Maybe you are like me and you can never get enough of patching your modular system. Reaktor Blocks is a great tool for practice, incorporating all of the functionality of a modular synth, with the usability of software. Reaktor has an active online community, and hundreds of user created modules and instruments have been made available through the Reaktor User Library, greatly expanding the existing tool set.
The latest update to Reaktor Blocks has added a number of new modules to the factory library that comes with the software, including a “West Coast” collection of 4 tools that closely resemble some of the most popular Make Noise modules, like René and Maths, and some of the more common devices like a low pass gate and complex oscillator.
In addition to these, the Reaktor User Library has ballooned with user made and edited Blocks with over 250 available at the time of writing. Some of these are virtually exact replicas of some Eurorack favorites, like the Music Thing Turing Machine. Others are filling gaps in the factory library, or improving on existing modules, like the Euro Reakt bundle of modules developed by Michael Hetrick.
While Blocks may not replace the tactile enjoyment that we get from hardware, it can offer a testing ground for patching and certain modules, as well as acting as an extension of your system in the studio. I like to document patches in Blocks, exploring some of the functions and modules already in my existing system. In addition, I can experiment with certain tools using the built in NIJI drum modules or synth voices, and then drop the sound modules from the patch and route those signals to modules in my Eurorack system when I’m back in the studio.
Some artists have even created Blocks to use for recordings, including them into the final product package as added value for the listener. LA based artist Voltage CtrlR aka Shiro Fujioka (no relation to Voltage Control Lab) recently released an album, West Kept Secrets Vol.1, which includes 2 Reaktor Blocks built by the artist for use on the record, as well as a few of the patches used. Pretty ingenious method to engage the listener!
How are you using your computer to interact with your Eurorack system? Tell us about it in the comments!