This tutorial introduces the following Adroit Synthesis modules…

Getting Started

Unlike before you now need the Core version of Voltage Modular as this includes various modules for things like polyphony and MIDI. However you can still get by with the demo version of LSSP 101 so long as you haven’t exceeded the demo period.

Begin by clicking on the button below to download the .voltagepreset file.

Open the downloaded file to automatically launch Voltage Modular with the ready built patch shown below…

The Tutorial 4 preset patch

Click on the Song Control PLAY button in the top left of the patch.

You should now hear an 8 bar repeating loop. As usual this patch is designed for a tempo setting of 120 BPM but it sounds radically different to the sleepy Tutorial 3 patch. Hopefully this will be a refreshing change.

To give you some idea of the effort involved, it took about three hours to build this patch from scratch although of course I am very familiar with LSSP. It could do with another hour’s worth of tweaking – no doubt you can improve it. There’s a spare channel of the CV Sequencer pair that you might be able to utilize for something.

An overview of the patch

Although this patch is only an 8 bar loop it demonstrates several elements of how a section of a song might be constructed even without the more sophisticated facilities of LSSP XL.

The Chord Progression

This loop feels like it is going on a musical journey because of the chord progression. A minor key tonality provides emotional weight yet the final V chord, using a shift to major, gives it a classic dance music euphoric lift. The V-i transition then adds a powerful sense of turning around to the repetition.

iVIiVI
ivii dimIIIV

The Mix

There are six elements in the mix and you can check these out by using the rather tiny Solo buttons on the Stereo Mixer module in the top right of the patch.

  1. Chord Stabs
  2. Plucks
  3. Rimshot
  4. Snare
  5. Kick
  6. Hats

The kick and rimshot are super simple four to the floor hits that are triggered by the Song Control BEAT OUT signal.

The other elements (chord stabs, plucks, snare and hats) are discussed below.

Chord Player and Polyphony

Now we have the Voltage Modular Core modules to play with it’s possible to build patches with far more features. The main event in terms of Adroit modules is the ability to use the Chord Player module. This takes an S-Poly chord signal, a gate signal and an optional velocity signal and converts them into a series of MIDI note on and note off messages.

The chord stabs on mixer channel 1 show Chord Player in action.

Although we touched on chords in Tutorial 3 we now have full access to polyphonic capabilities. The easiest way to get chords playing is to patch the MIDI OUT socket of Chord Player into the MIDI INPUT socket of a Plug-In Host module in order to play a VST or AU instrument.

Chord Player directly controlling a plug-in instrument

You can even run Voltage Modular as a plug-in inside Voltage Modular and then simply load up one of the polyphonic presets to get going.

But in this tutorial we will use some of the standard polyphonic modules in Voltage Modular Core to demonstrate how polyphony can be handled directly – module by module.

Looking at the polyphonic section of the patch, the Chord Player MIDI OUT socket is connected to the MIDI IN socket of the Cherry Audio MIDI to Poly CV module.

The polyphonic section of the patch

The MIDI to Poly CV module converts MIDI messages into control voltages. The key ones are available via the PITCH, GATE and VELOCITY outputs. Note these are standard Poly connections rather than S-Poly so you need to make sure that the NUMBER OF VOICES control on the I/O Panel is set high enough otherwise some notes may go missing. It defaults to 8 which is ample for this patch but in other patches you may need to increase the limit.

If you are using an older computer then it can make sense to limit polyphony in order to stop CPU overload. If you hear crackling sounds or drop outs then try either lowering the NUMBER OF VOICES setting and/or increasing the audio buffer size in Settings.

The polyphonic pitch signal from the MIDI to Poly CV module feeds pitch information to a Poly Oscillator. The output of which feeds audio signals to the Poly Filter which then passes the filtered signals to a Poly Amplifier.

The polyphonic gate signals feeds two Poly Envelope Generators (one for the filter cut-off and another for a Poly Amplifier).

To have velocity control we need to modulate the second Poly Envelope Generator’s signals using another Poly Amplifier.

The final Poly Amplifier on the right has a convenient MONO MIX OUT which provides us with a mono audio signal that is fed to the mixer.

Tutorial 5

List of LSSP 101 Tutorials