VCV2 plugin with external hardware

I’m attempting to use the plugin version in Bitwig. The first issue is that the Audio module cannot access any of the Expert Sleepers audio interface’s inputs or outputs. I’m not sure if this is a limitation in Bitwig or the “DAW” mode of the audio module is the only option. This is disappointing because the standalone version lets you hook up to your audio interface ins/outs directly.

I attempted a workaround by setting VCV plugin as an instrument with multiple outputs (8 pairs) and disabled the main output. I then was able to create an audio track, and assign its input to one of the plugin output pairs. I could then send audio or CV out of the plugin that way. This was fine for audio, but the CV values were scaled strangely. I could work around most CV scaling issues using an external VCA. However, the MIDI to CV module produced some rather unexpected V/OCT values. The internal scope module said 0 to 5 volts, but I’m pretty sure I was getting -5 to 5 volts out of the Expert Sleepers module (don’t have an external scope). I had to use Maths to bump the V/OCT signal by at least 3V or more to get my external oscillators to tune to C3, and then scaling was off because Maths is not a precision adder (and I don’t have one). I had to use a VCV scaling module set to 3.12 to get proper octaves. I can’t tell if the MIDI to CV module is off, or the Audio module doesn’t translate CV values as proper DC. It might be both. I’ve used Bitwig’s Hardware CV output and instrument modules in the past, and it could scale the CV to the DC outputs very nicely so I’m pretty sure it’s a VCV problem.

Are there any plans on upgrading the audio module to have access to the audio interface? The primary reason I bought VCV was to supplement my hardware setup. It worked in stand-alone mode in the past. I can’t seem to do that in a DAW with the plugin. Help?

Standalone version doesn’t seem to be much better. The v/oct is about -4 to +4, which is OK? But I know most of my oscillators using only positive voltage ranges. The gate output to my audio interface was +10 volts in the VCV scope but was coming out of my hardware as negative. Can’t tell if I’m doing something wrong, or VCV really isn’t ready for external hardware.

Yes, a lot of us want to be able to do this from the VST, especially with our ES interfaces! Good news–it is going to be added (although there’s an ASIO limitation that may limit it to other drivers on Windows systems):

As to the scaling issues with direct outs, I’ll try this with Bitwig and ES-9 when I get a chance and report back if I find anything useful. I’m sure others have already tried this and may have immediate insights. It doesn’t sound like you’re using Audio-2 (or that DC blocking is your problem), but heads up that if you are it has DC blocking enabled by default (unlike the others).

Huh–that’s more puzzling. Which ES product are you using?

Ah, thanks for the info. I’m using the ES-3 and ES-6 combo connected via ADAT to my MOTU 896HD (my primary audio interface). I’ve had success using this in Ableton and Bitwig, but I typically get v/oct using MIDI from DAW to Minibrute 2S to CV because it doesn’t require any tuning or maintenance, it just works. Every time I tried to use MIDI to CV to ES-3 in my DAW I end up struggling to get the oscillator tuned for various reasons. But it was never so bad as what is coming out of VCV.

At least in standalone mode, the Expert Sleepers’ Calibrator should be used with the ES-8/ES-9 to make sure that “1 Volt in Rack is 1 Volt in the real world”

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@PaulPiko Hey! That might solve my problem! I’ll try it. EDIT: Not sure where I can get a 3V voltage source in my limited external gear and how I can measure it.

I think I got the calibration to work in the stand alone mode. It seemed to track fairly well. I couldn’t get it to work in Bitwig, but I think I was confused with the workaround routings I was using and too tired to make sense of it after trying all day. I may try again soon. Thanks for your help.

Another question about the calibration: how often do you need to do this? Where does the calibration info get saved? In stand alone mode, is this a one and done thing, or every time I create a new project? Same question about the plugin mode.

The calibration info is part of the calibration module’s settings, an example of which you can see below. If you save as a preset template after calibration, every time you add the module from the module browser you will get those saved settings.

  "plugin": "ExpertSleepers-Encoders",
  "model": "ExpertSleepers-Encoders-Calibrator",
  "version": "2.0.0",
  "params": [
      "value": 0.0,
      "id": 0
      "value": 0.0,
      "id": 1
  "data": {
    "in0V": 0.035560131072998047,
    "in3V": 3.0352044105529785,
    "out0V": 0.019612312316894531,
    "out3V": 2.9955112934112549
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So I have to use the ES calibration module in my rack every time? As a kind of data filter between the physical module and VCV? I guess that’s OK, but it’s a tiny bit confusing that this isn’t said specifically.

Expert Sleepers modules are not hardware calibrated - you always need the calibration software for V/Oct work whether it’s the ES modules in Rack or Silent Way software in the DAW.