Trevor Gavilan has announced the release of Cloudlab 200t, a freely downloadable Buchla 200 modular system clone for Native Instruments Reaktor.
Between 1965 and 2004, Don Buchla released several unique modular synthesizers designed not to imitate real world instruments or existing synthesizers but to create brand new sounds that the public hasn’t heard before. These Buchla synths are large hardware units but the creators of Cloudlab 200t, a free Reaktor ensemble, have encapsulated many of the features and workflow ideas of the original Buchla 200 and 200e units into a lightweight virtual instrument.
You may want to read the manual for this particular instrument since the controls look fairly complex and not reminiscent of modern synth controls. There are editable parameters such as “quadrate”, “source of confusion” and “triple mutating filter”. I haven’t the foggiest idea of what these are supposed to do. There are quite a few components to this synth that the user will have to get accustomed to. In any case, some more intriguing familiar features of the Cloudlab 200t include several spring reverb options that may have been modeled after the original analog unit. There is also an early version of a step sequencer on board that does not appear to be host-synced so you will do some tinkering if you want them to line up to the grid.
When listening to the demo of the Cloudlab 200t, I noticed that many of the sounds are fairly dark and somewhat atonal. Although the sounds are unique, personally if I wasn’t already familiar with this synthesizer, I don’t think I would spend the time to learn the ins and outs. On the other hand, if you are a synthesizer expert wanting to break into some new sounds and controls, this might be a perfect little synth for you. Please note that the full version of NI Reaktor is required to use the instrument without a 15-minute time limit.
Cloudlab 200t is available for free download via Native Instruments (62.3 MB download size, ZIP archive, contains 1 virtual instrument in ENS format for NI Reaktor).