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Voltage Modular Review – a Flexible Modular System for Beginner and Professionals by Cherry Audio

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Cherry Audio Voltage Modular patch demo

Voltage Modular by Cherry Audio Review

Voltage Modular is one of the Computer-Based modular systems that is offering a wide range of growing support by the developer and third-party companies. The software Voltage Modular under review today is a virtual modular synthesizer that enables you to produce evolving soundscapes, drum sequences or if you are into sound hunting the so well known eurorack beeps and boings. If you are new to modular also read our Top 10 Things to Know Before Launching into Eurorack article.

Modular hardware systems want to get commoditized, the hardware prices are at a high premium level, only systems like AE Modular allow you to get started without breaking the bank. Still, there is nothing like the inspiration when turning knobs. Instead of breaking the bank, you can use software like Voltage Modular.

Cherry Audio is a new company formed by a small group of industry veterans from Sonic Foundry, Cakewalk, Bias, Acoustica, and Keyboard Magazine. Voltage is backed by a real company, built by programmers with decades of experience creating audio and DSP software. Cherry Audio did send a review copy with no strings attached.

Installation

This modular synthesizer can be used as a stand-alone synthesizer or as a plug-in. Voltage Modular is cross-platform, supporting AU and Pro Tools AAX on the OS X side, and VST, VST3, and Pro Tools AAX on Windows platforms. We tested on MAC only. I started with the Voltage Modular Core + Electro Drums Bundle.

Sound

When you look into the market similar modern modular software solutions would be VCV Rack 1.0, Bitwig Studio 3.0, Virta,  Silent Way, Propellerhead’s Reason and Euro Reakt for Reaktor 6.3+ (not listing Softube Modular on purpose). These software packages come with a similar experience as you get with hardware-based modular systems.

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Think about Voltage Modular as software-based eurorack with various include elements. The package comes with different bundled in modules and sounds, based on the product you bought. You can look at Voltage Modular as a transformative virtual modular synthesizer that is expanding further at high speed. After several expansions and further develop this tool now shows its strength and versatility.

Save and Load, Create Presets in Modular

When I pull the cables from my Eurorack and AE Modular, the patch and sounds are lost. When I produced an enjoyable patch on my hardware modular, I have no chance to reproduce it later. Even with Photos to save the patch cable position, you can never recreate what you created earlier. One significant benefit of software you can save it and continue the next day or even weeks later.

Patch Cables Thorsten Meyer
Eurorack Patch Cables from Session by Thorsten Meyer

I/O PANEL – Gateway to Hardware Modular

The I/O Panel at the top is your gateway to Hardware Eurorack or AE Modular. All output jacks in this area output a virtual control voltage or “CV” just like a hardware modular synthesizer.

IO PANEL
I/O PANEL

These conform to the 1V/octave standard used in most analog synthesizers and can only transmit a single signal at any time. I do use the Expert Sleepers ES-8 to send the signal from Eurorack to Voltage Modular or alternative send sound/signals from Voltage Modular to Eurorack. You can set up the Output and Input on a Voltage Modular comprehensive level in the settings.

Cherry Audio Voltage Modular Audio Interfaces
Cherry Audio Voltage Modular Audio Interfaces

Running a hybrid system (MAC and Modular) is possibly the most productive and creative way to produce as a professional sound designer and composer to picture.

It is Polyphonic

Hardware Modular is not polyphonic, many forget that when diving into Eurorack, you can in hardware always replicate polyphonic at high costs as you do have to invest into modules. This software synth is Polyphonic.

Voltage Modular Ecosystem

There is no question that a hardware modular is sky-high expensive. With a modular software system, you get a huge case with tons of modules for a modest price. When you start, you select the bundle that makes the most sense for your requirements. The modules included with Voltage Modular get you started and when needed, you can add several free modules and paid ones through the store. The available modules are either developed by Cherry Audio or partners and in the price range from 10 USD to 50 USD and above for bundles.

Cherry Audio Voltage Modular purhase an extension
Cherry Audio Voltage Modular purchase an extension

The included shop also warns you if you have depending modules you need when you select a free one. Installation of all plugins is straightforward, the software downloads all modules after you connect with your account at Cherry Audio.

Cherry Audio Voltage Modular purchase and additional paid ones
Cherry Audio Voltage Modular purchase and additional paid ones

VST / AU Support

The possibility to load many VST into your signal path is not so common these days. You can also send CV to parameters of the plugin and drive, for example, a delay by CV signal. This opens the door to creative wonderland, besides technical more challenging approach and what you are used from using a plugin in your DAW.

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Plug In Host and MRQFX by Klirrfactory

User interface & Usability

Cable management can be a real matter in modular be it hardware or software/virtual. The system found several ways to support you with the cable mess, you can see a signal flow through some small moving dots and cables that are not important are greyed out a bit. You can use coloring to identify a function or reason based on your selected coloring system. The graphics are colorful and based on taste not sleek enough. Let’s park the look and feel as vivid and not restricted by an aesthetic coherence design scheme.

Cherry Audio Voltage Modular Patch
Cherry Audio Voltage Modular Patch

For your very first patch, you can load a preset. I would call it a drawback of software and presets. With hardware modular as you are forced to learn how the different components interact. My recommendation is to start with a blank sheet and add all necessary ingredients to make a sound. Enhance it in the process, and you will learn a lot about modular. Look at the presets that they help you to understand the more complex patches you can do.

Plug-In Host for AU and VST

The Plugin Host module allows you to load many effect plugins that are available in your DAW only. You should load after saving a patch as you may run into issues loading the plugin and can crash your system.

Plug In Host for AU and VST

Voltage Module Designer

For the developer, the Voltage Module Designer enables you to create your own Modules. These Modules can be offered in the shop when obtaining the Voltage Module Designer Commercial License. With a FREE Personal License for Voltage Module Designer, you can design, build, debug, and test your own modules in Voltage Modular Designer, and you can publish them for personal use in Voltage Modular. With a Commercial License for Voltage Module Designer, you can submit your modules for potential sale on the Voltage Module Store.

Rating:  Five Out of Five Stars

Voltage Modular is a powerful and authentic modular synth for your MAC or PC. It comes with an excellent presets selection and a baseline of include modules that get you going to learn and discover modular. If you did not enter the world of modular synthesis yet, you can get started with tons of fun and learn so much when you make your step into AE Modular or Eurorack. Voltage Modular is excellent for beginners and any expert or professional who works in a hybrid system.

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New Workshops Season at SchneidersLaden

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SchneidersLaden scaled

SchneidersLaden Launches the next workshop season

The weekly workshops at SchneidersLaden are suitable for musicians, artists, and everyone interested in the generation of electronic sounds.

On February 13th SchneidersLaden begins a new workshop series that will run until the end of March. Exciting guests are announced, such as IO Instruments from Berlin, who will open the event series. IO Instruments are a new modular maker with a couple of interesting and affordable new designs, some of them already available.

A week later – February 20th – Jörg Schaaf aka Radikal Technologies will be in Berlin to talk about (and show) his latest synthesizer designs like the Delta Cep A. He is responsible for some modern classic synth designs from Germany – like the Spectralis and Accelerator.

The last workshop in February – on the 27th – is reserved for Frap Tools, who presented their Fumana Filterbank at SchneidersLaden in March 2018. Now, about two years later, they are back with the USTA Sequencer and might also present the resent prototype of Brenso – fingers crossed.

The first workshop in March will be held by Genki Instruments from Iceland – on March 5th! This innovative manufacturer has brought us the Wave and a dedicated eurorack module Wavefront. The combination is an easy and reliable gestural contoller for everyone who is interested in wireless control of his or her synthesizers! This should be an interesting evening!

The 12th of March is reserved for visual artist VanTa. He will show you what he uses to generate graphical extravaganza with modular synthesizers. The focus will be on video synthesizers including modules by LZX Industries that allow your modular synthesizer to generate and process video signals.

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March 19th: there will be something – and we will soon know what. This “soon” is just not now. Be patient, be good, help others. In other words: TBA

The last event of this workshop series will be by ACL from Berlin. Their Sinfonion module gained a lot of attention and might be the perfect tool to keep larger modular systems in tune. Learn more about this and other amazing modules by ACL in this workshop.

No knowledge required – the workshops are free of charge and open to everyone interested. The idea behind these workshops is to cover basic technical concepts – needed to understand the workings of modular synthesizers and synthesis in general and to enable the participants to make their first own patch and start creating electronic music.

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New Workshops Season at SchneidersLaden 66

The modular synthesizer scene is a vibrant, supportive and creative space where new forms of art are experienced and boundaries of electronic music have been pushed. This new (old) way of creating electronic sounds had to be learned and artists around the globe have shown that it is possible to create a global community that shares ideas, skills, and knowledge without focusing on profit.

Small centers of encounter and exchange, such as SchneidersLaden in Berlin, played a significant role in this development. Every week Modular Beginner Workshops are held here. The workshops offer the opportunity to overcome the first obstacles on the way to understanding this extraordinary instrument. At the same time, the place offers the possibility of exchange, getting to know each other and making music together.

In two days the next workshop season starts at SchneidersLaden – for the next seven weeks, there will be a workshop every Thursday at 7:30 pm, in addition to the weekly Modular Beginner Workshop.

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SchneidersLaden is holding a Modular Beginner Workshop every Thursday at 18:00 – participation is free!

All workshops start at 7:30 pm – right after the Modular Beginner Workshop that is on schedule every Thursday at 6 pm. Learn more about the modular Beginner Workshop here.

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ThreeTom Modular releases Steve’s MS-22

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image 17

Steve’s MS-22 dual VCF Module for Eurorack

The MS-22 is a dual voltage controlled filter. The Eurorack Filter was inspired by the classic Korg MS-20 filter, with an innovative modulation matrix and one of the highest function-to-hp ratios in the land of Eurorack.

ThreeTom Modular releases Steve’s MS 22
ThreeTom Modular releases Steve’s MS-22 73

MS-22 uniqueness

The MS-22 contains two dedicated filter circuits, one low-pass, and the other a high-pass. These are configured in series, the high-pass going into the low-pass. This configuration allows a unique duo-phonic fighting resonance behavior. The cutoff frequencies of both filters can be CV’ed. Compared to most bread-and-butter MS-20 clones, the MS-22 is double the amount of filter condensed down into half the package (4HP).

About THREETOM

THREETOM modular, a small modular synthesizer company based in Belgium.

Ordering

Steve’s MS-22 is manufactured to order in limited batches. Fully assembled modules are available for 225 EUR (excl. shipping). DIY PCB+panel sets are available for 50 EUR (incl. shipping). Read more about how to place an order.

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Vult DSP

Freak Filter New Beta Firmware

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Vult DSP Freak VCF

Freak Filter Firmware v2.0 (Beta 2)

Freak firmware v2.0-beta-2 includes

  • Dual-mode (available since beta-1)
  • New filter: Boomstick – Sallen-Key filter
  • Possibility of selecting a distortion. The algorithms come from the Debriatus module and provide wave folding, bit crushing, saturation and distortion
Vult DSP Freak VCF

Availability and How to Update

You can download the firmware here: https://github.com/modlfo/VultFreakFirmware/releases/tag/v2.0b

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