Sending CV from VCV directly to The Grid (Bitwig)

short demo video where I show how you can achieve some great integration between Rack 2.0 VST and “The Grid” in Bitwig

I show this in a Poly Grid, but obviously can also be used inside the FX Grid

@Omri_Cohen you could have done something similar in your ‘release party’ video, when you wanted to duck the Bitwig audio, based on drums in VCV.

simple stuff, but I hope someone finds it useful and sparks some ideas.


edit: a couple of things I should of mentioned for those not so familiar with Bitwig etc.

  • to get extra outputs for vcv

add audio 16 module in vcv then right click on vcv vst device in Bitwig , and select “add missing chain” this expands all the outputs

  • to split stereo signal in “The Grid”, I use the Mix/Stereo Split module in the Grid to split the stereo to two tracks

  • this method vs midi

I should have pointed out, that this of course is audio rate modulation, so can be used for any type of signal audio or cv, and is sample accurate (or should be :wink: ) … so can be used for things like am/fm , ducking… its also 32bit (compared to using midi which will often be 7bit), so is basically continuous. (so what you would expect of CV vs midi :wink: )

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Thx for this, will check this out!

Nice! I will have a look later!

Nice! Thanks for sharing!

been experimenting more this morning…

  • Bitwig’s Audio Receiver is pretty handy
  • Bitwig’s side-chain input is working nicely on VCV VST, but limited

I’ve also been comparing Bitwig and Live a bit for vcv integration

(tech only, I know M4L and Grid are very different, easy of use etc… not going down that argument, which has been discussed endlessly :wink: )

Bitwig

Features:

  • vcv vst 16 channel audio output
  • grid supports 16 channel input, but only stereo output
  • vcv vst 16 channel midi input and output

Limitations

  • vcv vst only 1 stereo sidechain input (3/4)

Ableton Live

Features:

  • vcv vst 16 channel audio input and output
  • M4L supports 16 channel audio input and output
  • vcv vst 16 channel midi input, single channel output (only)

Limitations:

  • VCV Rack vst is limited single channel midi output

basically Live’s audio handling is better and yes it works for CV as well, I was able to create some interesting Max 4 Live patches taking 16 channels of cv from VCV - I really like this, as its nice to be integrating virtual modulars directly with CV rather bringing it down to ‘old school’ midi.

however, Live is limited (as always) to a single midi channel per track, so if you want to create midi thats a bit limiting, so Bitwig wins for this scenario… useful if you want to have generative multi channel midi. (perhaps if vcv did a midi fx vst enabled for mpe this limitation would be circumvented?!)

of course, the other question all of this raises (and can help workaround these limitations) is, how many VCV Rack instances you run… do you prefer one big VCV patch or lots of smaller ones. if you prefer the latter, then there is less issue. … what’s interesting here, is Live will of course, allow you to send 16 cv signals between each vcv rack!

From my earlier experiments with Little Utils Teleport, it was able to send clock between VST instances - I haven’t properly checked with audio or CV yet - but if that worked it would effectively let you send an infinite amount of CV channels between VCV instances in any DAW (8 per instance of Teleport).

In general I find Live’s single channel midi output from VSTs to be more limiting than Bitwigs’s 4 channel audio input to VSTs. And I guess once Rack VST allow for selection of other audio drivers (which is coming) then you’ll be able to send more channels of audio into Rack that way if you want.

A bit of both - for Rack instruments and FX I like multiple smaller patches. For sending midi and modulation from Rack into the DAW I prefer bigger patches. I’m building a “Wall of Sequencers” for example capable of sequencing 16 separate tracks in Bitwig in multiple different ways.

Perhaps mention in your comparison about Midi CCs from VCV. In Bitwig you have 16 x 128 midi CCs per Rack instance you can use to modulate anything in Bitwig. In Live you once again have the one channel of midi out so that’s 1 X 128 CCs (which would probably be enough :slight_smile: ) except you can’t use them to modulate native Live instruments. There is a workaround for this using a Max4Live device (Manual CC mapper) though so you can get it working if you have Live Suite.

So yeah… Teleport seems to work accurately for CV between instances too:

Unfortunately the effectiveness is dependent on the particular DAW, and possibly some configuration. In Cubase, the communication between Teleport/Rack instances gets buffered and leads to some bit crushing like this:

Wow, I just noticed that the scope color changes based on the cable color. That’s great.

Bitwig users who might be interested:

I created a draft FR on Bitwish (a BW feature request community) to address the 4-channel input limitation. It can now be voted up to try and get some exposure and momentum for making this improvement. Drop by and lend some support to it, if you want!

Also, it’s worth contacting BW support to ask about implementing this. I’m sure most BW Rackers would find getting rid of this problem very useful…

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Good job - Voted!

A question on the side regarding your Stereo SPLIT method. When using the VCV VST with a16ch Audio Interface of VCV, can you route a MONO channel to the VST instead of only STEREO ones?

For example a Kick on Channel 01 and a Clap on Channel 2 will have the Kick left and Clap right now. Any chance of having a single channel return to VST?

Thanks in advance.

interesting, how is this working? are vcv rack instances sharing same address space? … a quick look at the code, makes me raise questions about thread safety ?! its pretty common for daws to place different ‘tracks’ on different cores, so this would be more important than for example using in standalone vcv with one processing thread.

side chains the method I employ, are of course a daw feature so are guaranteed to work :slight_smile:

thats just feature of having 16 midi channels :wink:

whilst I like having midi output for generative features… I really don’t want to modulate via it… thats kind of what we have CV… thats why I love modular. I cannot really see lots of people using a lot of midi cc for this purpose…beyond a few its going to get a bit laborious. also consider that to get midi cc into ‘the grid’ you have to use modulators… Im not every sure you can create 128 modulators, and if even if you can, it take you a long while to actually do it, and make use of it;)

generally, I think the amount of communication between different instances of Poly Grid and VCV instances will be limited…

but hey, we all have different needs at different times. I wasn’t saying Live or Bitwig was better… just they are different.

in terms of M4L/The Grid, they aren’t even really comparable… The Grid is much easier to use, really possible for end-users to use. but M4L can do a ton, that just isn’t possible … eg. I can create my own M4L (binary) objects.

so you pick whatever tool works for you the best for the project you are working on…

so vcv rate vst is declaring these as stereo channels, which is why all hosts are seeing them as stereo rather than mono pairs. (this is not unusual, whist the vst standard supports strereo/mono channels and ‘speaker layout’ its not widely used)

but you can treat them as mono.

(its not really an issue since the daw is throwing around stereo buffers anyway ;))

one interesting point, is that of course you can reuse these outputs across multiple grid instances. you can also of course in one grid access multiple vcv rack instances :slight_smile:

EDIT: I noticed there was another topic talking about the use of Teleport … so Ive posted on that (more specific) topic , why i think its not safe… and Id not recommend it see my post here

Yes, exactly my solution as well. Split up the Patch! Cheers mate.

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cool…

I think the wider topic of how to use these different modular environments is absolutely fascinating :slight_smile:

when do we use VCV Rack , vs using The Grid (or even Max 4 Live), they all have their pros and cons. … and Rack VST has made it so much easier to combine.

Im also interfacing all this to my eurorack (via a Percussa SSP), so my head is spinning with ideas and possiblities at the moment !

I know Omri says ‘Reverb is Life’ … but I say ‘CV is the Life Blood of modular’

so how do I isolate all those mid cc so that i can use them once sent out of bitwogs midi cc device? how can I visualize them as midi cc in bitwigm

Really cool!

I was watching this yesterday. The problem he had was that the midi wasn’t being passed through Rack, similar to how if you put Rack FX on an audio channel and don’t route the input to output in Rack you get no sound, it’s the same with midi. Another way would be to just route the midi through, then you can use the sidechaining as Omri was expecting/hoping to:

yeah, only midi fx plugins pass thru midi… so we need a new vst for that.

however, I thought from my memory of the video… the underlying thing Omri was trying to do in the video was duck the audio on the 2nd vcv rack instance from the first, and he chose to use midi automation to do this - whereas he could have used an audio output from vcvrack #1 , and then side chained that into vcvrack 2… (or something like that , its been a while since I watched that video :slight_smile: )

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