Modular synthesizers, with their profusion of knobs and switches and their seemingly insatiable urge for food for patch cables, are fantastic examples of over-complexity — one of the best type of complexity, in our view. Play with a synthesizer lengthy sufficient and also you begin considering that any type of sound is feasible, restricted solely by your creativeness in hooking up the assorted oscillators, filters, and envelope turbines. And the aforementioned patch cables, after all, that are all the time briefly provide.
Fortunately, although, patch cables and the modules they join will be virtualized, and in his 2020 Remoticon workshop, Jonathan Foote confirmed us all of the methods VCV Rack can emulate modular synthesizers proper in your laptop’s desktop. The workshop targeted on VCV Rack, the place Eurorack-style synthesizer modules are graphically offered in a configurable rack and patched collectively similar to bodily synth modules could be.
John began out with a easy instance utilizing essentially the most primary of synth modules: a voltage-controlled oscillator (VCO), a voltage-controlled filter (VCF), and an envelope generator. Together with a number of housekeeping modules to drive the pc’s soundcard and to make use of the keyboard as, nicely, a keyboard, individuals have been in a position to shortly assemble their digital synthesizers. Extra complicated devices will be constructed up from actually hundreds of accessible modules — some free, some open supply, and a few premium modules obtainable for an affordable value.
Hats off to Jonathan for a fantastic workshop and dealing with my off-the-cuff query about reproducing the “Sound of the 80s” query with aplomb. It turned out to not be attainable with the inventory VCV Rack modules, however it nonetheless reminded us a little bit of the gated reverb drum sound of “Within the Air Tonight” and different classics. Be sure to take a look at not solely the video of the workshop however the workshop page too, which has all the small print it is advisable get began with your personal digital synthesizer.