Learn Synthesis with VCV Rack Series 03

Learn Synthesis with VCV Rack Series 03 Title Screen

VCV Rack 2 Pro Version, Drum, and Sound Stage Bundle

This third installment of Learn Synthesis with VCV Rack begins with a thorough review of the modules and features that one gets after purchasing the Rack 2 Pro version. The first episode is a general overview of the features and modules, and the following episodes is an in-depth exploration of power of these modules as we look at each one individually. After reviewing Rack 2 Pro, the series moves on to look at more free module libraries by exploring the extensive vintage video game chipset modeling modules of KautenjaDSP.

Episode 01 – Rack 2 Pro, Drum, and Sound Stage Bundle

This episode provides a short overview of what is included with the VCV Rack Pro version. The Pro version can either be purchased on its own or as a bundle including the drum modules and sound stage. VCV Rack, the virtual Eurorack modeling software has a ton of free modules and can be very effective without going for the Pro version, but The Pro does have some perks that are really nice, such as the ability to be loaded as a VST plugin and saved with your DAW’s project file, a chorus, a flanger, a phaser, reverb, and Concolver that sound really goo. The special price bundle that includes the drum machine, drum modules, and sound stage is also a good deal. We take a look at ell these components in this episode is a quick overview.

Episode 02 – The Rack 2 Pro Drum Modules & Drum Machine

In this episode we look at the VCV Drum modules and the drum machine that come with the Rack 2 Pro drum package of modules. One can either buy these modules as part of the Rack 2 Pro bundle where Sound Stage is also included for a total price less than buying them individually, or one can buy the VCV Drum package individually. This review does not judge the sounds, but rather demonstrates them so that one can make up his or her own mind as to whether or not they are worth the cost. There are some slight differences between some of the single modules and the comgined drum machine module, and one can see how to use the Mind Meld mixer to combine the different drums as individual modules. In doing so, one can use different effects on different parts of the drum kit or use aux sends and returns to put varying amounts of an effect on different drums.

Episode 03 – The Chorus, Phaser, and Flanger from Rack 2 Pro

As we tour what comes with the VCV Rack 2 Pro virtual Eurorack modeling software, it is time to look at 3 effects that come with Rack 2 Pro. The chorus, phaser, and flanger all do what they describe, but they do have some interesting parameters that make them somewhat unique. In this episode we take a listen to each one and explain all of the parameters and what they do. These are some powerful modules and are worth taking a look at.

Episode 04 – Rack 2 Pro Reverb, Convolver, and Sound Stage

We are finishing up our tour of what is included in VCV Rack 2 Pro and its drum and sound stage bundle. VCV Rack is a free and open source virtual Eurorack modeling software, but it does have some pro modules and VST functionality for those who pay for the premium version. Still, so much can be done with the free version that one hardly feels held back. Yet, for those who are interested in knowing more about what modules come with the paid version and what they offer, these first few episodes in this 3rd series show just that. In this episode we take an in-depth look at the reverb module, Convolvers, and Sound Stage. It is all about perception of space in this episode and what VCV Rack has to offer in that realm with its Rack 2 Pro modules.

Episode 05 – KautenjaDSP NES Modeling Modules – Pulses & Step Saw

In the second half of this series, we are exploring the KautenjaDSP brand of modules for the virtual Eurorack modeling software, VCV Rack. These free modules are great for modeling vintage video game sounds. Individual modules like Pulses and Step Saw model NES (Nintendo Entertainment System) chipsets. In this episode, we look at Pulses which models the Sunsoft FME-7 chipset and Step Saw, which models the Konami VRC6 chipset. These are powerful tools for achieving that vintage Nintento video game sound.

Episode 06 – KautenjaDSP Palette Town Gameboy & Infinite Stairs NES

Now that we are exploring the KautenjaDSP library of modules for VCV Rack, the virtual Eurorack modeling software system, we are takinga look at some modules that emulate the sound systems for vintage video game sounds. Two modules in this library that emulate some pretty classic sounds are the Palette Town Gameboy emulator and the Infinite Stairs Ricoh 2A03 chip emulator from Nintendo. Palette town allows for two pulse waves, a wavetable waveform, and noise generation. The Infinite Stairs module emits two pulse waves, a triangle wave, and noise. Both can be used to make some pretty classic game sounds.

Episode 07 – KautenjaDSP Atari Pokey Chip Emulator for 1980s Game Sounds

In this episode we continue our tour through the KautenjaDSP brand of modules for VCV Rack. These free modules are a great way to emulate vintage video game sounds ranging from Nintendo NES, SNES, and Gameboy to Sega systems and even Atari. In this episode we look at the module that models the Atari Pokey chip that was utilized in their home entertainment systems as well as their arcade games. This is a free way to make music using classic 1980s video game sounds. We also revisit the Neutrinode module from Sha#Bang~ for executing the 4 tone generators simultaneously.

Episode 08 – KautenjaDSP Mini Boss Sega Mega Drive & Genesis Emulator

As we have been seeing, the KautenjaDSP brand of modules for VCV Rack is full of vintage video game sound emulators. In this episode, we look at the Mini Boss, which is an emulator of the Yamaha YM2612 chipset used in the Sega Mega Drive and Sega Genesis systems. It’s a powerful module that can be used to perform FM synthesis and even with frequency modulation, it can produce some pretty cool sounds. It has a built-in envelope generator that is capable of looping and it has a built in LFO that can be used for vibrato and tremolo. Using its feedback knob, one can generate a wide variety of tones as well as distortion and noise. Since VCV Rack is a free virtual Eurorack modeling system and KautenjaDSP is a set of free modules, one can easily start creating some vintage Sega sounds.

KautenjaDSP Boss Flight YM2612 Sega Genesis FM Synthesis

In this episode and the previous episode we have been looking at the modules from KautenjaDSP for VCV Rack that demulate the sound system from the Sega Mega Drive and Sega Genesis systems. These sound systems were FM synthesizers in the Yamaha YM2612 chipset. The Mini Boss module from the previous episode allows one to lay out multiple instances of the module to make all sorts of FM synthesis carrier and modulator oscillaotr combinations. The Boss Flight module that we look at in this episode has 4 oscillators that can be arranged in different ways to perform FM synthesis based on the algorithm arrangement that you choose. It is a powerful module and anyone who is interested in learning about creating Sega video game sounds or is interested in learning about FM synthesis should check out this episode. VCV Rack, the virtual Eurorack modeling software is free and the KautenjaDSP brand of modules are also free.

Episode 10 – KautenjaDSP NES Wavetable Synthesis Plus SNES ADSR, Delay, a

In this episode, we will look at the remaining modules in the KautenjaDSP library of modules for VCV Rack that are Nintendo Entertainment System oriented. We will look at modules that emulate chipsets from both the NES and SNES. At the heart of the topic is the Namco 163 ewavetable synthesis emulator that is from the NES. We also look at an ADSR, delay, and VCA module that are from the Super Nintendo sound system.

Episode 11 – The KautenjaDSP Mega Tone Sega Sound System Emulator

We finally reach the last module in the KautenjaDSP set of free modules for VCV Rack that models vintage game sounds. The Mega Tone module models the Texas Instruments SN-76489 chipset that was used in the Sega Master, Sega Mega Drive, and Sega Genesis Systems. We explore all of the ins and outs of the module and go a little beyond it with some VCV modules that help to enhance the sounds to try and capture that Sega era of classic game sounds.

Episode 12 – KautenjaDSP Blocks Modeling Mutable Instruments Edges

We are finishing the third series with the final module in KautenjaDSP for VCV Rack that has not been covered thus far. this module is not specifically a game sound emulator like the majority of modules in the library, but rather a module that models the Mutable Instruments Edges physical Eurorack module. This module is called Mega Tone and it has some very interesting tones and noise options in its 4 channels of sound generation. It is a module that can produce some vintage synthesis sounds.