Cloudlabs v3 - Blocks/Racks enabled! Any Buchla interested people around?

Murat Kayi
Murat Kayi DortmundMember Posts: 179 Saw

Hi Reaktrices and Reaktoreros,

I stumbled over that new version of cloudlabs which can be intermingled with Blocks, comes in a Rack format with presets and allows to piece together a buchla based system with individual blocks!

It is basically what I always hoped would happen sooner or later! Thanks so much to the creators!

I have just installed it and tried to combine it with other blocks (toybox nano). So, haven't really started, yet. But I wanted to explore the Westcoast synthesis approach a bit this year, what with all the options we have by now, be it the westcoast blocks in Prime or maybe configure something ourselves.

So, if you are interested, chime in with your westcoast-y experiences, would love to hear from you!

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Comments

  • Paule
    Paule BerlinMember Posts: 198 Saw

    Murat, I like the version 2 a much but my 20" screen is too small for v3

  • Murat Kayi
    Murat Kayi DortmundMember Posts: 179 Saw

    I am planning on using a second screen for it, but most importantly, as it is blocks based, I want to start small. The old versions were always fixed in being very comprehensive and large...

  • colB
    colB Member Posts: 166 Saw
    edited February 19


    Maybe it's more sensible to think of east vs west as a philosophical approach to music rather than what kit you use?

    e.g. find a nice 'East coast' filter with resonance, but instead of sticking a saw wave through it and playing acid basslines, set it to almost self oscillation, then ping it with random triggers while modulating the cutoff...

    Same thing works the other way round... you can get kinda 'acid' baselines sticking a sine/tri/saw through a serge style function generator set to cycle at audio rates...

  • Murat Kayi
    Murat Kayi DortmundMember Posts: 179 Saw

    Great tips @colB ! Thanks!

    As for the kit, it's there and it looks beautiful, would be a shame not to try it, but by now there's both various virtual alternatives (the Prime Blocks and clones in VCV) as well as general tools (I made a collection of blocks in the toybox nano range which would fit the bill).

    Let's put it like this: every time I learned about a new approach to synthesis it was tightly connected to a special tool. Subtractive monophonic hardware synths at first, but even much later with modal synthesis , e.g. it first and foremost meant "Prism" for me. So I start with a tool that exemplifies the concept and later on I am able to distill the ideas behind it and translate them into other environments. I guess you are just further ahead on that way

  • colB
    colB Member Posts: 166 Saw

    I guess what I mean is that the reason the hardware is different is because the aim was different.

    One trying to create an instrument that would allow musicians to use their existing traditional skills and would fit into an existing musical context. The other attempting to create an experimental workshop to explore new potentially radical ideas...

    IMO neither completely achieved their aims... the east coast it plenty weird enough to be experimental and radical, and the west coast is more limited than advocates would have us believe. Lots of crossover, and all amazing, but why limit yourself to one set of ideas?

    Using an east coast filter and envelope to pick out parts of the spectrum of a west coast folded timbre can give really cool results...

    As far as 'the kit' goes, I wouldn't call cloudlabs a buchla based system, more buchla 'inspired'. Apart from the obvious IP issues, the implementation - at least in places - isn't particulary accurate to the buchla sound. It's cool, but not the same...

    The only bit I've looked into in depth is the wavefolder AKA timbre processor.

    The buchla approach generates slightly more high end and more interesting harmonics than the cloudlabs folder. It also tops out to something that starts to look and sound a bit like a square wave... The cloudlabs one is closer to the sound you would get from a serge style folder, but not quite that either.

    Sounds like I'm being pedantic, but in the case of west coast where so much of the character of the sound comes from the folder it is crucial. It's at least as important as the right filter is for east coast.

    I would maybe supplement the folder with the DWG osc from primes and FOLD from the UL... although none of them are doing exactly what a Buchla folder does!

    The other thing that I always think of when west coast is mentioned is a low pass gate. That's another thing that's difficult to get right because of those pesky vactrols. The one in the Factory Blocks Library is pretty good, but not quite as organic sounding as hardware. It's tricky because the hardware has a very complex response to simple inputs... changes a lot with frequency and amplitude... so you get nice 'ping' effects, but they change noticeably depending on input... to make things worse, different hardware versions can be quite different, and even different examples of exactly the same hardware unit can be significantly different.

    The sequencing stuff does look pretty exciting though, and the UI graphics a pretty cool :)

    A shame that it doesn't fit well with Blocks. The panels are much taller, so it gets very messy. I guess if you were disciplined and kept each to their own row... might work?

  • Murat Kayi
    Murat Kayi DortmundMember Posts: 179 Saw
    edited February 20

    I am not too interested in the question of how realistic a virtual replica of any kind is. Also it is kind of a strange endeavour to evaluate the accuracy of a replica of inaccurate hardware components. IIRC, there was something of the sort going on with Monark.

    But that is not what I am after. I played giant tube amps for years, but the performances with the most people in the audience I played with a Line 6amp model stompbox and I was quite happy with it. Did not sound like my amps. But I liked it (also did not need to warm up, sounded the same every night, makes the sound guy happy).

    So, I want to learn the concepts and the thinking with the tools that kind of encapsulated them. Later on, I can puzzle bits and pieces together (actually, the nano pack offers all you need, if I am not mistaken).

    thanks for the keywords "vactrols" and "Serge", I have several browser tabs open with stuff I did not know about yesterday, lol:)

  • Murat Kayi
    Murat Kayi DortmundMember Posts: 179 Saw
    edited February 20

    Hi,

    I have a weird behaviour in the block 281t Quad Action Generator: It generates MIDI just by being loaded. And because some or maybe all of the other blocks in CloudlabV3 are pre-mapped to CC it makes other knobs move. Does anyone know how I can stop this block from generating MIDI?

    EDIT: Forget it, I found it - they were all set to "cyclic".

    EDIT: Damn, the aptly named "source of confusion" also ouputs midi through various ports and I can't shut the noise -3db port down. It sends CC0 to which the first LPG on the quad lpg block listens. I guess as a last resort I could go into the .ism file and cut the wire on that...

  • colB
    colB Member Posts: 166 Saw
    edited February 20

    > I am not too interested in the question of how realistic a virtual replica of any kind is. Also it is kind of a strange endeavour to evaluate the accuracy of a replica of inaccurate hardware components. IIRC, there was something of the sort going on with Monark.

    And yet the thread is subtitled "any Buchla interested people around?" ;).

    The difference between the cloudlab folder and a buchla folder (at least the ones I've studied) is more significant than the difference between the various minimoog clones out there.

    I got sucked when I noticed the same discrepancy with my stuff. I thought I had folders pretty well sussed, then I found some good video and audio sources and was very surprised how different the sound is - more open and breathy with a more even spectrum. This lends itself to creating different kinds of sounds... Buchla is known for 'woody' tones from its LPG pings, but that won't work as well with a sine based folder, because the raw harmonics are not there to be sculpted.

    >So, I want to learn the concepts and the thinking with the tools that kind of encapsulated them.

    >Let's put it like this: every time I learned about a new approach to synthesis it was tightly connected to a special tool.

    That's kind of my point though - these are not quite the tools that encapsulated those concepts, they are similar, but not the same, and some things that sound amazing on a buchla will sound so-so.. a bit dull... on something that is not a buchla... while other things that maybe don't even happen on a buchla might be great on these Reaktor tools...

    I'm not saying that's wrong - to me it's great, but it is what it is, which is not what you were initially talking about... That's why I was suggesting looking at it more broadly from a philosophical POV. You can apply a west coast philosophy using all sorts of instruments.

    >thanks for the keywords "vactrols" and "Serge", I have several browser tabs open with stuff I did not know about yesterday, lol:)

    hehe, the Buchla vactrol LPG and folder combined with serge Style function generator... mmm... I wish I had access to these synths, but they are so expensive it's unreal. We can't really understand what they are until spending time with them.

    Fortunately, there's plenty of Eurorack stuff 'inspired' by west coast tech, so we can get a flavour. And we can try to bring that to Reaktor... but it's not easy.

    I have a Doepfer wavefolder in my Eurorack. I bought it because is was available, and a wavefolder is a wavefolder right?... wrong :). The Doepfer is based on the serge approach, and the sound I wanted (didn't know at the time) was the Buchla version. So I was disappointed. Since then I've discovered various amazing sounds with the Doepfer, but they are not what I was expecting, and not the 'west coast' I had in my mind. Still haven't got a Buchla style wavefolder... yet... too busy getting sucked into other sub niches of euro

  • Murat Kayi
    Murat Kayi DortmundMember Posts: 179 Saw
    edited February 20

    Whatever the philosophical implications might be, for now I am starting out with the Cloudlab thing. I'd love to have a kind of synth museum around where you can test drive these things.

    Apart from however the learning path winds into that forest of virtual voltage, I have to say I just spent two hours plugging cables and turning knobs and it's fun! Just don't know what to do with that first LPG knob which listens on CC0, yet. I left that out.

    EDIT: sry, quite forgot: bottom line is, It's not the real thing, I know. And different machines sound different, even in the virtual world. But I am still interested in that whole approach - you have to start somewhere, you know. Maybe we can start an exploration thread with examples by whatever means necessary.

  • colB
    colB Member Posts: 166 Saw
    edited February 20

    Here's a krell patch... not sure if that's west coast, but I think the original concept was on a Buchla synth...


  • Murat Kayi
    Murat Kayi DortmundMember Posts: 179 Saw

    This is awesome! Truly wondrous, it made me smile a lot!

    Also, a few moments ago I had no idea what Krell means and now I have a new film on my watchlist, hahaha

    It looks like a lean and elegant approach - I need to try this, too

  • colB
    colB Member Posts: 166 Saw

    J Daniel Cramer has recently posted a series of short vids on krell, from the basic concept through to his own amazing polyphonic developments of the idea. really good stuff, and chopped up into manageable 10 min chunks...

    It's all Eurorack, but the basic idea is the same. The polyphonic approach would be somewhat cumbersome using factory blocks because of the need for a shift register, you could built a discrete one using multiple sample and holds, but better would be to find one in the UL. pretty sure there's on in the Euroreakt pack...

    Here's the first vid:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hEUNSj8oqdI&t=11s

  • Murat Kayi
    Murat Kayi DortmundMember Posts: 179 Saw

    Watching right now. I guess I will really be checking the contents of the nano pack for this.

  • Murat Kayi
    Murat Kayi DortmundMember Posts: 179 Saw
    edited February 21

    In the same vein...


  • colB
    colB Member Posts: 166 Saw

    Mylar melodies makes some good videos. I'm always wary of Eurorack vids though, because they do tend to focus on specific products rather than general approaches. He usually strikes a balance though... usually ;)

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