], nFrames);

Now, the WDL-OL projects must be adapted.


In both cases, it is quite straightforward: set include paths and libraries for the link stage.

For Windows, you need to have a matching ATK build for Debug/Release. In the project properties, add ATK include folder in Project->Properties->C++->Preprocessor->AdditionalIncludeDirectories.

Then add in the link page the ATK libraries you require (Project->Properties->Link->AdditionalDependencies) for each configuration.

macSierra/OS X

On OS X, it is easier to add the include/library folders, by adding them to ADDITIONAL_INCLUDES and ADDITIONAL_LIBRARY_PATHS.

The second step is to add the libraries to the project by adding them to the Link Binary With Libraries list for each target you want to build.


That’s it!

In the end, I hope that I showed that it is easy to build something with Audio ToolKit.

Buy Me a Coffee!
Other Amount:
Your Email Address:

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.