Best Free VCV Rack Modules
We are going to run down our favourite top ten free VCV Rack Modules, plus a few paid at the end. VCV Rack is an absolute brilliant piece of software, with most of it being free. It has contributions from all sorts of great developers and even real hardware manufacturers making software incarnations of their modules. If you don’t have it, get it at https://vcvrack.com/ it is a truly brilliant piece of software.
See also: Studio Brootle 909 Sample Pack, House Drum Patterns, VCV Rack Tutorial.
The XCA is a my favourite Oscillator – it has 4 waveforms with separate outs, each wave can be modified, with pulse width modulation on the square wave and saturation on the saw, FM feedback on the sine.
The ‘PH ‘ input for each wave controls the phase of the wave and can be modulated (I use an LFO on this). Also it has FM input and depth cv. All of these modulation options make it a really versatile oscillator.
You can hear it/see it in action as we used it in our articles EBM Techno in VCV Rack and 140 BPM techno In VCV Rack (you can download the VCV Rack files on those articles too).
I would get all the Bogaudio free modules in your library, they are probably my favourite VCV Rack developer. You can make whole tracks with them to be honest, also you can Sidechain in VCV Rack using their DADSR(H) module.
Category: Utility Tools
The Strip module allows you to save presets in VCV Rack. This is such a time saver. You can save a whole ‘strip’ of modules and then load them again later into another VCV Rack file without have to reconfigure and rewire everything from scratch.
For example I have a drum track with a load of drum modules, effects and sequencer saved a preset on Strip. So I can load them all into a track in one go by adding a Strip and opening my preset, and it loads all the modules ready to go. That way I can add a drum track quickly to a project without having to create the modules and wire them up each time.
It is great for saving combinations of modules for later use.
This is probably my most used module although it does not make or process any sound! It saves so much time as you don’t have to patch things from scratch.
Category: FM Operator
These are great for FM synthesis. I love to chain a few together to modulate each other for multiple operator FM.
Here is an example of them in action–> Bleepy Techno Sequence In VCV Rack
The built in envelope is really handy and the feedback feature for frequency modulating itself is awesome – be warned it can get nasty!
This is a simple looking mixer but has great features – it has 2 fx sends ready to use and 3 band EQ, plus a mute per channel. It is really easy to patch and find myself using it much more than more complicated mixers. It is my go to mixer.
SV Modular Sequencer
Category: Drum Sequencer
An easy to use drum sequencer… You can see your whole beat as everything is in view. Plus the ability to store multiple patterns makes it my must used drum sequencer. I use it with the SV modular Clock normally (also free) and the other free drum modules from SV Modular. You can get all these free from https://library.vcvrack.com/DrumKit
Category: Sequencer (acid style sequencer)
This is my go to sequencer – it is loosely an Acid-type 16 step seqeuncer, it has slide and a tied step. So it is really easy to use, you have to use a slew and some wiring as a workaround to get slides in some sequencers that come with VCV Rack. It can output 2 sets of gates – one of the ways I use this is to run Gate 2 to modulate a filter envelope sometimes, so that those notes poke through the filter like an accent.
It is a really useful 16 step sequencer. you can see it put to use on our VCV Rack Acid Techno Patch
Category: Paramentric EQ
A great EQ with visualisation of the sound with the the EQ cutting and boosting over-layed. So you can see as well a hear how you are sculpting the sound. It’s use on our techno rumble kick to accurately sculpt the low-frequencies of the kick and the bass.
Blamsoft XFX Reverb
Category: Reverb / FX
A nice free reverb, which has the option for different decay settings for Mid and Low frequencies. I use this for all sorts of reverb applications, but specifically for techno rumble kick basslines.
LindenbergResearch Laika Diode-Ladder Filter
Everyone needs a good filter! This is a simple filter that sounds beefy with the built in Saturation to dirty up the signal.
More on filters in the ‘paid for’ section below.
Category: drawable custom envelope / oscillator
For the nerds amongst you, this is like an array in PureData.
I love this module for the crazy sounds and effects you can get out of it. If you look at the image above I drew this shape, which can be used cyclically as an oscillator, or as a step sequence.
Basically you can draw or record sequences, envelopes or audio. It has ‘stepped’ and ‘smooth’ output (one is great for step sequences and ‘non-aliased’ / low bit style sounds, and smooth is a smoothed version of the wave. You can use it with an input like an LFO to turn it into and Oscillator. If you run an oscillator through it, it can be used as a waveshaper too. A really fun and nerdy module!
Also worth a mention…
There are loads more I could mention, but one that is really useful that did not make this list is VCV Random, which comes with VCV Rack is good utility for adding randomness to your CV signals. Same goes for Scope which I use to see what I’m doing on almost every sound.
Best Paid VCV Rack Modules
I love VCV rack as it is free, but here are my top 3 paid modules (well top 41 as the first one is a pack of 39 high level modules!)….
At time of writing you get all of their 39 modules are available for 25 us dollars from https://library.vcvrack.com/VultModules
It is full of various Oscillators, Filters and Distortions. Some of my favourite are Debriatus (which used to be free), it’s great distortion module I’ve used on many projects. Trummor2 is a great kick creation tool. And Freak is probably the best filter on VCV Rack at the moment.
This can host your vst plugins within VCV Rack. At the time of writing it costs 30 euros. Essential tbh… https://vcvrack.com/Host
This is a really useful parametric eq, where the filter bands are cv controllable for some cool modulation possibilities. It can be put to some really creative uses. https://library.vcvrack.com/VCV-Parametra
That’s our run down of our best VCV Rack Modules. If you have any suggestions or comments, we’re happy to hear from you.
We’ve also done a rundown of the best free vsts that we use, also check out our VCV Rack Patches.
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