Voltage Modular by Cherry Audio Review
Voltage Modular is one of the Computer-Based modular systems that is offering a wide range of growing support by the developer and third-party companies. The software Voltage Modular under review today is a virtual modular synthesizer that enables you to produce evolving soundscapes, drum sequences or if you are into sound hunting the so well known eurorack beeps and boings. If you are new to modular also read our Top 10 Things to Know Before Launching into Eurorack article.
Modular hardware systems want to get commoditized, the hardware prices are at a high premium level, only systems like AE Modular allow you to get started without breaking the bank. Still, there is nothing like the inspiration when turning knobs. Instead of breaking the bank, you can use software like Voltage Modular.
Cherry Audio is a new company formed by a small group of industry veterans from Sonic Foundry, Cakewalk, Bias, Acoustica, and Keyboard Magazine. Voltage is backed by a real company, built by programmers with decades of experience creating audio and DSP software. Cherry Audio did send a review copy with no strings attached.
This modular synthesizer can be used as a stand-alone synthesizer or as a plug-in. Voltage Modular is cross-platform, supporting AU and Pro Tools AAX on the OS X side, and VST, VST3, and Pro Tools AAX on Windows platforms. We tested on MAC only. I started with the Voltage Modular Core + Electro Drums Bundle.
When you look into the market similar modern modular software solutions would be VCV Rack 1.0, Bitwig Studio 3.0, Virta, Silent Way, Propellerhead’s Reason and Euro Reakt for Reaktor 6.3+ (not listing Softube Modular on purpose). These software packages come with a similar experience as you get with hardware-based modular systems.
Think about Voltage Modular as software-based eurorack with various include elements. The package comes with different bundled in modules and sounds, based on the product you bought. You can look at Voltage Modular as a transformative virtual modular synthesizer that is expanding further at high speed. After several expansions and further develop this tool now shows its strength and versatility.
Save and Load, Create Presets in Modular
When I pull the cables from my Eurorack and AE Modular, the patch and sounds are lost. When I produced an enjoyable patch on my hardware modular, I have no chance to reproduce it later. Even with Photos to save the patch cable position, you can never recreate what you created earlier. One significant benefit of software you can save it and continue the next day or even weeks later.
I/O PANEL – Gateway to Hardware Modular
The I/O Panel at the top is your gateway to Hardware Eurorack or AE Modular. All output jacks in this area output a virtual control voltage or “CV” just like a hardware modular synthesizer.
These conform to the 1V/octave standard used in most analog synthesizers and can only transmit a single signal at any time. I do use the Expert Sleepers ES-8 to send the signal from Eurorack to Voltage Modular or alternative send sound/signals from Voltage Modular to Eurorack. You can set up the Output and Input on a Voltage Modular comprehensive level in the settings.
Running a hybrid system (MAC and Modular) is possibly the most productive and creative way to produce as a professional sound designer and composer to picture.
It is Polyphonic
Hardware Modular is not polyphonic, many forget that when diving into Eurorack, you can in hardware always replicate polyphonic at high costs as you do have to invest into modules. This software synth is Polyphonic.
Voltage Modular Ecosystem
There is no question that a hardware modular is sky-high expensive. With a modular software system, you get a huge case with tons of modules for a modest price. When you start, you select the bundle that makes the most sense for your requirements. The modules included with Voltage Modular get you started and when needed, you can add several free modules and paid ones through the store. The available modules are either developed by Cherry Audio or partners and in the price range from 10 USD to 50 USD and above for bundles.
The included shop also warns you if you have depending modules you need when you select a free one. Installation of all plugins is straightforward, the software downloads all modules after you connect with your account at Cherry Audio.
VST / AU Support
The possibility to load many VST into your signal path is not so common these days. You can also send CV to parameters of the plugin and drive, for example, a delay by CV signal. This opens the door to creative wonderland, besides technical more challenging approach and what you are used from using a plugin in your DAW.
User interface & Usability
Cable management can be a real matter in modular be it hardware or software/virtual. The system found several ways to support you with the cable mess, you can see a signal flow through some small moving dots and cables that are not important are greyed out a bit. You can use coloring to identify a function or reason based on your selected coloring system. The graphics are colorful and based on taste not sleek enough. Let’s park the look and feel as vivid and not restricted by an aesthetic coherence design scheme.
For your very first patch, you can load a preset. I would call it a drawback of software and presets. With hardware modular as you are forced to learn how the different components interact. My recommendation is to start with a blank sheet and add all necessary ingredients to make a sound. Enhance it in the process, and you will learn a lot about modular. Look at the presets that they help you to understand the more complex patches you can do.
Plug-In Host for AU and VST
The Plugin Host module allows you to load many effect plugins that are available in your DAW only. You should load after saving a patch as you may run into issues loading the plugin and can crash your system.
Voltage Module Designer
For the developer, the Voltage Module Designer enables you to create your own Modules. These Modules can be offered in the shop when obtaining the Voltage Module Designer Commercial License. With a FREE Personal License for Voltage Module Designer, you can design, build, debug, and test your own modules in Voltage Modular Designer, and you can publish them for personal use in Voltage Modular. With a Commercial License for Voltage Module Designer, you can submit your modules for potential sale on the Voltage Module Store.
Rating: Five Out of Five Stars
Voltage Modular is a powerful and authentic modular synth for your MAC or PC. It comes with an excellent presets selection and a baseline of include modules that get you going to learn and discover modular. If you did not enter the world of modular synthesis yet, you can get started with tons of fun and learn so much when you make your step into AE Modular or Eurorack. Voltage Modular is excellent for beginners and any expert or professional who works in a hybrid system.