PatchVault – what do YOU think?

Hi folks,

We want to run something past you to see what you reckon. We now have quite a collection of cool hardware lurking in the lab – everything from a Jupiter 6 through some antique Korg goodies to shiny little DXs begging for attention. And all of them make awesome noises.

Now, most of our instruments are firmly geared to giving you a ton of control. They’re basically fully-fledged synths that you can tweak and program and get thoroughly creative with.

But sometimes what you want is a great big warm pad, right now. Or a screaming angry lead, right now. Or a classic digital tines patch, right now. And all those sounds are actually kicking around our lab, waiting to be sampled, except that doing that doesn’t quite fit into our usual MO of making fully-featured machines.

So we were wondering what you thought of a series of instruments that are, basically, PRESETS, with just a tiny bit of tweakability.

Here’s how it would work. We’d take, say, a way-cool PolySix patch; sample the bejeezus out of it; package that into a little pre-built UI (think something along the lines of the NanoMods, but very simple); and there you go. Your very own PolySix patch. There would be a bit of tonal tweakability built in, but not anything too complex; the idea is, this is the patch, now get playing!

We’re thinking also of a very keen price point for these. Pennies, not pounds. Not quite sure how many pennies, but you’re not getting a whole synth here; you’re getting one patch, so let’s put it at a real pocket-change price point.

And then, perhaps, we could do bundles of patches with extra discounts on top. So you could either cherry-pick the specific sounds you want, or, perhaps, get the whole of the factory sounds of a Jupiter 6, at a saving over buying the patches individually.

So – let us know what you think. Like it? Hate it? Features you want to see in it? (Remember, we do want to keep this simple, so we’ll be resisting feature-bloat.) Price point to aim for? Let us know, and we’ll see what we can put together for ya…!

Best wishes,

The Professor (and Mongo)

74 Replies to “PatchVault – what do YOU think?

  1. PATCHVAULT – A BIT OF AN UPDATE:

    The idea is very much coming together here in the Lab. We’ve got a “wrapper” up and running with a good spread of useful controls, and have been experimenting with loading some Jupiter 6 patches into it. We think you’re going to like the results 🙂

    The only fly in the ointment is that we’re struggling slightly to find a way to display great long lists of patches on the website; it’s really set up for single, individual products, and our WooCommerce theme doesn’t support any kind of “list view” out of the box. And a list view would make much more sense for these, if we go down the route of selling them individually as well as in bundles. So we’re looking into the technical side of that – we may be able to tweak something!

    The Jupiter 6 has 48 factory patches onboard. We’re wondering how much you think would be a fair price per patch… Any thoughts? (Factor in that we’d offer a discount if you bought the lot!)

    Best wishes, Prof & Mongo

  2. I think it’s a fun idea! Pick your favorite sounds from your favorite instruments (without having to buy all of those instruments), used in a very simple interface for a very low price…. I like it!….

  3. A very good idea, I think….
    In fact that you´d got a KORG 770 (one of my vintage dreams),
    use it´s possibilites for an unusal, but interesting, special vintage
    lead or bass. Surely no one has the need for any bread and butter sounds, we´ve got enough from other dev´s or synths….
    You are happily specialised in interesting vintage gear….So if you want us customers nice and interesting one-sound-only synths from the past with only a few of knobs to tweak – a good idea – make us glad…:-)

  4. I would be interested in single instruments/patches for Kontakt. I have tons of instruments that came with NI Komplete but loose motivation when searching for the right sound. I would like to see single patches for well know synth or keyboard parts. As an example, individual presets for Pink Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here” or “Dark Side of the Moon”. You could sell them individually or bundle them for an entire song or album. Don’t know if I got off topic but there’s my idea. You could setup a website and have customers vote.

  5. I think it would be a great idea. The JP6 totally sampled sounds good too. I love 80s pop stuff, so I would definitely buy individual sounds that I thought would compliment my sound library. I’m saving for your EMU II set too!! How about the Fairlight CMI3 sound library? I would kiss Mongo’s backside to get my hands on those sounds!

  6. Interested.

    One of my big problems with sampled instruments is the ‘extra stuff’ that’s included, Especially effects which I always turn off.

    You don’t always need a full synth to get one sound.

    I’d prefer to have somebody else do the sampling, looping and trimming etc, the tedious stuff. Then I’m happy to add the amp, filter and whatever myself afterwards as required by whatever I’m doing musically.

    So yes, happy to have you do the grunt work and pay you a pittance for it 🙂

    1. That made us smile 😀

      What’s starting to emerge from the comments is that while this wouldn’t be some people’s cup of tea, it would work for lots of others… which suggests to us that it’s therefore worth pursuing alongside our more quirky, leftfield instruments. (Don’t worry, there will be plenty more of those!)

      PatchVault really is intended – like Steve said – as a kind of Matrix 1000. Just a big repository of cool patches from the past, with limited but useful tweakability, which would allow you either to build up a collection piecemeal (having auditioned what we’re offering and chosen the ones you fancy) or wholesale (buy grabbing, say, an entire Jupiter 6 worth’s of patches in one go!). So we’re being slightly resistant to feature-bloat.

      That said, the Emulator II libraries are, effectively, this kind of model. They start with an EII preset and add envelopes, filters, effects etc that you can use or ignore. So the question becomes whether to try to simplify / streamline that feature set (giving you a simpler instrument) or just embrace it (giving you more creative options, but straying a little further from the basic simplicity we imagined to start with).

      We’d value more input on that. It’s not necessarily a big deal in terms of coding, since we’d only do it once; but it makes a big difference to the user experience, I think, if the UI becomes crowded with controls at the expense of immediacy.

      1. And if you need to modify them, a bit of filtering, some synced panning etc., you can go under the hood and use the power of Kontakt.

  7. Not exactly my cup of tea. Sounds a bit like what some other developers are already doing, for example UVI – although UVI is not selling their stuff for pennies, not by a long shot.

    It would probably boil down to what synthesizers you would be sampling. For example the DX7 samples are already available in plenty of libraries, including Kontakt Factory Library. Hell, even my son’s toy piano has a Full Tines sound. But some other synthesizers – maybe?

    One thing I probably would buy in that format would be drumkits. Like the stuff you have in the Beat Room, but instead of sampling a drum machine, you would create all the drum sounds on a particular synthesizer. A cool sounding DX7 or a Polysix drumkit – count me in! Even if those sounds are already available in other libraries and emulations, they are rarely assembled as drumkits, and it is a bit cumbersome to setup 5 or 10 plugin instances. Of course this instantly gives me an idea of a Grit Kit style affair, with ability to tune and tweak and stack the sounds, but that would probably be asking for too much.

    But going back to single patches. An interface similar to the one in the Emulator II library should be fine. It would be nice to have a photo of the sampled synthesizer somewhere. If you plan to do bundles consider doing category based bundles – like a bundle of e-pianos. Also if you want to sell it as “that” sound, probably recreating patches from popular songs would make sense.

    1. In terms of “what synths”, they break broadly into machines that actually had factory patch capability (like the DXs, the J6, the PolySix) and those that didn’t (we’ve got a Korg 770, as you’ve probably guessed, and the Roland SH7, other neat monosynths, hell, even the modular if it comes to it). In the first instance we’d be able to sample up the actual factory sounds from way back, which we thought might be fun. In the latter case it would be up to us to create some patches and for you to then decide if you like them enough to shell out for them! Though many of the monosynths actually did come with “factory patches” in the form of printed patch sheets, so we might try to copy those where possible. In any case, the aim would be a mix of original RR-created patches and authentically vintage factory soundsets.

  8. whatever you guys do is fine by me but the more patches the better. don’t want to have to load a variety of machines to find a particular sound you remember liking. keep the sounds juicy…not too wobbly….and of course keep the GUI a classy adorbable thing as usual….GOOD IDEA!

  9. I don’t think it would grab me. If I want that stuff there’s Digital Sound Factory and UVI and many others. In my opinion, you guys should stick to doing what those guys would never dream of.

  10. I like the idea, especially with a la carte pricing. The idea of bundling them up by synth or patch type is also appealing.

    Of course, posting patch snippets as you ususually do would make it easier to choose.

    1. We’d definitely do that. We were thinking of creating a single demo track, which we could then run through each preset instrument in turn (to cut down on time overheads at our end). It’s what Nord do for their patch libraries: all their piano patches play the same little tune, which is actually pretty useful in comparing piano A to piano B. So yes, you’d certainly get an audio taster of each instrument before buying.

  11. I think it would work.
    If it will be a collection of iconic sounds, you could relate it to the songs they were used in. People very often get their inspiration because of those sounds. I can’t count the times I had an idea with a specific sound which seemed a lot like the intro of Jump or Beat it or Take on me or The lamb lies down on B, and first searched for hours on fora with people’s guesses which synth it might have been, and next find a good inexpensive emulation. Meanwile inspiration died.
    And on top of that there are people who would just like to fool around with those sounds. See what it will bring them.
    Maybe there are legal issues in using the names or artists…
    Tweakability is important for me though. Because I will never want to use that specific sound as is.
    Love to hear.
    Pepijn van Dorst

    1. My thoughts too – although I could live with less tweaking. Just need good iconic patches that were used in certain iconic tunes without having to wade through lots of presets!

  12. I like to tweak… but I LOVE a good preset. I think it’s a good idea. That way a someone like myself can pretty much make a synth(or synth library) with just the presets I like and with the same tweak-ability,

    Just my idea… but probably the basic aesthetics would work as far as control is concerned (nanomod controls AND…):
    1. Pitch/Octave
    2. Unison/Spread
    3. Portamento
    4. Some special Convolution reverbs (wet/dry, size, don’t need a lot)
    5. Delay controls (speed, wet/dry, pan)
    6. Chorus controls (speed, wet/dry)
    7. Bit crusher
    8. Amp Drive
    9. The all infamous “Glitch”

    1. All that PLUS the NanoMod controls is getting pretty “big” for what we had in mind.

      But perhaps we’re on the wrong lines. The coding would only have to be done once (then we just stick different sounds into the “wrapper”) so it’s not that big a deal for us to include options. It’s just that, to differentiate this from our more fully-featured synths, we were thinking of pretty streamlined simplicity; and quite a few people who are interested in presets seem interested in that too. What you’re describing would make for a far more versatile sound engine wrapped around the preset… but also one that’s less simple, perhaps?

      Anyone else want to weigh in on this? Would you prefer to have the features there, even if you don’t use them, or would you prefer something very streamlined?

  13. sounds like fun! I trust you guys will come up with a way to provide comprehensive character without too much size (maybe a bit larger than the nanos, of course though 😉 )
    in any case- looking fwd to what you come up with!

  14. This does not interest me. Synths have been done to death. I’d like to see you do more along the lines of Spark Gap and Shortwave. Those two are pure magic!

  15. So in other words it would be like the Oberheim Matrix 1000?
    I used mine a lot in the late 80’s…but what most consumers
    didn’t know, is that you could edit the patches using
    the Matrix 6R.
    I guess it would be good if you had at least an ADSR
    with it….. HOWEVER….
    I wish you spend your valuable time creating a comprehensive
    version of the Wersi Bass Synth….that I could really use.

    1. Very like the Matrix 1000, and yes, there’d certainly be at least an A R envelope (though perhaps not an ADSR?)

  16. Not sure this would be of any use to me personally. It’s too much like just downloading a sample of something like that.

  17. Maybe I missed something, but how would we “audition” these patches if we buy them all? If they’re all in one synth, we could just step through the presets. But if they come as individual Kontakt files, it’s not as convenient or easy to go from one to the next, unless they’re all in one folder.

    I like the idea in theory, but I’m not sure how well it would work for the end-user who wants to audition a few to see which one he really wants for a particular sound.

    Steve

    1. I think you’d want to put them all in one folder and step through them, to be honest. That’s the format we used for the EII sounds and it seems to be pretty simple.

      Interesting how this is dividing folks into “love it” / “hate it” camps though!

  18. I LIKE it! But here’s some further thoughts…
    User participation! RR would offer a submission page in which the user selects via radio button (checklist) 20 or so sound attributes, maybe a brief description, and orders a patch. If their patch request is added to the RR Patch Bank, they get it free (woohoooooo!), OR if they want to name the patch (possibly including their name) they can do so for “x” amount. Another variation could be – if they want the patch exclusively for their greedy own self, it would cost an appreciable “x” more.
    Yes, I think too much, but not about nipples.

  19. Sounds too much like NanoMods, and I already own the complete set. Also, I have more than enough “vintage” synth sounds. Perhaps you could think about doing something truly innovative like partnering with Hollow Sun.

    1. Funny you should say that. We’ve been talking to Mario on and off about a collaboration. This might be the year when it happens!

  20. How about sampling the low pass filters on synths? It would be a big selling point for me and I don’t think anyone has done it properly. You could call the technology ‘true filter’ or something … like boutique string libraries sell us ‘true legato’ etc.

    Controlled on the mod wheel, maybe not 128 layers, but say 15 or 20 (no crossfades). You could do it with the Jupiter 6. I have a Jupiter 4 and if I were to sample those sustains and just use the low pass filter in Kontakt I would lose a lot of its character. It’s a simple idea but I think it could be an innovative step forward.

    I’d be interested to see what you thought of that as an idea?

    1. It could be doable but it would increase twentyfold the size of the sample data, and increase by twentyfold the length of time it would take to sample the patch (because we’d have to sample it over and over again at each filter setting). And then what about resonance settings? So it might not be practicable for the kind of simple (and low-cost) unit we have in mind. A stepped convolved filter (like the Wasp / MS20 filter on the NanoMods) might be an option, but again, we might be starting to push away from the essential simplicity of the concept a bit. Anyone else want to weigh in on this, though?

      1. I agree the size would add up. It’s perhaps more of a purist idea and less of an out-the-box simplicity of concept idea. But I still think it’s a step forward in sampling analog synths which I’ve not seen done before. I’m sure people would weigh in to say just buy analog synth if you want the filter that badly, but expensive obvsly and even for those of us who do have the real thing it’s always going to be excellent and convenient to have a patch. I’d also forget about the resonance and just focus on the LP. Sine wave sustain with the jupiters own filter as one knob on the Kontakt interface. Boring maybe, but I’d certainly buy it…

        1. In fact I think it would only work with a finite decay time. One long sustained note couldn’t be transformed smoothly over time even if it were sampled 127 times. But for shorter notes the samples that trigger from the outset change as you go from low to high on the modwheel, that could work

  21. I think it’s a good idea, particularly if the patches are of enticing vintage instruments, it’s a whole new option. and you are the guys to try it!

  22. Sooooo nice idea !!!
    looking for some clavia nord presets for instance
    A good way to shining out from the others who made fm/analog replica for years…

  23. The stuff of yours I love is quirky but musical, if that make any sense, like Fade Wheel and Jennings Mk II,. Those are both completely unique, with incredible amounts of vibe and character. I know there are a finite number of setting combinations possible in those instruments, so the notion that the sounds I make with them are *truly* unique is a quixotic fiction. Still, the raw materials are so interesting and full of mojo that there’s enough truth to that tale to please me.

    All of which is to say that since that’s the quadrant you guys rock for me, fixed presets won’t do it for me at all, not interested. Knowing that anyone else who bought it has the *exact*same*sound* takes away too much of the feeling that my music is something I created with my own self-ness that no one else could have made.

    Also, usually if you buy presets, besides what they are as-is, they can also be educational and inspirational jumping-off points you get to take somewhere else yourself. Seems like those aren’t that either, by their nature, so another No for me.

    Just to be clear, I’m not knocking anyone for being interested in these. It’s just my inner five-year-old who wants to believe I’ve got my Own Stuff Going On, even if I bought it on Black Friday sale like a bunch of other people.

    1. Don’t worry, you will be making unique sounds! Each knob has a potential 1,000,000 values; and there are a lot of knobs on Jennings Mk 2. The number of possible combinations is technically finite, but so massively large that even Mongo can’t easily calculate it. So your patches won’t be being recreated by anyone else! 😀

      1. Right, just on a gut level I agree, not worried about that with those instruments. But individual fixed patches or collections of them isn’t something that appeals to me personally. They’d need some sculptability for me to get involved.

        I still wish you hearty good luck with any and all new projects, love the instruments of yours I have!

        1. Have you taken a look at the freebie download? There’s a bit of tweakability built in: you can see for yourself if it’s enough to whet your appetite 🙂

          1. Saw that in the pic in the email. You had originally said very little control, this is more than that, cool.

            OTOH, the controls it has aren’t the sort of thing likely to make something exactly new or unique, they’re more for basic functional stuff like, longer-shorter, brighter-duller, chorus-more-or-less. Yes there are a lot of combinations mathematically, and they definitely make them more flexible and able to be used effectively in different context, but I’m not sure they’ll scratch my wanderlust itch.

            Will check out the taster when I get a chance, see how it goes.

  24. I’m a big fan of simplicity and NanoMods are among my RR favorites, but I’m not sure about ‘NoNoMods,’ even at pennies. Collections of them in specific categories such as pads from different hardware at the NanoMods price (already an incredible bargain), might be another way to go.

  25. I love this idea! I like tweaking knobs just like the rest of us, but I often times really need THAT sound and I don’t have the time or skill/patience to recreate it with the synths I have. If the price point is as friendly as your saying, I would certainly pick some if these up ?

  26. I prefer the more engaging products, personally. But it seems like the demand exists, based on other people’s comments.

  27. Mixed feelings: I like some of the NanoMods, but I’m an obsessive knob-twiddler (possibly due to being denied the maternal nipples as a baby thirsty for milk). So please, sample sensual sounds and design in as many nipple-shaped knobs as possible for the pennies to be spent. 😉

  28. And one more thing:
    Including EQ, Compressor and Reverb is just a waste of development time to me as my DAW contains much better FX. Never use FX directly in the plug.

    1. The FX aren’t too much faff to include, so we’re happy to put them in – but you do raise an interesting question, since we have no real idea how many people DO use the FX. (We do, in some of our presets; we quite like the rotary speaker and the amp cab sim…)

  29. I think it’s a good idea. They’d be Kontakt instruments right?
    Some DX7 patches, some minimoog patches etc – for “pennys” each?
    I’d buy a few banks 😉

  30. Almost never tweak. Always presets. Don’t have time to tweak and have too little knowledge on which knobs to turn. I am a guitar player but need synth sounds in my compositions. If I do not have a large bunch of presets the synth won’t get bought by me.

  31. Honestly, I’m not sure I’ve ever really used a completely unmodified synth preset. Even if there literally isn’t a single knob that needs fiddling, I still want to fiddle.
    Guess I’m not the audience for this.

    1. That’s a neat thought. We could release a kind of “beta” and let people play around with it a bit, maybe, and then refine it for the final release. Anyone else like that idea?

  32. Concept seems similar to me to devs who make one-trick Kontakt instruments. I’ve bought a few of them in the past but rarely use because they’re not special enough. Why hunt for a Kontakt-based texture or pad when my main synth does all that better anyway? I think the “big synths” are getting much better at handling a wide variety of sounds and textures and preset-sellers are filling in the gaps. After a while I think people also get tired of a giant VST folder full of synths they only half-remember, so they look to see what can be culled.

    The RR instruments I use are the ones that are utterly unique. So that’s where I think the value is Crazy-weird interesting devices that cover unique niches that “master synths” can’t handle.

    1. Certainly our core identity is the oddball niche end of things, and we love doing that – that’s what got us into this gig in the first place!
      But this is intended to be a complement to that: very simple, very immediate. And I think the selling point we’d be aiming for would be that these would all be actual patches from actual vintage synths. So rather than dialling up any old bass from your “main” soft synth, you could get “THAT” bass from a DX100, kind of thing. Or, alternatively, you could buy a whole pack and get (effectively) an entire PolySix’s factory soundset.
      So it’s less about just “making presets”, and more about bringing actual presets from the past back to life.

  33. Check what Eventide did with the H9 pedal, TC with their TonePrint or Digitech with iStomp. One simple general device/stompbox/module with a USB to connect to MIDI/compu and BlueTooth to receive patches from a(n i)Phone. Then open a shop with singular patches you can upload to the device through BT or straight from a librarian on the computer. Maybe room for storage of a selection of 50 of your favorite patches and 50 overwritable show-off presets.
    People can buy singular patches or bundles or maybe share tweaks to patches in some User Area, like e.g. Line6 and Kemper do. Could be an interesting low-cost platform with great sounds for many users. Good luck! Grtz, Geert van Gaalen

  34. I think it’s a great idea. I’m sure this is what you had in mind, but some simple but effective sound sculpting tools with the same layout for each one. What would really be great is if there was some way to organize them, to switch patches easily and keep them coherent on the hard drive, but I can’t think of what that would be.

    1. This is a tough one. I think the best we could do would probably be something like naming with a really clear format: synth name, patch type, number, then the patch name. So you’d get eg
      DX7 EP 001 Bright EP
      DX7 EP 002 Mellow EP
      PolySix Brass 011 Thick Brass
      …kind of thing. Then at least as you added to your library, the patch names would build into a coherent list.
      Alternatively, start with the sound type, then the source instrument, so:

      EP DX 001 Bright EP
      EP DX 002 Mellow EP
      EP J6 001 Analog Wurli
      …etc

  35. Sounds like a fantastic idea to me! Sometimes I just want something quite specific immediately – without the distraction and ‘option anxiety’ of firing-up a complex, tweakable instrument. I think Mongo is on to something, as usual. 😉

  36. Sounds very good! I’d echo wanting demos and/or walkthroughs, at least at the beginning until we can get an idea of what to expect from subsequent releases.

  37. As a guitar player who ain’t good in programming a special synth sound (or any synth sound at all), but sometimes would love to, well, just throw in, you know, a great big warm pad or a screaming angry lead, I love the idea. Not too much control to spoil what’s good, just the essence and a bit of fooling around, barely enough to make me believe I’ve done something to earn that sound… yes, I’m in.

  38. Anything that involves ‘Rhythmic Robot’ and ‘pennies’ is always going to be a no brainer for me. I like the idea, and I also kinda of like the lack of control aspect, forces the musician to get creative. I’m in!

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