Modular Diary – 008

Time for some music. Looking though some soundfiles on my iPad I came across this tryout recorded shortly after getting the Ripplemaker. It’s a simple Krell patch – the workings of which are nicely explained in one of the Make Noise O-Coast patch of the week videos.1 I don’t remember exactly how it was set up, but I think it’s probably close to the patch in the screenshot – recorded in AUM with the AUFX:Space Big Plate reverb.

Ripplemaker Krell

  1. There are also some nice links in the notes worth exploring. 

Modular Diary – 004

The only thing with the iPad as an interface is it’s not quite possible to ‘play’ those knobs in the way that, say, Mylar Melodies might.

I decided to take a look at another modular synth on the iPad – Moog’s recreation of the Model 15. The attention to detail in this app is incredible, both from an aural and a visual/interface point of view. It looks and sounds amazing.1 Unlike the Ripplemaker, there is too much to fit onto the screen at once, and so one has to get used to scrolling around and zooming in and out. While sliding around the interface is an unfortunate necessity, the ability to zoom in on a specific module or knob and make adjustments with an incredible degree of finesse (there’s also a handy little tooltip at the top of the screen) is something that I miss when moving back to the Ripplemaker.

One drawback with the Moog app is that one can only adjust a single control at a time. Tom Simmert got around that by building a custom MIDI controller specially for it. Patching still takes place on the screen, but there’s a physical knob for each control.

And that takes me back to an aspect that I’ve been enjoying with making music on the iPad – the fact that there needn’t be an intermediary controller.

  1. Since it’s modules are running constantly, even if there’s no sound coming out of them (as is the case with Audulus), the app uses quite a lot of CPU power, and so the visual aspects are handled using Apple’s Metal framework

Modular Diary – 003

I wasn’t in a position to get hold of an O-Coast though, and as much as Robert Syrett’s Audulus ‘O-Toast’ provided a fascinating look into how the MakeNoise synth was put together I found it frustrating to play with – at least when attempting to recreate O-Coast patches from the MakeNoise manual or their series of video tutorials. (One can get a lot out of the O-Toast, but it is perhaps better approached as a thing on it’s own.) Fortunately around that time Bram Bos’s Ripplemaker appeared and I turned to it as a software version to play with.

The Ripplemaker is well made, clearly layed out, and easy to patch. The inclusion of a sequencer along with having all controls comfortably visible on a single screen makes it a lot of fun to play with. (It also integrates nicely as an Audio Unit within an apps such as Jonatan Liljedahl’s AUM.) One can also adjust more than one control at a time, which is an advantage over Audulus’s lack of multitouch control on iOS, and having the workings of the softsynth thoroughly taken care of means that one can get on with exploring its sounds.