Adroit Synthesis modules are downloadable software components in Cherry Audio’s Voltage Modular – a virtual modular synthesizer system that works as a plugin or standalone on both Windows and Apple Mac computers.
If you are new to modular synthesis you can download the Nucleus package for free and try it out to see what all the fuss is about. All you need is a couple of days’ spare time to explore and become addicted!
Once you are familiar with the basics of Voltage Modular you can download Adroit Synthesis modules from the Cherry Audio Store and use them at no cost for a demo period to evaluate their potential.
Individual Adroit Synthesis modules are priced so as to be easily accessible and you can save extra money by buying discounted bundles of modules.
The LSSP 101 bundle is expressly designed to be a low-cost and effective introduction to the world of Adroit Synthesis.
Many Adroit Synthesis modules are general purpose and can stand alone but many use custom technologies such as Volt Per Bar timing and S-Poly connections for scales, chords and control signals and are designed to work together in an integrated system called LSSP.
Large Scale Sequencing Project
The Large Scale Sequencing Project (LSSP for short) is a fancy name for the concept of mapping the structure of a musical composition onto a collection of interconnected Adroit Synthesis modules.
Its design stemmed from a sense of deep frustration with the limited scope of piano roll editing and the fact that existing modular synthesizer technology focuses lots of attention on sound design and small scale sequencing but hardly addresses the problems involved in large scale musical composition.
The diagram below shows an overview of LSSP.
Each of the blocks in the diagram represents one or more modules in a Voltage Modular patch.
LSSP Patches in Practice
In practice the exact form of an LSSP patch depends on what you want to achieve. This open-ended approach is of course the beauty of modular systems.
At one extreme a simple setup might use a subset of the functionality and consist of just a handful of modules that patched together operate like a neat little drum machine or a simple bass line sequencer for instance.
At the opposite extreme, systems that implement entire symphonic scale compositions can be built providing that you have the massive computing power required to use hundreds of modules simultaneously and of course the ingenuity and patience to build such large scale patches.
Depth and Disentanglement
LSSP is not a simple system, it’s designed to model the internal structure of musical compositions and music isn’t always the simplest of things.
But deep exploration, analysis and technical creativity are exactly what modular enthusiasts find so attractive when applied to sound design. And I believe that the skills acquired from patching together conventional synthesizer modules are essentially the same skills required to master LSSP.
Unlike a piano roll editor where melody, harmony, rhythm and form are all entangled; LSSP attempts to expose these elements to independent manipulation by making the underlying musical structure explicit. This opens up fantastic possibilities but requires a deeper level of engagement than a piano roll.
I use the analogy of a graphics editor. In principle a program that enables you to set the color of any pixel in an image is extremely easy to understand and is capable of producing any image. But in reality this conceptual simplicity is of little help when trying to create complex shapes and shading.
Piano Roll editors have the same conceptual simplicity and are easy to use but they offer little or no assistance in creating music that has real world structure built from scales, chord progressions and large scale form.
So, one of the key concepts in LSSP is disentanglement with Melody Sequencers handling melody, Rhythm Sequencers handling rhythm, Progression modules handling chord progressions, Scale modules handling scales, Chord modules handling chords, Groove modules handling micro-timing and dynamics and Song Control and time-splitting modules handling overall structure
Sophisticated interaction between these modules enables these essential elements to be independently manipulated yet coalesce into a whole in a manner that transforms the way you can create music.
The LSSP 101 Bundle is the recommended gateway to this world and this website is my attempt to introduce each of the current modules, explain the reasoning behind LSSP and to provide tutorial and reference material to get you under way.
Although modest small scale patches using LSSP modules are extremely useful the main focus of the design is to enable very large scale projects to be constructed that model complete compositions with multiple instruments. Perhaps using hundreds of modules and taking weeks to build.
The computing power required here is an issue but one that that will slowly be solved by more and more powerful computers but in the meantime one way of addressing this is to offload some sound generation to external hardware. This is why some Adroit modules focus on MIDI interfacing.
Large scale patches can look scary but it should be noted that you don’t need to build a custom LSSP patch for each new composition. Even a moderate scale patch includes sufficient flexibility that you can, if you wish, just use preset arrangements of modules to create a near infinite variety of compositions.