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VCV Rack - open source virtual modular

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https://vcvrack.com/

 

A new virtual modular system, free and open source. It looks pretty nice, not a lot of modules yet but some of the Mutable Instruments modules use the original source code, they say.

 

Code is on github but there's not much in the way of documentation yet

https://github.com/VCVRack/Rack

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Not bad for learning modular

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Ohh nice! I wonder if it's CPU hungry or not. Only one way to find out :)

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Ohh nice! I wonder if it's CPU hungry or not. Only one way to find out :)

I think the very first release was - If you didn't select an output device on the final mixer it apparently maxed out your CPU - But the version I used seemed pretty lean: Had a simple VCO->VCA->VCF chain going into a spring reverb and still had 97% CPU free (the meter is 'backwards' on the output mixer and shows how much CPU you have free rather than how much you're using)

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This is nice. I like the Mutable/Audabile Instruments.

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this could be a game changing concept. reaktor 6 was kinda marketed as a virtual modular synth, though it looks much nicer and is more accessible.

 

hm actually i should get around to upgrading from 5 to 6 at some point

Edited by Mesh Gear Fox

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Ohh nice! I wonder if it's CPU hungry or not. Only one way to find out :)

I think the very first release was - If you didn't select an output device on the final mixer it apparently maxed out your CPU - But the version I used seemed pretty lean: Had a simple VCO->VCA->VCF chain going into a spring reverb and still had 97% CPU free (the meter is 'backwards' on the output mixer and shows how much CPU you have free rather than how much you're using)

 

 

I tried it out, sort of. I think my version of OS X is too old, and the UI did not render properly. It did not seem too CPU hungry with 1-2 modules but then I was basically not using it at all either. :)

The UI renders properly on my work lappy, so maybe I should just look into hacking my old one to upgrade the OS X.

 

As for Reaktor, I did try version 6 last year and some blocks patches straight up told me there's not enough resources, so that kind of put me off Reaktor back then. But I guess the Blocks thing is especially hungry, being a modular simulator? And the regular patching thing (that sort of looks like Pure Data) is probably much more efficient and nice?

Edited by thawkins

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maybe you had some weird audio settings in reaktor that were messing with it?

 

one thing that annoyed me with 5, and i'm not sure if this is still a problem, but polysynths would not turn off unused voices. i made a post on the forum about it and the response was basically "if you don't want to use so much cpu don't have so many voices ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ "

 

i'm curious to know what VCV does to prevent digital aliasing? i can't see much about this on their website.

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this is my fav virtual modular atm just in terms of how it looks and works. cool beans

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Ohh nice! I wonder if it's CPU hungry or not. Only one way to find out :)

I think the very first release was - If you didn't select an output device on the final mixer it apparently maxed out your CPU - But the version I used seemed pretty lean: Had a simple VCO->VCA->VCF chain going into a spring reverb and still had 97% CPU free (the meter is 'backwards' on the output mixer and shows how much CPU you have free rather than how much you're using)

 

 

I tried it out, sort of. I think my version of OS X is too old, and the UI did not render properly. It did not seem too CPU hungry with 1-2 modules but then I was basically not using it at all either. :)

The UI renders properly on my work lappy, so maybe I should just look into hacking my old one to upgrade the OS X.

 

As for Reaktor, I did try version 6 last year and some blocks patches straight up told me there's not enough resources, so that kind of put me off Reaktor back then. But I guess the Blocks thing is especially hungry, being a modular simulator? And the regular patching thing (that sort of looks like Pure Data) is probably much more efficient and nice?

 

 

The trouble with Reaktor is that it isn't multithreaded, so no matter how many cores you have, any given instance of Reaktor will be limited to a single core.  You can get around this a bit by using the VST version, since different VST instances can be run on different cores by your DAW, but you're still limited in terms of what any one patch can do.  Plus the GUI of the blocks thing in Reaktor 6 is REALLY resource hungry, when I was trying it out I could have patches that used 30%-40% of the core they were running on if they were minimized, but would completely pin it and stay way over 100% (i.e. bring your whole DAW session down) as soon as you opened the UI.

 

If this thing is properly multithreaded and gets enough good modules written it would be better than Reaktor Blocks as far as I'm concerned (regular Reaktor is kind of a different thing, though, and also seems to perform way better).

 

It seems like Reaktor has gotten into a similar trap to Pro Tools, where actually taking advantage of modern hardware would mean completely overhauling the audio engine. I guess they did finally do that with Pro Tools but no way am I giving Digidesign any more money, I had to get PT10 for work and it was like traveling back in time to the late 90s, in a bad way.

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So... Does this thing sound good? I can't be arsed to install and fiddle with it if it sounds like an aliased tin can.

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The trouble with Reaktor is that it isn't multithreaded, so no matter how many cores you have, any given instance of Reaktor will be limited to a single core.  You can get around this a bit by using the VST version, since different VST instances can be run on different cores by your DAW, but you're still limited in terms of what any one patch can do.  Plus the GUI of the blocks thing in Reaktor 6 is REALLY resource hungry, when I was trying it out I could have patches that used 30%-40% of the core they were running on if they were minimized, but would completely pin it and stay way over 100% (i.e. bring your whole DAW session down) as soon as you opened the UI.

 

If this thing is properly multithreaded and gets enough good modules written it would be better than Reaktor Blocks as far as I'm concerned (regular Reaktor is kind of a different thing, though, and also seems to perform way better).

 

It seems like Reaktor has gotten into a similar trap to Pro Tools, where actually taking advantage of modern hardware would mean completely overhauling the audio engine. I guess they did finally do that with Pro Tools but no way am I giving Digidesign any more money, I had to get PT10 for work and it was like traveling back in time to the late 90s, in a bad way.

 

 

I'm not so fazed by the lack of support for multiple cores (after all my home lappy has only two), but stuff like the Blocks GUI pushing CPU usage % makes me a bit mad about the state of software today. I'd understand if this were some out-of-support freeware project, but it's something actively developed that people pay money for. Something's gone way wrong when in the year 2017 things are crashing when trying to render a 2-dimensional picture. I don't even mind if the audio engine isn't running on the bleeding edge, I'd just like the resources going towards processing sound. 

 

Going to try the VCV again today, maybe they have updated and fixed the GUI glitches. If not, I'll probably have to remember to try again next year or whenever I get a new PC.

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I only mind no support for multiple cores because of blocks GUI, othrwise it's pretty managable, although I'm using an older rack server as a DAW (second hand rack servers are really good for the money, they don't hold value at all) and it has two quad core processors, so multithreaded programs rarely push it above 10%-15% CPU (sometimes if I'm running a lot of instances of MJUC in HQ mode or something like that it'll put a bit of strain on it but not too bad) but running a pretty modest Reaktor patch will push it up to 40% or 50% easily because as far as Reaktor is concerned it's a single 2.1ghz processor from like 2012.  Usually not a problem, but yeah, the Blocks GUI load just kills it.

 

If it could distribute the CPU load across multiple cores it would be manageable at least.

Edited by RSP

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Just coming here to say that VCV rack is fucking great and I hope that it continues to grow, improve and flourish. I'm really used to using the Modular app by Pulse Code on iOS, but the modules there are all very basic. It was nice to finally use VCV because I've had it downloaded for a while. Just sat with it for 1 and a half hours and it felt fantastic. It was the best time I've had making music in a long time. Went into a kind of flow state, it was very relaxing and therapeutic.

 

Not to diss people with real modular setups, I actually respect y'all a lot; but my god it was nice that I didn't have to spend thousands of dollars on a setup just to sit down with that. It made it a little more relaxing and less stressful. Whenever I sit down with my hardware synth I feel like I have to make something good with it because it costs a lot of money and not experiment and try things out. It's not as bad as it used to be, but still.

 

Saving patches ain't a downside either. Depends on how you enjoy modular, some people dig that. Me I just like the freedome to design your own signal path that modular provides. All that being said it would be great to slowly build a setup but I am poor as fuck, so that may never actually happen, lol.

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It gets a little crackly occasionally (presumably due to the number of modules throttling their CPU) but check out these wonderful creations:

 

 

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Slightly off topic, but thanks everyone for your comments regarding Reaktor 6 and its ability to bring systems down. I was considering upgrading my Komplete package to the one with Reaktor 6. I won't bother now.

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It gets a little crackly occasionally (presumably due to the number of modules throttling their CPU) but check out these wonderful creations:

 

 

 

mcbpete that stuff is amazing, I got to mess around with my VCV rack now that I have a computer that can handle it.

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maybe i'm too dumb but i tried to do a really simple exercise and i noticed a bug? i used the scope in X/Y mode to see the Lissajous figures and used 2 vco's with the same parameters in order to create a circle, the problem is that the vco's are out of synch/phase so the circle is always moving... is that normal? if i don't use the X/Y mode i use the trigger function in order to see the 1st wave static but the 2nd one is always moving, meaning that they're out of phase... right? it's even audible...

 

anyway thanks for this link!

Edited by THIS IS MICHAEL JACKSON

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Have you tried using the fine knob on the VCOs? That works for me to make them hold still.

 

At least I think they hold still, I can't quite remember.

Edited by drukqs

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Have you tried using the fine knob on the VCOs? That works for me to make them hold still.

 

At least I think they hold still, I can't quite remember.

i loaded them and didn't touch any of the parameters so, they should be in the same tuning right?

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On 2/1/2018 at 3:50 PM, drukqs said:

Have you tried using the fine knob on the VCOs? That works for me to make them hold still.

At least I think they hold still, I can't quite remember.

 

ok i used the fine tuning like you said to make it but it wasn't stable so i just took a lot of printscreens until i got that one, a perfect octave... anyway, that just proves that they're out of tune even if the parameters are the same... right?

Edited by Tim_J

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I think this probably could have something to do with your operating system or the VCV rack not being real-time or the software just not being able to be in tune with itself to this extent. I don't think it would be easy to have two VCOs perfectly in tune on a physical modular either, because there is always some voltage fluctuation and it's basically impossible to have two knobs in the ideal same position?

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it's basically impossible to have two knobs in the ideal same position?

i get what you're saying but i loaded the vco's and didn't changing any parameters so, the values should be the same, i understand that if i touch one knob just one time that it would be impossible to turn it back to where it was...

 

anyway it doesn't matter at all.... i think...

Edited by THIS IS MICHAEL JACKSON

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