Audulus Briefing from Taylor Holliday on Vimeo.

In a physical studio – heck, even with some guitar stompboxes – it’s customary to get the rig you want by connecting different modules. So, it makes absolute sense that software might work this way, too. But many popular modular options, while insanely powerful, can overwhelm simple tasks. Audulus, by contrast, may be an accessible tool for users. It doesn’t do everything – I’d like to see more sequencers and such, please – but it does have a nice collection of useful utilities.

The basic idea: hook up some modules graphically, and process instruments to create unique, personal performance rigs fast. (See the video at top for a good overview of the modular UI.) And with a price tag of US$15 and newly-added support for all your AU plug-ins (and the ability to run as a plug-in itself), it could be a modular tool for the rest of us.

“Nodes” are graphical and animated. Connect filters, envelopes, delays, and effects together, for instance, with some AU plug-ins in the mix, and you can make a setup for your favorite synth stack. Version 1.5 is updated with additional examples and the plug-in functionality, plus improvements ot the UI and animation.

There are also three additional processing nodes: reverb, 16-step sequencer, and sample-and-hold.

Coming soon: an iPad version, and 64-bit support.

You can buy the app on the App Store, complete with AU plug-in hosting support. (To get an AU plug-in itself, you just grab a separate download, free. And yes, Apple, I hope you fix this with the next version of Logic on the App Store.)

Nodes:

  • Utilities (including AudioUnit)
  • Synthesis
  • Math
  • MIDI (including live triggers
  • Effects
  • Level
  • Mixer
  • Metering

The Mac App Store version of Audulus is a plug-in *host* (you can run AU plugs inside of it), but a free download lets you use the app itself as a plug-in inside a host like Logic, seen here.

I’ve given it a bit of a try. It’s not as sophisticated as options like Plogue Bidule or AudioMulch, but it has a beautiful interface and some really nice modules. Even when you have some of those other tools, it could be a great source of inspiration, partly because of its relative simplicity. I’m eager to see where it goes.

At this price, if you’ve got a Mac, I can’t think of an argument not to add it to your arsenal.

audulus.com

Here’s a video of the new features:

Audulus 1.5: New Features from Taylor Holliday on Vimeo.

Updated: How to build a subtractive synth

If you were curious what it would look like actually producing an instrument in this environment, developer Taylor Holliday was inspired to produce an example tutorial. Have a watch:

Audulus Tutorial: Building a Synth from Scratch from Taylor Holliday on Vimeo.

  • http://twitter.com/a_w_young a_w_young

    I think it’d be stellar if some of the bigger, more complex live-oriented DAWs and sequencers and things could offer “modes” like this. 

  • FgbMusic

    This program sow why I don’t like the App store: no way I could try a demo. Being optimistic I bought the program and after trying out stuff for an hour I find it very frustrating to use and lousy sound quality, in other words: a waste of money.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=3213089 Taylor Holliday

      Hey Fgb, I’m sorry you feel that way! I’m the author of Audulus. Please get in touch with me (support at audulus dot com) so I can help you out! Also, please let me know what you find frustrating as well as lacking in terms of sound quality so I can improve it.

      thanks!
      - Taylor

    • Israel Matsugae

      Hi Taylor,
      I’ve been playing around with Audulus and think it’s a wonderful app, but I agree with the need to improve sound quality, I have experienced random interruptions of the sound, especially when I change parameters in real time. I have also noticed a high CPU usage, however this is only in the Activity Monitor, not the CPU meter Audulus. My MacBook Pro is 2011 i7.

  • Flugger

    no OSX 10.6.6 , so no App Store :(

  • http://twitter.com/salatspinatra salatspinatra

    I happen to like the app store for the basic reason that my updates are all centrally located. As for the software I’m looking forward to going through the paces. Whether or not it hits the mark, I’m looking for a replacement of the side-chain sound source on alphakanal’s automat au. Otherwise, just thought I’d give it a whirl whatever it does.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=3213089 Taylor Holliday

      Cool! Let me know how it works out for you!

  • papernoise

    From the video it looks like a neat little program with a lovely designed interface. 15 bucks are probably something you can spend even if it may turn out to be something that doesn’t fit your needs, but then, it’s a matter of principles. It’s maybe not a buyers right to be able to try something before buying, but it’s one of those advancements in culture I would regret to see disappear.
    This might just be the program I’m looking for… but hmm, I guess I’ll wait to see what other people say about it.
    (though it’s certainly a good sign if the developer takes his time to show up on blogs and answer peoples comments! so +1 for that!)

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=3213089 Taylor Holliday

      Thanks! I’d love to have a demo version at some point, but I’m hard at work on the iPad version right now, so I’m not sure when I’ll get to it.

    • JP

      I’m looking forwards for the iPad version!
      Have you considered using OSC?
      Thanks!

      JP

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=3213089 Taylor Holliday

      Great! Yes indeed! I don’t know whether I’ll have OSC support in the first iPad version, but I have it on my to-do list.

  • KNS

    This app looks cool.  Any plans for Rewire support?

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=3213089 Taylor Holliday

      I’d definitely like to add ReWire support. I filled out Propellerhead’s form to get access, but didn’t get a reply. I should bug them again.

    • KNS

      Good to know and 64 bit rewire please :) .  I think it will play well with Reason.  I will  get a copy tomorrow.

    • PaulDavisTheFirst

      You could at least add JACK support and then it would play nice with everything else on a system running ASIO, CoreAudio or JACK. No license issues (other than the relatively mild ones of the LGPL). 

      On the other hand, if it speaks ASIO or CoreAudio, it already works with JACK, so don’t bother :) Unless shared transport control and tempo information would be useful …

  • http://www.hicox.com/ plurgid

    A few more utility/mixing modules would be nice.
    For instance, there’s no splitter.

    It’d also be very nice to be able to automate parameters from LFOs and stuff.

    • http://www.hicox.com/ plurgid

       oh also, I wanted to point out this:

      http://sonicbirth.sourceforge.net/

      not the same thing but similar. Audulus has the nicer interface for sure, but sonicbirth has slightly more capability.

      both pretty cool.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=3213089 Taylor Holliday

      I probably should know, but what would the splitter do? :-

      Internally, my audio engine supports modulation of all the parameters… just right now only some are exposed as inputs in the UI (like filter cutoff / resonance). I will probably add the ability to modulate anything… I just need to come up with a nice clean UI for doing so :-)

    • http://www.hicox.com/ plurgid

       reverse of the crossfader. Take one input and route to one or more outputs given a sliding scale or a switch. Actually a logical comparison operator (a switch) … that’d do the trick!

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=3213089 Taylor Holliday

      Oh, that’s easy. I’ll put that in! I should put in more switching nodes in general.

      thanks!

  • mdur

    This looks really cool.. I like that you can build effect chains or use it as a synth.  Seems like you have your hands full with feature requests, but I would love to see a Linux version!

  • iosmusician.com

    AUDIOBUS.