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Physical Audio

Physical Audio exists to push the boundaries of real-time physical modelling synthesis. We create audio plugins using pure numerical modelling of acoustic systems such as bars, strings, plates and connecting elements. These techniques produce physical models that have real acoustic qualities and dynamic expression, without using any samples or impulse responses.

Products by Physical Audio

Latest reviews of Physical Audio products


Reviewed By mydrian [all]
November 16th, 2023
Version reviewed: 1.2.1 on Mac

Modus has been on my radar for a while searching for a synth to add to my sound design tools. I wanted something organic and rich, so a physically modelled instrument made a lot of sense.

There are many PM synths out there, but Modus is noticeably different. To start with, it doesn't seek to emulate a real-world instrument. It can be off-putting to some, but it's actually great from a sound design perspective. It takes a bit of tinkering initially, especially getting used to all the controls, but it just pays back.

The modelling capabilities of this instrument are on a different level: it may not be apparent from the sound samples alone, but actually playing with it is the most fun part. Everything is connected in a sort of big feedback mechanism, so the sounds don't just add up, but they interact together in some complicated way. So, I spent a good deal of time trying to "tame" the synth, understanding the ins and outs and learning how to play it. It's a shame the presets and the sound examples don't really do it justice, but the best part of this synth is how alive it feels.

If you are a sound designer looking to add a new tool to your sound palette, Modus is a great place to start.

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Reviewed By Takamoonian [all]
September 5th, 2023
Version reviewed: 1.0.6 on Windows

While looking through the physical modelling plugins I came across Modus and found the sounds it could produce very interesting and something I would find useful, so I bought it. At first it seemed great, but when I tried to actually use it in a project, I realized that it was impossible. It is completely unpredictable. And I am aware that to produce realistic sound there needs to be some degree of randomness, but it only makes sense up to a point, it is a musical instrument after all. I am not sure if it is by design or it's buggy, but it behaves very strangely.

For example, there is a mode which is meant to model two metal plates, one of which is driven by an oscillator and the other resonates. And sometimes I play the same note, same velocity, same plugin settings etc and each time it sounds different. Sometimes both plates produce sound, sometimes only one (also, it seems random which one) and no matter what I do with the settings, the issue persists. And it's like that with every model with any number or strings/plates.

I am completely fascinated with the sounds Modus can produce, I only wish I could have more control over it. Unfortunately, at this point, I find the plugin very frustrating and thoroughly unusable.

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Reviewed By fneeee [all]
August 21st, 2023
Version reviewed: 3.2.6 on Windows

An extremely valuable addition to a sound designer's toolkit, or any fan of PM synthesis. For that matter, an excellent proof of concept or educational instrument for a newcomer to PM synthesis. That goes for any of Physical Audio's instruments.

Actually... For a good 100,200,300 level PM synth from this manufacturer, I would start here with Derailer. Then move to Preparation, and finally to Modus. They advance in sophistication, or complexity, in my opinion. There are certainly other PM synth developers that make things somewhat more accessible, but I don't think they necessarily show you what's going on under the hood as well, in general.

Nor am I claiming that other PM synths aren't amazing and must-haves, I have a solid list I certainly wouldn't do without.

I'm sure others have plenty of valid opinions on this topic.

Anyway. Check this out.

(I'm not employed by them or endorsed or whatever, I just love their products).

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Reviewed By fneeee [all]
August 21st, 2023
Version reviewed: 1.1.8 on Windows

I'd consider this one the 200-level PM synth by Physical Audio. This one changes up algorithms and increases complexity, resulting in a greater control and more or less greater design capacity for musical sounds than Derailer. (Please see my Derailer review). Although on the surface, Preparation seems less complicated than Derailer (2 strings / bars / rattle / mass materials in Preparation vs 5 bars / connected strings in Derailer) in practice, I find that the rattle concept is more esoteric and the string dynamics deeper, along with flexible scaling of materials. Just my own experience.

That's not to say that the difficulty in control is greater with Preparation, actually I find that the opposite is true. Again, musical results are simpler with Preparation if that's the kind of sound design you're trying for.

Preparation standing on its own is an incredible PM synth experience, I feel it's essential. You can always find a starting point for an interesting new sound design option here. Those looking for something entirely different than the better known synth techniques will be stunned by this.

(I am not employed by or endorsed by PA. Just a fan of their plugins).


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