Hardware Physical Modelling

I was curious to hear your take on some good examples of hardware physical modelling!

Are there any hardware units with decent built in solutions? Especially for brass or woodwinds? (Aside from the VL1, VL1-m…)

I’ve used the Roland V-Synth’s COSM resonators which great for spicing up the standard VA oscillators.

My eurorack setup has been slowly growing a resonating/physical modelling section under my nose. Primarily two Klangbau Koln Twin Peak Resonators, but the modular method is rather tedious.

I’d love to hear your input :slight_smile:


I think this was the jam of the Technics SX-WSA1, but I’ve never played one myself so I can’t speak to how it sounds and how well it plays.

MI Elements is a great source of organic sounds. A lot of what’s out there on YouTube are demos of percussive sounds, but it’s also really good at drone-y stuff too. (plug an offset into gate and start contour at noon with either bow or blow to get it sustaining and it will go on forever) The chord mode can very easily get to a trumpet sound by putting the resonance damping high. It’s big but the interface is really nice for exploring. You can go explore it vcvrack for free.

The coolest keyboard synth for organic-ish tones I’ve ever heard is the Hartmann Neuron, but those are super rare and expensive (and seemingly a pretty big maintenance investment based on a Facebook group I’m in about them).


I’m interested to hear what your method is?

Rings is the smaller alternative to Elements, since you can generate excitation signals from other sources. Plaits is good for that, as is a sample player. A mixer so you can patch a feedback loop is also handy.

Plonk is a percussion-oriented physical modeling module. There are several Karplus-Strong-ish modules too, a few of which have weird glitchy digital character (Mysteron, DU-KRPLS). Or you can patch your own with a short enough delay (though V/OCT tracking may be an issue).

I primarily interested in modelling reed and string instruments, so it’s a lot of harmonics and waveshaping.
I’ve owned an Elements and Rings and neither really did it for me (although FM with Elements is amazing!)

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I personally really like Mangrove for brass and reed sounds. It can do great booming trombones and nasally oboes, especially when you blend the two outputs or use them for internal modulation in small amounts. I also like self-FM for brass if you do slow sweeps of the FM amount. I guess yeah that takes a bit to set up, but it is nice once dialed in.


Right! The classics of hardware modelling are the Technics SX-WSA1:

and the Korg Prophecy:

Korg Prophecy Image

Both have dated a little soundwise, though the Prophecy’s brass tones were interesting. Also note that the Propehcy’s modelled analogue sounds… OK-ish. Although, of course, it’s monophonic.

And: note that both are trying to offer other forms of expressive control beyond mod wheels - the Prophecy’s barrel (ribbon with tilt) and the Technics joystick-thing - the idea being that modelled instruments needed more expressive input forms, I guess.


Has anyone ever designed such an instrument for the creation of non-realworld instruments?


those guys maybe!
small company founded by stephan schmitt (father of reaktor and native instruments)


ah, no, sorry. i was convinced the sound engine to be very similar to the one in reaktor prism (physical modeling via a resonating filter bank). in fact it shares some of the architecture but is instead based on just two sine waves,modulation and processing.

Since we’re mentioning things like Plonk and Rings, the 2hp Pluck falls in here too. Far less control than Rings but has a very pleasing string/bell quality and hey, only 2hp.

Check out the Mungo c0, a eurorack convolution module. Aside from sounding great, it operates using impulse responses that you just load up from an SD card, so it sidesteps the tedium of patching up physical modeling sounds on a modular. Just by filling it with IR’s from instrument bodies, you can get very convincing results.

Here’s an example from Uzala using it to create clarinet sounds, just running a pulse wave into it.

I personally use a Mungo d0, a matrix mixer, and Mannequins 3 Sisters for most of my physical modeling and they’re all great for it, but I do mainly percussion and string sounds with them. d0 can get into flute territory, but I haven’t heard it do any reed sounds yet so I don’t if it would work for that or not.


Would be interested to hear any d0 examples you have. The c0 is wonderful.

So far the only thing I have out there is the d0 drums and flutes patch that I posted over in the Mungo modules thread. But I’ve been working with it a ton this month so I can post some more examples in the next week or so. I’ll see if I can get any reed instrument sounds out of it, too.


Just listened back, great stuff. Keen to hear more from you.

I’ve been able to get some woodwind, flute, and brass sounds after getting some suggestions from Timoka over on MW (uzala). You don’t use a sound source, really, just create a feedback path with a very short delay and a resonant filter, with something to add bite to the sound. In my case I’ve gotten the best results by running d0 into Three Sisters’ All input, and the Lowpass output back into d0 through a VCA. Adding bite to the tone by self FMing Sisters with one of its other outputs.You can control the pitch using the filter’s cutoff. I haven’t been able to get it to sound very musical yet, but I’m definitely finding sweet spots of physical sounding woodwind tones, so it’s a start!


I agree with you on the Prophecy brass models. The pitch bend had a special setting that matched the way brass instruments jump through the harmonic series which was very nice.


I do appreciate the irony of this topic, modeling physical sounds with hardware :joy:


I keep thinking about how much I like the waveguide delay in Aalto and how I’d love to play with that in Eurorack.

Tyme Sefari can be reset on an audio rate clock but that gets pretty glitchy; maybe the firmware rewrite schedule for last summer :wink: will clean it up enough to use for this.

Does anyone have experience using analog BBDs for this though? I’m intrigued especially by the CG Products Delay1022, though the Doepfer A-188-1 with shorter stage lengths seems like it’d do the job too.