MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index
 FAQ & Terms of UseFAQ & Terms Of Use   Wiggler RadioMW Radio   Muff Wiggler TwitterTwitter   Support the site @ PatreonPatreon 
 SearchSearch   RegisterSign up   Log inLog in 
WIGGLING 'LITE' IN GUEST MODE

Why a hardware modular and not virtual modular software?
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Modular Synth General Discussion Goto page 1, 2, 3  Next [all]
Author Why a hardware modular and not virtual modular software?
outfigurable
So I finally decided to invest in building a real modular synthesizer. I've ordered my first things (Atlantis, K4815, Intellijel uJack, Mantis case). Couldn't be more excited. My list of "next modules" is already 20 lines long.

Having beer with a friend of mine tonight. He asks me: "why are you spending all this money on hardware, when you could probably get the same results with software? They can model the instruments and sounds really accurately now!"

I thought about this and answered with a couple of justifications. First:

Yes it's true that there's a lot of great software and plugins out there that models real instruments. You can even automate and control stuff. But of course what drives me are the physical interactions, the muscle memory that forms when you move a control with your fingers and hear the result. The happy accidents that occur, unexpected discoveries. The patching and voltages and deeper understanding, satisfaction.

And the second reason: would your rather look at pictures of beautiful places or actually be there? Would you rather view a beautiful companion on your screen or touch a real person? See virtual food on Youtube or really taste it?

It's about experiences.

And also. As I get older - having too many options, too many possibilities. It becomes limiting. Limitations are freedom. Somehow. smile

So maybe that's my question to throw out. What's your justification for real modular and not virtual software?
Parnelli
Quote:
What's your justification for real modular and not virtual software?


Because I'm a hardware guy and I don't like software. I like hands on patching, not mouse clicking. I like having the ability to manage/arrange/modify my hardware in any manner that suits me, and I'm not necessarily able to do that within the software realm.

Same reason I don't do strip joints; I'm a hands on sort of person, and you don't get that kind of experience in such a setting. Guinness ftw!
AW198
Same reason anyone likes any hardware synth over softsynths seriously, i just don't get it
Hovercraft
Imagine flying a Boeing 787 using a laptop as the only interface. That might work for some people, but bringing the interface out into physical space has a lot of advantages for human control. I've never been productive using software, so having a physical instrument has made an enormous difference.
LoFi Junglist
Because computers are temperamental pieces of shit that that offer no serviceability, and have to be regularly 'updated' which can leave software/hardware unsupported or glitchy.

Also, as someone who recently lost 1TB of work after bumping a SATA HDD, fuck Computers.
starthief
I like software. I don't hate interacting with a synth via a mouse and keyboard and LCD. Even after being into Eurorack for a couple of years, I quite like Madrona Labs Aalto, Arturia Buchla Easel V, d16 LuSH-101. I like using a DAW-based sequencer and effects. I have never lost anything good due to computers being temperamental and never felt like I was wasting my time with updates and patches and whatnot.

But I love the hands-on of hardware. The surprises. The tiny details and weird edge cases that nobody models in software. The completely different approach one takes toward working with it. There's more satisfaction and inspiration there. More joy.

There's also a lot more diversity in hardware modular than software modular (and software synths in general). It logically shouldn't be that way, so I think it says more about the narrower thinking that tends to go into software. It's not that there's no creativity in software plugins but it's sort of living in a smaller box.

I was already pretty prolific before I got into Eurorack but my output more than doubled afterward, and I'm more satisfied with both the process and the result.
sduck
^this^ (written simultaneously as starthief, referring to the post before that) computers change. OS's update. Software developers move on to other things, and stuff never gets updated to work on the latest and greatest. Meanwhile I've got hardware synth stuff from the 80's and 90's that works the same as new - just flip the switch, it's on.

While there's a certain charm to maintaining an old windows XP box just so you can run Vaz modular, watching it take 3 minutes to boot up and praying that the hard drive is still working isn't a part of that.
Reese P. Dubin
I am 15 years in and have more hardware than I want.
Just installed VCV Rack 2 weeks ago.
Its great, sounds good, fun to use.
Final verdict: Use both
Personal preference will always win, but o boy am I tired and BORED of dogmatism about gear
yellowecho
I sit in front of a computer all day at work so the last thing I want to do is play music on a computer. It's not as instant or as satisfying. I like twisting knobs and exploring. I also loathe menus and menu-diving when playing music. I went through phases in guitar pedals too where they'd be all-analog or all-midi and every time I came back to the analog feeling world with no screens.
I prefer using software when recording but not when playing.
outfigurable
Great points all around. I feel so much the same.

Something that I definitely didn't expect getting into this: all of the personality and love that goes into these little companies that imagine, design, produce, and market their modules. Each one has a story, design ascetics, a signature sound. I find it so inspiring to interact with a little instrument that had hundreds or thousands of hours of thinking and execution poured into it. With all the limitations of cost, space, power, available components. It's quite cool to see how many thousands of modules came into existence, and every person's rack is slightly different, the choices they made, the tastes they have.

I love all these little companies and how passionate they are about making stuff. I'm a software guy (making software for a living), and it seems sooo much different. Makes me want to switch careers.
luchog
outfigurable wrote:
Having beer with a friend of mine tonight. He asks me: "why are you spending all this money on hardware, when you could probably get the same results with software? They can model the instruments and sounds really accurately now!"



Given the degree to which the modular world is going digital, especially in the Eurorack realm, the difference between hardware and software is becoming increasingly small, and 99% of what can be done with modular hardware can also be done with software and a decent USB MIDI controller.

I am going hardware for that 1% that cannot be done in software (or cannot be done as well), along with the tactile feedback of the knobs and switches and cables, and the nostalgia factor. There's also the feeling that when I'm making music, or art of any sort, I want to be as far away from the world of my computer as possible, since that's where I spend the majority of my waking life, due to work and some of my other hobbies (gaming, writing, and so on). If it wasn't for analog modular synthesizers, I'd be back playing the saxophone or trying to learn electric bass. However, since I suck badly at both of those, I'm sticking with the modular. And worse than that, I'm going with a whole lot of vacuum-tube-based modules as the core of my system, just to be extra-obnoxious about it.

yellowecho wrote:
I sit in front of a computer all day at work so the last thing I want to do is play music on a computer. It's not as instant or as satisfying. I like twisting knobs and exploring. I also loathe menus and menu-diving when playing music. I went through phases in guitar pedals too where they'd be all-analog or all-midi and every time I came back to the analog feeling world with no screens.

I prefer using software when recording but not when playing.


Yup, very much the same here. Not only do I want to be away from my computer, but I want to be away from the feel of my computer.
luchog
sduck wrote:
^this^ (written simultaneously as starthief, referring to the post before that) computers change. OS's update. Software developers move on to other things, and stuff never gets updated to work on the latest and greatest. Meanwhile I've got hardware synth stuff from the 80's and 90's that works the same as new - just flip the switch, it's on.


That's another reason I avoid doing this stuff on computers. I got my start in the modular world with Sonigen, which is a great piece of software as far as it goes, but has some bugs, is missing some useful features, there hasn't been an updated version in nearly four years, and the developer appears to have stopped any new work on it a couple years ago. There are probably better software modulars, but no guarantee they won't go the same way eventually.
modularblack
Just FUN. Nothing else. When I want music get done I use my software with all my plugins I can use on every track I want. I also call the old "But analog sounds better" phrase bullshit. It sounds good, if you make good music.
Arcana
Hardware is definitely more fun, and it’s a thing that you can look at and touch. It also works everywhere!

It doesn’t change the fact that hardware is pretty expensive! A lot of people I think can’t justify to themselves to spend $300 on one single module.
ranix
easy answer - because I can take a soldering iron to it and mess with it

if I was a software guy I'd be using open source synthesizer software and modifying it, but I'm not

I sure wouldn't use these closed source VST things you guys use
Dcramer
Although I haven’t tried the very latest of the new breed of modular software, I have tried everything up until about 5 years ago and just never found anything with the same response to CV or sound quality.

Finally getting back into hardware with a small Euro system was a real eye opener thumbs up
And ear opener Miley Cyrus
DSC
Seriously, why not both? Software can let you 'scratch an itch' on something like, 'What if I summed 100 LFO's and then pitch shifted them?' AND at the same time who would in their right mind build that in hardware? Especially when they were uncertain that it would give justifiable results. EXPAND all creativity, when possible!
mousegarden
outfigurable wrote:
"why are you spending all this money on hardware, when you could probably get the same results with software? They can model the instruments and sounds really accurately now!"

I thought about this and answered with a couple of justifications.


Hardware will always be here, long after I'm gone, you don't need to update it, and it isn't at the mercy of software/hardware incompatibility and system upgrades, and then, finding out you've got to buy new software because it wont work with the latest OS.
Hardware is reassuring, it's not confusing, with "limitless options"
Hardware does not become dated it's timeless, computers are out of date and worthless six months after you buy them, you're on an endless treadmill.
With hardware it's as simple, or as complicated as you want it to be. Once you've decided on a set-up it never changes, it's always familiar, unlike some software when they radically change the structure and UI (Arturia take note)
You don't need to justify anything, as I get older hardware seems like the only sensible solution if you want to be as productive as possible, while remaining relatively problem free.
Navs
Yes, seriously, why not both? I love the possibilities the Clavia Micromodular offers me when playing live.

Things like the G2, Puredata or Axoloti are great for trying out ideas.

I prefer the sound of my analogue synth, but there's no competition in terms of efficiency: financial or in terms of HP real-estate and weight.
lisa
Quote:
having too many options, too many possibilities. It becomes limiting.

So, you have no self-control and you blame it on software? I love this argument. grin

Just say it like it is: you have a lust for gear. It’s not about being rational, it’s about doing what you feel like doing.
mousegarden
Navs wrote:
I prefer the sound of my analogue synth, but there's no competition in terms of efficiency: financial or in terms of HP real-estate and weight.


Effiency? financial? In what way is software efficient? I can see no benefits in that respect over hardware. Financial? your £2,000 Mac Book will be a worthless piece of junk in three years time, along with software that may not be compatible with a new OS. Your hardware will hold its value.
Don't get me wrong, I use computers, and I worked entirely ITB for a while, but I got fed up with the whole software scene, people say modular is a money pit, well, it's got nothing on computers and software in that respect. In the long term computers are the bigger money pit, and they give you nothing back in return.
lisa
mousegarden wrote:
your £2,000 Mac Book will be a worthless piece of junk in three years time, along with software that may not be compatible with a new OS.

Haha, you are painting a bleak picture. smile My computers usually cost about a fifth of that and I normally use them for about five years. I mainly use them for internet, writing, listening to music, etc. I would get the same computer and exchange it as often even if I wasn't into music production. So the cost of the computer can't be credited to my composing.

I've bought a bunch of plugins and it is true that they haven't kept their value but I've been using most of them for nearly a decade now. None of them have stopped working yet and they are being updated by the makers now and then.

If I where to do the same music that I do now, sans computer, I would have to get gear for hundreds of thousands of dollars to replace my plugins. I would also have to get a warehouse for storage.

Also, trying to do the tracks I do now with the workflow that I use now (and love) in all hardware would result in hundreds of hours just connecting, unconnecting and moving effect units around. I would probably never finalize a track but if I did it would be about one every three years. Not very efficient.

I love the combination of hardware and software but if I had to choose I'd no doubt go for an all software, ITB, solution. I could never do what I do now with an all hardware setup.
cptnal
outfigurable wrote:
why are you spending all this money on hardware, when you could probably get the same results with software?


In short, music isn't just about results. Imagine being an amazing guitarist, but you really just didn't enjoy playing the guitar much. Dead Banana
Funkydroid
Manager your shit well, invest time and you "macbook" will not be junk in three years time. I built hackintosh, need more speed? no problem overclock it or change some parts. watercooling keeps the thing dead silent, i don't even know it exists. Will keep going hard 5 years before i even think about any parts upgrading.

It's not the hardware that is my achilles heel, it's the bloody software. Eg. I can't use my Halion 4 sampler cause it's not working in Sierra, in Yosemite Cubase 9 is not supported. very frustrating

With Braids for example, support got ended and off production. So what, i see those Clouds even raising prices after similar situation. I had to let go of my Halion4 for beanuts casue i don't need the fancy new features and price policy.

my cents in this
dubonaire
starthief wrote:
The tiny details and weird edge cases that nobody models in software.


No offense starthief, the appropriation of "use case" in music making was already bothering me, the neologism "edge case" is next level. I will no longer entertain anything that is not "future case".
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Modular Synth General Discussion Goto page 1, 2, 3  Next [all]
Page 1 of 3
Powered by phpBB © phpBB Group