Reaktor (free) vs VCV ... for students

Reaktor, MAX/MSP, VST/AU, etc. A place for all things soft....

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j_dowe
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Reaktor (free) vs VCV ... for students

Post by j_dowe » Thu Dec 12, 2019 7:06 pm

For an introductory course on modular synthesis and generative music, which do you think will resonate best with college students.

1) Reaktor (free version) w/ Base Blocks + the free blocks that TOYBOX and Hetrick offer.

2) VCV Rack, which obviously has hundreds of modules, although we'd mainly focus on the VCV, Mutable, and other prominent modules.

I've taught VCV before (2 years ago in the beta version), but the patches that come prebuilt w/ Reaktor Base Blocks might have some nice advantages... compared the wild west of VCV. And also the potential for students to expand out into the Reaktor world...

:hmm:

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luketeaford
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Post by luketeaford » Fri Dec 13, 2019 7:03 am

I haven't used the free version of reaktor, but that would probably be my pick. In the US, reaktor is $99 right now which is like half of what a text book is, so not a bad deal to me.

I'm sure vca rack is fine, too-- but do you have to choose or can you teach concepts and allow students to figure out the specific software?

Cool course!

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j_dowe
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Post by j_dowe » Fri Dec 13, 2019 12:47 pm

luketeaford wrote:do you have to choose or can you teach concepts and allow students to figure out the specific software?
That works for the better students... but for the less capable it causes more confusion. What I could do is make one the default and the ambitious students can still use other options.

The more I look at what's available for free in Reaktor... I'm hesitating. It seems it would be good for the basics, but then for more exotic concepts, VCV might have more options.

What you say about the cost of textbooks is true, but my students are already spending $ on required technology for the major and there isn't an expectation of textbook or material costs in these classes. I could still do it, though, and am considering all options.

:hmm:

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Post by fac » Fri Dec 13, 2019 5:19 pm

I've used PureData + Automatonism in the past few years, with pretty good results. VCV Rack is also cool and easier to use, but I felt limited with the built-in modules, particularly when it came to generative stuff. Automatonism also has some cool randomization/preset-saving tools. The downside is the laggy interfaces (due to Pd), but it can be solved by re-organizing in sub-patches.

Last semester I went hardcore and taught a realtime audio synthesis course using Processing (a Java dialect), but these were last-year biomed engineering students with a background in math, programming and dsp.

Haven't used Reaktor. I teach at a public university so I try to use only free and open-source tools.

Good luck with your search. Keep us informed. I'm always open to trying new things.

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Post by j_dowe » Sat Dec 14, 2019 1:17 pm

fac wrote:I've used PureData + Automatonism in the past few years, with pretty good results. VCV Rack is also cool and easier to use, but I felt limited with the built-in modules, particularly when it came to generative stuff. Automatonism also has some cool randomization/preset-saving tools. The downside is the laggy interfaces (due to Pd), but it can be solved by re-organizing in sub-patches.

Last semester I went hardcore and taught a realtime audio synthesis course using Processing (a Java dialect), but these were last-year biomed engineering students with a background in math, programming and dsp.

Haven't used Reaktor. I teach at a public university so I try to use only free and open-source tools.

Good luck with your search. Keep us informed. I'm always open to trying new things.
These are all great options. I already teach a Max/PureData oriented class. It's less generative oriented and more geared towards live performance (currently). So, I'm trying to do something higher level in this newer class so they can get results faster. Also, by the end of the semester I want them to be able to do something on hardware (we have a one row eurorack skiff + a couple cheap semi modular synths)... so VCV or Blocks is nicely similar to actual hardware.

Automatonism does seem cool, though, and I should probably explore that more (too many tools!). One of the nice things about PureData is that it is being implemented in more hardware since it is open source.

I'm also at a public university!

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Re: Reaktor (free) vs VCV ... for students

Post by criticalmonkey » Tue Jan 21, 2020 12:14 am

I vote for the one that exposes the signal path the most at core functions -

i've not played with blocks so i don't know whats there, vcv shows interconnection but limited to module gui

i'm always amazed at how little some of them know of what is happening inside - i guess that has probably always been true

pure data/max is better in my view too - but i get the issues, maybe you can pre build some building blocks for the students to utilize

maybe a serge would be a better model.....

best of luck

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