Voltage Modular's Poly modules make use of a special "poly" cable, identifiable by its slight larger D-shaped connector and striped cables. Each poly jack and cable can transmit up to sixteen separate channels, or "lanes," of CV or audio, which drastically simplifies polyphonic patch creation.
At minimum, a basic polyphonic patch would include an oscillator, envelope and amplifier for each voice. To create eight-voice polyphonic version, that would require 24 modules - something like the hot mess above. Once additional envelopes, filters, modulations etc. are added, it’s easy to see how this would make for a huge and hard to control patch. Poly cables and jacks immensely simplify the creation of polyphonic patches.
The patch above is more or less functionally identical to our previous "mega patch." It accomplishes the exact same thing with just three modules, as opposed to the other patch's 26 modules. Furthermore, patches made using poly modules and cables can have up to 16-voice polyphony.
Other than the use of poly cables and poly modules in place of standard mono cables and modules, patch creation is almost exactly the same as creating a standard mono patch.
Each poly module can be thought of as a "stack" of regular modules. The number of modules in the stack is defined by the Number Of Voices setting in the IO Panel. When set to eight, for example, every poly module is actually a stack of eight standard modules, and every poly jack can send or receive eight individual channels, or "lanes" of CV or audio.
Poly Modules and Cables Example
In the patch above, the polyphonic note data received from a MIDI controller is sent from the IO Panel Poly Pitch jack to the Poly Oscillator Pitch CV jack. This single cable can send up to sixteen simultaneous pitch CV's to the "stack" of individual oscillators living within the Poly Oscillator. The IO Panel Poly Gate output jack is patched to the Gate In jack of the Poly Envelope Generator, and indepently triggers a stack of envelopes controlling the amplitude of each separate oscillator voice in the Poly Amplifier module. In other words, individual note articulation is maintained, because all pitch and amplitude CV's are on their own "lane."
In order to route this to the Main Outs, these eight lanes of audio needs to be mixed down to a mono signal, but fortunately the Poly Amplifier includes a Mono Mix Out level control and mono out jack.
In addition to poly oscillators, filters, amps, mixers, etc., Voltage Modular includes a number of utility modules for splitting and converting poly cables to standard "mono" signals and vice-versa, resutling in a tremendous amount of flexibility.
In order to save CPU, when the Poly Pitch jack in the Poly CV Outs section of the I/O Panel isn't patched to anything, the Poly Gate and Poly Vel jacks won't output CVs. If these jacks need to be used by themselves, the Poly Pitch jack can be patched to the input of a "dummy" module like the Poly Multiple, for example, to activate the Poly Gate and Poly Vel outputs.