Hopefully by the time Rack 1.0 releases, @sempervirent and I will have a new plugin featuring utilities for polyphonic cables. So far our ideas are
Muxer: combines up to 16 inputs to a single polyphonic output port
Demuxer: converts a polyphonic input to 16 outputs
Unity mixer: unity sums a poly input to a mono output
Rotator: like a sequential switch with N inputs, N outputs, and clock/reset inputs
We’ll probably think of a few more, but before we dive into designs, I’d like to ask the community to imagine that polyphonic cables have been in Rack for years. What poly-related utilities would you expect to use in Rack after many hours of heavy use?
Edit: VCV Poly will be a plugin specifically containing utilities that wouldn’t make sense in monophonic form. In other words, if your idea is an extension of a possible idea for a monophonic module, it should not be added to VCV Poly. This plugin will instead give you the tools for handling polyphonic cables as a new concept by combining, twisting, and expanding the channels so you can integrate them into your workflow.
N channels into one or two. An existing arrangement would involve multiple stereo audio channels being input into a mixer such as Console and then CVs being used to “pick” which stereo pair is output or “moved” to. I’m possibly misunderstanding the intent of polyphonic cables, so ignore if I am.
A poly scope would be nice, though truth be told I have no idea what that would look like. I realize this is something that could justifiably be left to the community, but some sort of reference implementation may prove useful.
While possible using the above mentioned Mux DeMux a module to take 1 poly signal in and 2 out at a given number may prove useful (say I hold 3 notes and the first 3 output on Output-A and any more on Output-B)
Finally, with the addition of Poly I think multi line selects, and ploy-aware copy paste may make sense, as manually routing 16 inputs to 16 outputs may get old. For example, If I could ctrl-click-drag two outputs from a module currently meant for stereo and directly connect them to a single poly-in that would be great. As for poly aware copy/paste I mean this by making it so when pasting a module can be pasted in a way to retain as much I/O as possible. I’m not sure how this would be done to not interfere- maybe holding shift while pasting?
I have absolutely no idea how difficult it would be to implement any of that, but maybe it provided some inspiration.
All of your suggestions are just enhancements to existing monophonic module concepts. VCV Poly will be a plugin specifically containing utilities that wouldn’t make sense in monophonic form. These are reasonable ideas for other plugins but beyond the scope of VCV Poly.
Connected to polyphonic aftertouch (per note aftertouch) would be alternative input modules for things like ROLI devices. I personally make use of both Animoog and Ribbons on iOS (Ribbons is by the Olympia Noise Co. These are both very similar (and have strong parallels to certain ROLI control devices) and allow the artist to modulate their chordal voicings on a per note basis as well as providing polyphonic pitch bend which facilitates Theremin/Ondes Martenot type performances (but obviously polyphonic). This is currently facilitated by 14 Bit midi (NRPNs etc) but this is likely to change as Midi 2.0 rolls out (which promises to greatly simplify high resolution midi - however much like you I haven’t fully read the recently published specification to fully take in it’s implications).
It may be that their are existing modules that facilitate ROLI/Animoog/Ribbons type polyphonic performance control but I haven’t encountered them as yet.
Err, “aftertouch” is not a modular concept. You can say that a signal originated from MIDI aftertouch commands, but it’s just a voltage signal. Anyway, that’s beside the point. The point is that I’m not looking for ideas that are simply N copies of an existing concept. A demuxer for example is notN copies of anything, i.e. it does not operate on N signals independently, so it’s a welcome idea to VCV Poly.
Re-reading the CDM article I just posted to reminds me a little of our interactions over the last 24 hours or so…
That just leaves the missing link – finding a hardware interface you like. ROLI are big advocates, yes, as are some smaller boutique makers. But what if you don’t like those options? (Musicians certainly don’t agree about … anything.)