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Soft Modular Synths

Posted: Thu Jun 09, 2016 5:21 pm
by re:dream
So I have been pretty impressed by what I have seen of Buchla type modular synths and I am looking for software equivalents

The one name that keeps coming up is Madreona Labs's Aalto.

I'd be very interested in what people think about it... Are there any other soft synths out there that emulate the versatility of Buchla?

Re: Soft Modular Synths

Posted: Fri Jun 10, 2016 4:37 am
by re:dream
Also, how doesAalto compare to, e.g. Oscillot?

Re: Soft Modular Synths

Posted: Fri Jun 10, 2016 7:05 am
by hps909
Reaktor would be the only logical answer especially now with reaktor blocks

softube are about to release a software version of a eurorack modular

Re: Soft Modular Synths

Posted: Fri Jun 10, 2016 7:49 am
by chapelier fou
There is a Buchla Music Easel 'clone' in M4L

Re: Soft Modular Synths

Posted: Fri Jun 10, 2016 7:50 am
by chapelier fou

Re: Soft Modular Synths

Posted: Fri Jun 10, 2016 12:38 pm
by re:dream
Thanks. I will look at the Easel clone. It looks fun...

Reaktor. That would be nice. It pricey, though. 8O My budget is pretty constrained.

Re: Soft Modular Synths

Posted: Fri Jun 10, 2016 7:36 pm
by re:dream
No thoughts on Aalto?

Re: Soft Modular Synths

Posted: Sat Jun 11, 2016 4:18 am
by Sibanger
chapelier fou wrote:There is a Buchla Music Easel 'clone' in M4L
Nice :)

Re: Soft Modular Synths

Posted: Sat Jun 11, 2016 12:15 pm
by turbomartin
Any thoughts on Audulus?

I am not into modular stuff at all, gives me headaches... This teaser almost got me tho https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hnfMK9wbhIk

Re: Soft Modular Synths

Posted: Wed Jun 15, 2016 1:02 pm
by tone61
Now there is a new product from Softtube:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VsLKl0v0Tl4

Re: Soft Modular Synths

Posted: Thu Jun 16, 2016 8:47 pm
by re:dream
Softube. Yikes. Looks frighteningly hard to learn. Makes Bazille look like Operator.

Re: Soft Modular Synths

Posted: Thu Jun 16, 2016 9:44 pm
by mholloway
re:dream wrote:Softube. Yikes. Looks frighteningly hard to learn. Makes Bazille look like Operator.
Let's review: you start a thread -specifically- asking about modular soft synths... but are now too scared to try a software emulation of the most popular modular system that currently exists on the planet? (Eurorack). :roll:

It seems maybe you are not actually interested in what you think you are interested in....

-M

Re: Soft Modular Synths

Posted: Fri Jun 17, 2016 4:21 am
by re:dream
LOL. Well, I am trying it out, innit? Spent about half an hour before I figured out how to make a sawtooth buzz. It certainly looks powerful and interesting. I wish I had enough dosh for them all! But I hafta choose.

At the moment it looks like:

Bazille: lots of power, big processor hit, big hit on my wallet.
Aalto: Not quite as expensive as Bazille, lovely Buchla sounds, nice interface, less flexible
Softube: the price is right, at least for the basic set. Upgrading is likely to be hella expensive. Steep learning curve. Likely to be interesting. (The presets sound pretty horrible, but then they often do)
hmmmm

Edit: Softube is crashing Live repeatedly. Eish.

Re: Soft Modular Synths

Posted: Fri Jun 17, 2016 1:09 pm
by re:dream

Re: Soft Modular Synths

Posted: Fri Jun 17, 2016 2:09 pm
by Angstrom
Probably the best established softmod for M4L being OSCiLLOT. For which there is a free demo on the ableton site. I invite anyone to patch up a (very normal) 3 osc, 2 filter, 2 ADSR, 1 LFO patch and take a look at the CPU. Now try something for which it's actually worth using a softmod (over a simple softsynth).
Try something more complex like patching a routing matrix, sending an FM modulation from one oscillator to another, then sum that and send it via an ADSR to modulate a filter cut-off at audio rate. Route that back and cross modulate it with oscillator C. and route that through a different filter and sum the two processing chains.
Now look at the CPU, and take a listen to see if you hear any aliasing.

Softmods benefit from being written as low-level as possible. Because they are very resource hungry.
OSCiLLOT is a framework, built on a framework, inside a high level DSP environment. "High level" in this case means "very far from machine-code"
we have a lot of layers of abstraction here, and they all have a resource cost.

Soft-modulars require more resources than a normal softsynth. Usually they need a ton of oversampling, far more than a normal softsynth because in a normal softsynth it's possible for the developer to determine where oversampling is required an where it is redundant. They can look for easy/light ways to accomplish something. They can design out pathways which will cause high resource usage. They can shave CPU that way.
Crossmodulation (of oscillators) or the modulation of a filter cutoff at audio rate, or the sidebands produced by distortion and waveshaping all take a lot of sample-rate resolution in order to avoid aliasing. A problem all softsynths try to avoid. The problem in a soft-modular is the routing can be an arbitrary matrix . A into B and C back into C into A at 5% while A+C goes to D at 50% which goes to A at 5%.
It's intermodulation mayhem which the developer can't sweep under the rug. Consequently they must give full power to everything, just in case. And if they don't then the user will soon find that the modular can't do what they expect.

Other similar products.
Reaktor have done well at presenting a simple modular tool with their release of "Blocks" but it's a complete CPU hog, because it tries to give maximum sonic quality, and that costs. Even then they have had to limit functionality. The modulation inputs for each block are "A and B". What a softmod really needs is full anything to anything else patching. Blocks does not give that because it would take the CPU requirements through the roof.

It's actually less resource intensive to build the same synth in Reaktor ignoring the blocks framework. Blocks is far easier, but there is a resource usage cost to pay.

All of these softmods seem good when you first try the basics, but when you try to use them for complex work they soon start to show the cracks.