The ultimate modular marriage between analog and digital? Softube at MusikMesse


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So far it seems we are in for a meager output from this year’s MusikMesse in Frankfurt – Day 1 is running and very few press releases has appeared that will lift your eyebrow. Perhaps Superbooth16 killed all announcements we could’ve expected, paired with the releases presented at NAMM two months back in time.

However, Softube today gave way to something that may promise to be a big step towards the ultimate marriage between the digital and analog worlds – a faithful mapping of the Eurorack format into a digital dito – a true modular experience on your laptop (not clear how CPU hungry this potential beast will become though, although most likely dependant on the number of modules you run). This is a trend started already last year coming both from Ableton and Native Instruments. NI’s Reaktor gor the modular twist that users had wished for for years and Ableton clearly also saw the trend coming. The difference here though is the fact that Softube is not building a new modular echo-system from scratch they are actually working closely with the original modular founders to re-create the original experience. It is a new cross-platform modular synthesizer plug-in that looks, works and sounds exactly like its analog Eurorack counterparts. Below is a quick demo teaser showing real and virtual gear in action:

According to the announcement today, Softube has collaborated closely with legendary inventor Dieter Doepfer and the top minds at Intellijel to create circuit emulations of existing hardware modules. The resulting plug-in modules have been authorized and approved by their respective owners, guaranteeing that Softube Modular gets you as close to the analog sound as you can get.

Both effect and instrument, Softube Modular is fun, limitless and easy to use. The basic system includes six Doepfer modules and 20+ utility modules, such as sequencer, mixer, delay and more, and a massive preset library will be included. Additional modules from Doepfer and Intellijel will be available as add-ons at launch (such as LPG, uFold II, Korgasmatron, Rubicon). More emulations from top hardware synthesizer brands will be released in the future.

From what we can see so far and is also visible in the demo the solution is a fully expandable and most importantly saveable including a massive preset library and some clever Performance modules. As Softube are well known for their award winning modelling technology, that has been used in this instance to meticulously measure and detail the circuits behind the modules, we can expect this to be well received by both analog fans and digital users alike.

Softube Modular will be available from May 11th, 2016, priced at $99 USD. The plugin will be showed at Musikmesse Frankfurt, booth D23 in hall 9.1.

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Dieter Döpfer began developing audio hardware with a Voltage Controlled Phaser (VCP) module for the Formant, a do-it-yourself-kit analog synthesizer from Elektor magazine in 1977. Several legendary modular synths followed while Döpfer also focused on the development of MIDI equipment during the 1980s.

In 1992, Doepfer Musikelektronik GmbH released the MIDI analog sequencer MAQ16/3 which was designed in cooperation with Kraftwerk. In the beginning, the company had direct sales and interested musicians would receive a demonstration by visiting other customers since the modular systems were deemed too difficult for typical music shop employees to demonstrate. Facing greater publicity, Doepfer shifted the distribution to specialized points of sales.