In response to requests to learn more about module design and creation, we took some time to catch up with one of our most active third party Voltage Modular Developers, Andrew Macaulay. This is the first in a series of interviews with the like-minded modular synth enthusiasts who enjoy creating the modules just as much as you enjoy playing with them!
Voltage Modular is not just another modular synthesizer with hundreds of modules and presets. The Cherry Audio development team designed Voltage Modular as an entire platform on which to build from. For anyone with a passion for modular synthesis, venture into a world of infinite possibilities.
For the novice looking to experiment for themselves, download a free personal license of the Voltage Modular Designer software to get started and have at it! For the more entrepreneurial with some basic programming and DSP creation skills, purchase and download the commercial license of the Voltage Modular Designer software, submit your module to Cherry Audio, and with our approval, introduce your modules for sale to over 100,000 Voltage Modular users.
To kick off the series, meet Andrew Macaulay:
Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I live in a small town called West Kirby on the Wirral peninsular in the North West of England. West Kirby overlooks the River Dee and North Wales and is about 30 minutes from Liverpool. After University, I was the keyboard player in a number of local prog-rock bands (which never quite made it) including some with members who went on to become very famous. It was then that my original love of synths started.
I’m now retired (at least from full-time corporate work) after 30 years in the IT industry, most of which was working for Capgemini as a senior member of their Solution and Enterprise Architects team. My new “career” is now a combination of composing, producing and publishing music, and, developing modules for Voltage Modular.
What got you into Modular?
Having been a follower of, and heavily influenced by, a range of bands for whom modular synths were a major component - from ELP to Tangerine Dream and Jean-Michel Jarre – and having had a semi-modular in my original rig (Korg MS20/SQ10), it was always something I wanted to play more with.
Once I had sold my original keyboards (something that I do regret now, having had a rig that a Hammond B3/Leslie, Fender Rhodes, Clavinet, two Mini-Moogs, a Korg MS20 and SQ10 sequencer and a Roland RS202 string synth – showing my age now), I started to look at using PCs to compose in my limited spare time. One of the first software purchases was the excellent VAZ Modular synth for Windows – which got me into more sound design on modular synths. This interest only increased over the years as I bought into other software, such as Arturia’s V range including their emulations of the Moog Modular and the ARP 2600.
When Voltage Modular was announced, it really piqued my interest with the combination of a platform that was designed for both stand-alone and plugin operation plus a design around providing an ecosystem for third parties to build around.
Any bands or artists you think people should check out?
My music is electronic, with heavy influences from Tangerine Dream and its members, Jean-Michel Jarre, Berlin School, electronica and ambient styles – with some influence coming through from my prog-rock background and bands as well. Others who have influenced me are Neuland (Baumann/Haslinger), S-A-W (Schmoelling/Ader/Waters), Node and Sequentia Legenda.
What's in your home studio?
My current setup is completely computer based at present:
- Self-built Windows 10 PC with an Asus motherboard, Intel i9, 16GB RAM, 2TB M.2 SSD; Dell 19” Multi-Touch Screen and Dell Ultra-Wide monitor;
- M-Audio 2X2M Audio feeding 2x Yamaha HS8 speakers
- Novation LaunchControl XL control surface and a Microsoft Surface Dial
- Arturia KeyLab 61 MkII
- StudioLogic SL88 Grand
- Roli Seaboard RISE 25
- CME XKey 25
Software (too much to list for complete setup):
- Cubase Pro 10.5 DAW
- WaveLab Pro 10 for Mastering
- Synths: Voltage Modular, Arturia V-Collection/Pigments, many from Applied Acoustics, XILS-Labs, ROLI/fxpansion, Pianoteq and GSi.
Where can we find your music?
My new album is here: www.outnowon.com/release/6879/
How did you become a Voltage Modular Developer?
Having started with VM in the very first days, I found that there were a few things that I really wanted to be able to do, which weren’t available at the time, and which most of the others were not able to do (like ratcheting – very much from my love of Berlin School electronic music) so I decided to have a play with the free personal licence of the Voltage Module Designer to see how easy it would be to do something like that.
Having done a few modules, and being pretty happy with the results, I thought that it was worth just seeing if anyone else may find them useful… so I went ahead to bought the commercial licence of the Voltage Modular Designer, published them and was amazed when VM users started buying them… Now, here I am with 57 modules published, another release coming soon, and a backlog of modules that I am considering for the next 12 months 😊.
What are your favorite features in Voltage Modular?
As a user of Voltage Modular I love the range and quality of modules, both first and third party (and the whole approach to the ecosystem), that are available – and it is one of the products where I tend to start from a blank slate to develop my own sounds rather than starting from presets (which I often do in other products). This makes it feel much more like the “old days” on the vintage synths, but without the need to memorise/sketch out all the positions of knobs and cables.
What is your favorite Andrew Macaulay Module?
I’m going to cheat by saying the Ultimate Bundle. Being able to provide such a range of capabilities at that price point, I am truly amazed at how many people are getting the Ultimate Bundle and finding some really incredible things to do with it!
On behalf of everyone at Cherry Audio, we want to thank Andrew for his partnership and commitment to the Voltage Modular platform and his awesome modules.
Andrew Macaulay modules are available in the Cherry Audio store. To contact Andrew:
Jul 2, 2020