AlsaModularSynth (AMS) is a modular software synthesizer that to my ears sounds really good (very “analog”).

AMS has a good selection of built-in modules and can also use LADSPA plugins. Most LADSPA plugins are effects but some provide alternate oscillators and filters for AMS (see packages vco-plugins and mcp-plugins).

AMS comes with some example patches. From the File menu, select either Open demo… or Open demo instrument…. WARNING: Many of the example patches use optional LADSPA plugins. A patch won’t work if it depends on plugins that are not installed.

Creating a Patch

Below is a fairly simple patch that I created:

Add a module either from the menu (Module > New >) or by right-clicking in an empty area.

Connect a cable by left-clicking a socket (the socket turns red) and then left-clicking the other socket.

Disconnect a cable by right-clicking either socket and selecting Disconnect.

Right-click a module to display a box with the module’s parameters. In addition, if the module has no connections the box will contain a Remove Module button.

Using Parameter View

Adjusting the controls on a module by module basis can be tedious. Parameter View is a way to create a single window containing all of the controls you wish to adjust. Here’s a simple example:

I selected View > Control Center… to display the Control Center window:


I selected the VCF Frequency control on the right side of the window. I then clicked the Add to Parameter View button.

A dialog box displayed asking Add this parameter to frame:. I entered Filter, and indicated that I wanted to create the new frame.

A dialog box displayed asking Add frame to tab:. I entered AMS Test, and indicated that I wanted to create the new tab.

A dialog box displayed asking Parameter Name:. The default was Frequency ID 5; I removed ID 5 from the end and left it as just Frequency.

I then selected View > Parameter View… to display the Parameter View window:


I added more controls in order to have a more functional Parameter View window:


There doesn’t appear to be any way within the program to edit the frame, tab, and parameter names, but the changes are stored with the patch, which is a simple text file. My example file is text1.ams; the parameter view section is at the end of the file and I was able to edit the names using a text editor.

More Information about AlsaModularSynth

Version: 2.1.1
Author: Matthias Nagorni
Web Site:

Optional LADSPA Plugin Packages for AlsaModularSynth

amb-plugins (optional) - ambisonic plugins
blop (optional)        - bandlimited oscillator plugins
caps (optional)        - the C* audio plugins
cmt (optional)         - Computer Music Toolkit plugins
fil-plugins (optional) - equaliser plugins
mcp-plugins (optional) - phaser, chorus and moog vcf plugins
pvoc (optional)        - phase-vocoding plugins
rev-plugins (optional) - reverb plugins
swh-plugins (optional) - Steve Harris plugins
tap-plugins (optional) - toms audio plugins
vco-plugins (optional) - oscillator plugins
wah-plugins (optional) - wah audio plugins
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Posted in Instruments

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