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Kilpatrick Audio Virtue Control Series

Kilpatrick Audio Virtue Control Series  ·  Source: Kilpatrick Audio

Kilpatrick Audio has released a range of MIDI controller modules designed to bring the Eurorack experience to your software modular environment.

Virtue Control Series

Hardware control is always the missing part of the experience in software modular and instruments. While the mouse may be a phenomenally versatile input device it just doesn’t have the feel of real knobs and sliders. That’s where our old friend the MIDI controller comes in. Map some knobs and you’re emulating the experience of using hardware. However, MIDI controllers rarely match up to what we’re seeing on screen and don’t ever reflect the modular nature of software like VCV Rack.

Kilpatrick Audio think they’ve got a better solution with their USB powered Virtue Control Series. It’s a modular approach to a MIDI controller which isn’t a new idea (we’ve seen multiple attempts at modular MIDI controllers) but the implementation as Eurorack modules is very interesting. You could drop them into an existing modular setup and be controlling and integrating software modular from your hardware modular. It’s like the ultimate modular hybrid. Or you can run them in a little Eurorack skiff as a custom MIDI controller for whatever software you’re using.

There are currently 5 modules.

  • Twister: 4 knobs in 6HP that can send MIDI CC with LEDs that can respond to MIDI feedback.
  • Smasher: 16 buttons in 14HP, each with a MIDI CC number and LEDs for feedback.
  • Slider: 4 sliders with 8 buttons and LEDs in 16HP.
  • Spinner: 1 endless rotary encoder with 4 buttons for selectable parameters plus a couple of buttons in 8HP
  • Hubbie: 4-port USB hub in 8HP to provide power to the other modules.

Once plugged into your computer they are class-compliant MIDI controllers for whatever you want to use them for.

VCV Rack Plugin

VCV Rack gets some special attention. They’ve created virtual versions of the Virtue Control Series within VCV Rack to make it easier to implement and work them into a patch. They also continue to provide control whether the hardware is attached or not.

Kilpatrick Audio Virtue Control Series VCV Rack plugins

Kilpatrick Audio Virtue Control Series VCV Rack plugins

Modular MIDI

It’s a great idea and I’ve always believed that a modular approach to MIDI control could be a great thing. While it’s still not exactly reflecting what’s on-screen it does close the gap between software and hardware control. I can see myself using a handful of Twisters alongside a Slider or two as a custom MIDI controller that would suit me.

The biggest roadblock is the price. The Twister is $99, Smasher $179, Slider $169, Spinner $139 and the Hubbie is $99. So for say 8 knobs and 8 faders I’m looking at over $600 and that’s without a case. You can get a lot of MIDI control for that sort of money. However, the Virtue Control Series does offer something a lot more customisable and modular than a regular fixed MIDI controller. Although, I have to say, that the front panel design is rather incoherent. I mean you’re going to be using these modules together and the chaos of lines all over them don’t match up or look good side-by-side. It’s a mess which is a shame in the aesthetically sensitive world of Eurorack.

The Virtue Control Series reminds me of Midilar who was working on something similar in 2019. That’s now developed into a modular controller with actual hardware patching although there are no details on price or availability at this time.

More information

4 responses to “Virtue Control Series: Eurorack styled MIDI controllers for VCV Rack”

  1. AJ says:

    if these had actual patch points in them it would be a no brainer! But there are a ton of usb midi controllers that can give you similar control for under $200. I know Kilpatrick makes pretty quality stuff but I think he missed the mark on this. I would love to be proven wrong though!

  2. Ab. says:

    The title of the article really is misleading. The core audience of these are people with an existing modular case who want to have usb controllers inside their instruments (and/or don’t have the space on their desk)

    VCV rack aficionados would be better off buying any generic controller… or directly buying the real deal (which is roughly the same price as these)

    If you don’t already have a modular system, it really don’t make sense. Sorry GN, but you missed the point here

    • Robin Vincent says:

      I’m not so sure we missed the point. Kilpatrick put this forward as a controller for VCV Rack. They include VCV Rack plugins and also offer cheap Eurorack skiffs to take the modules which would suggest that they are aiming these at software users who want hardware control rather than hardware users who want to bring some software control into their rack. Both are valid uses and I think I described both in the article. If these were aimed just at the hardware people then why not make them Eurorack powered? So I think they very much make sense for a VCV Rack user who wants to bring in a more deliberate hardware feel to what they’re doing.

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