VCV Rack in your DAW

VCV Rack is the boss of modular synths. The proof is the tons of glorious compositions constantly being posted to YouTube, like Synthikat’s Nautilus.

As of right now, VCV Rack is a standalone app. It can be used alongside DAW apps by communicating through MIDI but it takes some work to setup. Fortunate for us, developer @bsp2 has forked the app and modified it to work as a VST instrument or effect.

Check it out: https://github.com/bsp2/VeeSeeVSTRack

Just download the .7z file mentioned in the Downloads section there, unzip it wherever you normally install VSTs and in your DAW of choice, scan for the VST. It should pickup both the instrument and effect versions of the app.

In my own testing, it worked without a hitch in the following hosts:
- Tracktion 7
- MuLab
- Psycle
- SAVIHost

That’s on top of the apps it’s reported to work with in the repo’s details.

Cakewalk woes

The only problem I’ve had so far is getting this beast to work with Cakewalk. Cakewalk just doesn’t recognize the dlls as legitimate VSTs. So I figured I’d try loading it through another host.

Enter Niall Moody’s Pedalboard2: http://www.niallmoody.com/apps/pedalboard2

Pedalboard2 had no problem recognizing the VeeSeeVSTRack dlls. So I was able to use a Pedalboard2 instance in Cakewalk to load it. It takes a couple extra steps to setup but once configured, the preset can be saved in Cakewalk so it can be recalled anytime.

Modular power for every DAW

VCV Rack is already recognized as a superior force in modular synthesis. And this VST version empowers even the tiniest DAWs with those modular super powers.


Simple bass-laden hip-hop with MuLab

MuTools has created a remarkable DAW called MuLab. What makes it so great is that it's one of the easiest DAWs to pick up and use, the graphics being minimal and rather large so it's easy to see what things do. It was so easy to learn that I composed this simple hip-hop beat the same day I tried it.

Here's a video demonstrating it:

The Run-down

Here's what comprises the track:
  1. The 808 - Roland's classic drum machine will never die and MuLab comes with a great 808-ish kit which I've used here.
  2. The Red Synth - That rugged synth that defines the piece is just a factory preset with a couple slight effects thrown over it.
  3. The Blue Synth - Adding a little color to the chorus section is another great factory preset with a little more highs.

That's it!

The video basically covers the details but that's basically all there is to it, a bunch of factory defaults coupled with MuLab's simple workflow make it dead easy to create nearly any electronic composition.

Oh, and here's the project file: Of Flesh and Blood.MuSession

Have fun!


Create hours of space ambience for free

Let's create some movie-like soundscapes! It's incredibly easy these days, due to brilliant and gracious folks like HGFortune. He's now passed on, but he's left us with a trove of stunning soundscape software and I'll be referencing one of them here in discussing how to create space soundscapes.

In short, we'll be using HGFortune's Scapes Wizard 1 from here:

That's a VST instrument, we'll use SAVIHost to operate it:

Here's a video walkthrough.

The Run-down

Really quickly, here's the gist:
  1. Download Scapes Wizard 1: https://archive.org/download/HGFortuneNFG/ScapesWizard-1-Pro.zip
  2. Download 32-bit SAVIHost: http://www.hermannseib.com/programs/savihostx86.zip
  3. Extra/unzip both of those files into a new folder.
  4. Rename savihost.exe to ScapesWizard.exe (not required but makes it much easier).
  5. Run SAVIHost (ScapesWizard.exe).
  6. Press Play.

And to record:
  1. Select the preset you'd like to use, or configure the synth the way you want it.
  2. Press the red Record button in SAVIHost.
  3. Press Play.
  4. Press Stop when done and give it a name.

The Details

People usually use a DAW to interact with VST instruments. In our case, we're using SAVIHost, which acts as a standalone host for such instruments. It provides a MIDI-based keyboard for playing notes and all the options needed for interacting with plugin presets. It also has a handy Record feature so we can easily record sounds through it.

Scapes Wizard is a VST instrument plugin that creates ambient textures based on customizable sequences. It has several oscillators that play various wave files in sequences you specify within a wave pool.

With the LazyPlay option set to Clock, when you press the Play button, the synth proceeds through those sequences.

If LazyPlay is set to Key, then the sequence will begin when you press a key on the MIDI keyboard.

The plugin has a bunch of presets you can use, if you like. They're available from the toolbar, from the Plugin menu or by clicking the preset name in the Scapes Wizard interface.

You can tweak the synth to your liking, shaping the soundscape to your needs. Extensive information is included in the ScapesWizard-Pro-Manual.pdf file bundled with the synth.

As I mentioned, a DAW is usually used for interacting with VST instruments. That's usually the means people would use to record VST sounds. Fortunately, SAVHost has a great recording option. Just press Record and it'll begin recording. Press Stop when you're done and it'll ask for a filename. It saves to the standard .WAV format, uncompressed so no loss in quality.

That's it!

I'm sure I'm missing something here, but any questions, feel free to ask!

Cheers! :)


Create a swoosh effect for free with Audiotool

Here's a really simple swoosh effect created using Audiotool.com.

Click the "remix" option above to see the example and customize it for yourself.

And here's a video explaining it.

The Details

Swoosh effects are fortunately dead simple. They typically just involve a low-pass filter with an envelope for the filter's cutoff. In the example above, that's being done automatically using a noise generator.

Here are more specifics instructions:
  1. Start with an empty project.
  2. Drag and drop a Pulverisateur synth into the project.
  3. Turn off Osc 1 (it should be the only oscillator turned on by default).
  4. Turn the Noise on.
  5. In the sequencer, double click on any note to add a new note.
  6. In the Amp Env section, turn the Attack up to roughly 160ms.
  7. Turn the Decary to roughly 47ms.
  8. Turn Sustain to roughly 25%.
  9. Turn Release to roughly 2.4sec.
  10. In the Filter section, adjust the Frequency to your liking (50% seems to be adequate for a windy swoosh sound).
You may want to press Play and audition the sound while adjusting the levels.

That being said, in the example in the video, the synth doesn't provide a lot of control over the envelope so using a filter after it allows for fine control via a custom envelope. The initial example I linked to has a filter added for that. I'll try and go through that more in a future post.

I hope this helps for now. Feel free to ask any questions. :)