Mutable soft toys

There are quite a few software versions of Mutable modules in the interesting new open-source, cross-platform VCV Rack software modular synth system:

I’ve not had time to test it properly yet, but after a 5 minute play it seems quite good, and far from a toy (the topic was just clickbait). And it has a well-defined plug-in architecture, and it’s all completely hackable.

It should pair nicely with an Expert Sleepers ES-8 (and ES-3) for high quality, DC-coupled and audio bidirectional interfacing with physical modules. And it may even run OK on an RPi3b with a 800x400 pixel touch screen display, which fits nicely between euro rack rails - that is yet to be tested.

I was never very fond of the zMors software modular, although the Audulus software modular synth system is excellent, but a bit more low-level, and a bit tedious to use and build higher-level modules with. This, however, seems just right, and it’s open-source. Nice!

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Anybody got it to run? MacOS version seems to require the latest version of the OS, even if the website states that it runs on 10.7+

I think it’s odd to implement MIs multi-functional MCU-driven modules exactly as the hardware versions. Much better to break out the various modes into discrete virtual modules, with appropriately different GUIs.


Wow…so my Norton Antivirus had a field day with this one.

Anyone else get this with the Windows install zip?

It works surprisingly well here… Not bad at all for a freeby! :hushed: Its like ModularGrid, that actually works as a softmodular. It even sounds good so far, but i’ve only been playing with it for 20 minutes or so.
(Running on OS X 10.12.6)

Really? Which modules would benefit from a different UI per mode?

At the exception of Clouds which would have benefitted from more CV inputs and knobs, I don’t see any other module that requires a different UI for each mode.

Odd, I thought you’d agree with me on that one.

I think Peaks is a good example.

It has a very minimal UI, and many modes.

The small number of controls do very different things in different modes, and in some cases, the positions of physical controls doesn’t correlate with current parameter values.

There seems little point replicating in software what are essentially workarounds for the fact the original hardware has a small number of physical controls.

This is in no way a criticism of your work. I think Peaks is a successful module.


Yeah i mentioned this in the Muffs thread. Peaks is the one that I think could benefit from some modification. But so far all the VCV clones appear to be totally authentic to the originals.

Keeping them authentic is nice for the module manufacturers because people are much more likely to buy the physical version that way.

I would have agreed if Peaks was among the modules they cloned. But they didn’t, probably because Peaks doesn’t do anything useful that the other modules they cloned cannot already do.

That’s true, they didn’t do Peaks.

You could argue that Tides is similar. I’ve always thought it works so well as a wave-folding audio-rate oscillator that that mode merits a full module in its own right (with a few extra controls and CV inputs, of course).

The same applies to Streams, I think. I notice they haven’t cloned that one, either.

I think my problem with the whole multi-mode paradigm is it just makes me want to buy more than one of each module :wink:

That’s not a problem from your point of view though, I’m sure…


If I bought another Tides, I’d probably install Sheep on it. I’m half tempted to do that, in fact.

I think I’ve derailed this thread enough now.


You would lose that argument :slight_smile:

Tides does exactly the same thing in all the modes, except that:

  • In AD mode, it stops after one cycle instead of repeating the waveform over and over.
  • in AR mode, it pauses mid-way while the waveform is at its peak, until the gate goes low, then it stops when the waveform reaches zero.
  • In Looping mode, it repeats the cycle over and over.

The “mode” selection button is just controlling if/when the module cycles or pauses. The Shape, Slope and Smoothness knobs continue doing the same thing. It’s not like there are two or three completely disjoints pieces of code being activated depending on the active mode (as is the case for Peaks).

Seeing envelope generation, LFO and tone generation as different functions is an East-coast thing. Tides is inspired by Buchla function generators which also try to group these operations in the same entity.

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I think he (Vortico) is considering doing Peaks. And also Frames.

Heres a link to his Muffwiggler thread for anyone interested. He seems quite receptive to suggestions & feedback:

15min playing with this software and now I want to buy an Element…


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It seems that the UI support for modules with displays and menus (such as Braids) is a bit underdone atm, but I’m suspect that will be improved.

One of the potential uses of this platform may be to help test (and market-test) and refine the UI design and functionality of new physical modules. It would be possible to obtain conceptual stage feedback from a much larger number of testers using this platform, rather than having to build physical prototypes and send them out. Physical prototypes would still be needed, of course, but only after initial rounds of tests in soft form.

Yes, but then modular synths are themselves rather odd - as Max Stadler has observed, modular synths are artefacts which have somewhat “fallen out of time”.

OK, I admit defeat- you’re right. All I can do now is add a silly emoticon, to distract attention from my logical failure :stuck_out_tongue:


I must admit, I’m a bit vague on the whole East/West Coast synthesis thing. I must do my homework.
Or I could just spend more time playing with MI modules.

Frames is great, by the way! Just wanted to throw that in.


I was able to get it to run on Sierra without any problems. My other computer is on El Capitan…I can give that a go if I get some time tomorrow and report back.