Hello there GP community! (TLDR version: did some modular jamming inside GP, video proof available)
Edit: re-uploaded the video on YouTube with louder and cleaner audio
Lately I’ve been experimenting with some hard drugs, meaning modular synthesis.
In order to avoid the financial turmoil often associated with these kinds of hobbies, I’ve softened the damage a little bit by sticking to software-based eurorack (for now), mainly using Softube Modular after getting a very good second hand deal including all the licensed modules.
The problem with building racks on my 8-year-old laptop is the very high CPU usage of Modular, which currently limits the amount of modules I can run simultaneously (I hit the same obstacle also with VCV Rack 2 and Cardinal, but Softube is easily the worst of the three).
So, as a hardware-software hybrid guy, I decided to experiment with some hardware synths I already own. The first question I had in mind was how difficult it would be to route individual modules of Softube through my hardware Behringer K-2 (=Korg MS-20 clone) and back into Modular for further processing? Turns out, not very difficult!
Here’s a screenshot of the plugin window of Modular with pretty much the maximum amount of modules my current machine can handle with reasonable playing latency. It may be a bit difficult to read without the cables, so here’s a short version:
- The Rings -module is routed directly to AUX1 output, from where it’s going to the Output 3 of my audio interface, into the K-2 module and back into the input 1 of the interface. In GP, I then route it back into the Modular where it’s put through the Spring Reverb module before leaving the rack again through AUX outputs 3 and 4.
- The Braids module is routed from AUX2 in order to send it to Valhalla Vintageverb running in GP. The dry signal of Braids is also going to the Modular’s mixer block with the Model 82 VCO (bass), and from there they are both sent to the main outputs of Modular.
And here’s my pretty simple Wiring view in GP. From Audio in 1 we are seeing our signal coming back from the K-2 after some filtering tricks and directly back into Modular. Audio in 2 is the Prophet Rev2 hardware synth (as mono, ran out of channels), which is also routed to Valhalla. The Audio mixer is combining signals from Modular, Rings module and Prophet.
Turns out one of the biggest CPU hogs in Softube Modular is the GUI, so keeping it visible while playing is pretty dangerous. It also fills the whole computer screen easily. So I made a very quick and dirty Rackspace panel with the essential controls visible. They are color coded after the Arturia Keystep 37 CC Banks (white, blue, purple and green).
On the hardware side, the Keystep 37 is sending MIDI to K-2 which in turn is outputting the MIDI signal to the Prophet (for MIDI clock sync, since Layer A of Prophet is playing a sequence). Keystep is also connected to the laptop via USB in order to launch and control everything and send note and gate signals to Rings. Keystep sequencer is also triggering the envelopes of K-2 and I can mix the module’s oscillators with Rings for some nice layers.
After setting everything up it was time to create some music.
So here’s a video of a very quick and dirty jam, recorded in real time using Gig Performer (first time I used the feature!). This means everything was also mixed in real time.
Check out the video on YouTube