Hazards of working on patches for hours

I’ve noticed I’ll have a patch going that I like, but I want to add something and spend an hour adding it. Then I have to quit working on it for some time – an hour, a day – because I get sick of listening to it.

Is this a common phenenon among Rackers? What’s your pallette cleanser?

Interesting - I find my patches become hypnotic as I listen to them “non-stop” during the development process, to the point that something seems to be missing when I finally break away. It probably would be healthier if I got sick of the sound and took a break - I know my wife would be happier.

VCV is particularly dangerous for me - generally there are two distinct phases of my development process. Typically there is some technical problem or concept I am exploring, or maybe I am trying to emulate some hardware, and I am looking for optimum solutions without generating any sound. It feels very similar to computer programming. Just as with programming, I can get totally lost in the process and lose track of time, hours quickly slip away .

Then when I finally have something working, a whole new process begins where I am trying to create something musical (or maybe an interesting sound scape). There is lots more experimentation, but now with the added “danger” of hypnotic sounds putting me in a trance. I might listen to one sound for half an hour before I “snap out of it” and try the next tweak.

When I watch a Jacub Ciupinski video and he greets “VCV addicts”, I know he is speaking to me.


Yes, the hypnotic side is real. There should be a warning before downloading vcv haha.

More seriously, leaving a patch aside after a while, (especially if you start messing up), even for several days is part of the creative process. The “picture” is better afterwards. This is a positive thing and not specific to vcv.
I do it all the time.

“getting sick of it” applies to me more with purely deterministic composition, rather than vcv rack, which i usually both inject a lot of randomness into, and usually stop working on a patch after at most 1-3 hours.

I think I have mentioned elsewhere that when I work on a sound for hours on end, my hearing actually changes and then when I walk away from it, I will still hear the piece in my head for a few hours, over and over, deliriously. While in this state, I will hear things that either are not real, or perhaps I just cannot hear them later.

My oldest SoundCloud content is from 1989 and is a poor digitization from cassette tapes I sold in a local new-age bookstore, produced in my studio on my 4-track tape deck. On the cassette insert I mentioned that I produced these while in a trance-like state. But, the tapes were meant to evoke a trance-like journey.


I know exactly what you are talking about!

I notice the absence of the sound, yet I still hear it. There is a sense of pressure in my ears that goes along with this experience.


It’s the reverb. Try muting it for a few seconds then you’re good to go for another 4 hours. . .

Seriously though I find it difficult to go back to an old patch rather than start something new. So if I end it. That’s the end.

I find this form of creating music extremely relaxing. It’s my meditation time. The only downsides or hazards is that it takes over. Some days it’s all I think about. That’s when I know I need to take a break, or start a new patch.


I have a producfion barrier at 1-3 hours. I usually get to a nice groove/loop at that time but I rarely have the strengh to continue/revisit the patch to build a proper tune. The composition phase is rarely reached.

I rather quit listening the patch and start a new one.

But working with hardware it,s even worse. Therefore I sold all my modules practically.

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This. I have so many patches that will forever sit at maybe, at best, 70% of being a “piece”. But it’s what they are, what I felt like doing at that time. I can spend a few evenings on something, trying to come up with voices and ways to vary and perform them so that they can - hopefully - have a dialogue (in lieu of a composition) but especially anything in the realm of ~dance-y and/or 4-to-the-floor gets always abandoned ¯_(ツ)_/¯

I work on parts of a patch, like the sound of an individual voice, or the sequence of notes, or getting the randomness just so. All other parts of the patch are muted while I do this and when I’ve got each part right I unmute other voices one by one to check how they work together, then as a whole. This can lead into a performance of sorts and maybe automating the voices coming in. I never listen to the whole thing while working on it.

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My process is similar to ScreenSlave’s description. Once I have several elements going and an idea for where I want the patch to go, I will mute everything but the part I am working on. Once I am happy with it, unmute and see how it works with the whole. It becomes an iterative process until there is no more to add.

I also find it useful to step away and come back to things with a fresh ear when working on an idea. After awhile the brain gets bogged down with the technical details. In order to hear it as music, I need to get out of that headspace.