Waveguide / Complex oscillator or something else?

Hi, I am a keyboard player and beginner with modular, I really have fun to play with expressive sounds / realistic instrument , don’t like Seq/ Drone presets … After 18 years of trying so many VSTi / library, I don’t like anything more than physical modeling something like Pianoteq / Swam instruments / Aalto and some of hardware like KORG Triton / trinity Moss sounds

My question is about Aalto by Madrona Labs i was able to create some amazing presets and I found them very expressive, why? i don’t know, There are many WaveGuide synths on the market but nothing like Aalto for expressive and quality

I have less than average experience in sound design, but regarding physics modeling, I’m confused! there are many contradictory answers anyway Anyway What makes Aalto sounds expressive? The Waveguide or Complex oscillator or what? Can i Re-design it using VCV rack?

What I know about physical modeling is: there are many way to do using delay / feedback, Comb filters Etc…

I know VCV rack can do that but I didn’t understand how Aalto works, and can it be emulated using Vcv rack? or are there parts that can’t be simulated?

English is not my mother tongue, please excuse any errors on my part.

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I don’t see anything here that can’t be done in VCV Rack; it won’t look the same, but it’s doable.


Thank you so much ScreenSlave , What is the kind of module i need for that? and if you have tutorials sources “Video” it will be appreciated

from the madrona labs web site:

The heart of Aalto is a complex oscillator inspired by Don Buchla’s designs, with FM, timbre and waveshape controls that enable a wide range of expressive sounds. These sounds are uniquely malleable and alive, in part because they are made with dynamic calculation, not static wavetables

looks like the Aalto oscillator has some tricks that need to be emulated in VCV,
but it seems to be doable first you need to get a bit familiar with the Buchla designs and how to interpret and translate these to the OSC design here in VCV. maybe you can use some Nysthi modules, which are copies of buchla modules

beside the oscillator most parts are pretty standard like lfo, envelopes, delay
you can try the fundamental vcv modules or modules from Bogaudio for these
and maybe the vcv wavetable osc can be a starting point.


Instruo’s Cš-L is a great complex oscillator:

And Sckitam Waveguide Delay can be used for standard modulation effects, Karplus-Strong and also phase modulation (basically FM) if you patch a VCO into the delay input:

I’ve never used Aalto, so no idea if these modules will do what you want, but hopefully it’s a starting point!

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Thank you so much rmsus7 , SuperMuppet for your helpful answers I’m going to take a look at those modules and I hope I can do it despite my inexperience, If anyone can create that for me for money I’ll be very happy.

Sorry i have another question, Does VCV rack 2 pro works well on Cubase 12 pro? Are there plans for VST3 version? As far as I know Cubase will stop supporting vst2 in the next version.

i think the fm part of aalto is much more interesting and expressive than the waveguide part. part of the character of aalto is that there seems to be a hidden sample-and-hold slightly randomizing the timbre of each note played, which is easy to do in vcv. while you technically can imitate aalto closely in vcv, i would just stick with aalto if you like that sound.

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Thank you Aliasup :pray: Exactly! there are a beautiful randomizing tune that make the sound very interesting and expressive

If you can explain to me how to do that in vcv so that I have a clearer understanding As I said before, I still don’t understand how Physical modeling works and why i can create expressive sounds using aalto while I don’t get the same result using other VSTi, Is this caused by Physical modeling or something else? Like what you said:

While I was searching this morning I found this topic

I don’t know if that’s also why I like Aalto sounds? The last comment was talking about Aalto and vcv.

sample-and-hold is not directly related to physical modeling, it’s sampling a single voltage when a gate is incoming. most sample-and-hold modules have an internal noise signal that is sampled, but you can bypass that by adding input. here are two popular sample-and-hold modules:

musically, the result of adding sample-and-hold to timbre or pitch or anything else is slight unpredictability.

i can’t say specifically why you like aalto more than other vsts though, because it is subjective. it is a deliberately designed instrument in terms of sound and interface. other vst instruments are also deliberately designed, but they are designed with different tastes and purposes in mind.

one thing that wasn’t yet addressed is the low-pass gate, which is a key element of buchla-style sounds. there are multiple low-pass gates in vcv as well.

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Something like this ?

“a simple example”

yes though that will not change timbre, it’ll randomly change the pitch because the fm input changes the pitch based on what voltage you pass in to it

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Got it :slight_smile: Thank you aliasup :heart: