Hey Audulus community!

Mostly I just wanted to drop by and say hello and express my respect for this community. What an impressive bunch of work over the past couple years, wow! If anything I hope I am not behind too much on the crest of enthusiasm. I’ve been lurking around a while, finally diving in a bit with the Audulus 4 beta. It’s shaping up to be pretty awesome, excited about it. At first I was all iOS, but since jumping in I have been 99% macOS.

I usually try to keep things short in a medium like this. Here’s an exception, so TL/DR, TMS, etc.

In general the “visual programming” type noodly modular media software world fits me. Not a programmer, not an engineer. Musician and free thinker from an era of sound making not requiring virtuosity, just a creative bend and authenticity. I just like building my own noodly computer music stuff. I have been hacking away at digital audio for some time, at this point I have a pretty good grip on the concepts. Regarding digital, I’d rather build a simple crappy thing and feel closer to it than get the latest greatest plugin.

Long time Plogue Bidule user. Kindred spirits, Audulus and Bidule – important to me how both are styled to keep the focus on sound and not get too lost in the forest. Bidule has been around since the early 2000’s and seb@plogue is a gem. I might label both pieces of software “boutique” audio software – a parallel to mod synth world, for one.

So Bidule is more mature, with some important features Audulus does not have. For example, Bidule has plugin versions (including a MIDI FX version and multi-channel versions that work great in Logic, my DAW of choice. I have also loved Ableton Live, and never got on board the ProTools train). Bidule also supports audio plugins (AU/VST), as part of their early mission was to support the gnarly ecosystem of experimental audio plugins rolling out back then. Bidule also has awesome “Swiss army knife” MIDI tools, and a suite of super cool fft/spectral modules.

Whereas Bidule’s audio engine is solid and stable and “transparent”, Audulus’ audio engine is super stable for me, too, but there’s some other little magic thing going on for me how it somehow feels new and fresh with its own unique sound – transparency of Bidule is traded for a signature sound. Also worth mentioning are the impressive specs so far running Audulus 4 beta on my M1 Mac Mini.

Audulus also outshines Bidule with visuals – fresh air for me to know it is part of the mission to make a visually beautiful piece of software. Visually, I’ve always loved Bidule’s patchbay and always been frustrated by its “system” GUI (wxwidgets) for user created groups.

I’m a bit of an outside admirer of all things modular, not enough hands on experience, but one silly frivolous dream I have when $ is no object (as in, probably never happen) is to have one eurorack kit for a series of compositions, closing up the kit when finished with all settings/instructions in place. I have had a few interesting moments related to mod synth world, having lived in the SF Bay Area for many years. One that stands out was helping my friend shoot some footage for a documentary about Don Buchla (and I met him, very cool experience, though I was the cameraman so I was immediately under suspicion). In fact I just noticed one of my photos on the website header of the Buchla 100 that’s at Mills College in Oakland, CA. (The photo with the red labels). I have a connection to Mills College, long story.

Random thoughts on music as it relates to software like Audulus~
I’ve been a musician for 7/8 of my life, rock-and-roll kid, post-punk guitarist/songwriter turned visual/media artist along the way. These thoughts are threaded by things that point to why I am here using Audulus, i.e., kooky keyboards and all that. When I was sixteen I had Eno’s Another Green World on my turntable for about 6 months straight, fascinated by it, discovered it on my own, a private pleasure. Kraftwerk too – I had one friend who was totally into them, his enthusiasm was contagious. They were like beings from another planet, a gentle, humorous, ominous, well-mannered future place, and I always felt like they created a new genre. I like them now more than ever. Recently listening to Cybotron (early Detroit techno), realizing what a direct rip off they were of Kraftwerk, and kinda awesome for it. The whole “krautrock” thing sunk in a little later for me – Can, Faust and the rest, when I worked in a used record store while in college. Kind of a latecomer to electronic stuff like house and techno, though long time appreciator of Aphex Twin. Also just thinking of Alan Vega/Suicide, etched in there somewhere. Experimental/avant: Robert Ashley’s “Automatic Writing”. Into the band Wolf Eyes right now, they speak a language I understand. Black Dice, too. Random memories for sure. I actually like all kinds of music, loyal to no genre. Dylan, Leonard Cohen, old country music (Hank Williams/early Willie Nelson), Anthology of American Folk Music, Motown, Notorious B.I.G., Lil Wayne, Wu Tang. If anything I’d say right now I tend towards shorter songs and folk forms (and imho one could argue mod synth popularity = a folk form).

Might be the longest most personal forum post I ever made. Cheers


Glad to have you with us. I’ve seen your comments on the beta Discord. Personally I’ve found Audulus to be a good balance between feature set and ease of use. I’ve not used Bidule although it looks interesting and very capable. Max/MSP is also very powerful and can do many things that Audulus cannot but I find it somewhat tedious to use. Audulus is simply more fun and the UI visuals are a big part of that experience. I think version four will be a significant upgrade from V3 and I’m looking forward to it’s release.

When I was first starting out with this stuff I was about to jump on the Max/MSP train and instead chose Bidule and never looked back. For one, I was broke at the time and IIRC it was +$500 vs $100. So I chose a music specialized environment instead of something that could operate a robot. :grinning: Where I lived there was some fantastic stuff going on related to Cycling 74 products (Max/MSP/Jitter), and for some of the shows I was doing I used to enlist the help of some friends working at CNMAT (UC Berkeley Center for New Music and Technology – hotbed for Cycling 74 stuff at the time). (I was also doing a bunch of wacky video stuff in Quartz Composer, once again because I was not using Jitter). I did feel like I kinda missed out on some cool stuff because the Max/MSP community here had so many brainiacs. C’est la vie.

At any rate, I have been a loyal user of Bidule, in spite of how the user base/online community seems to have dwindled. One last straw is that seb@plogue has said he can’t/won’t fix some GUI issues for the plugin versions I have relied on in Logic Pro. So GUI wins for me. As well as the sparkling audio engine. Audulus just sounds really nice – remarkably different than Bidule for the same tasks. I’ll use both, I’m sure. In fact, if/when the AU plugin comes together, Bidule running Audulus as a plugin will be pretty amazing. (Actually, I’m hoping for Logic running Bidule plugin running Audulus plugin in Bidule).

I originally started my electronic music journey using PureData and first encountered Audulus while I was exploring music apps for the iPad. I really liked the overall product but found the iPad UI difficult to use for larger projects so I purchased the Mac version as well. I’ve been very pleased with the audio engine as well as the UI but what really sold me on the app was the user community. Lots of very creative people from a variety of backgrounds and musical genres made it a great tool to share ideas and serve as a source of inspiration. Things are kind of quiet atm as a result of the pandemic and the long development cycle for version 4. Taylor is a one man show for the most part and has other ongoing projects as well. I haven’t invested a lot of time in building patches in A4 since things are still somewhat fluid. BTW I agree with many of your FRs and have suggested them myself.
The decision to run everything at sample rate and treat all numeric values as 32 bit floats obviously has some performance drawbacks, but keeps the underlying code much cleaner. It also means that any output can be connected to any input without issues. You do need to be aware of potential rounding errors. I wrote this a while back for the non-programmers among us.
The Audulus Expression Node

TIming in Audulus can be a bit tricky. Unlike Max/MASP, there is no defined order of execution so it’s generally not possible to predict which of a set of “simultaneous” events will occur first. Feedback loops are particularly problematic. Version 3 of Audulus has a feedback delay node which provides a one frame (about 256 samples) delay, but A4 has eliminated this and all feedback loops use a single sample delay, which can also be used in other contexts. This forces feedback loops etc. into single sample processing, which does incur a CPU hit, but current hardware is fast enough that this is typically not an issue except for large patches. I typically use delay nodes to control timing.

My only disappointment so far has been the lack of a viable plug-in. There is an AU for version 3 but the code is pretty old and it’s not really usable. The AUv3 for version 4 will be a welcome add, particularly if and when Ableton adds AUv3 support. Logic should have no problems and I can always use Reaper if necessary.

Indeed, I have been super impressed by this community, exploring convos over the past cycle. I’m really not sure what post-Covid looks like, so many have also had a run reevaluating family and work, ie, working from home, etc. But there is some dark cloud trauma state I still feel.

Thanks for that link – the rounding error / feedback stuff is an area I’m keeping an eye on because I don’t quite understand expected results yet.

I saw the bit about the delay node with feedback = 1 heading to essentially a low pass filter state. I don’t want this – I want as clean and infinite repeats as possible. In fact just today I replicated the V3 delay with the new delay line node – seems good, as you mention no “feedback delay” anymore, feedback is just delay * feedback + input. But once again I am a little fuzzy on the rounding error → lowpass filter thing and if it will head that way with the new delay line?

I’m also now building an “eminent chorus” effect with the delay lines (which does not use feedback) and the “Eminent 310 LFO” I grabbed from the Fairly Humorous Reverb patch (now reworked to also use the delay line node and expose all the math so I can keep it clear). I actually remade that reverb in Bidule when I was not sure what I wanted from Audulus – not quite the same but pretty great – now I’m translating stuff back to Audulus based on my preferred settings discovered in that environment, more familiar to me.

PureData – of course, basically the free version of Max/MSP, been on the radar forever, too. I have learned a lot from their documentation / patches, etc. Miller Puckette at UCSD, what a force.

Oh and the mention about timing – I’d love a deeper dive into how/when/why you are using delay nodes to control timing. I’m definitely wondering how this is going to play out esp. with the plugin. I’m just now thinking about how to sync stuff, basically I’m just at send hz out of a “master clock” group for other stuff.

I really just have one significant patch I’m using at the moment, a mono synth patch, pushing CPU, building some tools based on my way of working in Bidule. So far so good from my POV, I feel pretty invested in Audulus at this point. Definitely reinventing some wheels, but that’s part of my learning process.

When I mentioned timing I was referring to controlling the timing of signals within Audulus relative to each other. For example in a sequencer if you use a clock signal to change steps and gate an ADSR you can’t determine which occurs first without delaying one of the signals.
Currently the best approach I’ve found to syncing Audulus with other apps and hardware is by sending a periodic pulse and syncing to that, although I’m hoping that some form of Midi sync will become available. I posted a A4 clock module on the discord which has an external clock input. I usually send a quarter note midi signal into Audulus and use the keyboard node to generate a clock.

Ok, that makes sense. I’ll go look for that A4 clock. Thanks! Yeah, midi clock would be most familiar. Curious to see.

The clock UI got a bit messed up when Taylor changed the graphics renderer but it should still work. I’m waiting to see if the grid alignment gets improved before I spend the time to redo the layout.

Clock works as expected for me, and I’ve been updating some core stuff to V4 for my user library. Not worried at all about GUI at this point, there’s a lot of jumbled text and all. I just hope when Taylor fixes things my new work still looks ok. Audio is paramount, and I was a bit confused opening V3 patches with deprecated stuff, esp. things not working, like the reverb, I think… that’s no problem as well as long I know. I don’t think I’ll be going back to V3. V4 is stable for me at this point, most important.

The switch to the new renderer gave a big boost to the UI performance but changes in the way things are laid out resulted in shifts in the anchor points for UI elements. Not a big deal but it messed up the way the grid operates. I’m hoping that Taylor will come up with a solution soon so I’m waiting to see what happens. The audio engine should be pretty stable at this point so it’s really just eye candy.

Yeah, one of the hundred ( :innocent: ) feature requests I made was for snap to + align + distribute to grid – I tried to make the case that this would speed up the library clean up process… Eye candy – well, I’m for “form follows function”, and clean layout helps, esp. troubleshooting…

(Edit: this forum replaces 4 dot ellipses with 3 dot – grammatically incorrect for end of sentences! Form follows function! I know, those norms are changing with text message ubiquity… just sayin’. I should probably tone down my use of the dot dot dot… dot. )

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