June 16, 2006

In Praise Of Plogue...

by Chris Randall

So, now that Discord 2 is out, Adam is on a forced leave (because D2 made him a little crazy, and he's started talking to the Bat People) and I'm spending some quality time with new software I've aquired in the last couple months. First up is Plogue Bidule, one of the many boxes-n-wires environments currently available. (You can read all about it here if you're not in the know.)

Obviously, having worked for C'74 for a while, I have a good working knowledge (and summary hatred) of Max/MSP. In looking at the self-playing patch pictured above, I'm wondering at the size (and CPU usage) of the Max patch necessary to pull that off. It took me about 20 minutes to make that in Bidule; if I wanted to do something similar in Max, I would have had to set aside the weekend.

So, Plogue Bidule gets two initial thumbs up from me. I'll see how I feel once I spend some more time with it, and attempt some esoteric shit, but for quickly setting up sophisticated synth patches, it is quite good. Suffice to say that, for the money, it is a far better deal. It'll get you 95% of Max/MSP's features for 1/10th the cost. That's money in the bank right there.




Jun.16.2006 @ 3:08 PM
how does it compare / contrast to audiomulch? (appearing somewhat similar at first look...)

Jun.16.2006 @ 3:22 PM
Chris Randall
I haven't spent a lot of time with AudioMulch, other than quick tests with our products. I'll say this much: it has a much nicer interface (I can't stand the two-window system of Mulch) and way more objects. It is quite a bit more sophisicated, on the face of things.

Also, it is cross-platform, which is important to me. Plus, it runs as a VST or AU plugin like Reaktor, which is nice.



Jun.16.2006 @ 4:12 PM
I love all of the modular environments, MSP is still my favorite out of all of them. Especially for it's ability to export Pluggos...

These environments have kept me from purchasing a Kyma system, however those systems seem to be getting cheaper on ebay.

I agree that everything seems to take 10Xs longer to do in Max (than first expected).


Jun.16.2006 @ 5:01 PM
Numerology, though it's long overdue for an update.

Jun.16.2006 @ 5:06 PM
I have used Audiomulch extensively for the last 5 years and have released albums just using Mulch......You mention hating the 2 windows, if you have soent any amount of time on it you would know that you can easily have 1,2 or 3 windows at the click of a button.

I too have used Max/MSP and find I can do most things in AUdiomulch fine with being able to add vst plug ins :-)

I am keen to know what you think of the new Plogue


Jun.16.2006 @ 6:13 PM
I think the two window system in Mulch of which Chris speaks is the fact that plugin editors appear in an embedded frame rather than as floating windows, as they are in most other hosts. I'm in the same boat as amni, been using Audiomulch for 7 years, made reams of music just using it. But I can see how that system might not work for everybody.

Bidule is fantastic software, much more of a synthesis processor than Audiomulch is, but less extensive on the compositional front. I love the Plogue guys for making it into a plugin itself, it and Mulch work beautifully together now. The only part of Bidule I find fiddly is setting up the parameters when making a group. So I generally avoid that and just have really big single-pane patches instead.


Jun.16.2006 @ 8:38 PM
Plogue has some interesting low-level abilities that might surprise those who thing it's just a host. I've made spectral processing and fft & stft resampling stuff in it. I also like the fact that there's no global tempo info, you send synch info independantly for each plugin. Quite flexilbe in that regard...

Jun.16.2006 @ 9:10 PM
Chris Randall
I agree on both counts. There is also an SDK, if I want to roll my sleeves up and make a block that doesn't exist. (It would, of course, be easier for me to just make a VST for a block I needed, but that's beside the point.)

I'm an extremely visual (right-brained) thinker, and Bidule agrees with my sense of asthetics, where Mulch doesn't. It just makes more sense, and is easier on the eyes.

I made a 100% Bidule song today (of course, by 100% I mean that it was the host and sequencer; I used many AD and other plugs) which you can see most of in the image above. I did this without cracking the manual, and in a short almost DAW-like period of time. This pleased me.



Jun.22.2006 @ 10:19 AM
FWIW, the 0.92 release is now out (announcement link [www.plogue.com]">link [www.plogue.com]">link [www.plogue.com]</a> and download <a href="link [www.plogue.com]">link [www.plogue.com]) which means it can be demo'ed until September 16.

Jun.22.2006 @ 10:49 AM
Argh, before I'm classed as the 'tard du jour, I would claim that those "link [...]" things don't survive the "preview/edit/.../save" round trip(s) very well. No disrespect to your web developer(s).



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