One way to manage patch complexity is by using Voltage Modular’s Plug-In Host module (or the more compact Mini Plug-In Host) to run VST or AU plug-in instruments. In this way you can avoid ridiculously large top-level patches by offloading the detail of sound generation to small “black boxes” that hide their complexities until you open them up.

Mini Plug-In Host

You can then send MIDI to the plug-ins and bring the audio signals back into your top-level patch to mix and send to the main outputs.

Latency is something to consider here but if all sound generation is done in “black boxes” with identical latencies and brought back to be mixed in the top-level patch then all sounds will be delayed by exactly the same amount.

A simple illustration of two Mini Plug-in Hosts being used at the same time

To open a window for a plug-in click on the Plug-In Host’s VIEW EDITOR button.

You can also run Voltage Modular as a plug-in in the Plug-In Host so you can have multiple instances of Voltage Modular running inside of a Voltage Modular patch. This allows you to create complex multi-level hierarchical patches if your computer is powerful enough to cope. Think boxes within boxes within boxes.

Note that the 1L, 1R, 2L and 2R inputs and outputs on the Plug-In Hosts are not limited to just audio. They can send and receive CVs, gates, etc too.

So as an alternative to sending MIDI to a black box you could send pitch CV, gate and velocity signals

A simple illustration of an embedded copy of Voltage Modular receiving Pitch CV and Gate via the “audio” connections.

Also as V/Bar signals are simply control voltages it’s possible to build LSSP patches inside of a embedded copy of Voltage Modular that are controlled via V/Bar signals in the “parent patch”.

See LSSP Tutorial 5 for a practical demonstration of this technique.

As already discussed MIDI messages can be sent from a patch into a plug-in but MIDI messages can also be sent back in the opposite direction from an embedded instance of Voltage modular to its parent patch.

The image below demonstrates this in action.

MIDI being transferred in to and back out of an embedded instance of Voltage Modular

Clicking on a key of the little virtual keyboard sends MIDI to the embedded instance of Voltage Modular which then sends the MIDI data back to the parent patch via the MIDI Out module (which is set to use the “Send to DAW Host” device). This returned MIDI data is then available via the MIDI output of the Plug-In Host and is used to to drive the Poly Octave Oscillator so you can confirm that everything works as expected.