Favorite "musical" VCOs and why

Cwejman, Livewire, TipTop Audio, Doepfer etc... Get your euro on!

Moderators: Kent, luketeaford, Joe.

Post Reply
User avatar
Entrainer
Super Deluxe Wiggler
Posts: 3322
Joined: Sun Jan 03, 2010 8:11 am

Post by Entrainer » Mon Dec 24, 2012 8:54 pm

shaft9000 wrote: well if you put your money where your mouth is, then you get Moog 901s, no debate about it. formats be damned...hear 'assault on precinct 13'(original not remake) for proof. fattest bass ever.
Seriously, get the Euro port, the ADDAC x2.
Then grab the MOTM e-440.
STG Mixer.
5,159 custom drum samples for electronic music
made from 4 modular systems, drum modules, and some nice analog outboard processing

202 Instruments for Ableton Live/Push (128s), NI Kontakt, and Logic EXS24
41 Kits for NI Maschine, FXPansion Geist, Ableton Drum Racks, and Octatrack Sample Chains
http://www.drivenmachinedrums.com

User avatar
dmod
Super Deluxe Wiggler
Posts: 1284
Joined: Mon Dec 17, 2012 1:19 am
Location: Petaluma CA

Post by dmod » Tue Dec 25, 2012 3:19 am

hydrophilos wrote:Just curious--why is "fat" and "vintage" more musical?
Those are just generic terms. obviously music is in the ear of the beholder but I personally love "fat and "vintage" sounding vcos. Either you get it or you dont I guess. just some synth jargon I picked up from interviews with people like Vangelis for example saying the CS-80 was so "musical".How is a CS-80 more "musical" then say an Oberhein Expander? IDK?. Feel free to analyze if you wish though. cheers.

User avatar
de_raaf
Super Deluxe Wiggler
Posts: 2016
Joined: Wed Dec 16, 2009 11:44 am
Location: antwerp , Belgium

Post by de_raaf » Tue Dec 25, 2012 5:40 am

cs 80 doesn't has it do with the whole concept of that synth, the interaction etc that makes that feel of musicallity stronger, etc

User avatar
de_raaf
Super Deluxe Wiggler
Posts: 2016
Joined: Wed Dec 16, 2009 11:44 am
Location: antwerp , Belgium

Post by de_raaf » Tue Dec 25, 2012 6:44 am

most musically ou of the box, the anti osc, damn that flute tone :-)

User avatar
DonKartofflo
The knob-twisting Hive Mind
Posts: 3016
Joined: Thu Feb 02, 2012 7:56 am
Location: Stuttgart, Germany / Bratislava, Slovakia

Post by DonKartofflo » Tue Dec 25, 2012 7:42 am

Entrainer wrote:
shaft9000 wrote: well if you put your money where your mouth is, then you get Moog 901s, no debate about it. formats be damned...hear 'assault on precinct 13'(original not remake) for proof. fattest bass ever.
Seriously, get the Euro port, the ADDAC x2.
Then grab the MOTM e-440.
STG Mixer.
Hell yeah! And just found out while fming it with my christmas present, it makes a great fsu percussion source. the weak/hard fm flipswitch is really cool, somwhow, you switch between very creamy and very brute sounding fm. Don't know any other oscillator that has this...
Nelson Baboon wrote:Beware of people who tell you to smile.
FS:
Mutable Instruments Tides 1 120€
Addac sys 12U powered frame 200€

User avatar
Mefistophelees
USB Cat
Posts: 1094
Joined: Sat Feb 04, 2012 4:30 pm
Location: UK

Post by Mefistophelees » Tue Dec 25, 2012 11:34 am

I suspect Analogue Systems will do the vintage sound you want. OTOH if you really want a vintage sound why not go for a Micromac-r? It's not cheap but it's got an absolute killer sound.

chrisso
Super Deluxe Wiggler
Posts: 3343
Joined: Sat May 30, 2009 11:59 pm

Post by chrisso » Wed Dec 26, 2012 10:10 pm

Just out of my own curiosity I recorded a raw waveform test on a few modular oscillators. Straight out of waveform output into UAD Apollo, into DAW. Nothing else added or adjusted, no vca, eq etc.
Four oscillators.
One contemporary priced around $260
One contemporary priced around $525
One late 90's, boutique hand made $?
One early 70's priced over $1000

Sawtooth, then sine.
Recorded at 24 bit, 96khz - converted to mp3 for upload here.
Attachments
Osc Test.mp3
(716.35 KiB) Downloaded 76 times

User avatar
larhule
Wiggling with Experience
Posts: 366
Joined: Fri Mar 23, 2012 10:02 am
Location: Eastern Iowa USA

Post by larhule » Wed Dec 26, 2012 11:09 pm

I've had a few VCOs and loved them all. Ranking them it would be as follows:

1. The Harvestman Piston Honda
2. Livewire AFG
3. Plan B Model 15
4. VCOb
5. Doepfer A-110

Unique features are typically my focus.

In terms of classic, analog, any of those but the Piston Honda would fit the bill. In terms of 'tone' there is no winner here. Choose with features in mind and you'll be happy.

User avatar
dmod
Super Deluxe Wiggler
Posts: 1284
Joined: Mon Dec 17, 2012 1:19 am
Location: Petaluma CA

Post by dmod » Thu Dec 27, 2012 3:54 am

chrisso wrote:Just out of my own curiosity I recorded a raw waveform test on a few modular oscillators. Straight out of waveform output into UAD Apollo, into DAW. Nothing else added or adjusted, no vca, eq etc.
Four oscillators.
One contemporary priced around $260
One contemporary priced around $525
One late 90's, boutique hand made $?
One early 70's priced over $1000

Sawtooth, then sine.
Recorded at 24 bit, 96khz - converted to mp3 for upload here.
Ya thats a trip but no surprise really. You can definitely hear the differences. I have many analog synths form 70's-now and I know vca's etc play a roll but so do the oscillators. Why wouldn't they? Thanks for the proof. :tu: Cheers!

chrisso
Super Deluxe Wiggler
Posts: 3343
Joined: Sat May 30, 2009 11:59 pm

Post by chrisso » Thu Dec 27, 2012 4:05 pm

For me, three of the osc's are very close. Slight timbre change.
One is clearly different in both sawtooth and sine. Much more different than I expected. In that regard the simple test changed my opinion a little.

So yes, some osc's sound different, but mostly the differences are slight - even between eras and price range.
IMHO

User avatar
dmod
Super Deluxe Wiggler
Posts: 1284
Joined: Mon Dec 17, 2012 1:19 am
Location: Petaluma CA

Post by dmod » Thu Dec 27, 2012 4:48 pm

chrisso wrote:For me, three of the osc's are very close. Slight timbre change.
One is clearly different in both sawtooth and sine. Much more different than I expected. In that regard the simple test changed my opinion a little.

So yes, some osc's sound different, but mostly the differences are slight - even between eras and price range.
IMHO
Yes subtle. But isnt that what makes analog so desirable? The subtleties the make it more alive sounding then say digital. If all oscillators sawtooth's sounded the same why so many? And why would people still be drawn to analog rather then "virtual analog" synths(hardware)? It is all really in the ears of the beholder but for me it is very clear how different many vcos sound. They are all built with different components not so different then anything else like a filter or vca would be different for this very reason. Ya they all do sawtooth, square etc but the magic is in the subtleties as you said. At the end of the day who really cares anyway. If you are having fun making music with what ever oscillators you have then allis well. Cheers! :bananaguitar:

User avatar
Dr. Sketch-n-Etch
Super Deluxe Wiggler
Posts: 8252
Joined: Thu Jan 21, 2010 1:46 pm
Location: Vancouver, BC, Canada

Post by Dr. Sketch-n-Etch » Thu Dec 27, 2012 5:21 pm

chrisso wrote:Just out of my own curiosity I recorded a raw waveform test on a few modular oscillators. Straight out of waveform output into UAD Apollo, into DAW. Nothing else added or adjusted, no vca, eq etc.
Four oscillators.
One contemporary priced around $260
One contemporary priced around $525
One late 90's, boutique hand made $?
One early 70's priced over $1000

Sawtooth, then sine.
Recorded at 24 bit, 96khz - converted to mp3 for upload here.
Wow, the third one definitely exuded vintage warmth. In fact, I could feel my chest hair growing (and even starting to curl slightly) whilst listening to it. Now I have a strange craving for expensive cognac and fine Corinthian leather.

But, seriously, that final sine was very disappointing. If I had an oscillator with that sad excuse for a sine, I'd rip it out of my rig and crush it asunder with my steel-toed workboots. (Or, maybe, for $1,000 they thought to include some sine shape trimmers?)
Patterns understood by you, reaching out beyond and before

chrisso
Super Deluxe Wiggler
Posts: 3343
Joined: Sat May 30, 2009 11:59 pm

Post by chrisso » Thu Dec 27, 2012 5:26 pm

As I said a few pages ago, we disagree. You hear important differences between raw waveforms. I don't. Fair enough, you are your own boss, and that's your own prerogative.
For me, the difference between filters is usually far from subtle.
I tested a Cwejman VCO6, a vintage Buchla 258 and a Synton Fenix osc, which only varied subtley in sound IMO.
In feature sets they vary greatly of course.
The Tip Top Z3000 Osc I tested sounded quite different to my ears. Which surprised me.

chrisso
Super Deluxe Wiggler
Posts: 3343
Joined: Sat May 30, 2009 11:59 pm

Post by chrisso » Thu Dec 27, 2012 5:29 pm

Dr. Sketch-n-Etch wrote: Wow, the third one definitely exuded vintage warmth. In fact, I could feel my chest hair growing (and even starting to curl slightly) whilst listening to it.
Sawtooth or sine?
I re-ordered the osc's between the two waveform..... and my lists do not match the order in the audio, that's why it's a 'blind test'. :tu:

User avatar
Dr. Sketch-n-Etch
Super Deluxe Wiggler
Posts: 8252
Joined: Thu Jan 21, 2010 1:46 pm
Location: Vancouver, BC, Canada

Post by Dr. Sketch-n-Etch » Thu Dec 27, 2012 5:37 pm

chrisso wrote:
Dr. Sketch-n-Etch wrote: Wow, the third one definitely exuded vintage warmth. In fact, I could feel my chest hair growing (and even starting to curl slightly) whilst listening to it.
Sawtooth or sine?
I re-ordered the osc's between the two waveform..... and my lists do not match the order in the audio, that's why it's a 'blind test'. :tu:
Sorry, chrisso, but I was being facetious. However, the third saw sounded a bit different (like it had artifacts) and the fourth sine is not what I would call a sine. More like a buzzy triangle.

But, honestly, considering the saw samples, none of them possessed any qualities which particularly recommended them over the others. They all sound suitably sawtoothy. For me, the best thing about sawtooth waveforms is that they contain loads of harmonics which can be filtered out. The raw waveforms are pretty darned uninteresting.
Patterns understood by you, reaching out beyond and before

User avatar
numan7
the most autistic amongst us
Posts: 6494
Joined: Wed Nov 25, 2009 9:09 pm

Post by numan7 » Thu Dec 27, 2012 5:41 pm

:hmm: which version of z3000 was it, if you don't mind saying, chrisso?

cheers
"the ordinary will ignore whatever they cannot explain as if nothing ever happened. and everything remains the same again..."

User avatar
bouzoukijoe1
Super Deluxe Wiggler
Posts: 1836
Joined: Thu Nov 03, 2011 11:48 am
Location: NY/NJ

Post by bouzoukijoe1 » Thu Dec 27, 2012 5:53 pm

chrisso wrote:Just out of my own curiosity I recorded a raw waveform test on a few modular oscillators. Straight out of waveform output into UAD Apollo, into DAW. Nothing else added or adjusted, no vca, eq etc.
Four oscillators.
One contemporary priced around $260
One contemporary priced around $525
One late 90's, boutique hand made $?
One early 70's priced over $1000

Sawtooth, then sine.
Recorded at 24 bit, 96khz - converted to mp3 for upload here.
wow, the differences in the sine are pretty distinct. the first one probably doesn't have a smooth curve, and the fourth was just crazy (as far as what a sine is supposed to sound like). the second and third are neglible in difference IMO especially in a mix and if the song is really well made/written/engineered. also if you listen to the music, open ear in a real space (not headphones) it wouldn't be as critical. I think a lot of contemporary tests are biased towards specific conditions (like listening on higher quality headphones vs. consumer headphones and open spaces) and small differences may not matter as much in the real world.

another thing too - I assume these are all analog. and we don't know what conditions these different oscillators are in as far as unintended errors vs. blatant disregard in design/manufacturing vs. just general aging. especially in analog when a bunch of stuff can go wrong - between design, manufacture, and even calibration. so I would think that it should be taken with a grain of salt with respect to how you describe them using just the price points and short labels.

that said, I think our ears are probably more sensitive to sine waves in general, as well as lower register sawtooths (not sure about pulse or tri). I kind of wish you tested an octave lower with the saws. I've heard some pretty significant differences in sawtooths even between digital oscillators. kind of crazy. most noticable around C1 range if I recall correctly -- bass territory.

the sine test was terrific though, just as a frame of reference of a real world scenario and what to watch out for. thanks for sharing.
:tu:

User avatar
Dr. Sketch-n-Etch
Super Deluxe Wiggler
Posts: 8252
Joined: Thu Jan 21, 2010 1:46 pm
Location: Vancouver, BC, Canada

Post by Dr. Sketch-n-Etch » Thu Dec 27, 2012 6:00 pm

My experience with the Z3000 is that it tracks like an absolute champ, but the waveforms tend to be a bit approximate to the ideals. Here's an example (pure waveforms shown at the following times: sine at 0.05, triangle at 0:41, saw at 0:51, and pulse at 1:03):

Patterns understood by you, reaching out beyond and before

User avatar
bouzoukijoe1
Super Deluxe Wiggler
Posts: 1836
Joined: Thu Nov 03, 2011 11:48 am
Location: NY/NJ

Post by bouzoukijoe1 » Thu Dec 27, 2012 6:43 pm

yup, it seems there's an edge at the peak of the first oscillator. the last one on the other hand -- lol

Image
larger: http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8497/8316 ... a8b3_b.jpg

User avatar
Dr. Sketch-n-Etch
Super Deluxe Wiggler
Posts: 8252
Joined: Thu Jan 21, 2010 1:46 pm
Location: Vancouver, BC, Canada

Post by Dr. Sketch-n-Etch » Thu Dec 27, 2012 6:59 pm

That fourth "sine" looks like a blend of sine and pulse with a slight bit of higher-frequency FM. :sb:

The third one looks like it requires a tweak of its shape trimmer -- it looks a bit too triangular.

The first two look fine. That tiny glitch at the top of the first one is an artifact of the saw-to-triangle shaper, and typically unavoidable in sawcore VCOs. It should be completely inaudible.
Patterns understood by you, reaching out beyond and before

chrisso
Super Deluxe Wiggler
Posts: 3343
Joined: Sat May 30, 2009 11:59 pm

Post by chrisso » Thu Dec 27, 2012 7:08 pm

The Z3000 is first version. Also I have two, they sound the same, but both I acquired used. So there could be degradation issues.
The third sine is the vintage Buchla 258. It is a continuous waveform from Sine to Sawtooth, although I had it set hard left (sine).
As far as subtle differences go, the Buchla does sound fuller, warmer than the other three osc's. But it's very, very subtle.
I have other analog oscillators, but they are hardwired and I wanted to completely eliminate any possible shaping, other than raw waveform to AD/DA.
I could borrow more Euro oscillators and continue the test as I can duplicate the settings perfectly.
But as the good doctor suggests, it's rather uninteresting as most are very similar sounding.

User avatar
bouzoukijoe1
Super Deluxe Wiggler
Posts: 1836
Joined: Thu Nov 03, 2011 11:48 am
Location: NY/NJ

Post by bouzoukijoe1 » Thu Dec 27, 2012 7:09 pm

Dr. Sketch-n-Etch wrote:That fourth "sine" looks like a blend of sine and pulse with a slight bit of higher-frequency FM. :sb:

The third one looks like it requires a tweak of its shape trimmer -- it looks a bit too triangular.

The first two look fine. That tiny glitch at the top of the first one is an artifact of the saw-to-triangle shaper, and typically unavoidable in sawcore VCOs. It should be completely inaudible.
rock and roll indeed. :sb:

yeah in the first sine you hardly hear it, but if you crank your volume way up you'll hear a tiny buzz. I guess I noticed only because I'm looking for it. at lower/normal listening levels it's hardly audible and most likely not audible in a mix at all.

very interesting though. I don't think I've listened to raw sine waves in this much detail ever. a learning experience.

chrisso
Super Deluxe Wiggler
Posts: 3343
Joined: Sat May 30, 2009 11:59 pm

Post by chrisso » Thu Dec 27, 2012 7:15 pm

bouzoukijoe1 wrote: I think a lot of contemporary tests are biased towards specific conditions (like listening on higher quality headphones vs. consumer headphones and open spaces) and small differences may not matter as much in the real world.
Well my starting point, pre-test was a view that oscillators are all very similar sounding. To me, that was proven, except for the one sine wave.

I kind of wish you tested an octave lower with the saws.
I started out at a lower register, but decided it was fairer to go with a mid-range. The oscillator with the unusual sine sound, exhibited more strangeness in the sawtooth at the lower tuning. Even in the mid-range tuning the sawtooth wobbles in timbre, whereas the other three oscillators are fairly pure (sawtooth).
Last edited by chrisso on Thu Dec 27, 2012 7:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

chrisso
Super Deluxe Wiggler
Posts: 3343
Joined: Sat May 30, 2009 11:59 pm

Post by chrisso » Thu Dec 27, 2012 7:16 pm

I would like to do more waveforms and more contemporary oscillators.
My Buchla's don't have Triangle, and the VCO6 doesn't have Square.
Pulse is out because of the PWM which is very variable.

User avatar
avinopsv
Wiggling with Experience
Posts: 378
Joined: Mon Dec 13, 2010 6:52 pm
Location: Alabama->Austin

Post by avinopsv » Thu Dec 27, 2012 9:57 pm

dmod wrote:
chrisso wrote:But the difference in sound is far less than the other elements you add - like filtering, modulation and vca.
Line up six different sine waves, or six different sawtooths and name the analog oscillator?

I think the main differences in Euro are: build quality, feature set and price.
No offense but no lectures please. my first synth was a Minimoog in 1984 I think I get how the whole synth thing works thanks.
well you might have bought your first minimoog the year after I was born but you joined here about 2 weeks ago. Cool your jets a little, or get out of the kitchen if you can't handle the muff.

to answer your question, I really like the Cloud Generator and the VCOb
www.avinopsvrecords.com
http://soundcloud.com/avinopsvrecords
CursedFrogurt wrote:I think Bach sequenced some pretty musical shit.
b3nsf wrote:As a person interested in VD (vintage dance) this is pleasing to me.

Post Reply

Return to “Eurorack Modules”