Free Software Modular Synthesizer For Mac & Windows, Voltage Nucleus

Cherry Audio has introduced Voltage Modular Nucleus, a free modular synthesizer for Mac & Windows.

Here’s what they have to say about it:

In honor of our Year One Anniversary Celebration, Cherry Audio is very proud to introduce Voltage Modular Nucleus – absolutely FREE for a limited time! This collection of 22 modules and 67 presets is the ultimate introduction to modular synthesis. This package includes all of the fundamentals of subtractive analog synthesis, including oscillators, filters, envelope generators, amplifiers, and mixers, plus a sequencer, arpeggiator, and a full suite of useful utility modules and powerful effects modules.

With Voltage Modular Nucleus, you can discover the thrill of patching modules together in new and endlessly creative ways, and explore all of the capabilities of Voltage Modular, absolutely free.

Included modules:

  • Amplifier
  • Arpeggiator
  • Attenuverter
  • Bend Limiter
  • Delay
  • Distortion
  • Dual VU Meter
  • Eight-Step Sequencer
  • Envelope Generator
  • Filter
  • Glide
  • Mini LFO
  • Mod Wheel Assistant
  • Multiple
  • Noise Generator
  • Oscillator
  • Oscilloscope
  • Ring Modulator
  • Sample and Hold
  • Six-Input Mixer
  • Spring Reverb
  • Sync Divider

It’s available as a free download for a limited time.

18 thoughts on “Free Software Modular Synthesizer For Mac & Windows, Voltage Nucleus

  1. Fantastic stuff. Got this and am going to purchase the PSP bundle and a few other modules whilst the sale is on.
    I prefer the interface to VCV rack thus far too.

  2. Seems like a little too late for these guys. Free… for a limited time? But then the price is listed at $115 on their website. Meanwhile you get VCV Rack with hundreds or maybe thousands of plugins for the low, low price of zero dollars with no proprietary functionality or hidden code.

    Cherry Audio has less than 200 followers on Twitter while VCV has nearly 6,000… you decide which software and which business model has become more effective.

    1. And VCV Rack comes with performance problems, compatibility issues and the problem of abandonware modules. And the ‘low price of zero dollars’ of VCV Rack gets you basic modules and repurposed open source code – most of the more advanced VCV Rack modules are commercial ones.

      There’s a place for both commercial, free and open modules. This has proven out time and time again in the world of open software in the business world, where there are billions of dollars spent related to free and open software, because people have a business need for applications to be easy to use and stable.

      When it comes to these software modulars, I really wish that Cherry Audio could embrace and extend VCV, because there’s a lot that superior in the Voltage Modular platform. There will always be 10-20 hobbyists for every 1 person that is willing to pay for a piece of software, and so if the commercial software can help drive development of open platforms, everybody wins.

      1. What kind of performance problems? Which compatibility issues? (I have yet to experience any.) Which modules have been “abandoned” and what problems do these cause? What do you mean by “basic” modules? (There seems to be everything under the sun… start with the Mutable Instruments ports.) Open Source code – is that a problem? The few commercial modules are very reasonably priced, meanwhile over 1000 are available totally free. I feel sorry for Cherry as well as Reaktor Blocks but VCV is killing it.

        1. CB – are you new to VCV Rack? Your questions are ones that have come up a lot in the VCV forums.

          VCV Rack doesn’t make use of multi-core processors, so it chokes when your high-end quad core processor is at 25%.

          Voltage runs AU, VST, VST3, and Pro Tools AAX formats, and standalone, which means that it’s compatible with just about everything, unlike VCV.

          There was a lot of discussion when VCV 1.0 was released about developers abandoning modules developed over the last couple of years. The developers basically said that the commercial market hasn’t really panned out for VCV developers yet. The impact for users is that some people bought a lot of premium VCV Rack modules that are orphaned after a year.

          And, while VCV Rack is free, their premium modules are $30 a pop, so if you buy 4 VCV Rack modules, you’ve already spent more than the maxed-out version of Voltage.

          I’m noting these things not to trash VCV, because VCV is an extremely impressive open source project. But the free/open source model does have practical limitations, and these are definitely easy to see with VCV, at least for anybody that’s paying attention.

          In the long run, the most successful open source projects are ones that have a really strong commercial model, and it doesn’t seem like that is there for VCV yet.

          1. iMan – have you seen the VCV website lately?
            “Multi-core engine. Use multiple CPU threads to maximize the number of modules.”

            Furthermore, looking at the Voltage Bundles page shows a “maxed out” Voltage would cost considerably more than four paid VCV modules – I stopped counting after a thousand dollars.

            There may be one or two people out there who would disagree that a successful open source project needs a strong commercial model. More than a few are concerned with audio synthesis, see Pd, Supercollider, Audacity…

            1. Also, as if closed software didn’t have abandonware – where any development effort is abandoned and only sales go on.

  3. I will try it but these “absolutely FREE for a limited time” make think more about investing more of my time with VCV.

  4. It might be time to bring out thoughtful comparisons between software modular systems from Cherry Audio, VCV, Pure Data, Cycling ‘74, Softube, Propellerheads, Tracktion, and Native Instruments. It might even be useful to throw in Bitwig’s offering, as it’s a very elaborate system, fully integrated in a DAW with first-class MPE support, full connections to hardware (CV, etc.), extensive modulation, and Linux support. (I really enjoy Bitwig.)

    Something to point out about Cherry Audio’s current lineup is that they’re clearly experimenting with pricing. There’s an Ignite version that is allegedly supposed to cost 100$ but has mostly been 50% off since release. And there’s a flagship Core version at twice that price.
    Like Native Instruments with Reaktor Blocks Base, they’re coming out with a free version with some key modules. Even more than VCV, they’re allowing users to purchase new modules directly from the app. VCV got a lot of goodwill in a certain context, in part because of the Open Source development of the core product and the fact that third-party devs have found it easy to implement their own modules. But we should be quite clear: the current goal is to release a paid (plugin) version next year, and a lot of third-party modules are paid. Sure, it might be a better strategy in the long run and it’s not done as “bait and switch”. But it’s doing the ecosystem a disservice to act as though Rack were completely free.

    And while I do find Rack pretty cool, it’s not really fitting my needs. It’s much more demanding in terms of performance and the MPE implementation is clearly an afterthought. It’s also much harder to integrate with a plugin-based workflow. Also, as with many Free/Libre Open Source Software project, there’s a difficult balance to reach between the project’s overall “stance” and the needs of a broad base. VCV’s Andrew Belt might be somewhat more welcoming than other Open Source devs, but Rack remains “opinionated” in its “if you don’t like it, you should code it yourself” mode.

    What has happened to Reaktor over the years is quite fascinating. NI has really enabled a Community of Practice around that environment and they were able to milk it in so many ways. Imagine if they were to release a new feature allowing you to compile Reaktor ensembles into plugins/standalones for desktop, mobile, embedded devices, and even Eurorack modules. Imagine if you could optimize those plugins for each device class. And if licensing fees were much lower than those charged by ROLI’s JUCE…
    Something similar could be imagined about FAUST and SuperCollider and ChucK, and Synthesis ToolKit… Sure, they’re not really about connecting wires to boxes (though FAUST does have an editing mode like this). But, using a “jobs to be done” approach, there’s a lot to be said about allowing people to prototype and then release standalone products or plugins on multiple platforms.

    We have a whole lot of ingredients to make really cool sounds using modular approaches. Cherry Audio entered a crowded field at a time people weren’t really asking for what they propose. But VCV isn’t the only other player in town. Just the one which captured a certain imagination.

  5. I’ve been using VST’s since the 20th century, I’m an IT pro, and I cant get it to work. I use VCV when I want virtual, but I was hoping to make use of my 8 cpu cores….but all I can get from this is the test tone in the configuration. So, I can’t say I would recommend this program.

  6. VCV rack may be free, but it refuses to run on my PC despite having a good processor and required spec and video drivers etc. I can run it on my laptop, but it’s very resource hungry. The voltage modular installed with no issues and so far is running well. I feel there are issues with VCV rack.

    1. I’m running big VCV patches on a six-year-old Mac laptop with no issues.

      Windows/PC sucks today for audio and always has. Not a serious platform for music.

      If there are issues with your VCV install, they might be between the floor and the keyboard.

  7. I just don’t get why every time there is a post about Voltage Modular, there is a rush of VCV fan boys outraged at the fact that this thing exists, and turning the conversation into one about VCV and not Voltage Modular. If you’re happy with VCV or simply don’t want to spend your money on this software, good for you! Go make some music with VCV! But there’s plenty to be said for the people who are interested in what this software can do, and what this post is actually about.

    I have used VCV, Softube Modular, and Voltage Modular. They all have their strengths and some weaknesses, but I simply don’t enjoy working with VCV and never ended up making any music with it, unlike with the other two. Voltage Modular has by far the nicest interface in my opinion, and many features that set it apart. There are also some very interesting modules to choose from if you’re willing to invest a bit of money, which as a pro I have no problem doing, and it is growing at an insane pace. But the thing that really sets Voltage Modular apart is the free Module Designer, which allows you to make any module you want on your own with just a little bit of coding in Java, working at the sample level. It is insanely powerful, and for me it makes all the difference in the world, making VM not just comparable to VCV and Softube Modular, but even Max or SuperCollider. I would really encourage people to give the free (for non-commercial purposes) Module Designer a try before making up your mind about Voltage Modular.

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