What is DSSI?

DSSI (pronounced "dizzy") is an API for audio processing plugins, particularly useful for software synthesis plugins with user interfaces.

DSSI is an open and well-documented specification developed for use in Linux audio applications, although portable to other platforms. It may be thought of as LADSPA-for-instruments, or something comparable to VSTi.

DSSI consists of a C language API for use by plugins and hosts, based on the LADSPA API, and an OSC (Open Sound Control) API for use in user interface to host communications. The DSSI specification consists of an RFC which describes the background for the proposal and defines the OSC part of the specification, and a documented header file which defines the C API.

DSSI is Free Software. The DSSI header file is provided under the GNU Lesser General Public License.


The DSSI API is currently at version 1.0. The API itself is now considered stable -- any further development will retain backward compatibility with previous versions. A host or plugin that implements the 1.0 API can expect to be compatible with other DSSI plugins or hosts well into the future.

The current DSSI distribution, version 1.1.0, contains the most recent release of the DSSI header file, documentation, reference host, and example plugins.

Currently available hosts (as of March 2012) which provide complete or nearly-complete DSSI support include:

Hosts which provide partial or specialized DSSI support include:

Currently available plugins include:

The following development tools support DSSI:

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