What is your workflow?

What is your musical workflow?

Here’s my most common process:

  1. Perform the patch in realtime, recording to WAV.
  2. Edit in Sound Forge Pro. Trim start and ends of the file, add fade outs.
  3. Use a mastering chain. My quick ‘go to’ is Ozone 10 for mastering. I use their ‘wizard’ that analyzes a track and sets up EQ/Compression/Limiting. I usually raise the final limiter threshold, so that the short term average peaks around -14LUFS.
  4. I save the mastering preset.
  5. I save to FLAC file, applying the mastering chain.
  6. I save to MP3 file (always tagged appropriately with date & title & artist
  7. i close the original WAV file without saving.

The products of this process are the original unmodified file, the preset in Sound Forge for the mastering chain, and the FLAC file. FLAC files are smaller, but also, if I save pre-mastered mixes to FLAC it distinguishes it from the raw recording.

And I can always go back to an original.

Less commonly, I will create a patch in Ableton Live and build a track in Live with that. That can be complicated, though.

If you record a live performance with Live – i.e. trigger clips, monkey around with Rack – Live records all the automation for any tweaking you do. This gets to be A LOT when you use Stoermelder 8Face because every time 8Face loads a module preset it records plugin parameters for EVERYTHING. Like, the pitch of every step in a sequencer.

Sometimes I’ll record a performance in Rack and then import it into Live, but it’s a weirdly constraining situation because Live wants to use one time signature, and I like to tweak my sequencing so it doesn’t follow the bar boundaries. In other words, Live is in 4/4 (usually) and I’m generating sequences whose lengths change with every sequencer preset change. So lining it up is a bit wonky.


Nice! and nice subject :slight_smile: Here is something I tend to gravitate around:

  • make the patch until I’m happy about it

  • record a long piece in multi track with some “non essential” live tweaking

  • load all tracks in a DAW - reaper

  • create a structure with volume and mute and subsrtractive eq automatation (sometimes live with midi ctrl, sometime programmed)

  • add all sort of mojo vst such as tape machine, lofizers, tube eq, compressors, distortions (soundtoys decapitator everywhere), general reverb and delay with automated sends

lazy automatic mastering with Ozone on master track


I can’t record and change anything, because my PC sucks, so I am trying to automate everything except pushing the record button, haha. So (there might be some variations to the formula depending on the track) I usually connect Clocked “Run” button to record trigger and Timer, which has a timestamp that sends a trigger to some kind of Fader module (like Autofader, for example) and if using Autofader I send the End of Fade trigger to stop the clock and record. Most of the automation is random, cause I don’t really care about being precise. Like “oh, here I need a filter sweep” or something. Maybe if there was an opportunity to record stuff while changing parameters, I would do that instead. But I can’t do that now, at least. Also I mix in my headphones (my speakers are broken and I am too poor to buy new decent ones), so all the phase issues are unavoidable, even when mixing in mono. I think that’s because of the proximity effect. Maybe not, I don’t know.

So after that I usually just use the wav file as is. Sometimes, very rarely, I use other DAWs to add some layers. In this case I usually record the multitracks and then do the volume automatization for the tracks. I am very lazy though, so I don’t like to do that, even though the results are usually far better than what I get with just VCV recording… So I use it only if I maybe see some commercial potential or doing it for that purpose from the start.

As I said, I print song in wav usually and maybe later I convert it to mp3 to share with someone. Then I maybe do some kind of video for it (like this). Or a picture (like this, it’s very low effort. That’s why I like to do that). Sometimes I just record the whole recording process (like this), so you can see the whole thing for yourself


Currently I record a live take with the midi controller acting as the faders and filter controls etc. Use Host to bring in mastering/buss compression and eq plugins to save a step. I use plugins on individual tracks as well, like Valhalla Supermassive or plug in alliances Neve and API emulations.

What is interesting, I have VCV on my home studio computer with all my plugins as well as my work laptop (shhh don’t tell) without any other audio software. At home just adding an “analog” emulation plug in on a patch I worked on in the office makes a ton of difference in my opinion.

I hope to get Logic as the multitrack tape machine. That was I can add some dirty by sending some tracks to a cassette deck or analog mic pre.

Also hope to get it where I can control the transport from Logic so it is in time, allowing me to do some editing and rearranging.

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I think that I have two impulses that stop me from working that way much any more.

  1. for my own music, I have a way of making the composition a live performance take. Manipulating mixer mutes, sequencer snapshots, levels, fx sends. If I’m not happy with one mix rather than try and edit it into shape, I’ll just re-perform it.

That’s either a praxis or an aesthetic or just my way of being lazy.

I have friends who do live improvisation SERIOUSLY. I’ll link to some in the ‘what I’m listening to’ thread. The goal is to hone technique and know the parameters of your instrument well enough to work instinctually.

The step beyond that is make for yourself specific, unique aesthetic space where whatever you do will be right. Construct an aesthetic where your mistakes make sense.

Once you commit to performing as most of how you arrange pieces, it makes trying to fix up problems in performances more trouble than it’s worth. Just perform it again. Fuck around and add more sequencer presets and give it another go.

  1. Once I’m in a DAW I feel constrained to a grid. I can’t handle your rules, daddio!
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My workflow these days is mainly

  1. Fuck around
  2. Find out

Though I play around with VCV and my hardware modular a lot I don’t actually record that much and it hardly ever now ends up as a finished track.

My non-modular workflow is to go from song/track idea to released thing within 24 hours so it’s not fogging up my brain for too long.


Well, yeah, sure. That’s a reductive description.

There’s no reason not to record. If nothing else you need to record and listen back a day later, and decide what works and what doesn’t.

Thing is, the way to make whole pieces is to make full pieces. Like my parent’s friend Terry Hulick said, “anything worth doing is worth doing badly.” You just have to commit something and re-listen until you know what you like and what you want to do different or add to it.

I mean I’ve posted a frightening number of tracks on this community, not worrying about whether people think it’s shit. I haven’t gotten a “hey that sounded like shit” in a while which might mean I’m losing my touch.

It may sound goofy but just listen to your playing. Just committing to a recording - a very small commitment - and then you can decide what works and what doesn’t.

In terms of Rack patches I’d get well acquainted with Stoermelder 8Face as a way of saving snapshots of patches you can return to. That has been a complete game changer.

A fun 8face game: attach an 8Face to your sequencers/quantizers/effects/whatever. When you get a pattern, save it as a snapshot. Then change up just a few things. Save another snapshot. Repeat.

The idea is that you get one kind of ‘steady state’ patch going, with melodic synths & drums or whatever. Then you gradually morph away in steps from the previously saved 8Face preset, then morph slightly away from THAT one, etc.

Your performance can be skipping between similar sequences/8Face presets. There’s something cool about that gradual morph of a piece over time. Even better you can then step backwards through the same 8Face prefixes and end up where you started!

  • Open Renoise or turn on the tracker and send a clock to the Rack , alternatively route the rack output to the tracker (I’ve used rack like vst two times)

  • Start to patching and sequencing stuff

  • if posible, turn on the guitar and rock

I have never recorded and done post processing, I like the raw sound more

when you use hardware, (at least to me, I haven’t an immutable studio) the connecting process to recording is tedious

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  1. Create something cool in Rack.

  2. Export the multitracks, and import them into a DAW.

  3. Start the Mixing process. Edit clips, EQ, compression, saturation, etc.

  4. Realise I don’t know what I’m doing, and lose interest in the track.

  5. Archive it.

  6. Vow to give music a break, and rather concentrate on other important things in my life.

  7. Create something cool in Rack.

  1. Feel inspired to create something after listening to somafm
  2. Sit in front of VCV Rack
  3. Get writer’s block on what to create
  4. Experiment for hours trying to understand 1 plugin
  5. Go watch cat videos
  6. Come back on hit head against screen
  7. Cry a bit
  8. Question as to why I installed VCV Rack
  9. Realize it is the journey not the destination
  10. More cat videos then sleep

Most important part is to never go back to something once I’ve hit Stop on an alright recording!!

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I see what you mean. I know there is many great recordings that are an arbitrary snippet of an infinite no linear piece of music. Modular system is really inviting this kind of structure. I like listening these kind of pieces, I like to do that for my own pleasure, but whenever I think “recording” I can’t help myself to think I should tell a story sswith a beging and an end.

This album is made with VCV Rack using the following technique of “double cooking”

  • making the patches
  • 1 shot multitrack-record an improvisation with midi controls over elements such as densitiy, probability, filters, effects, manually triggered events
  • import the tracks in reaper
  • postprod editing unnecessary long and boring parts
  • set markers at the important moment of the song
  • 1 shot record automations improvised with midi control over volume, pan, and DJ style filter HP/LP, while watching out for the markers, it’s kind of jamming with your past you, knowing what is going to happen and deciding where you want to draw the attention of the listener
  • adding some vst mojos, lazy mastering

Get up as early as possible, get the morning rituals out of the way, and get to the studio before anyone else here wakes up. Once the wife and the dog are up my time somehow seems to become less and less my own. And I always keep the appointment with the Muses: If they don’t show, at least I was there.

Inspiration is rarely an issue for me. I often work with VCV Rack simply by exploring the potential of a single module or a small combination of modules. Eventually I discover some wonderful thing I didn’t already know about.

(Obligatory reference and pointers to the splendid work of Omri, Artem, and all the other producers of tutorials and explanatory material. If I get stuck, I just open a tutorial and play for a while.)

Btw, more than 100,000 tracks are uploaded daily to the streaming services. That figure tends to sober me right up whenever I get too self-aggrandizing.


In the beginning I did everything in VCV Rack. This album is 100% VCV Rack. No external samples, no mixing, no mastering. I did all the automation with the Entria sequencer.

Since then, I have changed my workflow. I create ideas in VCV Rack, record them as a multitrack and go to Reaper to finish the song.

I usually also make a video for the songs. Here, for example - link, link, link.

  • Open VCV Rack.
  • Setup Audio out and Midi in modules
  • Stare into the void.
  • Open CLion and start hacking on my personal modules for 8 hours seemingly getting no closer to releasing them.
  • Mutter “one day I’ll get into modular” to myself as I climb into bed.

That’s an incredible song!! Love it.

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Great question. My workflow has evolved over time, but VCV-Rack allows me to produce with great efficiency and speed!

As Uncle Chrome, I make videos of my VCV-Rack patch performances:

  1. Make a performable patch, centered around Mindmeld Mixer’s FADES and Vol/Pan cv;
  2. Screen capture the performance;
  3. Process the audio for Normalization (EQ and other handled at performance);
  4. Edit video, reincorporating process audio;
  5. Publish in monthly Blippity Bloop Theater shows!

Works for me. YMMV

  • Paul “Uncle Chrome” Artola
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