SoloStuff has released a virtual Eurorack modular plug-in called SoloRack. It features up to 37 individual virtual modules to get you patching, modulating and noise making. It’s designed to look, work and sound just like the hardware although developer Ammar Muqaddas told me that there’s new and expanded functionality to be found amongst the familiarity of the system.
When you load it up it looks like an empty Eurorack case, with the power supply bus board in place ready for your modules. Then you can simply load your desired module up from a list that appears when you press the big “M” button. Alternatively, click on the preset window for a huge selection of categorised patches.
Patching is easy enough with the mouse by dragging a virtual cable from one patch socket to another. There doesn’t appear to be any indication that shows you where you can and cannot patch things. So if you select a wrong destination the cable simply vanishes and you have to try again. You can re-arrange modules wherever you like, in any order and any row. And you can keep adding as many rows as you want. It’s a good way of being able to organise a patch rather than squeezing everything into the same space.
The modules largely mimic the Doepfer range, in terms of design and naming. This keeps them very familiar and straightforward but perhaps misses out on the opportunity for a more creative or exciting look. The cables are a bit “cartoony” and very similar to those found on Arturia’s Modular V. You can give them various levels of transparency if they get in the way.
Amongst the 37 modules there are 3 oscillators, 3 filters, effects, a CV sequencer and a Trigger sequencer and all the usual bits and pieces. You can create polyphonic patches via the MIDI Poly Chainer module, and you can create multi-timbral voices using multiple MIDI channels in the same patch. The sound quality is subject to up to x256 oversampling internally. Although this can be CPU intensive SoloRack is designed throughout development to be CPU efficient. Connectivity to external modular hardware is possible via the 10 audio/CV inputs and 12 audio/CV outputs provided you have a DC-Coupled audio interface to handle the signal.
Patch it up
You can download all 37 modules in a SoloRack bundle called “System B” and try it out for yourself. As a demo version it has the usual burst of noise every minute or so. You can purchase full functionality for $85 during the beta period which will rise to $110 on release. Alternatively, you can use the SoloRack with no modules for free, and then add modules for a few dollars each. It’s Windows only at the moment and works as a 32 or 64-bit VST plug-in.
SoloRack has a comprehensive collection of modules to entertain anyone interested in modular synthesis. The functionality, the connections, the way it all hangs together is excellent. More modules are on the way and I hope they discover the joys of colour and more flamboyant design. It’s not as pretty as Softube Modular and doesn’t have the hardware endorsements but does appear to share much of the same functionality. Ammar feels that there’s a lot more going on in SoloRack than you’ll find in Softube Modular, including a ratcheting trigger sequencer, a fat chorus module, ring modulators and more. And as he’s not restricted by staying true to the hardware he can push it in all sorts of interesting directions.
I’d suggest downloading the demo of both and trying them side by side. There is a demo video (below) from 9 months ago but to get a better idea of the sonic quality I’d recommend trying it out for yourself.
You can check out the details on individual modules on the SoloStuff website.