Which modular soft synth (Aalto v Bazille)?

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Which modular soft synth is the best buy?

Madrona Labs Aalto Yeah
73
72%
U-He Bazille FTW
29
28%
 
Total votes: 102

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re_dream
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Which modular soft synth (Aalto v Bazille)?

Post by re_dream » Tue Jun 14, 2016 12:03 am

Hi there

I am an amateur musician playing around on Ableton Live. I have been feeling very limited by the same old same old presets I find on most synths. I have been very impressed by some sounds from modular synths... An example of what I really like is e.g. Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith, whose new album ears is full of really rich, organic sounds & long evolving pads. All made withBuchla synths etc I understand.

So I am looking for a soft synth that can take me there. At the moment I am looking at Aalto and Bazille. I live in Cape Town, and our currency is not strong, so both will cost me a pretty penny. :help: I would appreciate your advice as to the pros and cons of each!

thanks !

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Blingley
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Post by Blingley » Tue Jun 14, 2016 1:43 am

Bazille, because all the people voting for Aalto are pretentious hipsters that like it because it's less popular. :hihi:

Really though, Bazille is more versatile in terms of sound generation by far. The internal sequencing in Bazille is weak, however. If you plan to sequence with piano roll anyway, I would definitely recommend Bazille over Aalto. Unless you really like the waveguide thing in Aalto. Aalto is closer to the Buchla sound, so if that is the prime determinant, well..

Also consider XILS-lab XILS4.

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re_dream
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Post by re_dream » Tue Jun 14, 2016 7:48 am

Thanks for that feedback!

I see Aalto is getting some votes too.. Would the defenders please speak up? I am a pretentious hipster too. :homer:

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Post by ngarjuna » Tue Jun 14, 2016 8:05 am

I haven't played with Bazille since the beta (I did really like it just don't really need software modulars) but I get a lot of use out of Aalto. It's a synth that I can get wild and crazy results out of, not many soft synths in my arsenal that check off that box. I never really saw it as a Buchla clone (although it's true that it is in many ways) it's just a refreshing take on synthesis overall.

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teezdalien
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Post by teezdalien » Tue Jun 14, 2016 8:19 am

You can't really go wrong with either, both really great synth plugs. Demo both and see which suits you better.

One thing that bugs me about Bazille is that it needs to be triggered with midi, it doesn't have free running oscillators. So Aalto behaves much more like a typical hardware modular in that sense. Bazille is probably a bit more versatile though, giving you more tools to work with and that morphing sequencer is wonderful. They're both different and good enough to warrant having both, so I say get both. :mrgreen:

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Post by Neant » Tue Jun 14, 2016 8:29 am

Have you considered getting Reaktor? Blocks are amazing and give you tons of options that both Aalto and Bazille are not made to give the user. I find playing with Reaktor much more hardware-like than both of the other plugins. The user library is constantly growing, at times brining eurorack ports to Blocks. Seriously, I cannot recommend it enough. Not to mention that you also get all the stuff outside of the Blocks, which is incredible value by itself. Extra-bonus kudos for hardware integration with Expert Sleeprs or a DC coupled interface :goo:

But if you are set on choosing Aalto or Bazille then I think it's a pretty hard choice. Aalto has a very distinct sound, much more Buchla-Esque. But I believe Bazille gives you more options overall as it has more flexible routing. But there are some territories into which it won't delve and as teezdalien said - you need to trigger it for it to make a sound.

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re_dream
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Post by re_dream » Tue Jun 14, 2016 9:42 am

Thanks for that feedback. I wish I could go for Reaktor! But the exchange rate is just crazy, and getting worse. :woah:

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Post by Praxis » Tue Jun 14, 2016 10:19 am

Can you get the magazine Computer Music in South Africa? They give away free cut down versions of both Aalto and Bazille. Both are great but quite different. Bazille is more like a traditional modular, Aalto is more like a Buchla.

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Post by justin3am » Tue Jun 14, 2016 11:02 am

My vote is for Bazille (I know, I'm biased) but I also use Aalto a lot.

With Bazille it's nice having 4 oscillators, 4 envelopes and 4 filters to play with but the utility stuff (lag generators, rectifiers, sample&hold, quantizer) make a lot of crazy patches possible. The mod mappers are something I haven't often see in soft-synths... a way to create transfer functions and alternate response curves for control/audio signals. They can also be used as primitive sequencers.
Yes, it's a bummer that Bazille won't make a sound without triggering a note, but I don't find it particularly limiting. In addition to the ability to open the VCAs I'd also like the outputs to pass DC signals.

I find the number of modulation sources a bit limiting in Aalto. However, it is fun to work within those limits. The sequencer is a lot of fun to play from a MIDI controller. The waveguide delay sounds fantastic. I just wish there was another LFO with some additional features. It would also be nice to be able to patch Aalto from a MIDI controller.
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Post by debolish » Tue Jun 14, 2016 12:26 pm

+1 write in vote for Reaktor Blocks. The synergy between software & hardware is wicked.
Neant wrote:Have you considered getting Reaktor? Blocks are amazing and give you tons of options that both Aalto and Bazille are not made to give the user. I find playing with Reaktor much more hardware-like than both of the other plugins. The user library is constantly growing, at times brining eurorack ports to Blocks. Seriously, I cannot recommend it enough. Not to mention that you also get all the stuff outside of the Blocks, which is incredible value by itself. Extra-bonus kudos for hardware integration with Expert Sleeprs or a DC coupled interface :goo:

But if you are set on choosing Aalto or Bazille then I think it's a pretty hard choice. Aalto has a very distinct sound, much more Buchla-Esque. But I believe Bazille gives you more options overall as it has more flexible routing. But there are some territories into which it won't delve and as teezdalien said - you need to trigger it for it to make a sound.

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Post by synthi » Tue Jun 14, 2016 9:43 pm

I have aalto since the first days and Bazilla from the neverending beta stage. The truth is I still use Aalto sometimes but very few times since reaktor Blocks...., and Bazille is hardly used since they released version 1.0 (yep, I used it a lot the free beta, then I paid for the release version and maybe I used it 5-6 times since...) Aalto have a very special sound, it really nails the Buchla mojo, but is a bit limited and will take a good amount of proccessor power.
My recomendation: Reaktor 6 w/Blocks.
I know is the most expensive option but maybe you can get a used early reaktor 3 or 4 in ebay/reverb or at KVR forum for cheap and then pay the 99$ upgrade to reaktor 6. The emulations in Block are great, and the community blocks are awesome. Thats the only software synth (with also U-HE Diva for polyphony) I use along all my "true" analog modulars and synths. :banana: :nana: :bananaguitar:
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Post by Loopy C » Tue Jun 14, 2016 10:12 pm

A recent discovery really blew my mind about Bazille...modulating patch cable connections! So it is definetly providing for some great experimentation here ;-)

I will listen to the 'Ears' album when I can and I revise as appropiate...until then, presently my favorite 'go to' synths are Alchemy (especially with Patchpool sound sets), Iris (with Patchpool subscription), and Omnisphere 2.

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Post by Urs » Wed Jun 15, 2016 4:26 am

My first post here - finally :-)

When I initially developed Bazille I simply hadn't had a modular system. So it's designed very much from the point of view of someone who's used to play synths by keyboard or piano row sequencers. Funnily, a lot of Bazille's concepts gel well with actual modular experience, but I can seen now how some concepts are utterly missing, such as step control for the sequencer (think Brains) and parallel outs for the 8 snapshots (think Pressure Points).

Superbooth 16 marked a change in my way of thinking about modular synthesis (or better: modular expression). I have since cleared out Schneidersladen (well, not quite...) and spent every free minute learning Tempis, Terminals, Maths and what not.

I'm sure that, if I find the time, a few surgically drilled holes in Bazille's front panel can create a lot of extra goodness. The main point being, I have never added trigger signals to my software. But the hardware modular system I'm building is mainly driven by clocks and trigger sources. Hence I think sooner or later we're going to embrace these, alongside a few other things.

Cheers,

- Urs

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Post by 101010oxo » Wed Jun 15, 2016 4:42 am

Urs wrote:My first post here - finally :-)
Welcome to Muffwiggler! I can't wait to see (hear!) what you'll come up with with your modular experience :tu:
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Post by peripatitis » Wed Jun 15, 2016 4:44 am

Urs wrote:My first post here - finally :-)

When I initially developed Bazille I simply hadn't had a modular system. So it's designed very much from the point of view of someone who's used to play synths by keyboard or piano row sequencers. Funnily, a lot of Bazille's concepts gel well with actual modular experience, but I can seen now how some concepts are utterly missing, such as step control for the sequencer (think Brains) and parallel outs for the 8 snapshots (think Pressure Points).

Superbooth 16 marked a change in my way of thinking about modular synthesis (or better: modular expression). I have since cleared out Schneidersladen (well, not quite...) and spent every free minute learning Tempis, Terminals, Maths and what not.

I'm sure that, if I find the time, a few surgically drilled holes in Bazille's front panel can create a lot of extra goodness. The main point being, I have never added trigger signals to my software. But the hardware modular system I'm building is mainly driven by clocks and trigger sources. Hence I think sooner or later we're going to embrace these, alongside a few other things.

Cheers,

- Urs
I like that :)

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Post by Synthbuilder » Wed Jun 15, 2016 5:07 am

I'd certainly look into getting Reaktor. If you buy it second hand from somewhere like KVR forums or here, you'll find it for a lot less than buying it new. And the great thing about second hand software is that it is, well, exactly the same as buying it new.

And, of course, when you get Reaktor you get a whole lot of other stuff as well.

That said I like Bazille. It's pretty heavy on CPU and the filters perhaps don't sound as nice as those on Reaktor's Blocks - but it's capable, the UI is easy on the eye and it's easier and quicker to use than Reaktor. I also rather like it's spring reverb. Like all of U-He's plugs there is an issue whereby the first time an instance is played in Ableton Live the main audio output briefly glitches - but it runs perfect after that.

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Post by Jamnuska » Wed Jun 15, 2016 11:08 am

Have Bazille and Diva. Like them both. Diva sounds amazing if you have a strong pc.
However if I were to do it again I would get Reaktor. Waiting for it to be bundled cause I am cheap.

Never used Aalto so can not comment.

2nd the vote for some kind of self playing for the U-He products. My keyboarding skills suck. Bazille should be patch and play like Reaktor.

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Post by rod_zero » Wed Jun 15, 2016 1:30 pm

You should also check the enw Softube Modular.

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Post by lamouette/rck » Wed Jun 15, 2016 2:06 pm

Never used Bazille, but i love Aalto cause it is simple, but deep, easy interface, and some good idea here. It is on every track i do.
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Post by Hainbach » Wed Jun 15, 2016 3:38 pm

Hi Urs, great to see your here!

Never used Bazille but I love Aalto and the rest of the Madrona Labs family and have been in involved in beta-testing for all of them. The workflow and the sound quality truly stand out, especially with Virta. The VOSIM OSCs on it sound alive, I want them in a module!

If you like Kaitlyn's music, you can't go wrong with Madrona Labs.

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Post by totalcult » Thu Jun 16, 2016 12:04 am

Just a quick heads up, Computer Music mag is currently giving away a CM edition (slightly less functionality) of Bazille.

Worth checking out: http://www.musicradar.com/news/tech/fre ... -cm-639350

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Post by thetechnobear » Thu Jun 16, 2016 6:31 am

Bazille and Aalto aren't really similar in sound, so apples and oranges.

But Id vote Aalto, as I use it daily... for me, its not as 'flexible' as Bazille, but its very musical, easy to create very nice sounding patches, which is why I keep going to it.
I'll admit, in some ways Ive probably 'overused' it, so actually, finding its palette a bit limiting now... but as i said, I've used it so much, so no complaint!

BUT as of yesterday, Id be tempted to say... go to softube modular.
Ive only played with it for a day, but its sound is really special, even with just the basic modules at $79 its a bargain. not only does it sound great, but like Reaktor Blocks its doesn't feel quite as bound to midi as Bazille. (as Urs already generously pointed out, Bazille is linked to note ons for env triggers etc)

compared to Reaktor Blocks, yeah not as flexible, and Blocks has a big head-start with the user library....
but the softube modules sound better (to me) , sure you'll be tempted to buy add-ons, whereas Blocks the are free, but sometimes you get what you pay for,



as for west coast/Buchla sound, yeah Aalto all the way... or encoder audios M4L devices if you have ableton live suite. (they are really good value too!)
Reaktor has a couple of west coast inspired ensembles as well as Blocks.
Can't think of any more soft synths focused on west coast.
(of course you may still get very close to these sounds even with non-west coast oriented synths)

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Post by Nelson Baboon » Thu Jun 16, 2016 8:44 am

teezdalien wrote:You can't really go wrong with either, both really great synth plugs. Demo both and see which suits you better.

One thing that bugs me about Bazille is that it needs to be triggered with midi, it doesn't have free running oscillators. So Aalto behaves much more like a typical hardware modular in that sense. Bazille is probably a bit more versatile though, giving you more tools to work with and that morphing sequencer is wonderful. They're both different and good enough to warrant having both, so I say get both. :mrgreen:
I had no interest in Bazille at all when I discovered that notes needed to be triggered, and couldn't just freely sound. A modular with that limitation? Fuck that. Aalto sounds great, and is very flexible within its limitations.

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Post by Worwell » Thu Jun 16, 2016 9:02 am

Both great synths. Check out KVR as both of those regularly show up used there at steep discounts such that you can probably get both for the price of one new.

If I had to chose I would go with Aalto. Aalto is much easier to patch but Bazille probably has more sonic range. You can't go wrong here.

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Post by Mitchk1989 » Thu Jun 16, 2016 9:55 am

I don't quite get the need for a free running bazille. Can't you just rig up whatever piece of software you are using to hit it with a never ending note?

On a possibly related note: there may in the future be a free running bazille if an effect/monophonic version is made (same way zebrify can be used as a free running monophonic zebra)

That said: Love bazille, love ACE, want aalto.
Last edited by Mitchk1989 on Thu Jun 16, 2016 9:57 am, edited 1 time in total.

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