This strip at the top of Voltage’s interface is where you’ll load, save, and create sound presets. It also contains basic utility functions such as undo, redo, zoom level, and more. Let’s go over them:
New- Opens a new blank patch preset. If an unsaved patch is currently open or you’ve modified an existing saved patch, a dialog will ask if you’d like to save the patch in its current state. This greatly reduces the possibility of losing a patch that you may have spent a lot of time creating.
Save- Use this to save patches. There are a couple of levels of hierarchy:
- Collection- This is the top level of organization, and contains entire “sets” of presets. The Core presets are the main collection of factory presets included with Voltage. New preset collections are included with additionally purchased module sets (such as Misfit Audio Electro Drums), and we also include a User Presets Collection. However, you’re free to create your own collections. To create a new collections, click in the Collection text field (where it says User Presets above) and type a name. User-created sounds can be freely saved to any collection; we like to keep ‘em separated for organizational purposes.
- Categories- Within each Collection are a number of sound categories. As with collections, you’re free to create as many categories as you like. To create a category, click in the Category text field of the Save dialog window (where it says MS Patches above) and type a new category name.
- Patch- A patch is an individual sound. To save a patch, simply type the name in the Name field and click Save.
- Keywords- You can add descriptive words such as “huge,” “noisey,” “poly,” etc. to patches to make them appear when terms are typed in the Search field. Use commas to separate multiple keywords entries.
- Type: Effect/Instrument- Select one when saving patches. This tells Voltage Modular whether the patch is intended for use as a virtual instrument, or as an insert effect.
Browsing Patches- Patches can be browsed by clicking the <Select Preset> field. To select a preset collection, click in the area that says <All Collections> or on the downward-facing arrow next to it.
Clicking on the left-side categories will narrow down which patches are displayed.
• <All Presets> will show presets from all collections and categories.
• <Recent> displays recently used presets. (surprising, right?)
Preset Step Back/Forward Arrows- These step to the previous or next preset.
Undo/Redo- Use these to undo or redo your last action. Patch a cable to the wrong place? Undo button. It remembers many steps, so if you really loused something up, keep on clickin'...
Zoom- Clicking this allows resizing of the I/O Panel, Performance Controls, and main module cabinets to accommodate various screen and window sizes. These settings will never change Voltage Modular’s overall window size; this can be done by clicking and dragging any edge or corner.
Cable Transparency- Clicking the checkerboard icon displays cable transparency horizontal slider. Slide this to the left for more transparent cables, or to the right for more opaque cables.
Cable Color Select- Click this to select the global cable color, i.e. the color of any newly patched cable. Clicking Random will randomly choose a color for each new cable.
Special Cool Cable Color Select Feature!- The color of any existing cable can be changed by right-clicking in jack area. Right-clicking on a jack that doesn’t have a cable plugged in will change the global cable color (i.e. the same as changing the color with the toolbar button).
Settings- Here’s where you’ll configure all the under-the-hood stuff such as cable behavior (oh behave!), user-interface preferences, account settings, and audio and MIDI settings.
Cables- This where you’ll set how Voltage Modular’s virtual patch cables behave.
- Animate Cables- When checked, Voltage Modular cables will bend and dangle like real cables. This makes everything sound better (not really, but it looks cool).
- Move Cables Away- When checked, hovering over a cable (or multiple cable spaghetti) will temporarily shift them out of the way to make it easier to see modules beneath.
- 3D Cables- Checking this shades cables to appear more well, three-dimensional. Best of all, you won’t need those silly red and green glasses to see this.
- Draw Shadow- Causes cables to cast a shadow upon modules.
- Cable Thickness- Adjusts the thickness of all cables.
- Transparent Cables- This works in conjunction with the Cable Transparency button discussed previously. Selecting All Cables will make the Cable Transparency slider affect all cables. With All But Current Module selected, hovering over a module will make its cables opaque. If the Cable Transparency control is set to its maximum setting, Transparent Cables will have no effect.
- Show Signal Animation- Enabling this superimposes a stream of “marching ants” over cables displaying signal flow and direction. (They’re easier to see at wider cable width settings.) The Speed slider adjusts the speed of display, but has no effect on signals.
- Enable Animations For Jacks- Selecting this shows a nifty little animation when a jack is clicked to use its built-in six-way mult. If you’re a super impatient Type A personality (like the guy typing this), unchecking this box disables the animation, causing the six-way mult to pop up immediately.
- Hide Cables When Dragging Modules- This one’s pretty self-explanatory; having the cables disappear when moving modules around can simplify arranging modules.
Interface - Here’s where you can customize Voltage Modular’s user interface settings.
- Reset To Default Window Size- Resets the Voltage Modular workspace to 1280x720 pixels. Use this to reset the window size if Voltage Modular's workspace somehow becomes too large for your display and can't be resized.
- Minimum Cabinet Width- This sets the narrowest you’ll be able to size Voltage Modular when resizing by dragging the edges of the window.
- Cabinet Theme- These are various “skins” for the outside and inside of the Voltage Modular’s cabinets. Try this with a hardware modular!
- Tooltip Delay- In case you hadn’t noticed, Tooltips are those handy little bits of text that pop up when hovering over a control or jack (go ahead and try it, we’ll wait…). The Tooltip Delay setting defines how long you must hover over a control before the tooltip pops up.
- Monitor Pixel Density- If you’re using a monitor with high pixel density choose this - typically this would be a PC with a 4K+ display. Macs with Retina displays fall into this category, but that wiley OS X will automatically adjust for this, so you shouldn’t need to change this.
- Library Location- This determines whether the library containing the Modules, Cabinets, MIDI, and Store tabs will appear on the left (default) or right side of the workspace.
- On Control Double-Click- Defines what happens when the mouse is double-clicked on a control. If Edit Value is selected, an exact number can be entered by typing the number and hitting ENTER or RETURN. If Sets Default Value is selected, double-clicking a control resets it to its default value.
- Mouse Wheel Adjusts Control Value- Enabling this lets you adjust knob, slider, and switch values by moving the mouse wheel (or sliding your finger if you're using an Apple Magic Mouse).
- Do Not Show Tooltips Unless From Mouse Down- With this checked, tooltips won’t display when hovering over controls; they’ll only display if the mouse button is down. This typically occurs when moving a rotary knob or slider control.
- Hide Store On Library View During Searches- If this box is unchecked, Voltage Modular will show modules don’t own in a special Store category. Clicking this option disables display of the Store category and only shows modules you own.
- Use OpenGL Hardware Acceleration- This allows improved graphics performance if your graphics card supports it. If you're not sure, we recommend doing some research on your graphics card (or just try both ways to see what performs better).
General- Undo, user log file settings, and more. Wee!
- Add Undo For Module Control Changes With The Mouse- Enabling this allows undo of knob/slider/button adjustments to modules. You’ll probably want to leave this on if you want the ability to undo all aspects of patch editing and programming.
- Create A Log File For Usage- This creates a text doc of all of Voltage Modular's internal and routines during use. It is mainly intended for those developing custom modulars using our Module Designer app. Clicking Show Log Folder opens the folder containing Voltage Modular log file docs. It does not display a photo of a wooden log.
- Preset Folder- Displays the current location of Voltage Modular's sound presets. This can be changed by clicking and typing in the field.
- Clear Cache Files- Deletes all log files, temporary sounds, and the image cache.
Audio/MIDI- Settings for audio and MIDI hardware input and output. This tab is only visible in the standalone version of Voltage Modular.
- Output- Use this drop-down menu to choose a physical audio output source. This defaults to Built-In Line Output, i.e. your computer’s onboard system audio, but you’ll get better fidelity with an external professional audio interface. The biggest audible difference is usually reduced background noise or hum, but external audio hardware also offers greater flexibility in terms of number of inputs and outputs and built-in mic or low-level instruments pres (i.e. electric guitars). These are especially useful if you’re using Voltage Modular’s external inputs to process sound. The Test button will produce a sine wave when clicked; this will help with troubleshooting, aka, “WHY THE HECK ISN’T THIS MAKING ANY NOISE?!?”
- Input- Clicking the drop-down menu lets you select which physical input(s) feed the Audio In from host jacks in the I/O Panel. The small horizontal input meter to the right illuminates when the selected input is receiving an audio signal.
- Sample Rate- This sets Voltage Modular’s global sample rate. We generally suggest using the 48 kHz default rate for best overall performance, but if you have the processor horsepower, feel free to try 96 kHz mode.
- Audio Buffer Size- As with any digital audio app, this defines performance vs. note latency, and will largely depend upon computer CPU speed. A professional external audio interface will almost always exhibit better performance than “built-in” system audio. Lower settings will result in less latency (in the form of faster response to notes played), but will increase the chances of audio gapping or crackling noise.
- Active MIDI Inputs- Displays all available MIDI input sources, i.e. keyboards, pad controls, MIDI knob/fader control surfaces, etc. Checking the boxes will enable them.
Account- Settings for your personal login information and account.
- Email- This displays the email address of the current login.
- Update Login Info- No, this isn’t a place for news and tour dates for yacht rock legend, Kenny Loggins. Clicking this opens the same email and password login screen you’ll see when initially launching Voltage Modular.
- Ask Before Downloading Updated Modules- We often fix bugs and improve modules. By default, Voltage Modular automatically downloads new versions of modules when available. Checking this box defeats automatic updates and will ask if you’d like to update modules. We’ll never make changes to existing modules that can potentially “break” existing patches, but nonetheless, we recommend enabling Ask Before Downloading Updated Modules if you’re using Voltage Modular for live performances or other “mission critical” situations.
- Use One-Click Purchasing- Enabling this skips over all that login/credit card nonsense and speeds up buying modules. Don’t leave this on if you have an irresponsible kid who’s crazy for modular synthesis (or if YOU are an irresponsible kid who’s crazy for modular synthesis).
- View Account Settings- This opens your personal account page on the Cherry Audio Store website containing information about modules purchased and more.
Library- The “library” refers to the column on the left of the screen (or right depending upon the preference setting) containing the Modules, Cabinets, MIDI, and Store tabs. The Library button simply hides or displays the column. This is useful for maximizing the available display space for modules in a patch. Click here for more information on the Library column (or check the card catalog in the 786’s at your local library).
Perform- The Perform control panel contains nine knobs and four buttons; each control can be assigned to control one or more module controls. Like the Library button above, the Perform button simply hides or shows the panel to maximize the viewable cabinet workspace. Click here for the full lowdown on the Perform control panel.
Voltage Logo- Though it appears to be in-app advertising, clicking this displays “about” information, and shows the version number and current registered user ID.