There’s so much to learn about synthesis & there’s so much cost involved in hardware modular synths that it felt completely inaccessible to me.
However, Urs Heckman & the folks at u-he.com make a really cool & affordable synth called ACE or Any Cable Everywhere that allows you to explore a set of what sort of looks like Doepfer hardware modules in the software world without the bottomless options for spending money like VCV or Softtube’s Modular synth ecosystems.
It’s a semi-modular synth – which means you can get notes out of it in it’s normal state, but they you can drag virtual cables to change the way it works. AND you can load multiple instances in your DAW & it’s Polyphonic so the value compared to the hardware is off the charts.
It’s very very deep & versatile and can create nearly any kind of sound generation including, subtractive styles, analog cross modulation, FM, AM, & Phase modulation. But doesn’t really do additive, wavetable, or granular synthesis, & doesn’t have an internal wavefolder for Buchla type timbre changes. It also needs a note fed to it to make sound, so it’s not really a free-running bleep blooper like some other synths. But overall it’s fun & inexpensive way to explore nearly all types of synthesis.