Volta First Impressions

Discussion and support for MOTU's Volta software.

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Volta First Impressions

Post by bar|none » Wed May 06, 2009 11:28 am

I started playing with Volta last night. I was able to easily watch the video and configure the routing in Ableton Live 8 according to instruction.

I have 2 volta audio tracks
- Sending cv 1/2 to 2 audio 5/6 on my Motu Ultralite MK3
- Sending cv 3/4 to 2 audio 7/8 on my Motu Ultralite MK3

This was straightforward.

Next the Volta plugin is in a midi track that I am controlling with a midi keyboard.

I was able to add my first voice with 1 envelope set to GATE to output 1/2 in Volta.

I was then able to calibrate the first oscillator on my Cwejman VCO-2RM using a sine wave output.

I will say that already I have some interface gripes as it definitely is non-intuitive in some places, but ok I can learn and live with that no problem.

So now am I calibrated, I can play with voice 1 no problem all is good.

Here's where things go wrong. I try to add a second voice (1 gate as well) to output 3/4 slots.

I try to calibrate this 2nd oscillator on my cwejman VCO-2RM. Ok, first of all, I can't select the same audio input as a source for the calibration audio coming back. I figure out that I can switch back to my voice 1 calibration and change to "manual" calibration and it keeps my settings while releasing my audio inout for calibration with the second voice.

I try to calibrate. For some reason, it has a little more difficulty here. It doesn't calibrate sine, but it does fine and I get success with a saw.

Here's where I am totally at a loss and I've tried everything I can think of. No matter what I do, I can't get voice 2 to change the pitch CV coming out of cv 3. It tracks fine with the first voice but voice 2 sends a constant tone on cv 3. It does not track as it should with the midi note. BTW, I do see a cv being sent on cv 3 but it is constant and does not track. Also, the gate is not being sent at all on cv 4 so seems voice 1 and 2 are not being triggered together by the midi note.

Ok, screen shots attached. I don't know if it's ok to sort things out on this forum, but I think this kind of feedback will help others.
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Last edited by bar|none on Wed May 06, 2009 7:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Volta First Impressions + Need Help

Post by stretta » Wed May 06, 2009 12:19 pm

Ok, first of all, I can't select the same audio input as a source for the calibration audio coming back.
No, volta calibrates all oscillators simultaneously. Each oscillator needs to feed back into volta to calibrate. If you've calibrated an oscillator and wish to disable it from future calibration procedures, set it to manual. It will retail the calibration profile and free the input to be used elsewhere.
I try to calibrate. For some reason, it has a little more difficulty here. It doesn't calibrate sine, but it does fine and I get success with a saw.
You could also simply load the calibration profile from the other oscillator if you like. The sine should work, though. The fact that the saw works and the sine doesn't smells like a output level issue, but there are many possibly points of failure. Use the preview function to hear what is coming in the calibration input. Note: preview will pass all calibration inputs at the same time.
Here's where I am totally at a loss and I've tried everything I can think of. No matter what I do, I can't get voice 2 to change the pitch CV coming out of cv 3. It tracks fine with the first voice but voice 2 sends a constant tone on cv 3. It does not track as it should with the midi note.
Have a look at the calibration profile in manual mode. If it is a straight line, then it didn't calibrate. Does it say 'calibrated' ? Do you see output on the audio interface? Try coping the profile from 1, and see if that helps.

Edit: sorry - images were not loading. I see your profile now.

The second calibration profile looks good, so that much is apparent. The signal isn't getting to your modular, though.

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Post by bar|none » Wed May 06, 2009 12:23 pm

Yes, see screenshot VoltaCVTracks.jpg

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Post by stretta » Wed May 06, 2009 12:27 pm

Instead of trying polyphony, let's simply test to see if you can get CV out of that second output.

Delete the second voice and option drag the pitch CV of the original to make a copy. Does this work? Or, you could also try an LFO.

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Post by bar|none » Wed May 06, 2009 12:34 pm

That's it!

I didn't understand that you option drag to copy the first voice. I was not going for polyphony. I thought voice 2 would track to voice 1 if "polyphony" option was unchecked. Now we are good.

Thanks stretta

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Post by stretta » Wed May 06, 2009 12:42 pm

Thanks stretta
Heh. Have fun.

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Post by bar|none » Wed May 06, 2009 7:09 pm

Ok, now I'm having fun and getting the hang of this. Once you get the concept behind the UI it's pretty easy.

Check this out, I just calibrated my Plan-B M37 LFO as an Oscillator. Note that I have never been able to make this track better than pushing a wet noodle upstream from behind.

But Volta calibrated it and I just gained another oscillator that is tracking beautifully. Calibration graph attached. You can see the difference in range between it and a real Oscillator like the Cwejman. Not bad, but since I couldn't follow Peters manual calibration instructions on the forum, this is pretty useful to get me up and running.

I can see where this is going. I am gonna be spending money on more audio outs. Probably another utralite mk3, and on VCAs. I just added a 132-3 to my 6U which makes 7 vcas in a standard 6U case if we count the QMMG.

This is good. Anyone want to buy a Kenton PRO Solo and an A-170 Slew Limiter? Posting them soon.

[edit] the slope looks shallower than the Cewjmans doesn't it. I bet that means it's not tracking volt octave even though it is a straight line.
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Post by Montag » Wed May 06, 2009 9:20 pm

Can this work with a Buchla or banana systems in general? Would it just need homebrew 1/4" to banana cables or would there be a grounding issue?

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Post by bar|none » Wed May 06, 2009 9:30 pm

Check out the video of Volta with the Buchla. There is also mention of Serge. I don't know the specifics though of how you use it with banana cables. Also each audio interface has different voltage ranges so you need to make sure the one you have can drive it.

http://motu-volta.blogspot.com/

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Post by alt-mode » Wed May 06, 2009 9:35 pm

Montag wrote:Can this work with a Buchla or banana systems in general? Would it just need homebrew 1/4" to banana cables or would there be a grounding issue?
Two separate questions:

- Banana systems in general: yes. I would recommend using an interface panel like the Modcan 25a that has 1/4" and banana jacks and connects the 1/4" ground to the banana system ground.

- Buchla systems: yes too but it is a bit more complicated. Buchla systems use 1.2V/oct and like only positive voltages. In order to get enough positive voltage range, it is recommended you use a MOTU 896 or 896HD interface with some special cables that get a large enough positive voltage range. There have been words written about this elsewhere on the forum.

Eric

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Post by Montag » Wed May 06, 2009 9:44 pm

alt-mode wrote:
Montag wrote:Can this work with a Buchla or banana systems in general? Would it just need homebrew 1/4" to banana cables or would there be a grounding issue?
Two separate questions:

- Banana systems in general: yes. I would recommend using an interface panel like the Modcan 25a that has 1/4" and banana jacks and connects the 1/4" ground to the banana system ground.

- Buchla systems: yes too but it is a bit more complicated. Buchla systems use 1.2V/oct and like only positive voltages. In order to get enough positive voltage range, it is recommended you use a MOTU 896 or 896HD interface with some special cables that get a large enough positive voltage range. There have been words written about this elsewhere on the forum.

Eric
Thanks for this info... I'll dig around for what's been discussed already. If I got this I'd be connecting a Buchla 100 using a MOTU Traveler... Hopefully the Traveler has enough +v. What special cables would have enough positive voltage?

Otherwise, I'm excited to saying goodbye to MIDI and do some serious Max logic hacking. :party:

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Post by 1nput0utput » Thu May 07, 2009 8:29 am

Montag wrote:
alt-mode wrote:
Montag wrote:Can this work with a Buchla or banana systems in general? Would it just need homebrew 1/4" to banana cables or would there be a grounding issue?
Two separate questions:

- Banana systems in general: yes. I would recommend using an interface panel like the Modcan 25a that has 1/4" and banana jacks and connects the 1/4" ground to the banana system ground.

- Buchla systems: yes too but it is a bit more complicated. Buchla systems use 1.2V/oct and like only positive voltages. In order to get enough positive voltage range, it is recommended you use a MOTU 896 or 896HD interface with some special cables that get a large enough positive voltage range. There have been words written about this elsewhere on the forum.

Eric
Thanks for this info... I'll dig around for what's been discussed already. If I got this I'd be connecting a Buchla 100 using a MOTU Traveler... Hopefully the Traveler has enough +v. What special cables would have enough positive voltage?

Otherwise, I'm excited to saying goodbye to MIDI and do some serious Max logic hacking. :party:
According to the Volta documentation, the original Traveler's back panel analog outputs produce ±3VDC.

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Post by Plan B » Thu May 07, 2009 11:55 am

Model 37.

The wet noodle line was great, btw,,,very funny, must use that later.

The Model 37 tracking errors are happening for one reason: I've yet to publish the information on the web site on how to do it. It has ben mentioned on the Plan B blog a few times, my bad totally.

there are two trim pots on the model 37. The one closest to the outside of the board adjusts the Triangle wave symmetry. This is adjusted at the factory. the second trimmer controls the VC in attenuator. We set it up at the factory as wekl, but is very sensitive to the particulars of the PSU driving it.

Is this a flaw? I don't see it as one. The Model 37 is an LFO. In the end and because it could, I did however change component values to through it into super audio ranges and can be adjusted for three or so octaves of tracking. But if it marketed as a VCO or at best a Utility VCO, i think three octaves is poor performance. So think of this feature as a bonus of sorts. It'

SO get your 1V/octs, conect the putpiut of your midi to CV into the VC in and throw the attenuator pot fully CW. Then adjust the trimmer so that you're seeing largest range of tracking. In the future and once that's done, throwing the VC input fully CW should take you back to that setting.

- P

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Post by xpander » Thu May 07, 2009 2:25 pm

alt-mode wrote:Buchla systems use 1.2V/oct and like only positive voltages. In order to get enough positive voltage range, it is recommended you use a MOTU 896 or 896HD interface with some special cables that get a large enough positive voltage range.
tell me more about these "special cables." i have volta & picked up several 200e modules yesterday from some old guy in berkeley.

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Post by xpander » Thu May 07, 2009 2:30 pm

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Post by alt-mode » Thu May 07, 2009 3:00 pm

xpander wrote: tell me more about these "special cables." i have volta & picked up several 200e modules yesterday from some old guy in berkeley.
Look at this thread topic

Congrats on getting some 200e modules!

Eric

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Post by xpander » Thu May 07, 2009 3:26 pm

ah yes- i thought there might be some new wisdom floating around.

the buchla stuff is really fun, but tomorrow is the first day i have to really toy around with it & finally install Volta.

:party:

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Post by brandon daniel » Thu May 07, 2009 3:27 pm

xpander wrote: the buchla stuff is really fun, but tomorrow is the first day i have to really toy around with it & finally install Volta.
Felix and I will be right over to, uh, "help out".
MOAR EURO

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Post by xpander » Thu May 07, 2009 3:50 pm

brandon daniel wrote:
xpander wrote: the buchla stuff is really fun, but tomorrow is the first day i have to really toy around with it & finally install Volta.
Felix and I will be right over to, uh, "help out".
:hihi:

it's still small- a mere 7 modules now in the big 18u cabinet. plans to order 5 more modules later this month, though. at least the modules are functionally dense, it's a lot to play with.

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Post by Plan B » Thu May 07, 2009 4:55 pm

Model 37.

The wet noodle line was great, btw,,,very funny, must use that later.

The Model 37 tracking errors are happening for one reason: I've yet to publish the information on the web site on how to do it. It has ben mentioned on the Plan B blog a few times, my bad totally.

there are two trim pots on the model 37. The one closest to the outside of the board adjusts the Triangle wave symmetry. This is adjusted at the factory. the second trimmer controls the VC in attenuator. We set it up at the factory as wekl, but is very sensitive to the particulars of the PSU driving it.

Is this a flaw? I don't see it as one. The Model 37 is an LFO. In the end and because it could, I did however change component values to through it into super audio ranges and can be adjusted for three or so octaves of tracking. But if it marketed as a VCO or at best a Utility VCO, i think three octaves is poor performance. So think of this feature as a bonus of sorts. It'

SO get your 1V/octs, conect the putpiut of your midi to CV into the VC in and throw the attenuator pot fully CW. Then adjust the trimmer so that you're seeing largest range of tracking. In the future and once that's done, throwing the VC input fully CW should take you back to that setting.

- P

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Post by bar|none » Thu May 07, 2009 10:31 pm

Thanks for the response Peter and for the detailed steps. That makes a lot more sense now.

Eventually I will do the manual calibration, but since Volta is doing the dirty work for me at the moment. I will bask in the glory that this is tracking like a hound dog on a fox hunt now.

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Post by hpsounds » Sun May 10, 2009 7:14 am

Thanks bar|none for your Volta first impressions and Stretta for your deep informations.

Could someone here help me to understand Volta more clearly ?
:help:

If I use 2 or 3 different oscillators for a monophonic sound, should I used 3 analog outs (1 for each "calibrated" OSC) ? Is it done by duplicating the V1P icon 2 more times, select a calibration file for each of the oscillators, and select an analog output for each one from my audio interface ?

If I want to tune these 3 oscillators to play something like a chord, is the offset parameter in the V1P settings the good one ?

Some more questions : what is the longest period for a MIDI "syncable" LFO in Volta ?

Thanks for your help !
:tu:

Hédi K.
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Post by bar|none » Sun May 10, 2009 10:46 am

If I use 2 or 3 different oscillators for a monophonic sound, should I used 3 analog outs (1 for each "calibrated" OSC) ? Is it done by duplicating the V1P icon 2 more times, select a calibration file for each of the oscillators, and select an analog output for each one from my audio interface ?
Yes, that is how you do it. "Option" drag the first voice to the other 2 slots, if they are going to different oscillators, calibrate each one separately. Caliobrate them in the slot you will be using since different audio outs may need slightly different calibration.
If I want to tune these 3 oscillators to play something like a chord, is the offset parameter in the V1P settings the good one ?
If you are tuning them for a monophonic sound but one up an octave and cents, one down and octave and some cents you use offset.
Most volta parameters stay the same for each voice but you are able to enter different offsets for each one. You can click-drag in the offset box on the digit you want to change such as cents or semitones.

If you want to play chords by actually using polyphony on your midi keyboard, that is different. You need a new voice for each slot.
Some more questions : what is the longest period for a MIDI "syncable" LFO in Volta ?
I don't know this.

I forgot to say that I absolutely love volta now, so that is my first end impression after a few days.

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Post by stretta » Sun May 10, 2009 7:56 pm

Some more questions : what is the longest period for a MIDI "syncable" LFO in Volta ?
16 bars at whatever tempo. I figured anything longer than that you'd want to use a ramp anyway.

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Post by persi74 » Wed Dec 23, 2015 8:52 am

I can open a new topic on volta,i'm working on live 8.4.2...motu 828 mk3 hybrid..i'm old user of live and other sequencer,when i open volta the software interface don't show me any number ,Analog 8 to 24 ..just output,in the channels of live i'm able to to rout to differnts outuput in my motu interfave..bit volta just cv out,..i load a screen shot..thank you and happy christmas .[/img]

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