Described by Danish developer Decochon as a “revolutionary music sandbox for VR”, MuX features virtual, low-level synth components that can be connected together and adjusted to generate unique sounds. The various tools allow the creation of complex electronic instruments, which can be easily shared with the community.
Now in open beta via Steam Early Access, MuX is an intriguing addition to the growing library of creative audio software for VR. Currently, only HTC Vive hardware is officially supported, but Rift users have reported success operating in SteamVR mode, albeit with incorrectly-shaped virtual controllers.
Presented with a number of virtual tools in a room-scale space, the user is able to construct all manner of sound generators, using a fundamental oscillator component combined with various modifiers. Most components feature adjustable dials for fine tuning, and serve as the building blocks for the creation of potentially enormous virtual instruments. These can be played manually with motion control, or triggered by buttons, switches, or metronomes. Alternatively, a marble spawning system can be used, allowing the construction of Rube Goldberg-type music machines that trigger sounds as a result of the physics simulation, as shown in the video below:
MuX’s inviting visual presentation, with clean, flat-shaded geometry and a muted colour palette disguises its complexity, as the modular components currently allow for low-level access to the fundamentals of sound synthesis. Currently, a set of somewhat outdated tutorials (created for alpha testers) can be found on Decochon’s YouTube channel, but this is an area that needs serious attention if MuX is to become more accessible to a wide audience.
As explained on the Steam store page, the software is due to remain in Early Access for a year, as the experimental nature of the tools means that users are likely to do unpredictable things. “While developing and testing MuX, we found people using it in ways we hadn’t expected,” writes Decochon. “They also made music and sound that surprised us, things we couldn’t have made ourselves. As we continue to develop and expand MuX, we find Early Access an opportunity to become informed and inspired by what others might create. MuX is an instrument, ready to be played, explored, and enjoyed by others than just us.”