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Where are the GOOD modular synth plugins ?
Old 14th February 2015
  #1
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Where are the GOOD modular synth plugins ?

Hi

Everybody's building eurorack modulars, spending thousands, and i'm wondering why there's still absolutely NO plugin on the market that REPLICATES such modular system in the digital world.

The Nord Modular still is the best digital modular system, but i want this in a plugin form (and prettier maybe). There's no plugin that replicates the sonic exploration and ease of use of this. I know analog sounds better but not everyone can afford a Buchla



Here are the biggest modular synth plugins right now :

ARTURIA MOOG MODULAR : still the best of the bunch but too old now, sound quality could be better (aliasing), UI is ugly, mostly fixed modules

U-HE BAZILLE : good sound but too limited, fixed modules

U-HE ACE : too limited

U-HE ZEBRA : good sound, terrible UI

AALTO : i don't like the UI, not module based

XILS : never tried but not a real modular system

REAKTOR / MAX / BEAP / MAX FOR CATS : too complicated, not really analog synth, doesn't sound good, buggy, not as convenient as a plugin

TASSMAN : old, buggy, ugly, doesn't sound good

This list is terrible. Where are the modular plugins in 2015 ?

Last edited by invalidusername; 14th February 2015 at 12:18 PM..
Old 14th February 2015
  #2
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What do you mean by replicating a modular? Pretty much not going to happen. Not because of not being able to emulate but just because there's no such a thing as a 'modular' sound or a single modular 'system'. Eurorack is a constantly moving target (I saw NAMM videos for at least a dozen new Eurorack modules - probably missed a dozen others...), must be around 1500 modules now, lost count. The point of modular is patchability, whether you have a fixed set of modules shouldn't matter. Also bear in mind a lot of newer modules are digital (as are some of the Buchla modules) so the fact a plugin is not analogue sounding shouldn't make you discount it.
Aalto is based on the Buchla music easel, so it's not 'module based', so what?
As for Reaktor etc being too complex, well so is a real modular. There's a price to pay for all that open ended-ness.
Old 14th February 2015
  #3
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I like bazille and aalto both sound decent , there is also sonigen modular that sound good
Old 14th February 2015
  #4
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Septik's Avatar
What would be really cool would be an open source host plugin that let's different developers create modules that interact with eachother and have inter connectivity that you can buy directly from each developer and open in the same plugin. Don't know anything about coding though, and if the inter compatibility would even be possible. Still, nothing can really sound like pure cv and achieve the result of many live cv signals ****ing with eachother. Still, it would be like one huge mod matrix with unlimited sources available from individual developers and tons of different oscillator and filter software available.
Old 14th February 2015
  #5
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Sonigen seems nice but it's windows only and development seems to have stopped
Old 14th February 2015
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Septik View Post
What would be really cool would be an open source host plugin that let's different developers create modules that interact with eachother and have inter connectivity that you can buy directly from each developer and open in the same plugin. Don't know anything about coding though, and if the inter compatibility would even be possible. Still, nothing can really sound like pure cv and achieve the result of many live cv signals ****ing with eachother. Still, it would be like one huge mod matrix with unlimited sources available from individual developers and tons of different oscillator and filter software available.
nothing sounds like analog, nothing sounds like digital, that's not the debate, i don't care to be honest, but such a plugin would be awesome. i don't understand why it doesn't exist already. small manufacturers could make digital versions of their modules as you say, and it would maybe give them good publicity.

again, i love modulars but they're just too expensive for me. the system i want would be like 3000 $...
software also brings polyphony, and instant recall, and saves a lot of space

Last edited by invalidusername; 14th February 2015 at 02:22 PM..
Old 14th February 2015
  #7
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Alex Aliferis's Avatar
 

When using Reaktor in Logic, I was surprised to see that when I made a virtual knob and enabled automation for it, it immediately appeared on my Mackie C4, with the name I had given it, displayed beneath the hardware knob which now controlled it.

This is a feature which puts Reaktor a step ahead of its competition, although I would like it to accept user-created modules written in C as well.
Old 14th February 2015
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by invalidusername View Post

REAKTOR / MAX / BEAP / MAX FOR CATS : too complicated, not really analog synth, doesn't sound good,
Have you heard Monark? That's a Reaktor synth and certainly does sound good.

I think (and I could be wrong) that what Septik mentioned above - and its a great idea - is possible in Reaktor.
Old 14th February 2015
  #9
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There was a recent MusicRadar survey article on modular plugins. This mentions Audulus (Mac only) and KarmaFX Synth (PC only), both of which look interesting.

Plogue Bidule is a modular audio environment. One feature of note is that you can use other VST/AU plugins as modules within it. Audulus also has this feature (AU only).

There are a couple of modular environments for Reaktor available as user ensembles. Modular X seems the most "real modular", in that the wiring is explicit in the panel. Ampere Modular is explicitly "inspired by Nord Modular G2". Both ensembles seem to have add-ons available from other developers.
Old 14th February 2015
  #10
I dunno, I get your question and have thought about it similarly before....why is there no Nord Modular in plugin format? Seems like it would work.

I guess I never need to look past Zebra to make any sound I could imagine. You may think it is terrible, but I think the UI is the best I've ever used. It couldn't be faster and more efficient to set up very complex patches. Sound is underrated as well.

I would look into something that was truly modular, and Reaktor seems to be the best option as host for such a thing. i don't know, most nerds just buy modules because they are cheap.....it seems easy to spend $200-400 a month and in a year you have a couple racks full.
Old 14th February 2015
  #11
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have you seen OSCiLLOT? ~ https://www.ableton.com/en/packs/oscillot/

It is a new modular system for Live by MAXforCats, I think it looks great and plan on purchasing it as a reward for completing my damn taxes, ugh...
Old 14th February 2015
  #12
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I got OSCillot yesterday - have only just skimmed through some presets but so far its sounding really nice. Seems very easy to patch too
Old 14th February 2015
  #13
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shadowfac's Avatar
 

I consider myself a modular freak. I have two analog modular systems, one is dotcom-based and the other is Malekko/Wiard based. I also have a Nord G2 and a Micromodular.vSoftware-wise, I use VAZ Modular, Audiomulch and Puredata (the latter used mostly for academic/educational purposes), and I have tried the Arturia Modular, Tassman, Reaktor (old versions), KarmaFX and the Sonigen modular (which is currently free).

I haven't tried Bazille/Ace/Aalto/etc., but I see them more as semi-modulars than actual modulars. They have a fixed and limited number of components and you can cross-patch them to some extent. I like my modulars (HW & SW) to be capable of full standalone operation, so that I can make a full track with just the modular without having to necessarily host it or sequence it in some other software.

I've posted my thoughts before, but here it goes again:

First, the ones I haven't bought:

- Arturia Moog Modular V: I don't think it sounds moogy or special at all. Doesn't sound bad, either. But I really dislike the interface: tiny fonts, small knobs. Who cares if the cables wiggle?

- Reaktor: Amazing software but too low level to actually wanting to build anything with it. I guess most people just use any of the hundreds of patches already available.

- Tassman: IMO, it sounds pretty good but is cumbersome to patch (no live patching) and is quite expensive. Needs an update.

- KarmaFX: I tried the beta version when it was free, but didn't like it much. Too buggy and the sound wasn't anything special (maybe the commercial version is different). I also didn't like having an unnecessary oscilloscope on each module eating all the screen space.

- Sonigen: I haven't been able to test it for more than a few minutes, but I like it so far. It's a very no-nonsense approach, almost like the Nords. It has a limited module selection, but it's still in its development stages. I'm keeping my eye on it. I just wish it was available for mac.


The ones I own/use:

- VAZ Modular: this is my favorite software modular both in terms of sound (raw) and interface (no cables, no clutter). I'm still exploring it but I find new things to do each time. At first I thought sequencing was cumbersome, but now it feels more natural and I see it's perfectly capable of doing the kinds of aleatoric/algorithmic sequences I like. I also like that you can make full songs with it. Unfortunately, there is no mac version and even the PC version is currently unobtainable due to those new VAT regulations.

- Audiomulch: It's very high-level compared to the rest, but it also does things the others cannot do (well, maybe Reaktor can but...). It's great for experimenting with granular synthesis, live looping, to use it as a multitrack studio, or as a standalone instrument. It's limited MIDI-wise but once you get over that, it opens a new world of sound.

- Puredata: Also low level, but it helps in understanding the basics (and the not-so-basics) of digital audio synthesis. It's great for algorithmic sequencing and ok for synthesis, but it takes time and hard work to get the most out of it.


Now, none of them sounds or behaves like a hardware analog modular. But neither hardware modulars sound or behave like software modulars or even like each other. Each of my modulars (HW and SW) does things the others can't do, induces a different workflow and inspires different things. Fortunately, you can demo most of the software, so it's just a matter of spending some time with each one.

Actually, I'm currently looking for another soft-modular for the mac. I have Pd and Mulch but I'm missing something like VAZ on the PC.
Old 14th February 2015
  #14
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because, you can't pirate hardware - easily.

(imo) most people wouldn't use eurorack if it wasn't giving them their fix of buying something new constantly, like they used to do with plugins. a software modular that didn't do that wouldn't be popular. something that did that would be buggy. you can't just flip a switch and turn a hardware module into software.

in terms of effort involved good software is more expensive to make, you can do more, more can go wrong, it's used on wildly different systems and oses are a moving target. developers hope to make it up in volume. i doubt there will ever be software that's uncrashable, keep an audio recorder going.

nord modular didn't sell well new. hardly anyone uses euro like nord modular, especially g2, which is about solving problems using a lot of modules that don't change.

for instance, uhe's new synth is a made to be easier, quicker, people still want super saws and analogs in software.

imo just get on with it, learn reaktor or whatever, use your daw like a modular and save money/diy want you want in software and hardware.

i mean yeah, it'd be cool if something stable and flexible and awesome came out, but then again i learned max, saved up for nord and euro and diy'd my own stuff because no one else was going to do it...so it'd have to be pretty awesome... and a good price.

max really isn't that tricky if you don't try to do it all at once. start by using it to process midi to and from your plugins just like cv for a while. then build compressors, vcas, some effects, an fm synth, a sampler.

reaper's kinda whack imo, but you can get midi lfos and envelope followers and flexible audio routing going on, some interesting effects. fruity's new mixer system looks rad, seems like you could set some crazy stuff up, i'd like to get back into it if/when it comes to osx.

i like using a couple copies of sunvox and sending midi and audio back and forth too. if that doesn't keep you busy and you can't make it sound good...

or...you could wait around for bit wig? they're supposed to have a modular in that someday.
Old 14th February 2015
  #15
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i too think such a software is complex and more prone to bugs than others. most of the software named in this thread have a lot of bugs or are unfinished.

how did Clavia get it so right with the Nord Modular though ? it's really a waste it's discontinued.

i've played a bit with reaktor and max, got a few things working but i'd rather make music than design stuff, i don't want to get lost too much into this.

VAZ Modular is windows only, too bad, i've just tried it in parallel and really got drawn into it ! looks really good

Last edited by invalidusername; 14th February 2015 at 04:36 PM..
Old 14th February 2015
  #16
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Oscillot looks pretty damn awesome to me. Makes me wish I used Ableton.
Old 14th February 2015
  #17
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KarmaFX is actually pretty good. It just looks a bit dated. The only thing it doesn't do well is reverb. The reverb on it is terrible, but who cares!

Old 14th February 2015
  #18
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wow VAZ Modular is amazing. thanks Shadowfac !
Old 14th February 2015
  #19
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shadowfac's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by invalidusername View Post
i'd rather make music than design stuff, i don't want to get lost too much into this.
Don't take this the wrong way but maybe modular isn't for you.

For me, making a patch in a modular is nearly equivalent to composing music. This is because sequencing is often an integral part of my patches. Patching is how I make music. The line between sound design and composition is completely blurred.

Of course, other times I'm simply in the mood of making patches that I may or may not use in later compositions, but I rarely do this in modulars other than the Nords.
Old 14th February 2015
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by invalidusername View Post
Hi

Everybody's building ....
I disagree, its sounds pretty good to me

Last edited by Reptil; 21st April 2016 at 09:42 AM.. Reason: shortened
Old 14th February 2015
  #21
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Astronaut FX's Avatar
Samplephonics Dirty Modular for Kontakt (player) is rather fun. Not what I would call an exact emulation, but as others have said, that's not really a reality.
Old 14th February 2015
  #22
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shadowfac's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by tehlord View Post
KarmaFX is actually pretty good. It just looks a bit dated. The only thing it doesn't do well is reverb. The reverb on it is terrible, but who cares!
I'm going to give it another whirl. It's not too expensive and there are many choices for mac so why not?
Old 14th February 2015
  #23
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bazille is limited but it's one of my fav plugin, just modularity on the fxs would have open so much more possibilities !
how come the most creative minds are still on the hardware side..when with software there is almost no limitation in that area.

Last edited by Synthetic Wav; 14th February 2015 at 06:52 PM..
Old 14th February 2015
  #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shadowfac View Post
Don't take this the wrong way but maybe modular isn't for you.
well i love modulars when it come to sound design, but i'm not into strictly modular music which is mostly noodling for me, nothing against that but it's not my thing.
Old 14th February 2015
  #25
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You didn't specify native plug-ins, so I'm going to say this is the best software modular:

Old 14th February 2015
  #26
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Thread Starter
nice
does it work as a plugin ?
Old 14th February 2015
  #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by invalidusername View Post
nice
does it work as a plugin ?
Well it works as a plug-in within a Scope DSP system. It is a Scope plug-in, not a native plug-in.
Old 14th February 2015
  #28
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Originally Posted by once was... View Post
You didn't specify native plug-ins, so I'm going to say this is the best software modular: [Sonic Core software]
Do you think that patch will run on the 2400€ Sonic Core, or do you need the 3900€ hardware? (Somehow I suspect something like that is not what the OP had in mind.)
Old 14th February 2015
  #29
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Depends on the size of the patch. I mean The Modular IV can even run on the 3 DSP card but I don't know how big the patches would get. Certainly 6 DSP would give you fairly big patches (as long as you didn't use too many other plug-ins like Minimax or something). Fifteen DSP gets you into safe area.

All cards available second-hand quite cheaply. PCI and PC only though.

Of course I prefer the newer (and current) XITE system to run Scope, either the fully-specked XITE-1 or the XITE-1D without all the input output connectors and a reduced DSP count.
Old 14th February 2015
  #30
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(delete)

Last edited by invalidusername; 14th February 2015 at 08:47 PM..
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