Wormhole2 is a powerful, cross-platform (Windows + Mac) VST plug-in capable of transmitting audio between computers over networks. It allows effects chain routing between networked computers, boasts low-latency performance on LANs, and even works over WiFi or Firewire. But Wormhole2’s niche audience kept it from catching on more widely, and we hadn’t heard much from it lately, leaving some users worried Wormhole had fallen into a black hole.

plasq, the wonderful people who brought us Skitch and Comic Life, have been giving their audio tools new lives rather than orphaning them. We’ve already seen plasq’s live performance-savvy instrument and effects host Rax show up as an Audiofile Engineering product, and AE in turn recently promised in comments that great things were coming for Rax.

Now, we have some great news for Wormhole2: it’s gone open source:

Wormhole2 @ Google Code

Product Page and Features (still up at press time)

Discussion at plasq.com Forum

End users can just download AU (Mac) and VST (Windows) binaries, plus a PDF manual. It’s even a Universal Binary for Intel Macs.

Developers: because VST isn’t an open-source format, you have to download Steinberg’s VST SDK to use it, but plasq will actually go the trouble of sending you the files once you agree to Steinberg’s license agreement. (AU isn’t either, but Apple ships all the developer tools you need with the OS.)

I’m really hopeful someone will build something cool with this. You’ll need something else to route MIDI (though the Mac does that over networks out of the box, cough, Windows). But there are powerful audio-over-network options here which would be hard to work out on your own. It’s unclear how useful Wormhole2 will be to the existing, open source JACK audio project, which is also capable of routing audio between apps and (via netjack) networked computers. JACK uses a client/server model as opposed to Wormhole’s plug-in approach. But for end users, having both tools available free is a very good thing, and the price tag is an extra incentive to be brave and see if these tools can help power up your rig.