Thread concerning all things concerning a modular environment(i.e. reaktor, buzz, max msp etc...)

I tried getting my feet wet with jeksola buzz but it was too daunting, for those that don’t know buzz is a free open source modular environment/tracker

So anyone feel free to share any info you have concerning what you know about the modular aspect of music…

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I’m learning that there is no such thing as too many oscillators, Especially when dealing with modular setups.


I like the idea of modular since getting Reason many years ago, but I always felt the interfaces were not that user-friendly and made you scroll all the time for most stuff I tried, including Reason. For a while, I mostly switched to simpler synths, used in Ableton or Bitwig racks with lots of effects, since I like these effect racks with multiple channels much better than most GUIs of modular synths, since most elements in racks can be minimized in multiple ways, from single effects to complete racks. But after checking out some more flexible semi-modular FM/PM synths, I got friendly with the Bitwig Grid and currently really like it for it’s great integration with BW.

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Yeah, same for LFOs, step sequencers and envelopes imho - all just a matter of the right connections ^^ but finetuning the more economic side of building small patches with interesting connections that sound just as good as your 420 module CPU-killer patch is an art in itself…


Learning how to code and make stuff is just, well I saw a vid of some guy building something similar to ableton in puredata/max msp cant find the vid…but learning how to do things like that are too time consuming…i also remember reading somewhere that trent Reznor uses ni reaktor…I know there isnt a quick easy route but honestly it’s really daunting to get into the nuts and bolts of things in regards to coding and making your own synths and sequencer respect to anybody that knows how to do that kind of stuff

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I see your point and to be honest I’ve not even cracked open the guts of Max, But there are tons of open source codes and resources, Additionally I like how its equal parts visual which seems to me (being a tactile learner) that it may not be that bad. I’ve seen some pics of an Autechre track they were developing in the MAX DSP of ancient times and that shit is fucking ridiculous. And you guys that use trackers like Pure Data, You’ve my respect.

You’re not wrong!

The “Max 4 Live” that came with Live 9 was full of bugs.

Stuff that was supposed to work, didn’t work - or only sometimes worked. I went half insane for a while, trying to built even simple things, before realising that (quite a few) parts of the program simply didn’t work as intended. Releasing buggy code like that made lose a ton of respect for Ableton, - who never acknowledged half of the stuff that didn’t work. I never signed up to become an un-paid beta-tester/bugfixer for Ableton, and eventually gave up on it.

But anyway.

I still use some of the m4l plugins made by other people (some of them are quite good), but at this point I never go beyond the front user-interface - and am considering trying out a differennt brand of DAW instead.

VCVrack looks interesting.


At this point in time, You cannot beat the price. I would def suggest checking it out.


Buzz was my first love, and the first software that made so much sense to me compared to other stuff. Especially with making patterns, and then laying those patterns out in the order for them to be played, it just clicked immediately. Renoise confuses the hell out of me though lol. Or at least, did, it’s not my favorite atm.

VCV Rack is amazing, though, since I have a real eurorack setup, it’s the one that makes the most sense to me compared to say, Reaktor or Max. I like Reaktor Blocks, though.

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Max can be a mixed bag but it’s an excellent stuff nevertheless. You have to program in Max standalone then make m4l version which is an incredibly easy port. This is how it’s all done. Buggy as hell? Depends. It’s an excellent visual coding language and if it seems buggy it’s most likely that programmer is the problem, so don’t blame the code itself. You can break its audio engine really quick but that’s the safety switch. I’ve built a granular synth, more complex effect units and they’re still functioning to this day. Max has a huge difference if you work on Mac and Windows OS and its primary one is Mac obviously and I never had problems with that and it all worked as intended on that platform. But with Windows, it’s much more different, you crash more often and it feels less stable. But learning Max is worth it, no matter what. Ableton did an excellent job implementing Max into Live and it’s still one of their best features.


Arrogant comments like this one was the main reason I kept trying to use it for longer than I should have.

People in the m4l online community kept telling me that I was making the mistakes, only to abandon their attempts at helping me out when their fixes didn’t work.

And yes, I was indeed using Windows.

It’s possible that it works better on Windows now, but there is no chance in hell I’m going back to that pile of shit.

Suit yourself. There are alternatives, like Reaktor and PureData. Works in a very similar way and can be as complex as you want them to be.

yeah, indeed, a very arrogant comment lol. But that’s true and there’s nothing arrogant about it. It takes time, that’s it. Years. It ain’t perfect platform but it’s far from being a piece of crap. I like it.


How much time did you spend on m4l Live 9 edition for Windows yourself?

I’m sure you’re a brilliant programmer, but being unapolegetically arrogant because of that, - is not really helpful.

As you hinted above yourself, many of the disagreements about m4l stems excactly from the (false) assumption, that MAX, m4l for Mac and m4l for Windows are all the same program - and people who believe this, naturally expect them to work the same way.

But they are not. And they don’t.

At least not in my experience.

I actually considered buying a Macintosh computer for a while, - just to try a version of MAX that actually worked. But since I generally don’t like the way Mac run their business (Itunes, lack of backwards compatability etc.), I ended up deciding against it.

Puredata seems all right. I’ve seen some amazing visuals done in that program, but it is - in my opinion - less well suited for music production.

It really is!!!

I use shit that crashes all the time; it just becomes hard-mode. VCV’s bridge into Live oftentimes fucks up every single time I record (personal problems; I don’t have the best collection of PC’s) so downsizing and making use of a few good modules with the delete key handy is what I enjoy most.

Even though it’s modular-lite, the rules still apply to VST’s like Guitar Rig and TH3.

I’m not sure if it’s just me or not, but crashes are pretty routine inside and out of a modular environment (but especially in the latter, no shit). Complicated routing situations need to get bounced back to audio on a regular basis for me, otherwise the entire project file is doomed.

I guess I personally wouldn’t let any of that stop me. If I got mad about crashes I’d just become obsessed with hardware instead because that’s what those nerds do. I’m too broke for that though.

TL;DR: If your DAW is crashing with modular environments, I see nothing wrong here


Crashes are in some ways better than something simply not working. Especially if you get some kind of “crash log” out of it, where you can see what happened right up until the crash. Even without a log, at least you know there was a malfunction. If the software is simply dead/unresponsive, it’s easy to start questioning your own memory and/or ability instead.