FROM THE LAB: Booking the final seats for Sound Design & Modular Drumming!!

You may have noticed that we love the Malekko Varigate 4 here at Voltage Control Lab. We’ve been using this module for algorithmic drum programming since it was released earlier this year. One of the most asked questions about the Varigate is how to generate patterns longer than 8 steps. While the module cannot link channels internally, we can employ an old friend to do the trick for us: the sequential switch.

We’ve looked at sequential switches before using the Sputnik Selector as a wave multiplexer, a channel switch for a sequencer and as a clock division sequencer. We are combining two of those concepts in this routing, using a sequential switch to toggle between two to four separate channels from the Varigate.


First we set up a basic framework for a beat, using three of the channels on the Varigate to sequence a kick drum, snare drum and hihat. The leftover channel will be used to create a more active pattern, so we can clearly hear the difference between it and the basic 2 & 4 snare pattern. Then we will route the original snare pattern and our final drum fill pattern to the sequential switch, where we can toggle between the two, and out from the switch to trigger the snare.

The fun part is triggering the switch to toggle between the standard beat and the busier pattern. By switching patterns once every 8 steps on the Varigate, (from the Tempi, for instance) the two separate patterns seem to merge to form a 16 step sequence. Switching to the busier pattern less often (say once every 4, 8 or 16 bars) gives the effect of a drum fill.

Of course, we are only demonstrating two channels on the switch. We could employ all four with the channels on the Varigate to create 32 step patterns.

How are you using the Varigate? Let us know in the comments!

Join us for our next Sound Design and Modular Drumming Courses!!


16 Step Patterns And Fills With Varigate 4

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