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Pls Recommend - physical modeling plugin
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Music Software  
Author Pls Recommend - physical modeling plugin
Hey all,

I'm looking for some recommendations for VST or AU plugins to intuitively synthesize "abstract" acoustic / real world sounds (physical modeling).

More specifically looking to simulate the following types of sounds:

-- Plucking a rubber band and modulating that vibration by expanding and contracting the band

-- Banging on a sheet of metal while also bending it

-- Cracking wood

-- Hitting an HVAC pipe with a tennis ball

I'm not looking to use samples. I'd much rather work with an intuitive interface and a logical set of parameters to synthesize the sounds. I know I could achieve this using Reaktor (which I have), but I'm looking for something more immediate.

Considering the following:

Chromophone looks interesting --

Kaivo looks rad --

Thanks ya'll
The Neuron VST might be something worth looking at if you haven't already.
Chromaphone is good and works as stand alone or plugin. Intellijel's upcoming module has some of the functions but not all.
phase ghost
Madrona Labs Kaivo is the most "out there" physical modeling plugin that I've run into. Chromaphone is really nice too, but I just couldn't justify the cost after demo'ing it.
orangehexagon wrote:
More specifically looking to simulate the following types of sounds:

-- Plucking a rubber band and modulating that vibration by expanding and contracting the band

-- Banging on a sheet of metal while also bending it

-- Cracking wood

-- Hitting an HVAC pipe with a tennis ball

I only have experience with Chromaphone, so I can't quite compare others, but you can definitely do the rubber band and HVAC pipe parts with it. I think you would be able to do the sheet metal too, but the bending part might take a lot more modulation, I've never tried it, but I would think it's capable. Not too sure on the Cracking wood, it might be possible, but I couldn't think of an easy way to approach that, almost sounds like something more a clap synth would be better suited for....that being said, I've made claps with Chromaphone, but it seems like you'd need multiple layers to achieve that.
If you have reaktor, you can add Harm Visser's Physical Modeling toolkit.
Applied Acoustics Systems stuff as they have Sculpture in Logic and Tension in Ableton too as well as Tassman
Yeah, Tension is pretty nice, and if you have the Ableton Suite it's free.
Moon Indigo
Kaivo is great for this kind of thing, and has one of the best UI around. There is a demo, so try it out.
I like Reaktor Prism (underrated!) and Madrona Labs Kaivo (CPU hog alert).
Chromaphone and Kaivo are probably your best bet. I don't think there's any software that can accurately simulate some of your specific examples though, unless you want to get into some of the really complex 3d modeled acoustics stuff you can buy from IRCAM, or program some custom waveguide stuff maybe.
crawling wind
Maybe AAS Tassman? Some say it is abandonware, but others say it will be updated at some point.
Kaivo and Prism would be my picks as well. NI's Prism is a little more immediate, and it sounds brilliant. Kaivo is great just fiddling around, but once you read the manual and see how to actually work with the plugin, it's insane. Probably my favorite plugin, period. Serious CPU killer, though. I frequently have to reduce my voice count just to keep things in check. Worth the trouble, though, because even a few voices can sound brilliant, especially if you're layering things in as recorded snippets/tracks.

As for the Neuron, Christ... The Neuron VST still sounds great but some huge caveats:
- First and foremost, it barely works anymore. The free version is OSX only, 32bit only, and runs on a VST 2.1 SDK that hardly any modern DAWs support so you need to do some wizardry to make it work. I have two plugins sitting in front of it, FXpansion (that barely works anymore as well) and 32Lives (which allows the 32bit AU version of the Neuron VST to work in a 64bit DAW). This causes weirdness from time to time, but works well enough. If I'm recording, though, I will 100% of the time record from UglyVSTi into Live and not use it as a plugin inside my DAW. Like I said, hardly works anymore.

- It doesn't remember any settings from your last session. None. I have to make tweaks and then save them as a preset and write it down like I'm playing Zelda on the NES to remember what the hell I was doing. PitA, seriously.

- It needs a Nuke controller, kinda sorta. OK, it will work without one, but you'll need something to emulate a Nuke. There are ways to do it. They weren't working too well for me. I got a Nuke instead.

- Stick automations don't work. That's a big part of the actual Neuron keyboard's sound and programming. Not having stick automations suck, but then, it's such a live instrument for me just due to its flakiness that I just record live playing from it anyway.

So, yeah, it's free... it's a pain in the ass to use, but it still sounds freaking amazing and you can do some truly incredible things with it. I've been tempted to get an actual Neuron keyboard, but the cost is pretty dumb (not stupid dumb, but still dumb) and it's just not very reliable. I know I'd be repairing the thing more than I'd care to admit and wish I was still just using the Nuke setup with UglyVSTi.

The VST is still worth checking out... The price is right.
you know what they says: Tassman is old, the GUI is super retro and the whole thing is clunky as hell, but i happen to love it,
it’s musical af and fairly easy to use, to this day i still can’t find something to replace it completely

i was playing around in reaktor but the engine is much more sophisticated
and really low level, everytime i try to create something PM related in it
i often ends up spending more time tinkering than actually making music

and even if i simply play with the users ensemble, i rarely match the level of musicality/possibility that Tassman gives me

the other synth that blew my mind recently is the Kaivo by madrona labs
it's graphically simple but well. It sounds amazing !
even more realistic and *alive* than most of the kontakt banks out there eek!

those two are still the best physical modelling in terms of Sound and Possibilities (i really enjoy using samples as exciter sources)
And for Tassman, once you forget about the horrible presets
(they really do sound 2004 af) and you learn how to make your own
patches from scratch, interesting things can happen

there's a sale, it's at at plugin boutique w00t 514
Modelonia made by Nusofting
I personally think than Prism is more versatile than Chromaphone, which is centered around percussion sounds.

But Prism isn't designed to emulate acoustic instruments, it sounds like acoustic objects being played but more artificial, more sci-fi.
Great topic! I love the beautiful and non-beautiful sounds of PM synths.

If you can't tell, Prism, Kaivo, and Chromaphone are the standout choices. But they have very different orientations.

Chromaphone is the only one that is actually geared directly toward simulating real world sounds, and the interface allows you to specify things like tension and material of your simulated instrument, instead of more abstract parameters. It can sound very realistic and imitate all kinds of objects. You'll need to crank the volume and BYOReverb, but then it sounds great.

Prism sounds very, very good. About on par with Chromaphone; maybe a little less realistic sounding but better for more experimental tones, and with a great and very complimentary sounding built in reverb. I love it.

Kaivo is really special. Madrona Labs instruments have a very modular and experimental bent, so if a patch sounds like a real world instrument, it's almost by accident, and many sounds are very far out. But holy smokes this is the only that will really knock your socks off with how present and real it can sound. Give the demo a try! Check out the 'harp' and 'gentle dulicmer' presets. You won't believe how good they sound!

Beyond that, if you're seriously all about creating realistic sounds and exploring physical modeling, consider the book Designing Sound by Andy Farnell. He uses Pure Data to simulate all kinds of real world sounds, with an emphasis not on music but just recreating sounds.
I recommend Chromaphone 2 it's the best one i have found over the years and the relationship to the intellijel plonk is cool
Harm visser's physical modeling kit for reaktor
crawling wind
It's official that AAS Tassman is no longer being developed.
Anything made by AAS. Great company.
+1 for Kaivo and Aalto too
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