Software with a UI that's about patching things together

So for the longest time I’ve been using software called AudioMulch, which is a single-developer thing that was last given a significant update in 2013. I’m paranoid at some point it’s going to vanish and I don’t really know what else is out there that’s like it.

I’d love some recommendations for other music software that use a similar metaphor (?) for their UI. Basically, a DAW that is about patching “contraptions” (Mulch’s word for it) together and you can visually follow audio and MIDI paths between contraptions.

I relate to this a lot more than I do to the classic DAW UI a la ProTools etc. (I do muck around in Reaper some.)

I’ve looked at Reaktor, but not this century. I’ve looked at Plogue Bidule and for some reason find that a bit more confusing. Not sure what else is out there.

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Here’s the interface - you have a patching window top-left, views of individual contraptions on the right, and an automation timeline along the bottom. The rainbow coloured floating window is where you can put snapshots of all or some parameters, and then it gives you an X-Y interface to morph between those snapshots.

Looks a bit cramped here, but I love it. :smiley:

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SunVox has a few similarities.

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Hey! I love AudioMulch. There’s nothing quite like it (IMO). Let’s hope Ross comes out with a new version soon.

And thanks for the classic MulchOnly* patches. They really opened my eyes to what the program is capable of.

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Max/MSP can sort of do this, but you’d probably have to rewrite some of the capabilities of Live on your own.

Hi Jet,

Although having known about the software for years, I’ve just downloaded Audulus (http://audulus.com). I am learning the software on macOS and iOS, but it’s also available for Windows and Linux. It’s too early in my experience to say much about the platform, except to say that it is certainly designed for visual UI patching of audible results.

Good luck on your search!

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Love audiomulch. The other one that comes to my mind is Usine Hollyhock:

http://www.sensomusic.org

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Have you looked into Bitwig at all? I have don’t have experience with either Bitwig or AudioMulch, but from what I understand Bitwig has a modular design concept for parameter routing.

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Plogue Bidule is another similar thing. You lose things like timeline/automation lanes and metasurface, but gain modulators, FFT, more extensive midi processing.

[edit, my eyes must be going, totally didn’t see you mentioned Bidule, it gets easier the more you work with it, it’s probably a bit closer to something like Max/MSP with its low-level functions].

As mentioned above, Usine Hollyhock has similarities, but also takes some getting used to.

I use Audiomulch everyday, still works fine with Win10. Might become a problem if we never get a 64-bit version and plugin developers stop supporting VST2/32-bit.

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I used to mess with this one back in the early days, can’t remember much but seems similar:http://jeskola.net/buzz/

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I dont use it… but I think ive seen videos where FL Studio has a patching interface for routing?
(but as i don’t use, I don’t know what it covers, what it doesn’t - but i remember it looking quite neat)

not really, its got modulator but they are not exposed as a patching interface.
and the exposing its modular underpinning to users has been promised from before release (1.0) , and never materialised - so Im no longer holding my breath :wink:

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Tracktion/Waveform has elements of patchable IU with it’s racks as well as a more traditional DAW look.

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@Jet you can see Audiomulch promotes vertical signal flow (inputs up outputs down) as opposed to Reaktor’s horizontal (left-right). A clever thing in AM is that the modules are on a macro level - you don’t need to mess about with their innards. In that sense it’s not a pure visual patching environment. Having a library at the right macro level is hard.

In Reaktor you’d find 3 (and lately 4) types/levels of objects - 1 the core objects (primitives e.g. a + block), 2 macros that don’t make whole usable instruments, 3 ensembles = instruments and effects, sometimes skinned in their own custom UI (4). And then presets. Automation is left to your DAW’s timeline. The overall UI is different but the same functionality is achievable (though not as integrated as in AudioMulch). There is however a giant user-contributed library.

In Max/MSP (and Bidule), in addition to the spartan interface, building blocks’ parameters are specified directly inside the blocks themselves (e.g. range 0.1 to 300).

At the opposite end of the spectrum, e.g. Buzz (and SunVox on iOS) exposes high level instruments, and UI much like AudioMulch but with tracker sequencing.

Audulus is nice but for me has the same “danger of obsolescence” problem as AudioMulch - except if with AM you could roll out an old OS on a newer device, or emulate an AM-compatible environment in a VM, to do the same on iOS is much much harder.

I’d argue there’s sufficient parallel between these and modular, so maybe it’s worth examining VCV Rack (keeping in mind the associated risks : ) with the same caveat that Automation is “outsourced” to other tools.

I think an overall problem with patching environments is that they are essentially programming environments, e.g. at that point design dept starts asking why not code, and questioning having a large enough audience to justify developing such a specific product.

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Reason seems to offer a similar level of patch-ability, although a very different style of UI. Might be worth checking out

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Really just move to pd if you are worried. :slight_smile:
Ross Bencina is a VERY experienced programmer and as i recall orginally a csound guy
He’s not going anywhere and audiomulch has aways been something folks used like “buzz machines” that does a ton of stuff for you but offers you a nice set of tools kind of like how Isadora is to Max.

Why don;t you look at Audulus?

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There’s also Turbosynth.

turbosynth

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Another older one. Syd.
Haven’t tried the newer version but I have the “ancient” one on my old ibook.
https://jbum.com/syd/

syd

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Audulus isn’t going anywhere! :slight_smile: We have a large active user base and lots of plans for the future. Also, Audulus patches are cross-compatible with the iOS, Mac, Windows, and Linux version, so no matter where you create it, you’ll still be able to use it on any other platform.

We’re also working on native automation for our plugin. Just talked about how to implement it today, in fact!

Coding is great of course, but one of the awesome things about Audulus is that it can help people ease into the concepts of DSP and coding without needing to go straight to text based coding with all the complexity that involves. You could even use Audulus to sketch up an idea you have for coding much faster and more fluidly and test it to see if it’s a viable piece of software, no compiling necessary.

That said, Audulus doesn’t have to be used at the low-level “programming” environment either. You can load modules just like you would with VCV Rack or Softtube Modular and use them at that level. There are even self-contained synths you can use like this one I just built and discussed on a recent livestream.

This self-contained synth is actually created using modules available in the built-in library.

If anyone has any questions about Audulus in general, let me know! There’s a lot to do with what’s there already, and we have big plans for the future as well.

Also, if you’re not already over there, http://forum.audulus.com has been rebooted in Discourse. We found out about Discourse through this forum actually and finally took the plunge to get ours set up there.

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Thanks for all the replies so far! I need to digest all the suggestions…

Thanks! I’m glad to hear they were helpful. If Ross does come out with another update I’d gladly add some more using newer contraptions.

I still basically live by millions of SouthPole contraptions, even when my patches have lots of VSTs in them. :slight_smile:

Yeah tbh having started this topic I’m now kinda leaning the way of “things will probably be fine” - I made a bunch of music in the last couple of years by cannibalising Mulch patches from 2004 and they mostly worked fine when I opened them well over 10 years later!

XML patch files meant in some cases if e.g. a VST was missing I could at least try directly editing the files to remove or substitute the offending plugin.

Yes! Absolutely!

I get why people are comparing patching to programming, and my workflow is probably more like a programmer than a musician, but I find AM is closer to running e.g. a drum machine into stomp boxes than a “proper” modular setup.

Anyway, I need to go click some more links.

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