Audio Rate Modulation in Virtual Modular Software

January 18, 2019 Off By Electronic Musician Staff

Using Arturia's Modular V to experience super-fast mod times

Open up an instance of Modular V3, and navigate to Template and select ‘2 Osc Poly.’ All of the modules are visible, even if they aren’t being used. Cables fade away as your mouse hovers over them. Audio inputs glow green when a new patch cable is created, while modulation inputs glow red. The window can be resized by navigating to the top-left, corner. menu.

Right-click on a modulation jack to select the source, with the list including a wealth of options, from the envelopes, LFO or the sequencer. Clicking on a modulation input and dragging up/down adjusts the amount of modulation, indicated by an orange semicircle hovering around the jack, so setting up complex modulations is incredibly quick.

The main oscillator section includes nine oscillators in groupings of three, each with the choice of four waveforms. These waveforms can then be patched into the mixer below. Because Modular V can work in either monophonic or polyphonic modes, this patch can play up to six notes at a time, despite only using two oscillators.

The ‘2 Osc Poly’ preset doesn’t have much movement in its default form. The mixer out is routed to the input of the first of three available filters, currently set to Low Pass. Click on the filter name to change it; options include low-pass, high-pass, a multimode filter, and a coupler, which offers band select or reject with assignable bandwidth and frequency.

Modular V has two LFOs built into its design, both of which have five waveforms to choose from; they also have the ability to sync to MIDI tempo. However, the frequency range of each of the LFO's, only goes up to 20Hz. Therefore, if we want to reach audio rate modulation, we’ll have to look elsewhere.

Let’s take the sine wave out from Osc 3 and connect it to the Mod In on Filter 1. To do this, simply click the jack and scroll up to increase the mod amount. Make sure Osc 3 is set to Two Octaves Above and slowly increase the frequency. As the pitch of the osc rises, you’ll hear the formant-like sounds from the modulating filter.