Get A Free Hartmann Neuron Synthesizer (For OS X)

neuron-vsThe Hartmann Neuron synthesizer is rare, the company that released it out of business, and the software version discontinued – until now.

Developer Stephan Bernsee has released Neuron VS – the software version of the Neuron – as a free app for Intel Macs. Neuron VS was US $899 when it was originally released.

Here’s what Bernsee has to say about Neuron VS:

In 2000, Axel Hartmann and I, Stephan Bernsee, set out to designing a novel synthesizer based on artificial neural networks used for sound synthesis, the <NEURON> synthesizer. We were able to get support from a lot of people, including well known artists such as Hans Zimmer, and Hartmann Music as a company won several awards for innovation in synthesis technology.

Unfortunately and despite the huge interest in our products, due to some issues with distribution and our hardware manufacturer Hartmann was driven out of business in 2004. With the company dead there was no chance for <NEURON> owners to get tech support or updates.

Just recently, a Facebook group came into existence that managed to attract many knowledgeable and skilled Neuron owners who provide support and advice to each other in their spare time. To aid them in the process of keeping the Neuron alive I have dusted off the old NeuronVS sources in order to revive the NeuronVS VST plug-in, a software-only version of the Neuron synth that came with a powerful hardware controller, the <NUKE>. Thanks to the generosity of former Hartmann CEO Stefan Rapp and Neuron designer Axel Hartmann I am now able to provide an updated version of the original <NeuronVS> software here free of charge, (hopefully) free of bugs – and with no warranties of any kind.

Note: Their are some notable limitations about the current version of Neuron VS:

  • The project is a labor of love by Bernsee, and he notes, “This is a free and unsupported product and we don’t have the resources to develop for Windows.”
  • It’s also based on an older version of the VST standard, VST SDK 2.1. Because of this, the current version will not be compatible with some DAWs.
  • It’s designed to work with the Hartmann Nuke controller, and some features are unavailable without it.

If you can work with the current limitations, give it a try and let us know what you think of it. And, if you’ve got feedback for Bernsee, you can contact him via the Neuron VS site.


40 thoughts on “Get A Free Hartmann Neuron Synthesizer (For OS X)

  1. howto PDF says hardware controller *required* to use this VST.

    So, unless you have a NUKE lying around, this probably isn’t as great a download as you had hoped.

    1. that’s probably referring to the original VST – i highly doubt the new one requires the nuke hardware.

      1. K, since their server is slow, can you do us a favor and try it without the NUKE? Let us know if it works alright without its controller.

        Hope their server survives this freebie announcement, lol

    2. Here’s what the manual says:

      “Hardware requirements: Please also note that you will need the controller hardware in order for the NeuronVS to be fully operational.

      Without the controller you won’t be able to change any parameters controlled by the sticks – you can still use the plug in as a preset player but you will definitely miss out on the fun.”

      Also note that the manual liists the apps that this has been tested with – which is a short list.

  2. Wow, their download server is ridiculously slow! I’m getting speeds of ~40 kbps. That might be fine for the VST itself, but the 1.4 GB library? Got some waiting to do…

  3. The only limitation I’ve found so far is inability to control the joysticks with the mouse. There are several reserved CC codes, one or more of which, I am sure, address the joystick. It is just a matter of time until the proper combination is discovered, and then a suitable MIDI controller, such as the XY pad of a Novation X-Station or Remote, will be sufficient. The VS does sound like a hardware Neuron.

      1. I can’t get it to work in S1 2.5.1, Ableton Live 8, Cubase AI 5, Tracktion 4.3. In all cases its seems to load and give me the dialog message that I don’t have NUKE, then the plugin comes up while.

          1. did you run it with FXpansion’s VST/AU wrapper 2.0 ? the how to pdf is saying it works in live 8.2.1 that way

        1. For the record, Renoise 2.8 won’t even list it. Scans directory, then completely ignores its existence.

      2. Didn’t see the question until now. For the record, FL Studio. I’ve since gotten a Nuke to replace my late lamented Neuron. But, that’s going away now, too. Life is a port. There are arrivals and departures, and someday you will depart.

    1. Yes what DAW are people using to get this to work?
      Let us know how you had success please?


  4. Quite excited about getting this one working and having a twiddle. Also having a bit of hell getting the database down though hahaha!!

  5. I am a Logic user so I couldn’t use my regular DAW.
    I tried the Neuron VS in Reaper and all I got was a blank white box when trying to see the UI.
    Bummer, I can’t get it to show……oh well it was free I can’t complain.

  6. No luck with Live 9. Thinking seeming they’ve done this, perhaps the guys responsible should let the code and such go open source and let someone else get it up to speed & compatible with everything and resolve the ‘required controller’ issue.

    What are others thoughts on this? Seems like the guys may have not entirely thought through their generous intentions. Epic props to them for doing so though, if these little niggles are ironed out I can definitely see this being extremely popular!

    1. There is likely still intellectual property/trade secrets and even code used that isn’t allowed to be open sourced.

      What I think could be interesting and rewarding is virtually emulating the computer that ran the hardware version! What’d it run, a stripped down linux? That has a potentially much longer lifespan, as there will be software to emulate computers for a while to come.

      It’s also easier to load a virtual machine than it is to get an old computer running along with installing an old DAW, some of which can’t even be authorized anymore running. (Logic!)

      1. Actually someone made a ipad Nuke emulator called Twirl. I tested it with Ableton 9, vst/au adapter and it works perfectly. Probably better than the original Nuke because it’s gives you 12 joysticks simultaneously. Unfortunately for some reason it’s not currently on the App Store, but can still be found other places if your device is jailbroken.

        With all that said, the Neuron VS didn’t impress me that much. It’s kind of a one trick pony. I have the iProphet on the ipad and it covers a lot of the same territory, even down to the joystick, although a lot of the patches have a retro 80’s john carpenter / slasher flick vibe. The Neuron has more of modern Hans Zimmer type sound. There’s some sonic overlap to me, but to use the Neuron VS you have to jump through a lot of hoops and setup to get it working. If you’re serious about this type of sound, it might be a better use of your time to just bite the bullet and buy Omnisphere.

  7. “…it’s a labor of love..” (think bees, flowers, rainbows..) will work fine with Logic V2 or Cubase V3.6…..A windows 3.1 version will be released soon……
    Modem connection at 56kbit/s is required for a fast download…..

  8. Pdf’s of the midi cc mapping. Have fun guys!


  9. great news. Still have an old Neuron VS lying around that i could never use due to my computer system not being compatible at the time. I was about to ditch it last month and now i’m glad i didn’t.
    The neuron website though is not really working. not even the .PDF links can open 🙁

    Big Kudos for the synth enthusiasts and Hartman for bringing this instrument back

  10. For anyone having difficulty acquiring the database file, they’ve put up a mirror with much better speeds.

  11. using FXPansion’s VST-to-whatever adapters i have been able to get them to work in PT9 and Logic 9.18 in 10.6.8. The trick with getting the wrapper to work right is that you have to quickly hit the “okay” button when it gives the warning about no nuke controller – otherwise it will not wrap the vst.

    also logic 9.18 has problems with the window redraw – you are stuck with the window being where it is, moving it around just yields a white box and the plugin UI stays exactly where it was. dont know if that’s a wrapper issue or a plugin issue.

  12. i dont have Live so i cannot test it but a friend who does is going to give it a whirl and let me know how it goes.

  13. Found an other way to make Neuron VS run:

    – DAW: Presonus Studio One2, 256/128 Samples
    – VST-Wrapper: Independence Pro 3
    – PC: iMac, OS 10.6.8, 32-Bit

    Don’t use any effects in the mixing-level of Independence pro … really high CPU-Spikes

    The permissions of following folders must be set to “777”:
    – HD/Library/
    – HD/Library/Application Support/
    – HD/Library/Application Support/Hartmann Music + all whats inside of if

    To use Independence Pro + Neuron VS in Logic 9 doesn’t work – no sound!

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