VCV Rack Instruments & Effects Title Screen
January 27, 2024

New Series: VCV Rack Instruments & Effects

Want to Make Great Sounds to be Used as Virtual Instruments or sound Effects?

This series focuses on building different types of sounds that can be used as instruments in music production or as sound effects for a wide variety of purposes. Most of the instruments and effects that are developed in this series are free modules from the VCV Rack community library. VCV Rack is free and open source software that can run on Mac, Windows, and Linux. With such a large library of modules from VCV as well as a large community of developers, the possibilities of sound creation are endless.

Thus far, 5 episodes have been released. All episodes will be kept in one playlist. The YouTube and OdySee playlists will be kept in chronological order, while the playlists on the VCV Rack Instruments & Effects page here at The Wayfarer Project, will be kept in reverse order with the most recent episode presented first in the list.

Episode 005 – Ambient Rhythms: Sequencer, Percussion, and Delay from mscHack

There are a few modules int he mscHack brand within the overall VCV Rack community library that are great for making ambient rhythms. In this episode we see how to use the 32 Step accent sequencer that has 16 program slots with the clock generator from mscHack. We use this sequencer to drive the percussion module that has tones and noise that can be sculpted into ambient percussion sounds. Additionally, we look at the Windz and Dronez modules that create wind sounds and intriguing drone timbres respectively. We look at various configurations using the mixers and the delay modules from this library as well. These are great free tools for making ambient rhythms and patterns.

This episode uses the following module brands:

Episode 004 – Making a 90s Trance Drum and Bass Pattern Player Groove Machine

We are going to continue along the path of working with patterns and sequences in VCV Rack. In this episode, we look at how to make a 90s trance style pattern player or groove machine that utilizes drums and bass. The patch that we make in this episode allows one to play a drum sequence by holding down a key on the keyboard while playing a bass note at the same time. One can play different notes on the keyboard and have the sequence reset and the bass play the note being held. Likewise, the overall sound can be affected by the modulation wheel. The patch that we make in this episode allows one to use the modulation wheel to affect the filter’s cut off frequency, the envelope’s release time, and the sound’s timbre and color settings. We are getting closer to achieving the functionality of the Rebirth RB-338 that was requested by one of our viewers.

This episode uses the following module brands:

Episode 003 – Making Bass Patterns with a Sample and Hold or an Arpeggiator

Sometimes its nice to just play some keys on the keyboard and have a cool bass pattern come out. In this episode, we look at how that can be done with a Sample and Hold. We utilize the sample and hold from the VCV library along with the step sequencer in order to make a pattern that is locked into pitch with the quantize from VCV. We can then set the filtering settings in the sequencer so that there is a pattern to the changes in cut off frequency reminiscent of the Rebirth RB-338. Additionally, we lok at a simpler approach that utilizes an arpeggiator. We try out both the Hampton Harmonics arpeggiator and the one from Sha#Bang!

Episode 002 – 3 Fat Square Bass Sounds – VCV, Befaco, and Audible Instruments

In this episode we learn how to make a square base sound using the free virtual Eurorack modeling software, VCV Rack. We cover the principles in making a square bass sound with a sine sub bass and two chorused square oscillator. We then look at applying effects to the sound using the modulation wheel to control both a low pass filter, resonance of that filter, and the pulse width modulation of the square oscillators. Finally, we compare 3 different patches that use different brands of modules. We compare the sound using the VCV brand, the Befaco brand (with a Sickvell filter), and the audible instruments brand. Which one do you prefer? Leave a comment and let us know.

This episode uses the following module brands:

  • Befaco
  • RPJ (Accidentally referred to as Sickozell in episode)

Episode 001 – Random Number Sci Fi Computer Beep Sound

In this first episode of VCV Rack Instruments & Effects, we look at how to make the random computer beep sound from many older Sci Fi movies and TV shows. We look at how to generate random frequency values in VCV Rack and then how to shape the range of frequencies to customize the sound. We try different techniques and modules to hear different flavors of the sound. Some of the sounds come from the 60s, some from the 70s, and some from the 90s. We listen tot he VCV VCO for a more classic sound. We then listen to the KautenjaDSP Mega Tone for the Sega Genesis type of sound. Finally we utilize the Audible Instruments Macro Oscillator and find a really nice vintage Sci Fi film sound. Along the way, we look at how to focus the range of frequencies, envelope them, and slew them for different kinds of effects on the sound.

This episode uses the following module brands: