The open source toolkit for building virtual instruments and audio effects


Compile HISE from source code and stay up to date.

Precompiled binaries for Windows and macOS

Absolute Freedom

Compile your project as a native plugin (VST/AU/AAX) for macOS, Windows and Linux.

Feature Complete

Start development with powerful building blocks like disk streaming samplers, synths, FX modules and flexible modulation system.

Effective Workflow

Create an interface with the inbuilt WYSIWYG editor, DSP with a visual programming environment and write scripts using state-of-the-art IDE features.

Modular architecture

Assemble your plugin using drag & drop elements, use scripting for advanced customizations or dive into C++ for maximum flexibility.

Deployment Tools

Add Expansions to your plugin, use a native copy protection solution and use the HLAC compression for easy sample distribution.


Get involved with an active and dedicated community of developers that will help you out when you get stuck along the way.

Getting to know

HISE Walkthrough

Sit back and enjoy 20 minutes of going through the most important features of HISE:


Read what other developers think about working with HISE:






Native Plugin

Compile your project as a native application or audio plugin using a C++ compiler toolchain.

  • Create your own product installer.
  • Use advanced features like scriptnode compilation or Faust DSP nodes.
  • Modify the HISE codebase to optimize performance for your project.
  • Compile and sign the binaries on each OS.
  • Implement a custom copy protection solution.
  • Incorporate third-party code and keep your IP secret.

Setting up the compilation process may seem intimidating at first, but there are videos available that demonstrate how to compile HISE on each supported platform: Once you've set it up, exporting your plugin becomes a one-click operation, plus you get the advantage of using the latest HISE version.

RHAPSODY Player Format

Export the plugin as a library for the RHAPSODY Player from Libre Wave.

  • Quick route to your DAW
  • Doesn't require you to set up a compile toolchain.
  • Export it on your machine and use it on any OS that supports the RHAPSODY Player.
  • You don't get the advantages and customizations that require a C++ compiler.

The RHAPSODY Player from Libre Wave is open source and freely available and can be considered as the official platform for loading HISE libraries. Since it is an open platform, it easy to import and modify RHAPSODY libraries with HISE. This makes your plugin more accessible and customizable compared to a native binary deployment.


Knowledge Base

There is a vast amount of information available if you need to learn more about HISE. During development, these three places of information will become very important, so make sure you check them out properly.

User Manual

Dive into the Documentation to learn more about HISE, read up on specific topics and take a look at the full reference API.


On the HISE Forum you can find a vibrant community of developers which are eager to help you out if you can't find the answer in the existing 7000+ topics.

Video Tutorials

David Healey has made a vast amount of video tutorials for HISE covering different topics of varying complexity. Make sure to check out his Youtube Channel and subscribe to his Patreon if you want to get the latest videos.

Open Source HISE Projects

If you want to explore how a plugin is made in HISE, feel free to check out the repository of these open source projects. Note that for some of the third party projects you will have to contact the vendor to get the samples as they are usually not part of the repository.

HISE Tutorial Repository

The official repository for multiple tutorials spanning simple projects like a basic synthesiser or convolution reverb to small examples for specific use cases like custom sample import.

Libre Wave Sofia Woodwinds

A very thorougly sampled woodwinds library by Libre Wave with emphasis on realtime playability.

Collab B3

The CollaB3 organ is a collaboration of various HISE developers and features a detailed reproduction of noises, clicks, leakage, rotary speaker and tonewheel. Also chorus and reverb are included..


There are multiple open source projects made with HISE available at Orchestools that cover a broad range of sounds using CC licensed samples.

Sinuslabs REACH

REACH is modern creative Reverb that is made for synthetic sound sources made by Sinus Labs.


Built with HISE


by Wave Alchemy

Elevate your music with Triaz, an innovative drum engine designed for unparalleled beat creation.

With lightning-fast polyrhythmic sequencing, advanced drum layering, dynamic mixing tools, and intelligent randomization, Triaz redefines the art of drum production.


by Auddict

Explore hundreds of instruments with unlimited flexibility. 500+ instruments with multiple Round Robin variations and up to eight dynamic layers. Play them as fully customizable loops or deep sampled library.


by Lunacy Audio

An award-winning virtual instrument, CUBE brings endless inspiration to modern electronic, hip hop, pop, and genre-bending tracks. Create stunning new sounds and take your tracks to the next level with CUBE’s creative 3D sample-morphing engine.

Pawn Shop Comp

by Korneff Audio

The Pawn Shop Comp 2.1 is a professional tool that will make a huge difference in the quality and impact of your mixes. It sounds great on any sound source and in virtually any application.

Handy Drums

by Goran Grooves

Maple shell, the most versatile sound. An absolute standard, a perfect "all around" studio drum kit for use in any music genre. The options are endless, imagination being the only limit.

Need 533 EQ

by Noise Ash

High-performance British style analog eq unit which has a very sweet musical tone that doesn’t sound muddy or harsh even in extreme settings.


by Felt Instruments

Bardzo brings a unique grand piano with two strings per key and no resonance board under your fingertips. Bigger than the Una Corda, more intimate than your standard posh grand.



Atma is a collection of sacred sound instruments obtained by MNTRA's award winning founder & composer, Brian D’Oliveira, during his many pilgrimages to holy sites around the world.

Meta Piano

by Sampleson

MetaPiano is the first Spectral Modeled Grand Piano out there. It was built upon real sound captures from a Japanese Concert Grand Piano and meticulously rebuilt by math algorithms.


HISE is distributed under a dual-license model for both, open-source and proprietary projects. Releasing a project under the GPL license is completely free of charge. If you want or need to avoid the freedom of the GPL license, you can acquire a commercial HISE license.

Open Source License

The GPL v3 open-source license grants you complete freedom to create, distribute, and sell your own work while adhering to the same GPL licensing model and its requirements.

To distribute your plugins you can either offer compiled binaries yourself or create a library for the free Libre Wave Rhapsody player, if you want to skip the compilation procedure.

GPL Project

  • dedicated plugin / app binary
  • compilation for every OS required
  • fully customizable UI

Rhapsody Expansion

  • load your HISE project in Rhapsody
  • works on all platforms, no compilation necessary
  • start out with a readymade template to ensure consistency across different Rhapsody libraries

Open Source License FAQ

In order to release your product under the GPLv3 license, you will also have to license your source code under the GPL license, which means that any source code and assets (scripts, images, audio files, additional source code) required to compile your project must be available to anyone that you provide a binary of your product.
The most straight forward solution to this is to set your repository on GitHub or whatever version control host you are using to "public" and include a copy of the GPL license somewhere in your repo.
Absolutely not. You are free to sell your product for any price as long as you grant people the ability to modify / compile it themselves.
GPL does not mean Public Domain. You will keep the copyright of any code you write and can make modifications as you wish, you just can't prevent that other people might to the same. What they will not be able to do is to remove you as an author and claim that they wrote everything themselves (or make a proprietary derivative), because that would be a violation of the GPL license.
This is not 100% legally clear, but samples are not a required asset to compile and run your binary, therefore you can pick any other license you like (usually one of the Creative Commons licenses is a good match). Fair play usage would suggest that you don't hide them behind a unreasonable paywall, but that's not a legally binding requirement and you can of course ask for compensation for hosting fees etc.
It depends. If you're talking about AAX, then just don't ship AAX builds of your product. If you're using third party DSP algorithms that you can't disclose to the public, then you will of course need to get a proprietary license.
Weird question, but OK. Any kind of copy protection requires some private information (eg. encryption keys), which would need to be disclosed to the public alongside the source code in order to comply with the GPL license. Therefore the entire copy protection scheme will be rendered pointless because people can just compile it without whatever scheme you come up with. If you want to prevent people sharing your work (which is the foundation of open source), releasing a proprietary product under the commercial license is a much more suitable approach for you.

Commercial License

For most commercial projects a proprietary license is the most viable option because it permits the confidentiality of the source code. The HISE commercial license is a company-wide license that allows you to release as many proprietary projects as you want as long as your license subscription is active.

The licensing fee for proprietary usage is a monthly fee determined by the yearly revenue that you've made with HISE based products and is categorized into two tiers:


[Yearly payment option]
  • less than 50.000 € annual revenue made with HISE-based products.
  • 50€ / month (or 600€ / year), VAT excluded

HISE PRO License

[Yearly payment option]
  • more than 50.000 € annual revenue made with HISE-based products
  • 300€ / month (or 3600€ / year), VAT excluded

Please be aware that if you intend to use HISE for a proprietary product, obtaining a commercial JUCE license is necessary, as HISE is based on JUCE and JUCE is using a similar dual-licensing model. For a preview of the HISE license agreement, click here.

Commercial License FAQ

Yes. The commercial license is a company-wide license that allows you to release as many products as long as your subscription is active. Be aware that the licensee is not the developer of your product, but the company that sells / releases it, so if you hire a third party developer to build a product with HISE, you will need to get a license regardless of whether the third party developer has a license or not.
You will need to acquire a commercial license as soon as and for as long as you are selling proprietary products made with HISE. This means that during development of your first product, you don't need a commercial license. If your HISE based products do not make enough money anymore to justify paying the license, you can either stop selling them or just switch to the GPL license by providing the source code alongside the binary.
Yes. The commercial license does not make a difference between paid and free products - as soon as you don't want to release your HISE product under the GPL license, you'll need a commercial license, which will also be the case for free products. Be aware that you can always release free products under the GPL license and the real world implications for free products are almost neglible.
If the revenue of products made with HISE exceed 50.0000€ within the last 12 months, you will need to upgrade to the PRO license - just cancel the Fastspring subscription for the INDIE license and get a PRO license.
No. The commercial license only grants you the possibility of releasing proprietary products and does not come with a premium support / service. However in the past we have prioritized feature requests / bug reports from commercial licensees to ensure smooth operation for commercial projects.

Besides getting a license for JUCE, you don't need to acquire anything else. You might need to register a few accounts at various companies to get their frameworks and tools (Microsoft, Apple and Intel) for the compilation process, but they are all free of charge.

Which JUCE license you will need does depend on your company's revenue - also there are a few subtle differences between how HISE and JUCE determine your revenue, so make sure to read the EULA from JUCE to figure out the exact model. Just be aware that the free JUCE Personal license shows a splash screen that is deactivated by default in the HISE codebase, so if you're planning to use this model, you will need to manually reenable the splash screen.

If the FAQ section didn't cover your question or you want additional information about the licensing scheme, please get in contact with us

Copy Protection

If you're looking for a pre-built copy protection solution for your proprietary product, you can check out HISE Activate. It natively integrates with HISE and provides a simple serial-key interface with your webshop and resellers.


The History of HISE

The development of HISE started in 2014 as an experimental framework with the goal to create a virtual clarinet to combine wavetable synthesis with sample playback. Realizing the lack of available tools for this kind of project, the priority shifted from creating a single virtual instrument towards assembling a reusable collection of building blocks to let other developers realize their ideas without having to start from scratch or even learn C++.

Following the licensing concept of the underlying JUCE framework, the decision to publish HISE as an open source toolkit helped setting it apart from its proprietary competitors and HISE continues to be the major open source option in a field that has been dominated for years by a single company.

While the virtual clarinet that sparked the creation of HISE never saw the light of day, the 1.0 version of the framework was published in 2017. Since then, the industry adoption of HISE has slowly but steadily risen and HISE is now the foundation of products that generated more than 5 million USD revenue.

Meet the HISE Team

Christoph Hart

Christoph Hart, born in 1985 and currently living in Berlin, Germany, is a composer and the main developer of HISE.
Initially, he began working on HISE during breaks between theatre productions. However, over time, his focus has shifted, and he now creates music for theatre productions during breaks from working on HISE.
In addition to the work on the HISE codebase he is collaborating with different companies to build audio plugins.

Dominik Mayer

Dominik Mayer, born 1986, and also living in Berlin, is an artist, musician and wingman developer of HISE.
In the beginning he started supporting HISE with UX/UI feedback and maintenance work, and along the way has grown into his role as a full-stack front to backend dev.
When he is not busy fixing server issues, he is helping out in several plugin collaborations and is providing generalist assistance to the HISE cause.

Mailing List

If you want to stay informed about the latest news & releases: Sign up on the HISE mailing list.