S-Poly connections are used by many Adroit modules to send multiple signals down a single cable.
They use the same user interface as regular Voltage Modular polyphonic connections so appear to behave exactly the same but there is one important difference. Regular polyphonic connections do not transmit 16 signals all the time. Instead they are limited to the NUMBER OF VOICES polyphony setting in Voltage Modular.
So if you set the number of voices to four then regular poly connections are only able to send four signals. Effectively the excess “wires” are cut behind the panel which makes regular polyphonic connections useless for applications that require all 16 wires to work reliably.
So Adroit uses a technology called S-Poly connections (short for Secure Polyphonic connections) that transmit all 16 signals all of the time regardless of the number of voices set by NUMBER OF VOICES.
S-Poly connections are discernible from regular polyphonic connections by a colored ring surrounding the socket.
S-Poly outputs have a blue ring.
S-Poly inputs have a green ring.
One limitation is that it’s not possible to have multiple S-Poly connections feeding into a single S-Poly input. But it is OK to have an S-Poly output feeding multiple S-Poly inputs. (So many to one bad. One to many good).
To help problem solving, if you accidentally plug a regular polyphonic output into an S-Poly input or multiple S-Poly cables into an S-Poly input the colored ring will change from green to red to indicate an error.
This is an example of using S-Poly to send multiple control signals between modules. It just simplifies things and saves you having to tediously patch multiple cables.
Other applications you will encounter are the use of S-Poly connections to transmit scales, chords and grooves between modules.
Scales and chords both use the same basic arrangement with the first channel carrying a voltage that indicates the number of additional channels used.
So a three note chord will have channel 1 set to 3 volts and then channels 2, 3 and 4 will carry the pitch voltages for the bass , middle and high notes of the chord.
Similarly, scale signals use the first channel to indicate the number of notes in the scale and subsequent channels to specify their pitches. (Note this allows scales to use micro-tuning if required).
Groove signals are a little more complicated with each of the 16 signals encoding both micro-timing and dynamics (velocity offset) data over 16 steps.
Note you can still use the Voltage Modular bus system to transmit S-Poly signals as they piggy-back on top of the regular polyphonic cable mechanism.
Use the S-Poly Adapters module to convert an S-Poly signal into a regular one and vice-versa. But note that if the Voltage Modular polyphony setting is set to less than 16 voices then some connections will not work.
The Adroit S-Poly to Mono and Mono to S-Poly modules enable you to access all 16 channels individually. The connections are 64 bit and sample accurate so you can use them to transfer audio or control voltage signals with perfect fidelity.
These modules can be used to “teleport” multiple connections from one side of a large patch to the other in order to simplify wiring but perhaps their main utility is allowing you to create your own custom chords and scales.
Custom chords and scales
Creating custom chords and scales is only possible in LSSP XL and is a fairly advanced technique but it is discussed here as it is so closely related to S-Poly connections.
You can safely skip the following if you are new to LSSP.
Here is an example of creating a custom C Minor triad voicing with the third and fifth raised two octaves above their regular position relative to the root.
Note that the Octaves module serves as a handy source for the 3 volt signal required to configure the chord as having 3 notes, as well as providing the two octave offset.
The Note Watcher module is used to confirm that the resulting chord voicing is the one we wanted to create.
You wouldn’t do this kind of thing very often in practice as the Inversion module provides a reasonable range of alternate chord voicings, but it illustrates the underlying mechanism.
Here is an example of a custom scale…
Note that the maximum voltage provided by the Octaves module is 5 volts so if you wanted to create a scale with say 9 notes you could use an alternative DC source or use a simple trick of patching both the 5V and 4V outputs from Octaves to input 1 of the Mono to S-Poly module in order to create an 9 volt signal to indicate that there are 9 notes in the scale.
It takes a bit of inventiveness but you can create just about any scale you like up to the 15 note limit of S-Poly scale signals.
As with the custom chord example this kind of thing isn’t something you would do very often but it demonstrates the mechanism.
One final example is deconstructing an existing chord signal and reconstructing it again.
This doesn’t actually do anything useful as it stands but you can hopefully see that you could manipulate the internal pitches of a chord signal using this technique. For instance adding small DC offsets to micro-tune individual notes or larger offsets to change octaves. Or adding small offsets from LFOs or envelope generators to create complex pitch motion inside the chord.
The same principle would of course work with scales too as the underlying format of chord and scale signals is identical.