Meta Module: Sneak Preview!
The Meta Module is an all-purpose module that lets you patch together various virtual modules to create a "Meta" module.
What is it?
- A module that can be any of several hundred modules
- A macro controller for a custom patch that you create
- A hardware player for VCV Rack patches
- A preset manager
- A versatile utility module that lets you save and recall common functions which you re-use from patch to patch, so you can focus on the more interesting parts of your music
- A DSP development platform
How do you use it?
Patches are typically created with a computer using VCV Rack and then transferred to the Meta Module over USB, SD Card or WiFi. In case you don't have a computer handy, you can create and modify patches using the Meta Module itself.
There are 12 knobs, 8 audio or CV outputs, 1 USB MIDI jack, 6 audio/CV inputs, and 2 gate inputs, all of which which can be mapped to any of the virtual knobs and jacks within the patch. You can map a physical knob to multiple virtual knobs and assign a different response range for each knob (including inverting the motion). In case that's not enough, there are expanders to give you more knobs and jacks (and even buttons)!
The audio/CV jacks are DC-coupled and run at 48kHz, 24bit and can be mapped to any of the jacks in the patch. You can plug a MIDI controller into the USB jack to control knobs and jacks.
The Meta Module can run hundreds of virtual modules and store/recall thousands of patch files.
We are still adding new modules. The 4ms modules will be available as well as Befaco's modules and some Mutuable Instruments clones. We're adding the HetrickCV and Nonlinear Circuit modules now, and more are planned. If you are a developer, running your own VCV Rack Modules or custom DSP code on the Meta Module is fairly easy.
User InterfaceThe user interface is very simple and intuitive: you can view the entire patch, zoom in on one module, or view/edit your knob mappings or panel connections using the rotary encoder and button. (It's not a touchscreen!)
Each knob has a color (red, yellow, blue, pink, orange, green) and a size (large or small). You also can create "Knob Sets", or groups of knob mappings, and quickly switch between them (for example, if you had a patch with eight oscillators, you could create a knob set for each one). This is great if you need more than 12 knobs mapped and don't want to use MIDI. You also can make patch notes and give mapped knobs custom names, so there are a lot of options.
Creating a patchThe Meta Module will come with lots of example patches, so you can just power it up and play. Eventually you'll want to make your own patches!
Patching typically starts on the computer, using VCV Rack to create a patch and then saving it to the Meta Module.
However, you don't NEED a computer. You can patch virtual cables, turn virtual knobs, change knob mappings, and even add/remove modules from within the Meta Module. While it's not going to be anyone's preferred method of patching, it's reassuring to know that if you do need to make a last minute change, or if you just want to play with some ideas on a long flight, you can do so without a computer.
Tech specsThe processor is more advanced than anything 4ms has used in the past, and is among the most powerful processors found in Eurorack.
It uses a dual-core Cortex-A7 running at 800Mhz, with a Cortex-M4 co-processor. There is 512MB of fast DDR3 RAM. It runs bare-metal without an OS, so startup time and latency are blazingly fast. If you're into bare-metal development, you can see our open-source platform here.
The Meta Module can handle complex patches. For example, we recently ran a patch with four physically modeled Djembes, a custom stereo reverb, six clock dividers/multipliers, some FX, and a mixer, and had plenty of processing headroom. Or, you could run seven Ensemble Oscillators with no issue (each one has 16 dual crossfading oscillators, for a total of, well... it's a lot of oscillators!).
For anyone who knows how to create their own module in VCV Rack, it's easy to port it to the Meta Module. The framework also makes it simple to create your own module in C++. The source code will be open source from day 1 of the release and we are putting a lot of effort into documentation. It's a great platform for testing DSP code that would not run on other "roll your own DSP" devices.
When can I have one?
The Meta Module will be released in early 2024. Price is TBD