It might be time to hit the updater for the weekend. V Collection 8.1 brings alternative tuning support via a new standard, and new sound and control options.

In tune. The MTS-ESP support is already exciting – it means V Collection now supports this emerging standard for allowing alternative tunings (aka microtunings) to work across your hardware and software rig. So if it’s an Arabic maqam or Wendy Carlos’ Gamma (itself based on mathematic and ancient traditions), you’re no longer restricted to equal-tempered defaults.

It’s not the whole V Collection there, but these instruments – though the fun part is also having a vocoder in there, meaning you can practice singing in different intonations, even if your ear/vocal cords aren’t quite there yet. (Or, if they are, it means now the vocoder is in tune with you, at last, rather than sounding like some dumb western quantized machine.)

Supported – and these are easily some favorites anyway:

  • OB-Xa V
  • Vocoder V
  • Emulator II V
  • Jup-8 V
  • Jun-6 V

I hope it’s successful and it gets applied to the whole range.

And yeah, this is all thanks to the work of ODDSound with input from Aphex Twin. The great thing is, you can use it across a wide variety of instruments with whatever tuning you choose.

Accessibility. If providing more than just a single western tuning removes barriers to musical practice, the other major issue is accessibility. So it’s also encouraging to see that Analog Lab V adds text-to-speech functionality, meaning the software can read out parameter changes to those who can’t see them on a display. It also works with MIDI controller adjustments.

This is a really big deal, and another time we should really talk about how the whole industry can do better. I spent some time chatting with some of the folks who had previously worked on developing an implementation for Native Instruments that worked similarly, and I was struck by how much feedback this got from artists.

Just like the tuning choice question, too – we’re talking a huge population of the planet here. Failing to design with those audiences in mind means leaving them out of a lot of music technology, and excluding people from music is never good practice. I don’t really have words to say that strongly enough. Talk to musicians – not just equal tempered-tuning-using, fully-sighted musicians.

A new OB-Xa engine. I already loved the engine on this one, but it’s got even more now, via something Arturia calls “analog voice dispersion.” Does that make any difference? I don’t know, but I’m about to run the updater and find out if that actually gives you “the authentically nuanced imperfections of an ancient analog machine.”

Either way, I’m going to start to refer to my own “authentically nuanced imperfections” from now on.

Enhanced control. The full V Collection range is now NKS ready, so it works nicely with your Native Instruments controllers if you’ve got one.

But even if not, this is a better V Collection for hands-on control. There’s now proper MIDI CC assignment and macro customization and a workflow that makes sense. So hide the mouse in a drawer and get some actual control over your patch. Wait. Uh, assign MIDI first, then hide the mouse in a … you got it. I jumped one step ahead there.

Yadda yadda, there’s more presets, you get more tutorials, I know some excellent people who likely worked on both of those, so I’ll check them out, too.

And hope you get a nice weekend playing with these, which is to say it did come out Tuesday, but – maybe, like me, you’re getting to it round about now.

While we’re at it, Arturia’s excellent FX Collection is featured in post-punk guitarist Bowen from the band IDLES. There’s some great inspiration in there I’ll certainly steal.