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Attn: Savvy Shoppers: VCA's & EG's
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> 5U Format Modules Goto page 1, 2  Next [all]
Author Attn: Savvy Shoppers: VCA's & EG's
russma
I need some more envelopes and VCA's....but I'm running out of dough....but I'm an okay DIY'er...

So, what are the best bang-for-my-buck VCA and envelope modules?

--Oakley Triple VCA seems like a winner?



--or maybe a pair of Oakley VCADSR/VCA modules?



hmmm.....
synthetic
The MOTM 800 envelopes are the easiest DIY you will ever make. You can order the boards and panels from Synthtech and the parts from Bridechamber. A few of those with the Oakley VCA might be a good deal (though the MOTM 190 is pretty easy and compact too.)
unintentional states
Always have to throw the MFOS Dual Lin/Log VCA in the ring for a cost effective quality VCA board. Just noticed there's a new revision that looks even better.

http://www.musicfromouterspace.com/analogsynth/DLLVCA001/DLLVCA001.htm l
dude
i have an oakley triple lag which are my favorite envelopes i am about to sell.
3x filter, 3x rise fall (or attack/sustain/release)eg's 3x slew. unbeatable.

aside from my spam just there. the modcan quad vca is my preffered vca set in 5u. in terms of footprint it makes the most sense to me. of course you can't diy that.
megaohm
idiotboy wrote:
I need some more envelopes and VCA's....but I'm running out of dough....but I'm an okay DIY'er...

So, what are the best bang-for-my-buck VCA and envelope modules?

--Oakley Triple VCA seems like a winner?



Triple VCA uses a great circuit. Low noise and VERY low CV feedthrough.
You'd have to use designs with a more expensive IC or complex circuits to match it.

For EGs check out the Oakley Little EG and the Ian Fritz AD/AR designs.
Good stuff!

p.
chocolatyshatner
Mattson Mini Modular? You don't even have to build the boards! The VC Mixer looks good . . . as long as you want all 4 VCAs coming out of the same jack. Still, about $100 seems pretty good to me for a stuffed & tested PCB.
russma
synthetic wrote:
The MOTM 800 envelopes are the easiest DIY you will ever make. You can order the boards and panels from Synthtech and the parts from Bridechamber.


Working out the total cost for doing this...

Front panel: $19
PCB: $19
Extra Parts Kit (pots): $39
Bridechamber part kit: $11
BR-15 bracket: $6
4 Jacks: ??
4 Knobs: ??

$100, plus how much for the jacks and knobs? Other items I need?
NV
I'm a big fan of the Oakley Triple VCA - all of the Oakley PCBs are well thought out and easy to piece together, and the Triple VCA circuits are as high quality as you'll ever really need a VCA to be.

If the price of the Spectrol pots scares you away you could always construct it with cheap Alpha pots and a bracket and save about $30, but even with the Spectrol pots I'd say the price of the Triple VCA compares very favorably to any other VCA project, particularly given that it's 3 VCAs in a 2U panel for not much more expense than many 1 VCA/1U or 2 VCA/2U projects.
sduck
I'm a huge fan of the motm 800's and 190 combination - I have 4 800's and 2 190's, and am planning on one more 190.

As far as building a 800, the one thing I don't like about the standard motm version is the pots - the bourns ones have that really wobbly feel, although they work well otherwise and will supposedly last forever. But you could save some money on the build by subbing alpha pots, and get better "feeling" pots.

Another thing to consider with the 800's is adding a Tellun DB-800 board to it - http://www.tellun.com/motm/diy/db800/DB-800.html - it adds several useful features and allows for blinky lights, which we all need more of. I've got one on all of my 800's -
synthetic
Don't forget about the CS-80 ring mod you get in the MOTM VCA.

The Bridechamber jacks are almost identical to Switchcraft for much less money. You can see my side-by-side photos on his site. The knobs are also very similar -- I have them on adjacent modules in my system and you have to look very close to see the difference. Or you can order the knobs from Synthtech for 40% more.

http://www.bridechamber.com/bridechamber.com/Knobs.html
Attorks
I have a bought a full kit of the MFOS Dual VCO from the BrideChamber a while ago. Easy to build but you need a scoop to set the trims right. For me the downside of these VCA's is that you have to throw 10V PP at it while my DotCom EGs only gives 5V PP. Have not made a conversion yet. Maybe someone knows a good fix for this?
megaohm
Attorks wrote:
For me the downside of these VCA's is that you have to throw 10V PP at it while my DotCom EGs only gives 5V PP. Have not made a conversion yet. Maybe someone knows a good fix for this?


Try replacing the 100K CV input resistor with a 50K resistor.
fluxmonkey
i've got a pair of Oakley (non-VC) ADSRs as my main envelopes... note that they have built-in VCAs! i have the gate-inputs normaled, so they'll trigger together unless you patch both of the separately. rock solid!

b
pugix
My current project happens to be a 5U size by 1U wide combo of a Mattson Envelope Generator and Mattson VCA. I'm making two of these. Mattson boards come assembled and tested for $75 each. Add the wiring kit and all you have to do is make a panel with your choice of pots and jacks. I'm hooked on FPD, though expensive, like $70 per panel here. This project may be delayed, due to Mouser running out of Alpha pots! cry

My mainstay Envelope/VCA are the MOTM-800 (four each with Tellun board, which I helped to design), two MOTM-190, and four Oakley ADSR/VCA (two fully VC). I'm adding the Mattson combo units so I can have a full-featured EG and VCA all in 1U. Mattson designs have special sauce added, like the modulation feature of the VCA and the re-triggering feature of the EG. Yeah! This deserves a nanners
mmm
pugix wrote:
My current project happens to be a 5U size by 1U wide combo of a Mattson Envelope Generator and Mattson VCA. I'm making two of these. Mattson boards come assembled and tested for $75 each. Add the wiring kit and all you have to do is make a panel with your choice of pots and jacks. I'm hooked on FPD, though expensive, like $70 per panel here. This project may be delayed, due to Mouser running out of Alpha pots! cry

My mainstay Envelope/VCA are the MOTM-800 (four each with Tellun board, which I helped to design), two MOTM-190, and four Oakley ADSR/VCA (two fully VC). I'm adding the Mattson combo units so I can have a full-featured EG and VCA all in 1U. Mattson designs have special sauce added, like the modulation feature of the VCA and the re-triggering feature of the EG. Yeah! This deserves a nanners


Looks like they tried to give them to you this morning and left you a note.

nanners
pugix
By George, you're right! I have to go down to the post office tomorrow morning. hyper

And BTW, I found the pots I needed at Mouser and they've been shipped too. So this project is back on track.
russma
At this point, I think I'm going to build the Oakley Triple VCA, and after that, a MOTM-800 envelope.

I haven't built any kits for a while, so I guess I'm overdue for a whiff of solder smoke.

w00t
Henfield
Sorry to be a latecomer to the parade, but if you can handle MU format in your cabinents as well, you should look at the Q108 Amplifier ($97) and Q109 EG ($92), with no soldering required. Also, STG has a triple VCA in 1U wide panel for $225.
haricots
I'm in the process of selling my single envelope generators for the Modcan quad envelope. I hope it was a wise choice. I'm a sucker for white panels.
essex sound lab
Henfield wrote:
Also, STG has a triple VCA in 1U wide panel for $225.


And it sounds really good. Superior to the Dotcom to my ears, but I haven't had occasion to compare it to anything else.
klstay
For me personally the Oakley EG is now a bit of an enigma.

If I want a filter envelope it does not need a VCA, though I would like voltage control and delay as the first stage on it.

For the final VCA in a patch I want more than one control voltage input.

If I need an envelope for a VCA with an LFO as signal input then I also would again like a pre-attack delay stage.

So, for me the Modcan 04B technically fits the bill but is way out of my price range. Plus, the Quad-EG seems to give enough VC for what I want.

The Grove LFOs have built in VCAs which is great IMHO.

The only other place I would regularly use an EG/VCA is on a pre or post filter "sound" part of a patch into the mixer prior to the final EG/VCA/Pan for that whole voice. For that I would also want pre-attack delay, so again the Quad-EG looks like a pretty good deal. I think one CV input would be acceptable for those VCAs along with a choice of response curves.

Of course you can always just throw a slew limiter in front of any EG to add pre-attack delay, but as some have pointed out there are EGs that do not like that.
pugix
klstay wrote:
For me personally the Oakley EG is now a bit of an enigma.

If I want a filter envelope it does not need a VCA, though I would like voltage control and delay as the first stage on it.

For the final VCA in a patch I want more than one control voltage input.


The Oakley ADSR/VCA when used to control another external VCA provides the ability to multiple the envelope by another CV. A typical use is to apply a velocity CV to the IN of the Oakley. The velocity then controls the amplitude of the whole envelope. The module isn't intended to be a full-featured VCA, but primarily an EG.
Synthbuilder
pugix wrote:
The module isn't intended to be a full-featured VCA, but primarily an EG.


Yes, absolutely. I designed the first version all those years ago to allow for CV control of EG sweep depth. I'm a big fan of this - I even built it into the first filter I did too.

But the bonus is, of course, that the internal VCA can be used for ordinary audio shaping too if you want it.

For gate delays we have a dedicated CV controlled module for that - but a simple lag generator will do the trick too. Adding an inbuilt delay or hold function to the ADSR module would have been nice but the space limitations of 'the grid' do not allow for the required knobs. I think we can be more flexible these days so who knows what may be added to any new version...

I will add one other thing - the key to a good EG for me is precise control over the time settings. Fastest and slowest speeds are all very well, but how easy is it to dial up the exact time you want away from the pot's extremes? It's not always as straightforward as it should be with the cheaper log pots in RC based ADSRs.

Tony
doctorvague
Synthbuilder wrote:
I will add one other thing - the key to a good EG for me is precise control over the time settings. Fastest and slowest speeds are all very well, but how easy is it to dial up the exact time you want away from the pot's extremes? It's not always as straightforward as it should be with the cheaper log pots in RC based ADSRs.

Tony


I agree completely.
I haven't heard yours, but the Cwejman ones I had were the very best at this. Doepfer the worst. I've described it as being 'musical' but that doesn't really explain it. I've also described them as 'tight' but that doesn't quite cover it either. The super-critical area of knob travel is the first 4-5 mm off of zero IMO, especially for attack and decay. My dotcom EG's are OK but not great in that regard. I'd love to upgrade them to something with a better feel but haven't played with the Oakley, MOTM or Moon to compare.
Your VC EG is definitely on my want list.
klstay
What I have found for me personally is the overlap of things I want to accomplish lead me in a different direction. So far anyway, I am generally either fine with fixed input attenuation for whatever the EG is controlling or if I want CV over the EG depth I am OK using a full VCA with multiple CV ins since I use those multiple CV ins so often in other ways.

Of course I change my mind about what I want pretty much 7 times/day as well... Sometimes I really like having individual modules with just that base functionality and sometimes I wish for VCLFOs each with their own EG w/delay, VCA, and 4 way inverting distributor.
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