Reaktor Blocks Love Eurorack from listentoaheartbeat on Vimeo.

Sorry, couldn’t resist. Can you combine computer software with analog hardware? Can you route control signal from computer software to hardware? Can you combine something accessible with a grid (like a drum machine) with more advanced, open-ended machines with wires? Yes, yes, and yes.

Does all modular synthesis stuff sound like indecipherable noodling? Do you have to make a religious decision between analog and digital, hardware and computer? Do all modular setups have to be sprawling rigs that eat up all your money and home? No, no, and no.

Make what you want.

Here’s a lovely jam as Reaktor 6 (itself applying good Eurorack design lessons to software) meets up with a reasonably compact hardware setup. What I think they have in common: an investment of time in getting expressive with good software or hardware can be long-lasting.

Oh, yeah, and I found myself bobbing around to this, which is always a nice feeling.

Description:

A bunch of Bento Box 8 Steps sequencers disturbing each other and controlling a Eurorack modular synthesizer. All sequencing and modulation coming from Reaktor Blocks, except for some humble human interaction. Maschine joins the party with bass drum, hi-hats, and rim shot.
All control signals from Reaktor Blocks are directly routed to the Eurorack modular synthesizer via DC-coupled converters (Expert Sleepers ES-3).
No quantization used on the hardware side. The pitch scaling in Reaktor Blocks (value of 0.1/oct) plays nicely with the ES-3. Since its output voltage range is roughly ±10 V you get approximately 1 V/oct. Obviously tracking is not perfectly accurate without calibration – in my case it was off 1 semitone over 4 oct.

Now, as it happens, the strong NI presence there is because this comes from inside NI. (That’s actually reassuring, as they’ve had more access to Reaktor 6 than most people, which gives them additional time to work this up!)

There are more notes. The main thing is that you find some audio interface with DC-coupled converters, or – as they did here – use add-on hardware to do the trick. Once you’ve got that, your computer is part of your analog setup thanks to its audio interface.

All signals from Reaktor Blocks are directly fed to the Eurorack modules via DC-coupled converters (Expert Sleepers ES-3).
No quantization used on the hardware side. The pitch scaling in Reaktor Blocks (value of 0.1/oct) plays nicely with the ES-3. Since its output voltage range is roughly ±10 V you get approximately 1 V/oct. Obviously tracking is not perfectly accurate without calibration – in my case it was off 1 semitone over 4 oct.
In Reaktor, five Bento Box 8 Steps sequencers send their pitch, gate, and velocity signals out to the Eurorack synth via the ES-3, and additionally disturb each other in interesting ways by cross-modulation of the the global sequencer parameters (DIRECTION, STEPS, OFFSET).
The sequencers are clocked and reset from three Util Note In Blocks (we didn’t have the clock divider ready when I shot this video).
A Bento Box Env is providing additional modulation via the ES-3.
Voice 1: e350 going into an Optodist and a Toppobrillo Multifilter, with some broken echo added by a Phonogene. Pitch and wavetable position controlled by 8 Steps sequencers. The Bento Box Env is controlling the Gain on the Optodist.
Voice 2: Res-4 pinged directly from 8 Steps sequencer (its variable gate length is handy for this). Pitch and glide are provided by another sequencer.
Voice 3: Cyclebox II in mode 0000, going into two chained channels on the QMMG, struck by an 8 Steps sequencer (again, its variable gate length comes in handy). Pitch and IFM index controlled by 8 Steps sequencers.

Check out details and discussion on the muffwiggler forum:
Reaktor Blocks Love Eurorack

Last comment: I love that the people who work in this industry are also really fine musicians. Balancing work and music is a challenge for a lot of us, so it’s an inspiration. The times when you said “don’t quit your day job” are over – people with day jobs make great music. And you can catch main(void) live at about blank next weekend. I have to say, I can’t imagine any city in the world where you can spot the engineers making the tools behind decks and live sets more or less every week.

Previously:
Here’s a visual tour of what’s new in Reaktor 6

  • Ycros

    This is also possible with OSCiLLOT (maxforlive) https://www.ableton.com/en/packs/oscillot/ and BEAP (max/msp) https://github.com/stretta/BEAP since they both also run on cv and 1v/oct. Which means you can wire them up with Reaktor blocks!

    • turn

      This is even possible with ableton clips and an extremely basic m4l patch.

      Wich leads me towards: Is this really a good example of reaktor integration? There must be a lot of better use cases for reaktor (i.e. in the audio domain) than a bunch of xox style sequences with individual lengths 😀

      • Martin Wheeler

        Yes, you can do similar things with a DAW and a modular, without using Reaktor, and yes Reaktor can do many other, perhaps more ‘singular’ things, than this …but should the fact that you can play flamenco on a guitar stop you using one for making drone music ? Seems to me that the ‘modularity’ of the Blocks thing lends itself very well to interfacing with hardware modulars, not so much because it’s UI is inspired by Eurorack, or even that it consists of ‘modular blocks’ – but because it is both ( more or less ) set up to do CV, and that the modularity scales easily ( as does Max/MSP etc ) with copy – pasting rows and then modifying them etc … and though I really hate NI’s ‘pay for kompletely everything and then pay again when we finally get around to updating a part of it’ thing, I think this looks too good to pass up on ( especially if you have a Eurorack system )

        • Totally! And actually, I guess for the latter, we just need an updated list of DC-coupled interfaces – or is Expert Sleepers still up to date?

          • James Husted

            The old MOTU 828 interfaces are DC coupled and they show up on eBay for under $100 very often. That will give you 8-10 channels too.

      • Jeez, folks. This was done by one of the members of the team, on their own, making their own music, *while they were finishing the actual product* (so somewhat busy!), with a prototype of the software.

        It’s not an NI marketing video. It’s just another musician, like us.

        Anyway, absolutely, you can do this with other tools. So go shoot some video yourself or stop complaining. 😉

        Actually, let me rephrase that – stop complaining so we can all go shoot some videos! I want to watch them! Seriously 🙂

  • This is also possible with OSCiLLOT (maxforlive) https://www.ableton.com/en/packs/oscillot/ and BEAP (max/msp) https://github.com/stretta/BEAP since they both also run on cv and 1v/oct. Which means you can wire them up with Reaktor blocks! (maybe, I haven’t checked how they take cv inputs)

    • turn

      This is even possible with ableton clips and an extremely basic m4l patch.

      Wich leads me towards: Is this really a good example of reaktor integration? There must be a lot of better use cases for reaktor (i.e. in the audio domain) than a bunch of xox style sequences with individual lengths 😀

      • Martin Wheeler

        Yes, you can do similar things with a DAW and a modular, without using Reaktor, and yes Reaktor can do many other, perhaps more ‘singular’ things, than this …but should the fact that you can play flamenco on a guitar stop you using one for making drone music ? Seems to me that the ‘modularity’ of the Blocks thing lends itself very well to interfacing with hardware modulars, not so much because it’s UI is inspired by Eurorack, or even that it consists of ‘modular blocks’ – but because it is both ( more or less ) set up to do CV, and that the modularity scales easily ( as does Max/MSP etc ) with copy – pasting rows and then modifying them etc … and though I really hate NI’s ‘pay for kompletely everything and then pay again when we finally get around to updating a part of it’ thing, I think this looks too good to pass up on ( especially if you have a Eurorack system )

        • Totally! And actually, I guess for the latter, we just need an updated list of DC-coupled interfaces – or is Expert Sleepers still up to date?

          • James Husted

            The old MOTU 828 interfaces are DC coupled and they show up on eBay for under $100 very often. That will give you 8-10 channels too.

      • Jeez, folks. This was done by one of the members of the team, on their own, making their own music, *while they were finishing the actual product* (so somewhat busy!), with a prototype of the software.

        It’s not an NI marketing video. It’s just another musician, like us.

        Anyway, absolutely, you can do this with other tools. So go shoot some video yourself or stop complaining. 😉

        Actually, let me rephrase that – stop complaining so we can all go shoot some videos! I want to watch them! Seriously 🙂

  • This is also possible with OSCiLLOT (maxforlive) https://www.ableton.com/en/packs/oscillot/ and BEAP (max/msp) https://github.com/stretta/BEAP since they both also run on cv and 1v/oct. Which means you can wire them up with Reaktor blocks! (maybe, I haven’t checked how they take cv inputs)

    • turn

      This is even possible with ableton clips and an extremely basic m4l patch.

      Wich leads me towards: Is this really a good example of reaktor integration? There must be a lot of better use cases for reaktor (i.e. in the audio domain) than a bunch of xox style sequences with individual lengths 😀

      • Martin Wheeler

        Yes, you can do similar things with a DAW and a modular, without using Reaktor, and yes Reaktor can do many other, perhaps more ‘singular’ things, than this …but should the fact that you can play flamenco on a guitar stop you using one for making drone music ? Seems to me that the ‘modularity’ of the Blocks thing lends itself very well to interfacing with hardware modulars, not so much because it’s UI is inspired by Eurorack, or even that it consists of ‘modular blocks’ – but because it is both ( more or less ) set up to do CV, and that the modularity scales easily ( as does Max/MSP etc ) with copy – pasting rows and then modifying them etc … and though I really hate NI’s ‘pay for kompletely everything and then pay again when we finally get around to updating a part of it’ thing, I think this looks too good to pass up on ( especially if you have a Eurorack system )

        • Totally! And actually, I guess for the latter, we just need an updated list of DC-coupled interfaces – or is Expert Sleepers still up to date?

          • James Husted

            The old MOTU 828 interfaces are DC coupled and they show up on eBay for under $100 very often. That will give you 8-10 channels too.

      • Jeez, folks. This was done by one of the members of the team, on their own, making their own music, *while they were finishing the actual product* (so somewhat busy!), with a prototype of the software.

        It’s not an NI marketing video. It’s just another musician, like us.

        Anyway, absolutely, you can do this with other tools. So go shoot some video yourself or stop complaining. 😉

        Actually, let me rephrase that – stop complaining so we can all go shoot some videos! I want to watch them! Seriously 🙂

  • Polite Society

    I’m glad to see someone doing this, as this is the first thing that came to mind when i saw the new release of reaktor. Thanks!

  • Polite Society

    I’m glad to see someone doing this, as this is the first thing that came to mind when i saw the new release of reaktor. Thanks!

  • Polite Society

    I’m glad to see someone doing this, as this is the first thing that came to mind when i saw the new release of reaktor. Thanks!

  • Jo Wen

    If you want real modular sequencing for your Modular try Numerology from Five12.
    You need a lot of modulation sources no problem and it works with the additional CV Outs also like audiointerfaces or expert sleeper hardware

    • Diego Ghi

      Jo i’m an Numerology addict but i’ve got even Reaktor 6, Num is really reallly really wonderful but i’m plannig to use tNum and Reaktor 6 togheter

  • Jo Wen

    If you want real modular sequencing for your Modular try Numerology from Five12.
    You need a lot of modulation sources no problem and it works with the additional CV Outs also like audiointerfaces or expert sleeper hardware

    • Diego Ghi

      Jo i’m an Numerology addict but i’ve got even Reaktor 6, Num is really reallly really wonderful but i’m plannig to use tNum and Reaktor 6 togheter

  • Jo Wen

    If you want real modular sequencing for your Modular try Numerology from Five12.
    You need a lot of modulation sources no problem and it works with the additional CV Outs also like audiointerfaces or expert sleeper hardware

    • Diego Ghi

      Jo i’m an Numerology addict but i’ve got even Reaktor 6, Num is really reallly really wonderful but i’m plannig to use tNum and Reaktor 6 togheter

  • Kent Barton

    Clickbait! Et tu, Peter? Just please no Kardashians.

    In all seriousness though this is a cool concept. With a little tweaking, it looks like a fun way to build MAX patches too.

  • Kent Barton

    Clickbait! Et tu, Peter? Just please no Kardashians.

    In all seriousness though this is a cool concept. With a little tweaking, it looks like a fun way to build MAX patches too.

  • Kent Barton

    Clickbait! Et tu, Peter? Just please no Kardashians.

    In all seriousness though this is a cool concept. With a little tweaking, it looks like a fun way to build MAX patches too.

  • it’s not like u could not do that before 😀 using a midi to cv converter and a step sequencer out of reactor to send midi to a modular…

    • James Husted

      If you are doing sequences of notes, not playing between the notes, the MIDI>CV coverter route is easier to do and the results will be great. The main advantage to the Expert Sleeper stuff is that by using the audio interface, you get sample accurate timing. This seems to matter a lot to many people though the timing inaccuracies between live musicians on stage is quite a bit bigger than most MIDI sessions out there.

  • it’s not like u could not do that before 😀 using a midi to cv converter and a step sequencer out of reactor to send midi to a modular…

    • James Husted

      If you are doing sequences of notes, not playing between the notes, the MIDI>CV coverter route is easier to do and the results will be great. The main advantage to the Expert Sleeper stuff is that by using the audio interface, you get sample accurate timing. This seems to matter a lot to many people though the timing inaccuracies between live musicians on stage is quite a bit bigger than most MIDI sessions out there.

  • it’s not like u could not do that before 😀 using a midi to cv converter and a step sequencer out of reactor to send midi to a modular…

    • James Husted

      If you are doing sequences of notes, not playing between the notes, the MIDI>CV coverter route is easier to do and the results will be great. The main advantage to the Expert Sleeper stuff is that by using the audio interface, you get sample accurate timing. This seems to matter a lot to many people though the timing inaccuracies between live musicians on stage is quite a bit bigger than most MIDI sessions out there.

  • Robin Parmar

    Nice music no matter how it was done. The geek implementation is just an added draw.

  • Robin Parmar

    Nice music no matter how it was done. The geek implementation is just an added draw.

  • Nice music no matter how it was done. The geek implementation is just an added draw.

  • “Reaktor met Eurorack, and you won’t believe what happened next” omg omg omg omg… what happened next!? I’m on the edge of my seat! Did they connect Reaktor to Eurorack with an USB/Midi interface? I can’t believe it! Wow!

    (Seriously. People do this kind of stuff all the time. Cut it out with the clickbait titles.)