Double modular: combining GP, Softube Modular and hardware

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


Thanks. I hit like! :slight_smile:

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Excellent. Interconnecting VCV Rack with synth hardware, and using MIDI Blocks to interconnect hardware is my primary use of GP. It really makes it easy to find interesting ways of using VCV’s extensive modules to interact with hardware, and manipulate the resulting output with VSTs.

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nice job, liked too. :wink:

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Yeah, similar routing turned out extremely easy with VCV:s 16 out module, and same applies to Cherry Audio’s Voltage Modular. And then there’s the extremely convincing iPad modular called miRack.
Modular-curious seem spoiled nowadays, so many great software options out there.
Where VCV shines with amazing amount of available third party modules, Softube has fewer but very interesting choices like their Buchla-modules (I’m addicted to the Twisted Oscillator!).

But one thing I need to try is the NES module in VCV, combining retro gaming with modular seems like too much fun :smiley:

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@mikkopat If you haven’t seen it already, the NYSTHI Pitch2Voltage module is a great one if you want to run analog instruments into VCV. It tracks pretty decently for a free module. Should note, it’s only in the Windows/Mac x86 version of VCV right now.

This screenshot is something I was playing with this morning to create an example to share. Here, the guitar’s input is routing into VCV → Pitch2Voltage → VCO → Mindmeld Shape Master - > Audio Out. Also running the P2V → CV2MIDI → Out to Cherry Harmonia.

Of course, GP makes this really easy to setup, route, and combine with other VSTs.

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That looks very inviting, thanks for the tip! Been playing some guitar through my K-2, but modulating VCV rack from guitar will take things to a whole another level!

I’ve been currently just running the standalone version of Rack 2 but fortunately Blackhole makes routing to DAWs or GigPerformer a breeze.

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