Cherry Audio has released version 2 of their virtual Eurorack environment Voltage Modular featuring infinite cables in every socket, a bus-based architecture, patch variations, new modules and an integrated audio recording section.
Voltage Modular 2.0
The first improvement that caught my eye is that it’s a little less jolly. VCV Rack has the coolness and Softube Modular has the authenticity whereas Voltage Modular has the “jolly” in the shape of a slightly too colourful interface. Well, they’ve fixed that by dialling the Duplo down just enough to give it more professional and serious feel. Sometimes it’s the little things that make a difference and it felt immediately better the first time I loaded a patch in version 2.
Many of the new features revolve around the notion that because it’s software you don’t actually need to tolerate the restrictions of modular hardware. They’ve been moving this way already with previous updates adding polyphonic cabling and multiples baked into every patch socket. Well, now they’ve gone further. Each patch socket can now host as many cables as you can stuff into them. So you are never short of sources or destinations and without having to clutter up your rack with Mults and Splitters. When you click on a socket a ring of 6 emerge and as you fill them up another socket gets added to the ring apparently forever. You can also move all the cables together by shift-clicking.
Cables could already be set to different levels of visibility but now there’s a button to show/hide them instantly. When hidden the relevant cable reappears when you mouse over a patched socket.
Busses: You can now right-click any socket and assign it to an instantly generated bus. The idea is that any sources connected to that bus will flow to any destinations connected to that bus meaning you can easily set up a single source to many destinations without all that messing about with cables.
Randomisation has been added to every module. Simply right-click and select “Randomise”. It’s a great way to generate ideas and also quickly destroy an interesting patch. Thankfully there’s also a “Reset” option to return the module to its saved state – disaster averted.
You can now add tags to your modules in order to categorise them however you wish. Searching is now much easier in the browser although I must confess that I still struggle with finding the right module in the list. You can right-click to see more info on a module by selecting it from a menu but I would like to see modules pop-up to full size when you run a mouse over them in the browser because, for me, the front panel is far more helpful than the name or description.
This is a neat way of saving multiple versions of your patch and flipping between them without having to reload an entire patch. It’s like creating patches within your patch. But you can also control the selection of variations with CV making it possible to switch patches on every step or just jumble your way through them.
Hit “Record” – 32bit floating audio files are recorded in realtime.
Many of the classic core modules have extra features along with the lick of paint. The Super Oscillator and Super Envelope Generator have been upgraded to support polyphony as have the Vintage Oscillator and Ladder Filter. The MS-20 bundle now includes a polyphonic VCA-20 and VCF-20. There’s a MIDI File Player which could be very interesting. The Spectrum Analyser also acts as a bandpass spectral filter.
But the big news is the semi-modular DCO-60 and SynthVoice that look a lot like a Juno-60 and ARP Odyssey. These are semi-modular and so they don’t need to be patched at all and work just as they are. And there’s a Vector Bundle which includes a bunch of wavetable based modules and controllers.
Voltage Modular 2.0 is a free update to existing users – that’s pretty awesome. Some of the new modules are optional extras. The DCO-60 and SynthVoice don’t seem to be available quite yet but the Vector Bundle can be had for $29. Otherwise Voltage Modular is available for $29, $50 or $99 depending on the included bundle of modules. This is going from strength to strength.