Assigning internal and external hardware controls is easy to do in Voltage Modular, and really adds whole new dimension of control and musicality to patches. We'll cover the basics of assigning a hardware knob/slider/switch control to a parameter and then delve into the MIDI Tab, where all controller assignments can be viewed and tweaked.
Assigning An External Hardware Control
In this example, we’ll assign a hardware slider control to the filter module cutoff frequency. Start by right-clicking the Cutoff knob, and select MIDI Learn.
All of Voltage Modular’s controls turn purple, indicating that MIDI learn mode is enabled. Now move the hardware control you’d like to assign. You should see the cutoff knob move as the external knob or slider is moved, and assign mode is automatically disabled.
If you change your mind, MIDI learn mode can be aborted by right-clicking and selecting Stop Learning.
This is the basic procedure for assigning hardware controllers to almost any module control. Hardware controllers may also be assigned to knobs and buttons in the I/O Panel or the Perform controls panel.
When in MIDI learn mode, previously assigned controls will display numbers in squares on module controls. These indicate the MIDI continuous controller number of the assigned hardware control (these are also displayed in the MIDI library tab).
Once a MIDI CC controller has been assigned, in addition to real-time control of a Voltage Module parameter, you’ll also be able to record and play back controller data from a DAW.
The Library MIDI Tab
This is command central for external MIDI controller, DAW automation, and Voltage Modular’s Perform control panel assignments. Here you’ll be able to see information about all currently assigned controllers and adjust control ranges. Let’s go over the MIDI tab functions and displays.
MIDI Learn- This is almost exactly the same as enabling MIDI learn mode by right-clicking a control. Click the MIDI Learn button to enter learn mode (all controls turn purple). Unlike right-clicking on specific knobs, where Voltage Modular automatically exits controller assignment mode, clicking the MIDI Learn knob "stays on" to enable assignment of multiple hardware controls. This is really handy for quickly assigning a bunch of sliders or buttons on a grid-style controller.
To assign multiple controls, click MIDI Learn, click an on-screen control, move the desired hardware knob or slider, then continue clicking and assigning on-screen controllers until all desired controls are assigned.
When you’re done assigning controllers, click Stop Learning. (Just remember that when we stop learning, we stop growing… maybe that doesn't apply here.)
MIDI Tab Columns
Name- Displays the name of the module parameter being controller.
Type- There are three possible types of controller automation in Voltage Modular:
MIDI Continuous Controller (CC)- The standard 128 MIDI controller numbers as defined in the MIDI spec. More specifically, these are the controllers transmitted by hardware knob, slider, or pad controllers. MIDI CC’s can be used to control parameters in real-time or recorded and played back within DAW software.
Parameter- Up to 128 slots used with DAW parameter automation. Compared to MIDI CC controllers, DAW automation typically has finer control resolution, easy on-screen drawing and editing of controller movements, and allows controller movements to be directly written by moving Voltage Modular’s on-screen module controls.
Perform Controls Panel- This refers to the panel directly beneath the I/O Panel containing nine knobs and four buttons, which are assignable to any module controls in a patch. Each knob or switch can control can control an unlimited number of module parameters over different ranges (via the Min and Max controls), and external hardware controllers can be assigned to the Perform knobs and buttons. (See the Perform Controls Panel section for the full lowdown.)
Value- Displays the specific automation controller. In the case of a MIDI CC, this would be the MIDI CC controller number. For DAW automation, this is the automation slot # (1-128) and associated module control parameter. For the Perform controls panel, this displays the knob or button number.
Min- Sets a limit on the lowest value any automation control can set a mapped controller to. This actually recalibrates the range of the automation controller to the remaining parameter range.
Max- Sets a limit on the highest value any automation control can set a mapped controller to. This actually recalibrates the range of the automation controller to the remaining parameter range.
Super Tricky Min-Max Inversion- Not only can parameter ranges be limited via the the Min and Max knobs, mapped control destinations can be completely inverted by setting the Min knob all the way up and the Max knob all the way down (or anywhere in between).
Generally speaking, parameter range limiting with the Min/Max controls is really useful, so we encourage you to make use of them!
MIDI Tab Column Configuration Right-Click Menus
Right-clicking anywhere in the top row displays the column configuration menu.
Auto-size This Column- Automatically resizes so that all text in this column is visible.
Auto-size This Column- Automatically resizes all columns simultaneously so that all text visible.
Column View Filters- Clicking any of these will hide or show the respective columns.
MIDI Tab Parameters Right-Click
Right-clicking on an assigned parameter opens the menu above.
MIDI Learn- This is used to change the controller assigned to a particular parameter. This only works if you’re changing to a MIDI CC controller.
Unlearn- Deletes the selected automation parameter.
Unlearn All- Deletes all controller assignments for the patch. Voltage Modular will display a warning dialog prior to deletion in order to thwart potential Unlearn-related disasters.
Voltage Modular really comes to life when hardware MIDI knob, slider, or pad controllers are assigned to controls. Learning controller assignments is fast and easy, so let’s delve in.