In this review, I’d like to go over my impressions of SpektroAudio's CV Toolkit 2 and fill you in on whether this may, or may not be the Master Control Program you’re looking for.
What Is CV Toolkit 2 Standalone?
Imagine being able to plug one of the outputs of your audio interface into the CV In of a volca beats and suddenly being able to not only trigger the tiny drum machine but, also have the volca beats stay in sync! This is exactly what I had occur, as I plugged not only my volca beats CV In, but also daisy-chained my volca keys sync, from the volca beats CV Out. What an awesome way to start a day.
CV Toolkit 2 is a very stable, and very polished application for either Mac, or PC that provides not only Sync, but also MIDI to CV Conversion, a feature missing from many of the major DAWs at this moment in time. And while this alone seems like quite a bit already, Spektro Audio upped the ante and created 12 slots that can be modularly interchanged and configured with tons of cool modules.
Packs and Modules
Packs can be purchased for extremely reasonable sums of money that include tons of cool, useful, and in some cases, life changing modules. Obviously, I was quite grateful for the Clock module, which I used to not only sync my volca devices to CV Toolkit, which, as mentioned above, is standalone. You can press your space bar, like you would in any DAW, and if your CV-based devices are cued, they begin playing in time with the clock of CV Toolkit.
But, the rabbit hole is much deeper than this. Many different modules exist, from envelopes, to step sequencers. There’s even a pack of modules just for beat making.
Though, there are also modules you’d definitely expect, like envelopes, LFOs, Sample and Hold, Matrix Sequencer, and more. This, of course, leads to another usage of CV Toolkit 2- creating multi-patches out of multiple synths!
Yep, it’s possible to not only trigger one CV-based synth with sync. But, also with pitch, gate and all of the CV parameters that you’d hope to be able to access, and employ to trigger not only one, but several CV-based synths at once. Imagine being able to layer a littleBits synth and a Moog Voyager within one single patch, and then use additional modules to build up your modulation and even introduce MIDI effects like Delay. I got a real kick out of being able to play my MC-202, which does not have MIDI, with my Korg Kontrol 49 USB MIDI Controller.
Keep in mind, not all audio interfaces will work. However, if you’re in doubt, I can attest, Spektro Audio responds fast. On top of speedy service, I was seriously blown away with how easy it was to configure, and how easy it was to get up and running integrating two, vintage technologies, those being MIDI and CV, into one computer based, modular toolkit, that can run as standalone. But, can also be a layer behind any DAW.
So, again, if you’re trying to bring your CV-based kit under control. And, if using a computer doesn’t give you scary nightmares, I’d highly advise giving CV Toolkit Standalone 2.1 a look. Just like I will, for a long, long time...
Pros: Slick, standalone CV layer for creating modular patches, sending sync, and building entire songs, if you like, using powerful, modules of its own. You can even calibrate with it. It’s got oscilloscopes!
Cons: Might be a little over the top for some beginners.