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CGS48 vs. other Serge VCOs
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Buchla, EMS & Serge Goto page 1, 2  Next [all]
Author CGS48 vs. other Serge VCOs
gruvsyco
I couldn't find anything with a search.

I'm curious how the CGS48 VCO fairs against the NTO, PCO or even the '73 oscillator.

I'm in a constant state of flux on whether I'd like to attempt building a set of panels I have or trying to sell them and go a different route. I'm always wondering how far they stray from the "Serge experience".
widgetoz
gruvsyco wrote:
I couldn't find anything with a search.

I'm curious how the CGS48 VCO fairs against the NTO, PCO or even the '73 oscillator.

I'm in a constant state of flux on whether I'd like to attempt building a set of panels I have or trying to sell them and go a different route. I'm always wondering how far they stray from the "Serge experience".

The NTO, PCO and CGS48 are different from the 73 mainly in the 1V/Octave area. Although the 73 can be set up for tracking (there is a video by Doug Lynner on doing that with the 73's), the others are designed with that built in.
After that, it is just the waveshape outputs that vary. While the 73 has a sawtooth and a 'shaped' output, the others offer the more conventional sine, triangle and saw outputs.
the cor of the NTO/PCO and CGS48 are very similar.
I reckon the CGS48 will give you as good a performance as the NTO/PCO
user129
The cgs vco can be made to be pretty much identical to the '73 vco, except the cgs also tracks 1v/o.

Other than a triangle output and the range switch, you can get very similar if not identical functionality from the cgs vco as you would from a PCO. And you have a square wave out to stand in for the triangle. The cgs vco can be slowed to lfo speeds, according to some info on Ken's page, there just aren't accommodations for a dedicated range switch.

The NTO has a built in vca over its fm, which isn't on th cgs vco board. Obviously, the cgs vco doesn't have any of the portamento controls present on the NTO. The cgs has a variable output, but only goes from saw to sine, not saw to sine to pulse to square like the NTO. Same caveat re triangle output as the PCO.

So all in all, depending on how it is wired, you can get a lot of the same experience from the cgs vco. It doesn't have a couple of the bells and whistles present on the NTO or a triangle output, but it does have some ac and dc outputs not present on either, as well as inputs for both ac and dc fm, a square wave output, and don't forget about the built in vc sub oscillator.

Edit: I forgot to mention, the cgs vco has PWM, something that isn't present on any of the serge vcos (though could be accomplished with the triple comparator).
magneticweb
While we're talking Serge VCOS and Serge format VCO:

Can anybody vouch for the TH 555?

How does it sound next to an NTO?
Pros vs cons?
user129
magneticweb wrote:
While we're talking Serge VCOS and Serge format VCO:

Can anybody vouch for the TH 555?

How does it sound next to an NTO?
Pros vs cons?


The 555 vco is a great oscillator. Going to be really similar to a PCO, and doesn't have many of the extra features that the NTO has (portamento, variable shape output). Does have PWM, tracks really well, and is a really solid (if vanilla) vco.
syncretism
I'm super-interested in the R*S Thomas Henry Dual 555 VCO; I wish they were back in stock.
ear ear
If the NTO/PCO, 73 oscillator and CGS48 are all so similar, why was it such a big deal when Serge brought out the NTO...? @gruvsyco: have read through this thread.
Navs
ear ear wrote:
If the NTO/PCO, 73 oscillator and CGS48 are all so similar, why was it such a big deal when Serge brought out the NTO...?


Because you always want what you can't have.

VCFQ is another case in point.
ear ear
Navs wrote:
ear ear wrote:
If the NTO/PCO, 73 oscillator and CGS48 are all so similar, why was it such a big deal when Serge brought out the NTO...?


Because you always want what you can't have.

VCFQ is another case in point.


Navs, I was being rhetorical -- you're being elliptical. Or maybe I'm just being dim on a Sunday morning. smile

The NTO/PCO gave Serge users a temperature-stable oscillator that tracked a long way. Not an unreasonable feature to wish for?
widgetoz
ear ear wrote:
If the NTO/PCO, 73 oscillator and CGS48 are all so similar, why was it such a big deal when Serge brought out the NTO...? @gruvsyco: have read through this thread.

Because the NTO came out after the 73 VCO and had the major feature of superior tracking and temperature stability. The PCO uses the same core with a different set of outputs.
The CGS48 has nothing to do with Serge. It was released by Ken Stone as a replacement for the 73 VCO that Ken had in his system as he wanted a more stable and accurate VCO.
ear ear
widgetoz wrote:
a more stable and accurate VCO.


Seeing as you're selling the CGS PCBs you should be in a good position to put a number on 'more'.
widgetoz
ear ear wrote:
widgetoz wrote:
a more stable and accurate VCO.


Seeing as you're selling the CGS PCBs you should be in a good position to put a number on 'more'.

You mean 1V/Octave tracking and temperature stabilisation doesn't say enough?
You could read the Serge catalogue which describes the NTO
"EXPONENTIAL 1 VOLT/OCTAVE RESPONSE
Exponential response parallels the response of human
hearing perception as well as musical pitch structure .
With multiple oscillators, each must respond
exponentially to control voltages to allow
transposition from key to key and to produce
alternative equal-tempered tunings such as quarter and
third tones. In addition, the one-volt-per-octave
response assures that the New Timbral Oscillator is
compatible with most keyboard and computer controllers.
ACCURATE TRACKING
When two or more oscillators are tuned, it is expected
that they will remain in tune throughout their entire
range (in other words, that they track) . Even two
oscillators which tract: within a fraction of a semitone
will be out of tune at the extremities of their range.
Therefore, the New Timbral Oscillators have been
designed so that any two will track within one
cycle/second throughout their entire musical range .
TEMPERATURE STABILITY
Instability of pitch with changes in temperature is the
criticism of most synthesizer VCO's. Performers are
aware of the disastrous effects of temperature when
they must desperately retune oscillators that have
drifted during a live performance . The temperature
sensitive components are kept at an even 120 degrees by
a solid-state "oven" . Thus temperature stability is
guaranteed from 50 degrees to 100 degrees F .
WIDE FREQUENCY RANGE
The frequency range covers from below 16 to 16Khz . With
control voltages, the range can be further extended
from less than .1 Hz (10 sec/cycle) to greater than
100,000 Hz .
VARIETY OF WAVEFORM OUTPUTS
In addition to three standard waveforms (sine, triangle
and sawtooth) of exceptional purity, the New Timbral
Oscillator offers a variable waveform output providing
an amazingly varied range of sounds, unavailable on any
other synthesizer . This waveform is voltage
controllable, allowing dynamic control of sound
quality.
DYNAMIC DEPTH LINEAR FREQUENCY MODULATION
Dynamic depth frequency modulation is now available to
the analog synthesist . Frequency modulation (FM), the
modulation of one oscillator by another, generates both
harmonic overtones (found in most acoustic instrument
sounds) and non-harmonic overtones (bells, percussive,
and electronic timbres) . By varying the amplitude of
the modulating oscillator, the richness or complexity
of the sound can be varied . However, with conventional
FM, an annoying pitch shift occurs. With the New
Timbral Oscillator, Linear FM avoids this pitch shift,
making it possible to maintain accurate pitch control
while changing the quality of sound . A built-in VCA
assures accuracy and provides dynamic voltage control
of Linear FM Depth . Of course, conventional
exponential FM is also available on the New Timbral
Oscillator .
The New Timbral Oscillator offers two voltage control
inputs calibrated to one volt per octave and one
variable voltage control input . One of the calibrated
inputs incorporates a variable Portamento . This allows
gliding from pitch to pitch at a voltage-controllable
rate, set at each oscillator rather than from the
controller (such as a keyboard), and therefore
independently variable at each New Timbral Oscillator .
All of the output levels are "hot", greater than +4 db
to ensure maximum signal-to-noise ratio. A Sync input
is provided for locking the NTO to another oscillator's"
ear ear
@widgetoz: That's for the NTO/PCO. You sell the CGS48. How good is the tracking and temperature stability of the CGS48 compared to the 73 oscillator and the NTO/PCO? This is the kind of information that will help the OP.

The OP could also say what kind of oscillators he/she is looking for -- maybe the NTO would be superfluous. Plenty of Serge users prefer using slopes as oscillators.
widgetoz
ear ear wrote:
@widgetoz: That's for the NTO/PCO. You sell the CGS48. How good is the tracking and temperature stability of the CGS48 compared to the 73 oscillator and the NTO/PCO? This is the kind of information that will help the OP.

The OP could also say what kind of oscillators he/she is looking for -- maybe the NTO would be superfluous. Plenty of Serge users prefer using slopes as oscillators.

For the CGS48 simply read the Electronotes article by Bernie Hutchins, its the same core
lasesentaysiete
Elby also sells the 73 VCO in Euro Serge, I believe.
ear ear
widgetoz wrote:

For the CGS48 simply read the Electronotes article by Bernie Hutchins, its the same core


Electronotes article here, tracking data right down the bottom of the page. Could do with a few more decimal places in that table if the NTO is tracking to within a cycle per second across its entire range...
widgetoz
lasesentaysiete wrote:
Elby also sells the 73 VCO in Euro Serge, I believe.

We actually have over 30 Serge modules in EuroRack format and they come with either 3.5mm OR 4mm jacks and yes, that includes the 1973 VCO :)
ear ear
... and how does that help the OP, who presumably has some Best of Serge panels?
widgetoz
ear ear wrote:
... and how does that help the OP, who presumably has some Best of Serge panels?

Blimey gov, I was just stating that we have a large portion of the Serge family in the more compact EuroRack format. There MAY be some people interested in moving to a more compact and portable format
ear ear
Well get yourself back over to the Euro forum then, and take your hard sell with you.
tojpeters
I've never owned a PCO or NTO but I have repaired and calibrated a few and built a few PCO.
I've owned several CGS48.
You won't be missing anything by going with the CGS48. Each of these oscillators has unique features.
fonik
Well, IMHO the NTO has the 'same' core as any other EN based oscillator in terms of being a integrator comparator VCO with saw core. that's it. anything else is different. and it is an oven design.
it was very tricky to get the oven thing right this time with all the new parts, but now it works very well.

ralf did some measurements that i don't have on hand. if required i will ask him when he is back in the office.
beyond that the R*S NTO tracks very well ("any two will track within one cycle/second throughout their entire musical range") and is very stable due to the "oven" design.

BTW in comparison to other VCOs most outputs of the NTO are unipolar, going from 0 to 5V (whereas the 555VCO has a bipolar range from -5V to +5V). it will definetaly fit better into a Serge environment than a 555VCO, and this is the reason we will most likely not continue the 555VCO for 4U, which wwe were glad to have when we started to fill the gap.
syncretism
Hey, thanks for the update, fonik.
fonik
gruvsyco wrote:
I'm curious how the CGS48 VCO fairs against the NTO, PCO or even the '73 oscillator.

in what regards? i could speak for the NTO and the 555VCO (vanilla classic bipolar VCO)

Quote:
I'm in a constant state of flux on whether I'd like to attempt building a set of panels I have or trying to sell them and go a different route. I'm always wondering how far they stray from the "Serge experience".

NTO has been an almost unobtainium for years. the new R*S version is the best NTO that was ever available.
Any DIY VCO is not only defined by the design but by part selection, too - for the NTO we did this for you already.

Besides this, IMHO the NTO is THE Serge VCO, and with it's mostly unipolar outputs from 0V to 5V it fits a Serge System the best, in know this well because i naturally have a dual 555VCO in 5 too wink
BTW the built in voltage vontrolled FM and portamento are nice adds, and the sine is nice, too

just my 2 pence and YMMV
user129
fonik
I've never thought that much about the differences in a unipolar and bipolar vco. What about it makes one better than the other, specifically in a serge context? Not trying to be snarky, I'm genuinely curious! I've never noticed a specific difference in sound, but like I said I've never considered this question more deeply than, say, ac vs dc fm input.
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