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Is there anything in the software realm like the Wogglebug?
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Author Is there anything in the software realm like the Wogglebug?
BBlack
The modular that I dreamed of putting together doesn't look like it'll be coming to fruition, at least not in the next few years.

So, I've been looking at... software alternatives to modular sound processing.

One of the main features of my imagined hardware modular was random modulation. My music/sound ideas always seem to cry out for random. Random, random. The Wogglebug of course is perhaps the most wonderful of them all - certainly the most musical and fully featured.

So I'm curious if there are any plugins or features within a complete program which have anything similar to a Wogglebug. It seems the boring sample & hold is covered pretty much universally, but is there anything that has the variety and musicality of a Wogglebug available in the world of software music-making?

If not, how much of an undertaking do you suppose it'd be to create one from scratch? Not for me to do it myself - I don't have the expertise - but to hire an independent developer to create a digital Wogglebug?


Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
stk
Reaktor.

Get it, get the manual, track down the online tutorials/blogs, learn and practice.

I've only really scratched the surface but pretty much anything you can imagine, you can build.

Cheers
BBlack
stk wrote:
Reaktor.

Get it, get the manual, track down the online tutorials/blogs, learn and practice.

I've only really scratched the surface but pretty much anything you can imagine, you can build.

Cheers


Thanks for the tip.

I was ready to download the demo because it seemed to be just what I'm looking for, but I'm running Snow Leopard (Reaktor requires 10.7+) and my computer absolutely refuses to download Mavericks from the app store. It just wont work.

Reaktor was my first thought when looking around the digital world, but the OS upgrade failure caused me to give up on it. Now that you're mentioning it again here, I'll have to to try it again!

I just hope Reaktor isn't too mathematical in its function. I tried out Max MSP, and while I didn't quite give it the chance it deserved, I could quickly tell that it wasn't what I was looking for.


Thanks very much.
stk
From what I can tell (I don't use Max personally) Reaktor is generally more "high level" (ie less math / programming) unless you go looking for it (Reaktor core, ie making your own modules from low-level blocks & math).

So you can stick with the prebuilt modules. It's still a black hole, though smile
stk
Also, there was a discussion here recently (can't remember which thread) about patching up the Buchla Source of Uncertainty fluctuating voltages with basic modules (noise, s&h, clock, slew) which is a good starting point for getting Woggle-like functionality.
ndkent
Haven't tried it but there are block diagrams of what a Wogglebug is doing. If one breaks down the problem as an interaction of more basic processors it shouldn't be too hard to create similar functionality out of building blocks in a software environment that lets you connect and modify elements.
widdly
Supercollider might be worth checking out. Supercollider has some really great noise and random generators. Unfoetunately it has a steeep learning curve. The being said there are some great tutorials and youtubes to get you started.
adam
sc's even more mathematical than max - cool though
CJ Miller
BBlack wrote:
I was ready to download the demo because it seemed to be just what I'm looking for, but I'm running Snow Leopard (Reaktor requires 10.7+)


Reaktor does not require 10.7 - only certain versions of it do. Since the Reaktor demo is basically an unauthorized install, just download an earlier installer. It might require some digging. I am running MacOS 10.6.8 and Reaktor 5.6.2 without any problems.
peng
stk wrote:
From what I can tell (I don't use Max personally) Reaktor is generally more "high level" (ie less math / programming) unless you go looking for it (Reaktor core, ie making your own modules from low-level blocks & math).

So you can stick with the prebuilt modules. It's still a black hole, though smile


Having used both, I would say that both are similiar levels of maths/programming, but it's true reaktor does come with more fully featured synths that you can take apart/modify. If you use ableton it might also be worth checking out max for live..

Personally, I can't stand the 'programming by dragging lines between boxes' paradigm anymore, drives me bonkers! (though modular is kind of like dragging lines between boxes now I think of it, only considerably less frustrating when those lines and boxes are physical entities and there's knobs to turn)
midiguru
You might consider Csound. It's easier to program than Supercollider, and it's text programming, not graphical programming (as in Pd and Max). You can do all sorts of random processes with it -- the sky's the limit. Oh, and it's free (which Max and Reaktor aren't).
skery
Someone programmed up a noisering emulation in Numerology. There should be other ways to patch random stuff out of it as well.
lodsb
midiguru wrote:
You might consider Csound. It's easier to program than Supercollider, and it's text programming, not graphical programming (as in Pd and Max). You can do all sorts of random processes with it -- the sky's the limit. Oh, and it's free (which Max and Reaktor aren't).


i think supercollider and csound are only remotely comparable. you can achieve similar results with it and both are using UGens (modular building blocks) for the signal chains but thats about it.
drumsofd00m
I contend that trying to build your own WoggleBug from discrete modules in any softsynth is a great way to learn using that softsynth (and modular synthesis in general)!

The WoggleBug isn't that complex. Sample and holds, VC slew limiters, sine oscillators and gates, maybe track and holds also - not sure off the top of my head, but it's quite possible. I'm not a fan of Reaktor, but one cool aspect is that it lets you save macros, so once you're done with your virtual WB, no need to build one from scratch for every new patch.

Oh yeah, add "rectifiers" for the sine waves. Really, as Grant used to say, the WB is basically a modular system unto itself, it's just pre-patched and you need to decode/ "reverse engineer" the patches, and that's a great experience/ lots of fun IMO.
midiguru
lodsb wrote:
i think supercollider and csound are only remotely comparable. you can achieve similar results with it and both are using UGens (modular building blocks) for the signal chains but thats about it.

True, they're very different. In terms of coding, SuperCollider is a modern object-oriented language, while Csound is an old-fashioned procedural language. I've barely looked at SuperCollider, but the business of embedding objects inside the definitions of other objects struck me as very counter-intuitive. Plus, it makes the code hard to read. Csound is a lot more like a hardware modular synth, with named variables filling the role of patch cords.
Fumanwho
stk wrote:
Reaktor.

Get it, get the manual, track down the online tutorials/blogs, learn and practice.

I've only really scratched the surface but pretty much anything you can imagine, you can build.

Cheers


"anything you can imagine, you can build." Patching is a Turing trap just because something is computable does not mean its practical to do so.

Patch languages are full on programming languages that pretend to be easier than the text based synthesis languages. I have used max and pd alot and i have never been so pissed at a programming language.

I am just going to talk about max here as its the most problematic of the patching languages you pay money for.

Pros
Integration with ableton.
Easy to use gui builder. (for most things)
Large community.
Easy transition between max and pd.
Good connectivity with the outside world.

Cons
The message passing problem. Message passing in max is the worst implementation of object to object communication i have ever had the misfortune to use. The huge cognitive strain placed on the user is totally unnecessary. Other languages handle this problem in a much simpler easy to use way. With no loss of functionality.

The if statement problem. In text based languages if you want your code to make a decision you use an if statement. Its not a very complicated thing to learn. If you need to make a complicated decision, you compose the solution to your problem out of several if statements. In max the kind of problems if statements solve, are solved by a huge amount objects.
This leads to a massive amount of documentation. This leads to a huge burden on the user that in text based languages is solved easily and elegantly by if statements.

The documentation problem. See above. Also consider the amount of docs necessary for javascript and java

The object naming problem. I know that Csound and Pyo, both have a naming scheme that is sensible and usable. There is nothing worse then spending ages trying to find an object in max that you know about but have forgotten the name of. The naming scheme also makes discovery of objects and their functionality difficult. I now have the max object thesaurus printed and bound.

The DLC problem. Cycling74 seem to have taken EA approach to selling software. Instead of adding to or improving max msp (add more filters, oscillators, granulators), they sell huge addon languages. Making mastery of the whole software package even more difficult.

The Gen problem. Sample level codeing in max = $$$ + documentation + new language. Sample level coding in Csound = 1 additional text statement.
There is huge disparity in complexity of the two approaches.

Javascript and java. Its impossible to use max with out understanding max. That means even if you use java and javascript alot you are still are not unburdened from the problems of patching. Looking at this problem the other way as a new user thats a huge amount of stuff to learn for problems that are solved in other audio languges easily.

The code scaling problem. It doesn't scale

The code reading problem. Text wins on this one.

The crashing problem. What the fuckin fuck. No other piece of paid for software crashes on my computer as much as max.

The it stops working until you restart it problem. The fuck?

Order of operations problem. In Csound i know when sections of code runs and I have complete knowledge of and easy to understand control over that order. In max this kind of control is difficult and awkward.

The synthesis problem. Absolutely minimum amount of choice when it comes to sound generators, sound modifiers and modulation options. Every other well known synthesis language beats max on this one.
midiguru
Fumanwho wrote:
Order of operations problem. In Csound i know when sections of code runs and I have complete knowledge of and easy to understand control over that order. In max this kind of control is difficult and awkward.

The synthesis problem. Absolutely minimum amount of choice when it comes to sound generators, sound modifiers and modulation options. Every other well known synthesis language beats max on this one.

You have more experience with Max than I do. The order-of-operations problem is really bad -- and what's worse, if you go back and forth from Max to Pd, two patches that appear identical on-screen will quite possibly function differently, because Pd has a different order of operations. Not only that, but in Pd it's invisible. In Max it's at least visible if you puzzle it out.

Csound is much, much better in this respect. Csound also has a huge set of unit generators (aka opcodes) for all kinds of synthesis.

Graphical programming is tempting, if you have little experience with programming, because it _looks_ intuitive. And indeed, for simple patches it is intuitive as compared to the cryptic text in Csound or SuperCollider. As your needs become more complex, however, graphic programming can become a bottleneck.

That's not to say that Max doesn't have its strengths. For one thing, it makes very pretty user interfaces, much better than those in Csound. For another, it's always running (unless it crashes). Csound's workflow involves a lot of stopping and starting, because your edits to the code won't be heard until you recompile. In Csound 6 you can recompile while running, but you have to recompile a whole instrument, and your code changes won't be heard until the next time that instrument starts -- so it still isn't as fluid as Max and Pd.
BBlack
All this programming, maths, coding, language, etc. talk is absolutely mind-boggling to me. I understand none of it.

I'm used to programs with pre-made effects, plugins, etc. that you simply patch a sound into. To build something completely from scratch with words and codes sounds mind-numbingly complicated.

I'll have to really look into this to decide if it's something I'd like to put my time into.

Thanks to all for the suggestions so far!
adam
midiguru wrote:

You have more experience with Max than I do. The order-of-operations problem is really bad -- and what's worse, if you go back and forth from Max to Pd, two patches that appear identical on-screen will quite possibly function differently, because Pd has a different order of operations. Not only that, but in Pd it's invisible. In Max it's at least visible if you puzzle it out.


i think in pd objects are executed in the order they were created - so you could look at the source if you really needed to see what was going on.

the alternative is to use the trigger object to enforce a strict order of operation - signals are output from the rightmost trigger output to the left sequentially if memory serves
stk
peng wrote:
stk wrote:
From what I can tell (I don't use Max personally) Reaktor is generally more "high level" (ie less math / programming) unless you go looking for it (Reaktor core, ie making your own modules from low-level blocks & math).

So you can stick with the prebuilt modules. It's still a black hole, though smile


Having used both, I would say that both are similiar levels of maths/programming, but it's true reaktor does come with more fully featured synths that you can take apart/modify. If you use ableton it might also be worth checking out max for live..

Personally, I can't stand the 'programming by dragging lines between boxes' paradigm anymore, drives me bonkers! (though modular is kind of like dragging lines between boxes now I think of it, only considerably less frustrating when those lines and boxes are physical entities and there's knobs to turn)


Interesting, thanks.

I know what you mean about the boxes and lines paradigm. For simple things it's ok, but more complex patches just get ridiculously messy and convoluted.

Also agree with Fuanwho's excellent post above. As a programmer by day I'm quite interested in the csound / supercollider approach. Need to find the time to delve into it.
midiguru
adam wrote:
i think in pd objects are executed in the order they were created - so you could look at the source if you really needed to see what was going on.

They're executed in the order in which the connections between objects were made. I'm not sure how that would be shown in the source code, but there's a way to deal with it. If you aren't sure which signal from a given outlet is being sent first, remove all of the connections and then restore them in the desired order.
adam
i'm guessing that connections made first will be closer to the top of the file - you can open patches in a text editor, or hand code them if you like.
BBlack
Okay, so I'm leaning toward Reaktor at the moment.

I'm thinking - HEY! - since I can't build my physical modular, why not create the same system in Reaktor?

However, I'm terribly confused as to what is needed to build in Reaktor. Reaktor itself is simply a program, correct? And one must purchase Komplete and load everything into Reaktor in order to start making sound, right? But where do all the modules for core come from? Are they parts of the synths and so on included in Komplete? Or is there a "Builder's Kit" or something that includes all the elements of instrument/effect creation available?

I probably just need to read a bit more, but if someone can't break this down simply, I'd appreciate it!
midiguru
No, you don't need Komplete. Reaktor can run by itself. It includes all of the elements that you need to build your own Reaktor instruments -- Reaktor is both a suite of factory synthesizers AND a builder's kit.
adam
you could also use the nord g2 demo possibly, you can download it from http://www.nordkeyboards.com/main.asp?tm=Downloads
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