We’ve talked to Spektro Audio’s Ícaro Ferre in a previous newsletter article, but this is a good opportunity to discuss one of his flagship projects: CV Toolkit. Made with Max, this is a modular front-end for your modular-to-computer hybrid system, and can actually speed up your ability to interact with your modular while you sharpen your Max/Modular skills.
Spektro Audio’s product is based off one simple fact: if you have a DC-coupled audio interface, you can send static (or slowly-moving) audio and it will be treated like standard CV voltages. You’ll need a DC-coupled audio interface to make it fly (such as the Expert Sleepers ES modules or almost any MOTU device), but the result is pretty effective. And while you can create similar functions in Max, the convenience provided by the CV Toolkit can get you started with CV experimentation very quickly.
This system presents a 4x5 grid of processors, generators and routers that emulate a lot of the kinds of utility modules that you will typically have in your system - but might not have wanted to spend the money (or HP) to place in your system. The base package provides clocks, LFOs, envelopes, sequencers and notes generators, while add-on packages focus on beats (with additional gating and clocking functional blocks) or extended modular functions (advanced logic, MIDI controls and even a peculiar LFO based off the VBrazil MultiLFO).
I’m going to go out on a ledge here and make a request for the next expansion: input handling! Now that I’m rockin’ the ES-8, I’d love to be able to pipe CV in from my modular and use that for further manipulation of the system.
Implemented as a standalone application, the CV Toolkit application is a great way to access a ton of modular functions and routing while coexisting with Max, Live or any other software. If you want to test drive the whole audio-to-CV concept - and if you are a Max for Live user - you can also try out the free CV Toolkit Mini, which is a feature limited (but still super-useful) Max for Live device that features a clock, LFO, S&H, envelope and utility combo along with a nice matrix router.
With a free Max for Live device, and the full package available for only US$19.99, it seems a ridiculous to not take this for a test spin. Even fully loaded with all the optional packs, a maxed-out CV Toolkit system costs less than US$45 - far less than even the cheapest standard module. Pair this up with an ES-8 (or any DC-coupled audio device) and you can greatly extend your modular system in an eyeblink.