Synthtopia

VCV Rack vs Eurorack: Is There A Sonic Difference?

The latest loopop video is a provocative one – comparing the sound of VCV Rack modules against their hardware Eurorack counterparts.

VCV Rack is a free, open source software synthesizer that’s available for Linux, Mac & Windows. It’s currently in beta, but has already developed into a capable platform.

One of the unique aspects of VCV Rack is that the developers have ported over a dozen Mutable Instruments modules to the platform, including Braids & Clouds. These are some of the most popular modules in the Eurorack format, so they offer great opportunity for comparing the sound and capabilities of these designs in Eurorack and software format.

This comparison is limited to digital modules – but demonstrates that VCV Rack is already a powerful synthesis platform. We’d like to see comparisons of its virtual analog modules to hardware counterparts.

And VCV Racks’s capabilities offer a compelling argument for looking for new ways to integrate and cross-pollinate between hardware and software synthesizers.

You can find out more about VCV Rack at the VCV site.

Check out the comparison and share your thoughts in the comments!

Here’s what loopop has to say about the video:

One of the really interesting things about VCV Rack in my view is, besides being open source and free, that it comes with free versions of Mutable Instruments’ modules, some of the most sought after and successful eurorack modules. Controversially, Olivier (Mutable CEO) has decided to discontinue some of the most successful ones… yet the most admirable thing he does is to open source the code for his modules, so they have the potential to live on and evolve forever.

The big question I had is, how do they compare to the real thing? If the differences are small or even unnoticeable, VCVRack can become very disruptive.

I picked three of his most beautifully sounding modules (in my view of course…) Elements, Rings and Clouds (which is has been discontinued!) – and I compare the sound of the hardware to that of the software. These modules are digital, so they have a good chance of sounding similar, but DAC and other hardware magic or software tweaks might make a difference.