Toybox are going wild with powerful modules for Reaktor Blocks, the Eurorack-style patching environment. And that includes tons and tons of free modules – now with cool features like integration with the TidalCycles live coding environment.
So many modules…
So the beauty of Reaktor Blocks in combination with TOYBOX is, you get modules that are super stable and CPU optimized – and that run inside Reaktor and the free Reaktor Player, both standalone and as a plug-in. I’m a total VCV Rack addict, but there’s still plenty of reason to use Reaktor Blocks, especially with Toybox in the mix. The workflow is different, there are really different modules for each platform, and it’s just tough to beat the maturity and performance and flexibility of Reaktor.
Toybox are being insanely prolific, too. Toybox User Blocks are free. The 8 blocks of the Demo Pack are free. There’s a 44-module Free Pack. And now there’s the free Nano Pack Community Edition – which is a preview of what will be a paid Nano Pack with 500 modules.
There are paid modules, too – all a solid investment. And today there’s a Cyber Monday special on. Enter code BLACKFRIDAY for a continuation of 1/3 off, and add on top of it their Vintage Sampler block for free.
If that sounded overwhelming – well, welcome to the wonderful modular overabundance that is Toybox. Deals here:
Let’s talk about the Nano Community Edition, though, because it looks really terrific.
- A selection of blocks from the upcoming Nano Pack (the full pack has 500+ blocks)
- High quality, low CPU blocks in a small format, which can be combined with Reaktor blocks from other packs
- Infinite Linear Oversampling (ILO) used for waveshapers, samplers, wavetables, and oscillators (ILO is a DSP technique that greatly reduces aliasing distortion for an extremely clean/analog sound)
- Useful utility blocks for basic functions, scopes, MIDI, input, output, etc.
- 15 high-quality effects
- Flexible audio-rate modulations; every control has its own modulation input.
- A suite of versatile sequencer blocks that can be combined for creative sequencing and routing of sounds
- Each block has a bank of 8 editable snapshots that can be sequenced using modulation
- A set of blocks for use with the Tidal Cycles live coding environment
I’ve started with it, and it’s a really beautifully-designed selection – visually, conceptually, and sonically. The layouts are clean like hardware, but give you interactions you’d expect and ease from software. Snapshot capability is built-in, instead of being kludged on in an extra module. Even though this is the free “community” edition, there is an astonishing array of stuff, including some beautiful spectral effects, granular pitch shift, and analog-style processing. There are precise modules for filtering, a really elegantly implemented low pass gate (the circuit popularized by Buchla), wavetable and modulation. There are sequencer tools that actually make sense as modules, as in you can combine them freely rather than wrestle with overblown pre-built modules.
And then there’s the stuff for live coders and people wanting to compose patterns in Reaktor. There’s built-in LiveCore support, for live coding in Reaktor core cells. That was cool enough that I’d written about it previously:
There’s a wonderful Position Splitter, too – which takes a signal and lets you mess around with stretching, splitting, repeating, and speeding sequence signals.
And there’s a whole section of stuff for Tidal Cycles:
- Polyphonic sample playing
- Use Atom as your editor and evaluate Tidal Cycles expressions
- Map ranges, OSC messages, and translate between OSC messages and signal in the modular environment
- Use Tidal to control snapshots in Nano modules in Reaktor Blocks
- Receive and send patterns
So, let’s get this straight – you can combine a software modular environment in Reaktor (which is free or at most, very affordable), use all these virtual patch cables to make a modular environment, live code inside Reaktor, then combine it all with TidalCycles, which is the beloved live coding environment for making patterns and polyrhythms and compositions in realtime and… all of it can send patterns and presets back and forth at once and … uh, excuse me a second here…
Combine that with tons of interesting utility and helper modules. Honestly, I had to check more than once to make sure I was on the right page. Toybox, these are the freebies?! This is already a huge selection of modules.
We’ll have to revisit this to show you how to actually use this in reality, once I clean my brain off the walls of my flat.
Check the documentation: