AudioMulch 2.0 live patching screencast from AudioMulch on Vimeo.

Wonderful things come from Australia. Developer Ross Bencina has released AudioMulch 2.0, the audio patching environment, now on both Mac and Windows.

Audiomulch is all pretty in black now with a new UI. But why is it special? AudioMulch has always been distinguished in its quick workflow, its ready-to-use objects that allow sophisticated patches with relatively simple structures, and its idiosyncratic soundmakers. The Metasurface multi-parameter controller is also a favorite.

The price is higher, which may scare away some – US$189, or $89 upgrade. There’s a 60-day trial that you can try out.

But the best part of this launch is that, instead of releasing a flashy demo with pans over girls in bikinis or booming drum beats and type flying through that says something like “THE FUTURE OF MUSIC IS NOW … HOLD THE SOUND IN YOUR FIST … BE THE MUSIC … WHERE IS YOUR GOD NOW?”, they just released a video showing someone making a piece of music. (What a concept!)

The video at top is a live-patching video, and it really reveals how, powerful as many interactive music environments may be, having some objects that get straight to what you want musically makes a real difference. (That’s something to keep in mind even as you create macros or code in other environments, too, I think.)

I like the idea of other people doing live-patching videos that work as music and not just tech demos, not only in AudioMulch but whatever your tool of choice may be.

If you give AudioMulch 2 a try, let us know what you think.

  • But how am I going to know how good it is without the girls in bikinis?

  • I have been so excited about this, but recently got so busy and haven't had time for music and totally forgot. Now seeing this, I am so so stoked.

  • rmc

    man, i used audiomulch from '99 to '06 until i got a mac. i am sooooo excited to finally be reunited with my first music app love.

  • flonk

    Nice to see it on mac!
    Will give it a go.

  • This is lovely. Beautiful demo and it's nice to see the focus on usability rather than advances in DSP. Still my money's always been on Bidule for a modular patcher, and I'd love to see what a 'Bidule 2.0' would look like.

  • graham

    omg bidule vst in audiomulch must be heavenly

  • brett weldele

    I have been eagerly awaiting this release as I'm on Mac and have always wondered just what this program was all about.

    after playing around with it for a couple hours this morning, all I can say is fantastic. Very easy to get aquatinted with. Looks great. Metasurface, patching, automation all very easy to get rolling with. I like it alot.

  • brett weldele

    or rather, "acquainted" heh

  • I have no idea how all this patching works, but I still looked until the end and now I really want to try the demo. Does someone knows if all these patching changes are somehow recorded (so that you can edit it later on a timeline)?

  • sam

    what if you had bidule vst inside of a max pluggo plugin (< v.5 of course) inside of audiomulch…would this holy russian nesting doll-esque DSP patch cause the world to implode??

  • Damon

    Big yay!

  • Zoopy

    Does anyone know of any other software similar to this or Max/MSP freeware alternatives.. or even retail alternatives? It'd be nice to see a list of all the crazy music programs available..first time I've really heard of audiomulch.

  • @Zoopy PureData sounds like what you are looking for, and it's totally free if your time has no value

  • Michael

    US$189 is a lot of green sauce for the OS X version. It seemed to me that the VST implementation is not mature, got a lot of crashes with in other hosts (Bidule, Live) working vsts.
    So I don't like to use this stuff even for evaluation, but the user interface is indeed very nice and the build in sequencer is a great feature.

  • Mike

    I'd be curious to hear how Reaktor 5 users feel about AudioMulch 2.0 for Mac. I'l be honest and say that while I own Reaktor, I haven't yet had the time to invest in learning it well enough to make it a staple of my workflow. The GUI for AudioMulch is much more appealing IMO.


  • Mike

    Ouch… just realized that this will only run on my Intel MacBook Pro and not my Quad G5 studio workstation! How much longer I'll hold out before upgrading is anyone's guess. Currently, it makes more sense to add hardware cards like UAD or the new Scope system than buy a new computer just to have Intel across the board.

  • I really enjoyed playing with this software on a pc. Never thought it would warrant a 189.00 price tag, but considering some NI stuff is twice that I guess it makes sense. I would get it for 99.00. I bet a lot more people would too.

  • @pg-13:

    A friend of mine once told me that he didn't think that Reason was worth 400$. To me it was worth it because it was basically replacing a 3000$ Korg Triton and a 300$ drum machine, with better editing capabilities as a bonus.

    189$ is a bargain, if it replaces a commercial patcher programs. It allows the developer to make enough to continue improving the app because he won't have to work on something else to make it.

    – Nick –

  • sam

    I've been using Reaktor for a few years and audiomulch is definitely easier to jump right in and create sounds than Reaktor. However, there is a massive user library available for Reaktor users to help get started. It is a bit like apples and oranges in that you can build your own synths with Reaktor and audiomulch basically gives you larger pre-made building blocks to work with.

  • golden Master

    the problem with the $189 price tag is that there are really not a lot of new features. If you look at what the "new" features of mulch 2 compared to mulch 1, you find that there major new features are:

    a new GUI
    patchable MIDI
    OSX support

    there are other various tweaks, but none of them are really "major" updates. There are no new contraptions at all (though there will be more of these after all the stability issues are ironed out with 2.x release, most likely). I think that a doubling of the price tag is hard to justify with this sort of update.

    It is kind of the opposite move of the original pricing scheme, which attracted many users to audiomulch. It which was–free–until the product was considered finished, and many new contraptions had been added. Here, it seems like a big price tag has been put up front, and we all just have to wait and hope that new features are added that justify the price.

  • Cool – I found Audiomulch very inspiring years ago. I wonder if I qualify for the upgrade price – I paid $50 when they first opened up registrations in the year 2000…

  • @golden Master:

    As a developer, I can tell you that making a audio/midi program that works reliably on Mac & PC is no small feat. Making a realtime cross-platform GUI is not easy either.

    Ross probably had to rewrite a whole new architecture to achieve that. Apple just did something similar with Snow Leopard (rewriting internal parts with no huge significant "feature") and they too will have to charge.

    No mystery here: it costs money to develop. Ross wants to work on this full time, so he needs to charge a little. That's the price of cool software.

    – Nick –

  • Patchable MIDI and OSX support are pretty major upgrades from where I sit. And its a completely new GUI framework, which will likely mean a significantly more scalable platform for Ross to expand over the years, not just a colour change.

    I'd add to the major updates a completely revised patcher (on top of MIDI routing, changes to the way modules can be inserted and new keyboard shortcuts), a completely new drum module, no longer tied to two bar loops. Automation and MIDI control of clock/transport and the metasurface.

    Those may not seem like much at first, but once you get working with it, if you're familiar with v1, they reveal themselves to be pretty big deals. And if the price increase means Ross will have more time to devote to upgrades, I'm all for it.

  • As an example of what the GUI framework allows, you can now move the automation and patcher panes around the screen freely , or undock them completely to be floating windows. The flexibility of the GUI framework to do that kind of thing opens up quite a bit of possibilities for future development.

  • Nicholas Bieber

    Thank god its out.

    @Benny:Patching changes in v1.0 couldn't be recorded, but you could record/automate a lot of events in a timeline (volume/mute, knob movements). I assume it's still the case. v1.0 also had a document switcher, so if you could easily open up varying versions of the one construct. Recording/replaying patching would be quite a technical feat, I think (not that Ross couldn't do it :).

  • If this one could send OSC data it could be the alternative to maxforlive (and maxmsp 5).

    Everybody could link it with resolume or VDMX and do cool things.

    About price for me it is a "pre" maxforlive marketing campaign. When maxforlive comes all the market will resize itself.

  • flonk

    re pricetag, its apples and oranges again, but price for a new user is cheaper than max 4 to 5 upgrade (much cheaper if you have jitter)

  • golden Master

    to nick P and steve…

    all good points. thanks for the perspective :).

    However, the price is still rather steep, especially compared with some other similarly (lower) priced software made by independent developers.

    Either way, I still think that with mulch 2, I think what Ross is going to do over the next couple of years with it is going to be more exciting than what he has done up till now. At least I hope so :D.

  • Yes, indeed — he's definitely promising more stuff. Now is the decisive moment — obviously, if people go out and buy this, the incentive to do a lot more development will be there. If not, well… that's why it's sad to have seen Plogue Bidule never take off.

  • Blake

    Oh wow, playing with the demo right now. This is really something amazing. If only someone could release a set of high-level objects for Max that would allow it to sound as good with such little effort, I would be in heaven.

  • I’ve been playing with this for a few days now, and there’s things I love and things I don’t care for so much. I keep wishing I could toggle into a full-on mixer view (I spend too much time in Pro Tools). Other people have commented on the price – for me, it would be a slam dunk at $99.00, but at 189 I’m a little hesitant.

  • @Peter,

    You it it on the head. It's a chicken and egg thing, but in the end it also forces developers to write things people want.

    The challenge for patching programs such as Max, Mulch & Plogue is that they are *nerdy*. I always believed that it would be better to just hide the nodal interface away and only present a few well-chosen parameter controls.

    When you try to explain that simple fact to developers, they don't understand why people would pay more for "less flexibility". Because most people are not programmers; they just want to get things done!

    The Mac comes Quartz Composer, an extremely powerful FREE audio/video/graphics nodal program. Yet, very few people use it or even know that it's there. Why? Because it's nerdy.

  • Andy

    The big difference is the fact that Audiomulch has a timeline- Max does not and Reaktor does not. This puts it in a different (=better for me) league. Time is the essence of music/sound missing from Reaktor and Max.
    Of course you can introduce time into them but Audiomulch makes a bold statement of who it is right from the beginning.

  • Littlepig

    @goldenMaster, you mention 'similar priced softeare from independant developers' but what software is there that has functionality similar to audiomulch? There is pd but that has objects at a far lower level. The good thing about audiomulch is that you can get good results in a few minutes… Then there is Max/MSP which is a similar level to pd and expensive. really I don't think audiomulch is expensive for what it does.