virtual 200 (Retired)

Virtual 200 is a performance application and workstation based around some of the workflow of early 1970s synthesis. It is modeled after the UI of some early 1970s modules from our favorite electronic music system, as well as some of my own additions and extensions to the functionality of these designs. Partly made as an experiment in workflow, partly made as an educational tool, partly made in order to keep my pocketbook safe from the hardware that inspired it.

Patching occurs via drop-down menus at every potential input: every modulation source is available under the blue menus, audio sources under green menus, pulse sources under red menus, and quantized pitch sources under purple menus (so yes, tonal material is easily possible!). Feedback in the system is easily possible in both the audio and control signal flows, so it is easy to create additional interesting signal sources via the Signal Delay, Frequency Shifter, Bandpass Filter, and Audio Mixer/Waveshaper in the style of "no input" mixing.

The system also features a couple of "broken" functions: a sputtery, intermittent pink noise source, a fluctuating random that occasionally hangs around particular values, and "circuits" with some inherent self-noise, allowing for idiosyncratic and unpredictable behaviors that give Virtual 200 character outside what is typical of virtual instruments. Even seemingly "duplicated" sections, such as the Envelope Generators, Lowpass Gates, and channels of the Output Mixer all behave slightly differently from one another...some have built-in scratchiness, some respond more quickly than others, some behave different under "voltage control," etc. These are not mistakes: they are simply built-in parts of the device's character that allow for a multiplicity of both intended and unintended uses outside of what the individual "modules" seem like they should be able to do.

All settings are fully recallable, so elaborate patches can be picked up later exactly as you left them. Up to 16 completely customizable "presets" are available at a single mouse click, with a theoretically infinite number available as .JSON text files with only slightly more effort. Recording of the master stereo output is facilitated on the front panel, with other audio routing options available under the hood. Furthermore, every parameter is OSC controllable, so control from your OSC source of choice is easily possible. (And don't fret...MIDI support is coming!) Key functions of the program are also playable via your computer keyboard: the touch interface is completely based on interaction via QWERTY keyboard and your computer's mouse or trackpad, so you don't need a controller to get up and running.

Originally developed in Max/MSP and soon to be available as a .app file by request.

Endless thanks to Don Buchla, Morton Subotnick, and Barry Schrader for their inspiration and gifts to the world.

Virtual 200 was retired in 2017 in favor of development of a more streamlined UI. Virtual 200B is anticipated for completion in mid 2018.