Since more and more manufacturers have jumped on the modular synthesizer bandwagon in recent years and as there is now a veritable flood of modules, the software front is not remaining quiet. More and more software manufacturers are getting infected by the "modular fever" and inspired by hardware.
One of these software manufacturers is Cherry Audio and so created this relatively young company their own modular software synthesizer or rather a whole modular studio called Voltage Modular. The basic Voltage Modular package contains more then 100 modules and is currently available for about USD 100$. Thats less then 1$ per module which makes Voltage Modular very affordable in comparison with real modular hardware.
The installation of Voltage Modular is very straight forward. Once the basic software is installed the individual modules will be installed automatically - it just needs a Internet connection and a user login.
The first patch
The GUI opens with a blank modular panel. In the very top there are some core modules already set up. These are basically all modules that are needed for incoming and outgoing signals including a MIDI interface, audio connections, transport control and CV connectors. New modules can be added via a browser or just by right clicking on a blank slot. Very useful, all modules are sorted in the 5 categories: Source (Oscillators, LFOs, etc.), Processor (Filters, EQs, etc.), Controller (Sequencers, Envelopes, etc.), Utility (Mixers, Logic Modules, Converters, etc.) and Effect (Reverb, Delay, Compressor, etc.). Each module can be connected depending on its in and outputs like in a real modular system and the software only allows correct patching otherwise the connections will turn gray and visualize that a cable cant be patched.
After a short introductory phase, creating new patches is super easy and fast - especially if you are already familiar with modular synthesizes and the usage of control voltage. But also if you are new to modular, Voltage Modular could be the perfect starting point and the massive amount of presets will help to understand even more complex patches.
Once the overall concept of Voltage Modular is clear the only limitation is your imagination... and the CPU of course :)
Speaking of CPU, the software requires not very much on CPU and for example a generative music patch I made with about 44 modules incl. 2 CPU hungry reverbs, 2 delays, 4 oscillators, 5 sequencers etc used about 10% of my Intel i9-9900K CPU.
A quite unique feature compared to all the other modular software competitors is the possibility to add VST plug-ins to a patch. If you think that this is nothing special then you might be wrong! There is the possibility to patch any CV signal to any parameter of the selected VST plug-in. This offers an absolute enormous amount of creative potential. Imagine to open the decay of a reverb tail with an envelope or controlling the delay time based on the key you press on the keyboard. Ultra nerdy knob tweaking of 12 different parameters of a VST instrument? No problem with Voltage Modular, just add as many LFOs you like, connect its outputs to the VST plug-in host module and voila!
Also very useful, you can open Voltage Modular in any DAW as a VST plug-in and play the patches via Cubase, Ableton Live, Logic, FL Studio or any other VST compatible DAW.
Hardware vs. Software
If you already have a hardware modular synth, you can also connect Voltage Modular with it. The only thing you need is a DC coupled soundcard which allows to to send or receive CV signals. For example Voltage Modular could be used for complex sequencing tasks to control the real hardware. Another use case would be to add any VST plug-in effect or adding some sample-playback to your patch.
With the additional Module Designer software, which can be downloaded at the Cherry Audio website, it is possible to build modules. The Module Designer generates much of the code automatically, so you only need to fill in a few functions to have a fully-working module. The module code which is written in JAVA is automatically cross-platform and the created modules can eater be offered for free or sold via the integrated Voltage Module shop.
The fact that you can add as many favorite VST plug-in effects or instruments to a patch makes Voltage Modular ultra versatile and the perfect sound design Eldorado.
Cherry Audio Voltage Modular Review
Overall Sound Quality
Cherry Audio created their own modular software synthesizer or rather a whole modular studio called Voltage Modular. The fact that you can add as many favorite VST plug-in effects or instruments to a patch makes Voltage Modular ultra versatile and the perfect sound design Eldorado.