Written by Sam Wolk
Table of Contents
- Standard Mode
- Edit Modes
- Clock/CV Switch
- Clock Mode
Standard Mode is active when none of the Edit Modes are active - i.e. none of the push-toggle LEDs are illuminated. Standard Mode is used for creating sequences, either on a step-by-step basis or by live-recording Slider changes in real-time.
- Each Slider corresponds to a separate sequence, 1-8 (in fact, this is true in all modes).
- Each Step Button corresponds to a single step in a sequence.
- Press and hold a Step Button and then move a Slider (while still holding the Step Button) to set the CV value for that step of the given Slider's sequence. While holding a Step Button, Voltage Block will temporarily set all outputs to be equal to each sequence's value for that step, though the clock will continue advancing in the background.
- Press and hold any number of Step Buttons to arpeggiate the selected steps while in Clock mode (all other steps are skipped).
- Moving a Slider while not pressing any Step Buttons will overwrite the active step for that Slider's sequence with the new Slider value. The Slider will illuminate to indicate a new value has been overwritten. As such, when sequencers are advancing, moving Sliders will overwrite each step, allowing you to record "automation" changes (especially effective when coupled with Smoothing - see below). When Sliders are not in motion, no changes are recorded.
Edit Modes are controlled by the 6 translucent push-toggles. Only one mode is accessible at a time. Pushing any of the push-toggles will activate the indicated mode. While any mode is active, the associated push-toggle will be illuminated. Pushing the push-toggle again will exit the active mode. Pushing another push-toggle will immediately jump to that mode.
Shift Mode changes the functionality of the Step Buttons, allowing you to select certain sequences for editing in the other modes and apply transformations to the selected sequences while still in Shift Mode. Slider automation can also be recorded in Shift Mode.
- While in Shift Mode, the first row of Step Buttons (1-8) now controls which sequences are selected for editing. When all 8 LEDs are illuminated, all sequences are selected. Pressing one of the buttons will select only that sequence and deselect the other sequences, indicated by the corresponding LED remaining illuminated and the other LEDs turning off. Pressing the same button again will reselect all sequences. The selected sequences will be affected by changes performed in Shift Mode and in the other Edit Modes, as well as by the Divide knob.
- While in Shift Mode, the second row of Step Buttons (9-16) now applies transformations to the selected sequences.
- Clear removes all stored CV values at every step in the selected sequences.
- Forward, Reverse, Pendulum and Random Sequence all control the direction of motion for the selected sequences as they progress from step to step (no effect in CV Mode).
- Smooth enters the Smooth page for the selected sequences. The Step Buttons once again correspond to sequence steps. Pressing a button activates Smoothing for that step, and the associated LED will illuminate. Whenever the selected sequences reach that step, the associated CV output will smoothly glide (slew) to the recorded CV value.
- Freeze will freeze all selected sequences at their current voltage, even if they are currently Gliding from one step to the next.
- Random will randomize the voltages for all steps in the selected sequences.
- While in Shift Mode, moving a Slider will overwrite the active steps, as in Standard Mode, with the added possibility of recording Sliders that are not in motion, allowing for sustained pitches.
Length Mode changes the functionality of the Step Buttons, allowing you to set a sequence length of 1-16 steps for the selected sequences (as determined by Shift Mode).
- While in Length Mode, the Step Buttons set the length of the selected sequences. Pressing the first Step Button will set the length of the selected sequences to 1 step, while pushing the 16th Step Button will set the length of the selected sequences to 16 steps. The length of the selected sequences will be indicated by a single illuminated LED over the corresponding Step Button.
Scale Mode changes the functionality of the Sliders. Moving a Slider now sets a Scale for that Slider's sequence, restricting the CV output values to notes from the selected scale. The currently selected Scale for the most recently moved Slider is indicated by which LED is illuminated. See below for the index of scales.
- Major Pentatonic
- Minor Pentatonic
- Double Harmonic
Mute Mode changes the functionality of the Step Buttons, allowing you to mute and unmute the CV output for the selected sequences using the first row of Step Buttons (1-8).
- Individual steps in the selected sequences can also be muted. To mute individual steps, press any of buttons in the second row of Step Buttons (9-16), which will enter the Step Mute page for the selected sequences. The Step Buttons once again correspond to sequence steps. Pressing a button will mute that step: whenever the selected sequences reach that step, 0V will be output.
Save and Recall Modes
Save Mode and Recall Mode changes the functionality of the Step Buttons, allowing you to store and recall Voltage Block's entire state into or from one of the 16 slots.
- Simply press and hold Save/Recall and then the desired Step Button for which of the 16 slots you would like to write into or read from.
The Clock/CV Switch determines how the module decides when to switch steps. In Clock Mode, clock pulses will advance the sequencer, while in CV Mode, voltage will index the active step.
In Clock Mode, each sequence will advance based off of incoming clock pulses according to three parameters:
- The motion type, as determined by the selection of Forward/Reverse/Pendulum/Random. See Shift Mode for setting the motion type for each sequence.
- The clock division, as set by the Divide knob. To set a clock division for any sequence, first use Shift Mode to select the desired sequences, then exit Shift Mode. Once you are back in Standard Mode, adjusting the Divide knob will move a single illuminated LED around the Step Buttons, indicating the clock division for the selected sequences.
- When a sequence's clock division is set to 1, the sequence will advance one step (according to motion type) after every incoming clock pulse.
- When a sequence's clock division is set to 2, the sequence will advance one step (according to motion type) for every two incoming clock pulses.
- When a sequence's clock division is set to 3, the sequence will advance one step (according to motion type) for every three incoming clock pulses.
- The Reset/Hold input will reset all sequences to the first step whenever the input gate goes high.
In CV Mode, the active step is determined by incoming CV, rather than advancing via clock pulses. Voltage Block continuously checks the CV input and decides what step to go to based off of the input voltage. Low voltages correspond to lower numbered steps, while higher voltages correspond to higher steps. When a constant voltage is sent into the CV input, Voltage Block will thus remain at the step indicated by the voltage. Sending an LFO into the CV input will cause Voltage Block to scroll back and forth across the steps according to the LFOs value.
- The Offset knob adds to the incoming voltage. It thus sets which step is active when 0V is sent to the CV input, or when nothing is patched.
- The Attenuate knob attenuates the incoming voltage, thus setting the range of steps which the incoming voltage can sweep through.
- The Reset/Hold input will freeze Voltage Block at the current step when the input gate goes high, regardless of the incoming CV.
Sequence motion types are ignored, as is sequence length.
It helps when working with a module like the Voltage block to have an initialization state so that you can start from a blank, easy to understand slate every time. The below process will walk you through creating this blank slate and saving it to a preset slot so that you can quickly recall the blank slate whenever you would like.
Creating the Initialization State
- Unpatch all cables from Voltage Block.
- Set the switch to Clock Mode.
- Set all Sliders to minimum.
- Press Shift to enter Shift Mode.
- Make sure all LEDs in the first row are illuminated, indicating that all sequences are selected. If only one of them is illuminated, tap that one again to select all 8 immediately.
- Press Clear to clear all sequences. NB: All the other steps after this should have been taken care of already by pressing Clear but it is still good to double check!
- Press Forward to set all sequences to forward motion.
- Press Smooth to enter the Smoothing page for all sequences; make sure none of the 16 LEDs are illuminated (Smoothing is inactive for all steps).
- Press Length to enter Length Mode. Press the 16th Step Button to make sure the sequence length is set to 16 for all sequences.
- Press Mute to enter Mute Mode. Make sure all 8 LEDs in the first row are illuminated, indicating that none of the sequences are muted.
- Press Scale to enter Scale Mode. Move each Slider briefly up and then down to its minimum, checking to make sure that the first LED is illuminated, indicating that the unquantized scale is active for that Slider's sequence.
- Exit Scale mode.
- Set the Divide knob to its minimum (fully CCW) so that all sequences are set to no clock division (i.e. they will advance one step for every incoming clock pulse).
- Press the 1st Step Button to set the sequence to its start.
- Press and hold Save followed by the 16th Step Button to save your blank slate into preset slot 16.
Recalling the Initialization State
- Unpatch all cables from Voltage Block.
- Set the switch to Clock Mode.
- Set all Sliders to their minimum.
- Press and hold Recall followed by the 16th Step Button to recall your previously stored blank slate.