Usefull redesign without hardware limitations in skeumorphism?

Is there any module or patch for VCVRack that makes it more usefull and does not try to replicated the real world. Skeumorphism is dead since years. Would be the right thing for Rack to grow up and ditch redesigning real world models.

You might want to let Arturia know that - currently one of the most successful makers of VST synths and effects and proponents of hyper-realistic skeumorphism.

Nothing to stop developers designing modules however they like in VCV though. Personally I think there is room for both.


Marketing is finding it’s way always. There is a reason apple gave up skeumorphism. And this is the biggest problem with software today. Reason sufferes from it for years. Rack is replicating this issues. It would be a blessing, if this kind of design would completely go to distinction. It’s just promoting this nonsense complex design, hardware is doing bound to for generations. For me personally this is the biggest fail of all software, trying to replicate the real world. Virtual can be so much better.

Real hardware suffers from complex knob combinations and matrix navigations. Software which is replicating this fails the same way. The only upside to hardware is the tactile navigation. But putting this in software just does not make sense and from my point of view is a complete Designer’s fail!!!

No one on this earth should do skeumorphism in 2020 if he claims to be smart

I don’t see any benefit in skeumorphism, but to sacrifice usability for picking up people from the hardware world, so that they can use software. Most people I know who are artists and using hardware and technology are way smarter than I am, and they have no issue getting used to software. What is a the benefit of restricting software to the things which only exists in hardware? Im not talking about the desing itself, I’m talking about UX! Why on earth patching cables and restricting it to ports? Why dig through menus or exectuing click combos to change something i can quickliy access by a keyboard shrotcut or rightlick menu navigation or by accessing more screen real estate? By being limited to a euro rack unit height or a rack unit width?

FYI: VCV Rack is defined as “The Eurorack Simulator”.


Rack is an awesome piece of software. I’m argumenting for leaving its limitations from the real world simulationv behind and stick to the good parts

Cables and ports are a core part of all modular synthesizers. I am not sure what you vcv rack to be. Maybe use VSTs in the host module instead?


I personally love Cables and ports, and without them (for example in Bitwig’s grid) I’m completely lost. Some stuff in hardware (knobs, sliders) make a lot of sense and are easy to use, so imo it’s good to find that in software. I think there is a place for both Hardware like modules / Vsts, and more modern softwary ones. When i want some quick sound design or something simple that doesn’t need to much thinking, i use a hardware like module or vst. When i want deep sound design, tons of options and precision, i go for something not Skeumorphic.

Depends your personallity or mood, but i highly doubt one is better than the other, just different tools :slight_smile: .


Inputs and Outputs are necessary. But they don’t need to eat up screen real estate and be part of the design. Virtual patch cables are sufficient. This way you could modulate everything with everything. no need to have ports. Everything that has a value changeing could be a modulator, a knob, a bouncing ball in a display. A bezier curce. Than you would click and drag the item onto the target or righclick. Or douoble click to go into modulation mode … or … why is this indirection/mapping necessary?

Funny, because I wanted to cite bitwig’s grid a good example :smiley:

Impromptu is a good example to this. Could be a really good sequencer, if it would stop emulating the real world. It’s features are awesome. UX is to much indirection, from py point of view. Click here, then there and than the interfaces changes it’s functions. Just display a new screen, or just don’t be limited to 1 rackunit height . Use all of the available screen real estate. Press F6 or F7 to go into seuqencer mode. Or whatever shortcut the user assigns on the selected module. Fold/Unfold. I’m not saying everything is bad. I try to show people that some limitations could be broken to be real awesome

music software is sort of the last refuge of skeumorphism. It’s quite popular here and in the “big names” (logic, pro tools, arturia, etc.) Here it’s a matter of taste. I think VCV people like it. For me it’s an easy choice - I don’t even have to drawing talent to do it if I wanted to. My modules are quite plain, and that’s partly by intention. modeled on VCV’s built-in modules, in a way. I still do use ports that look like jacks and knobs that look a little like physical ones.Using what’s in the sdk…

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My problem with skeumorphism is not from the design but from the UX! Hardware limitations don’t exist in software. Why have them in software? Serious guys. A fullscreen sequencer would be awesome in rack. I guess that’s the domain of buying V2 and using it with other VST software. Unfortunately. But at least a good solution

EDIT: Yes I hear you people … but the performance. Just let the artist be the smart person to decide when he want’s to optimize for performance or running out of system resources.

Fullscreen sequencers exist.

Oh yes, totally forgot about entrian. Good example. Is it possible to go full screen with entrian. It’s just a popout. Personally I’d prefere a more direct control, like setting up shortcuts, I kind of use shortcuts for everything in navigation. But that would mean having something like “selected module” arrow and tab key navigation… toggle shortcuts for module popouts … alternative view layers. User definable views compiled to custom modules. I could go on with this… I’m probably not smart enough, otherwise I would have started programming a piece of software like this 15 years ago, when I first had this ideas. But I’m not good at solving complex problems like DSP stuff and things like this

I really don’t get why you complain at all. You’re free (as in freeware) to use VCV or not to use it. As long as it is free, imho there is nothing to argue about how it is done and designed.

If you don’t like it, no problem, just leave it or create your own tools.

If the programmers/designers of freeware ask for ideas about the design, then is the time to come up with such. But if no one asks, why then?


There are quite a few modules that diverge pretty far from what would be possible (or at least easy) to do in hardware - e.g. I like the “I Love Cookies” sequencer. I love the diversity of interfaces in VCV.

Even if you don’t want to get into coding a module, putting out a detailed specification of something you would like see might inspire someone else to execute it. I don’t really understand what you were describing (e.g. “alternative view layers”).

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The UI mostly is a designers choice. That might be good, or I might be not. A UI is just an. I’d like to see something which would allow

  1. many different possible UIs (1 for small screens … like phones, another one for fullscreen …) basically the opportunity to have different User Interfaces.
  2. Make it possible to let the user define a different User interface
  3. Make it possible to define sub modules / UI group (create a new UI, that pops out when you click on the group/submodule) something like a “folder” where you just hide UI and provide a custom UI to quickly access the most commonly used ones. Call them hideable, or partially customized no visible sub patches … whatever name you throw at.

i think anyone complaining about the skeumorphism of Rack should maybe look to other implementations of a “modular” environment like Pd, ect. personally, i like the diversity of the different module UI’s. why should the designers have to compromise their vision of the plugin they are designing when most are a labor of love provided for free. plus rack is a great place to start if you want to learn modular synth patching.

i think pretty much anyone who has ever put something together on modulargrid thought it would be pretty sweet to be able to patch those up and play around with it. rack has made that a reality.

i do see the point of the argument from a CPU performance standpoint but as a hardware modular user as well i like the idea of having a ton of virtual hardware module simulations at my finger tips.


there is plenty of software with the features that you are looking for , super collider for instance ( I think you are describing pure data or max )

as well the hardware interface have limitations , it make everything natural

you are limited by your own experience , and your software limitations, I bet you are windows user. is it?

to me (since I never used euro rack) I never felt the vcv rack reflexivity and freedom with other software

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