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Old 2009-05-31, 18:08
Koshdukai's Avatar
Koshdukai Koshdukai is offline
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 4,069
in Reason 5.0: A Combinator-like truly modular Synth, with all basic "building blocks" snappable in horizontal rows of a vertically expandable internal rack.

Exactly like a combinator, but capable of using smaller multiple Thor-like modules in free form, all kept together automatically (but swappable and possible to rearrange) both horizontally and vertically, like in a traditional modular hardware synth, but with all the cable patching at the back.

(example of vertical racks with horizontal rows of modules or vertical strips of modules)

If possible, it would also accept any other Reason device, besides the ones only possible to use inside it.

A perfect example of such a free form modular synth would be KarmaFX VST, but all modules would snap together like mentioned above, and every CV and Audio routing would be done at the back, as usual in Reason.

PSOFT's VOID is also a good example of modules snapping together like their hardware counterparts, although I would hope that all the wiring could stay at the back, in a Reason-like way:

BTW, VOID's modules could also be a good inspiration on top of KarmaFX ones, especially the Pitch Shifter and Dynamic Pitch Shifter, the Scope, the various OSC's and a Beat Detector that could set the global tempo would be nice.

AAS's Tassman is also a good inspiration for the available modules. If it only had KarmaFX's OSC's and the GUI supported drag'n'drop in Player mode with rack flipping for module wiring at the back... it would be a very good alternative to what I'm asking for Reason.

Now, I see 2 possible scenarios to expose the controlling parameters (knobs, buttons).

1) A rigid, fixed solution, like Combinator, but with at least 4 to 8 sets or "pages" of 6 to 8 knobs, because knobs can emulate 2 state buttons but not the opposite. The "pages" of knobs would serve as a controlled way of breaking a small limit of available knobs. (Combinator could benefit from such a solution, btw). So a "page selection" button pair would be available to select the active "page" of 8 knobs.
This solution would keep the Remote implementation to control such device, simple: 8 knobs + Next/Previous/Absolute/Delta active page.

2) A completely free form solution of Controls (CV generators) exactly like the rest of the internal rack, maybe keeping 2 racks available, 1 closeable (to hide all the complexity of the device body) and one always open/shown, a bit like what I already suggested for a Combinator II

Besides Audio IN/OUTs, it should also care for CV IN/OUTs, also with the possible scenarios described above.

If possible, this modular device could be inserted inside normal Combinators, if at all needed, because right now, it's a mess to "Combine" Combinator-made devices.

So, WHY would anyone need yet another modular synth inside Reason ?

Thor has some limitations when one wants to source it with external sound generation, like the way its possible to overcome the lack of sample-player, wave-designer or granular OSC. This is already possible through the 4 INs and the Programmer matrix, but there's a problem with the polyphonic Envelope Generation.

Also, the available EG's in Thor are not enough for some sound generation, for example, complex FM patchs, 4 EG's are not enough, and although it's possible to add 4 more external EG's through the 4 CV INs, it still suffers from the same polyphonic control problem. It's a great solution for monophonic sounds, though.

Such a versatile truly modular device would help to overcome the VST problem (not 100% but close), because with such a device, one could truly emulate (besides creating, of course) lots of Instruments and Effects already available in VST/AU/... format.
Sure, some patches would become CPU hogs but hey, that's a problem already people have to deal with Reason "limitlessly" expandable Combinator or even Rack.

This device would open the way for 3rd party ReFills with emulations of known VST FX and VSTi's, if the available building blocks were well thought out (like I think the ones in KarmaFX are).

This would also be a good opportunity to introduce a powerful CV processing unit/module with conditional logic and math possibilities.

Last edited by Koshdukai; 2010-09-01 at 16:24. Reason: added VOID and Tassman as an extra example and inspiration

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