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VCO options for a beginner
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Author VCO options for a beginner
Dextreme08
Hi all,

I am hoping to get some input on helping to choose my first modules. My main aim is to create bass samples to get back into my DAW for Drum and Bass production.

My plan is to get a few cheap modules (VCF, Env's, LFO's) and hopefully some simpler DIY modules, however due to the features I want I expect to have to pay the going rate for my VCO's.

My main requirements in order of importance are:
Linear FM - Exponential would be a nice bonus (thru-zero would also be nice, not sure whether i would need both thru-zero and standard?)
Hard sync
2 sawtooths - for classic reese basses!
Waveshaping - Would save an additional module I guess
AM - I assume i can get this using a VCA?

I have earmarked the following osc's however bonus points if I could get similar features for cheaper, they do not necessarily have to be a single unit.

The Harvestman - Hertz Donut Mk2 (not sure if digital is a drawback or not)
Make Noise - DPO (Probably my very upper limit on pricing unless something exceptionally sexual gets suggested)

Any suggestions are most welcome, I can't really get hands on experience anytime soon.

Thanks all,
modularblack
Why having a complex oscillator, when you can have 2 simple ones?

A Doepfer A-110-2 + a Make Noise STO will fit most of your needs.

Or an A-110-2 and the OSC form 2hp.

Or you switch the A-110-2 for an A-111-3.

When you grap two oscillators instead of one 500$ one, you also have enough money for a waveshaper or a VCA.
Dextreme08
modularblack wrote:
Why having a complex oscillator, when you can have 2 simple ones?

A Doepfer A-110-2 + a Make Noise STO will fit most of your needs.


No real reason! open to all suggestions, the A-110-2 does seem to fit most requirements. Is there any advantage to pairing identical oscillators? Coming from a non modular background it feels more natural to me.
R.U.Nuts
modularblack wrote:


When you grap two oscillators instead of one 500$ one, you also have enough money for a waveshaper or a VCA.


When you buy a DPO you get a waveshaper and three VCAs with it (maybe four VCAs when you count the wavefolder as well).
starthief
I would definitely go for TZFM rather than non-TZ linear FM.

And an argument for choosing a complex oscillator is they generally have extra utility stuff built in -- VCAs and attenuators for managing modulation, methods for tracking pitch between the two VCOs, wavefolding, etc. -- that you'd have to get separately if choosing two VCOs.

Hertz Donut mk2 will definitely hit all your checkboxes. It handles FM beautifully and easily. It's grittier than most options, by design, but cleans up pretty nicely if you run it through an LPG or lowpass filter. The waveshaping is also not exactly traditional, and it benefits from also adding a uFold or something along those lines. I find it really versatile and powerful though.

If going for separate modules, Rubicon+Dixie are a popular combination. They are based on the same core design and track identically.

With Doepfer I'd probably choose an A-110-6, or maybe the A-110-4, for TZFM.
modularblack
Dextreme08 wrote:
modularblack wrote:
Why having a complex oscillator, when you can have 2 simple ones?

A Doepfer A-110-2 + a Make Noise STO will fit most of your needs.


No real reason! open to all suggestions, the A-110-2 does seem to fit most requirements. Is there any advantage to pairing identical oscillators? Coming from a non modular background it feels more natural to me.


I like how different modules sound different and have different features, but maybe you just like one particular Oscillator very much and buy it twice only because its cool.

In the end this is a big decision of taste.
Dextreme08
Thanks for the input so far, I'm still no nearer to a decision! Although it does look like thru-zero is now a must have.

starthief wrote:

Hertz Donut mk2 will definitely hit all your checkboxes. It handles FM beautifully and easily. It's grittier than most options...


Dirt is definitely a positive!

starthief wrote:

If going for separate modules, Rubicon+Dixie are a popular combination. They are based on the same core design and track identically.


I might have to look into the Rubicon+Dixie combination I had previously dismissed it due to cost, although not much more that the complex oscillators, i assume (incorrectly?) that I will need to add more to get them up and running.
Trebbers
The typically cited combo is Rubicon + Dixie + uFold.
TemplarK
The DPO is more than the sum of its parts. Its a extremely well designed and crafted module. I'm not sure if these "combo's" come close or not because i haven't tried but what the DPO gives you is something very special.

I love mine, took me personally a while to get to grips with it and be able to twist it to how i knew it could be twisted, but it was worth the patience really, its an amazing thing.
bradpickapiper
The octave switches on Intellijel oscillators are super useful!
uniquepersonno2
There's (theoretically) a new hertz donut coming out. Who knows when. But if that matters to you, now you know grin that said, I'd have started with a Loquelic Iteritas because it's absolutely fantastic, and would pair well with another oscillator like sinc iter (which both have sync).
Dextreme08
TemplarK wrote:
The DPO is more than the sum of its parts. Its a extremely well designed and crafted module. I'm not sure if these "combo's" come close or not because i haven't tried but what the DPO gives you is something very special.

I love mine, took me personally a while to get to grips with it and be able to twist it to how i knew it could be twisted, but it was worth the patience really, its an amazing thing.

Being my first module, I imagine I will be forced to dive deep into it which is one of the reasons a complex vco is appealing.

uniquepersonno2 wrote:
There's (theoretically) a new hertz donut coming out. Who knows when. But if that matters to you, now you know grin that said, I'd have started with a Loquelic Iteritas because it's absolutely fantastic, and would pair well with another oscillator like sinc iter (which both have sync).

That would explain why the donut seems to be out of stock everywhere!
beliefsystemrecords
The Intellijel Shapeshifter does almoste verything you want.
beliefsystemrecords
personaly i would probably get a rubicon 2 + dixie and a wavefolder.
peripatitis
so your goal is to record bass samples to use later in a sampler?
Joe.
It's not a complex VCO, but the e330 VCO from Synthesis Technology is pretty nice.

It's a budget VCO that will help you explore the options of the more expensive VCO's in Eurorack. It has 3 modes; A two operator FM mode, a Wavetable mode, and a 'Cloud' mode (which is 4x Saw waveforms).

Once you save up for a highend VCO it would go great fattening up the voice, either layered or pitched down an octave or two.

Another option is the Super Sawtor from Happy nerding, which will let you modify another VCO's output, turning it into that Supersaw sound.

Dextreme08
peripatitis wrote:
so your goal is to record bass samples to use later in a sampler?

Correct. Eventually it would be nice to do other things but I'm starting with a limited scope!
Just another rookie
I may be speaking out of turn here so I apologise in advance for my stupidity.

I am new to modular. I started gathering parts mid December.

My vco is the Klavis twin waves.
Has FM, thru zero, lfo, soft/hard sync, etc. (One channel has a vca, so you can feed it from the second osc in lfo mode.......
Each Lfo can be (individually) externally clocked or not. With external clocking you can divide/multiply from the master.

VCO
Sine
Sqr/pulse
Saw/tri
Quad saw
Additive (even/odd/all)
Unison sqr/saw
Bit crushed saw/sine
Self sync sqr/pulse/saw/tri/sine
Ring mod
Noise (low-pass/bandpass/resonator)

Plus 7 lfo shapes.....a vco quantiser (16 scales)

Worth a look for £200.

It sure is a lot of fun but I for certain am not the hand of experience!

It’s actually pretty cool, I managed the firmware update via an iPhone. No problems. Its very simple to learn.

The only downside is, you have one jack on one oscillator only that is useable as a vca or thru zero or whatever, the second osc has all other features.
(V/Oct and parameter cv in)

It has some limitations but I found it to be a good starting block, you can pretty much coax most sounds from it. (Although it’s backed up by a few other modules!)
MarcelP
Dextreme08 wrote:
peripatitis wrote:
so your goal is to record bass samples to use later in a sampler?

Correct. Eventually it would be nice to do other things but I'm starting with a limited scope!


If you are initially going for bass then from my rack I would suggest a Furthrrrr Generator and a Rossum Evolution (Evolution has a really handy bass compensation facility for when you increase the Q). That combo plus a few EG and LFO, etc, will generate a wide variety of fab bass sounds - and a lot more besides when you move up the frequency spectrum.
Just another rookie
Marcel!
Your system is BIG!
Insane/nuts.....umm whoa!
esquilofreniko
Synthesis Technology E370 or E352
MarcelP
Just another rookie wrote:
Marcel!
Your system is BIG!
Insane/nuts.....umm whoa!


That’s what my kids think too! Yeah....a bit big and self indulgent, but there is a method to my madness. I started small but soon realised my “vision” of what I wanted to do necessitated a sprawling system of multiple modules. It’s my play-pit, safe place, sanctuary from work and a fantasy island made real. It does give some insight into the differences between types of oscillator and how different filters can shape sound though. I also realised the value of multiple simple module types as opposed to a few powerful multipurpose modules - it’s a trade off between hot satisfying fun and cold productivity (for me at least).
He_lium
R.U.Nuts wrote:
modularblack wrote:


When you grap two oscillators instead of one 500$ one, you also have enough money for a waveshaper or a VCA.


When you buy a DPO you get a waveshaper and three VCAs with it (maybe four VCAs when you count the wavefolder as well).

Sorry for the maybe stupid question but what do you consider to be 3 VCAs in DPO?
starthief
uniquepersonno2 wrote:
I'd have started with a Loquelic Iteritas...


A lot of people have said Loquelic is sort of a mystery box... it sounds amazing but not really something you can learn a lot from. And while it's got two frequencies internally it's just the one output, so it's less flexible than something like Hertz Donut or Rubicon+Dixie.

It's something excellent to add later though perhaps smile


Just another rookie wrote:
My vco is the Klavis twin waves.


I have mixed feelings about that one. Unless the FM has changed a lot in more recent firmware versions, I found it nearly unusable (I'm an FM junkie). One of the FM algos was non-TZFM linear, and pretty weak; the other was... I forget what it was called, but sort of a TZFM alternate that was just sort of crazy IMHO.

I felt like its two voices did better on their own, or in unison. It does pack a lot of features into a small space, but I just didn't love its character overall. I think it felt too much like bread-and-butter VST synths rather than what I was looking for in modular.
R.U.Nuts
He_lium wrote:
R.U.Nuts wrote:
modularblack wrote:


When you grap two oscillators instead of one 500$ one, you also have enough money for a waveshaper or a VCA.


When you buy a DPO you get a waveshaper and three VCAs with it (maybe four VCAs when you count the wavefolder as well).

Sorry for the maybe stupid question but what do you consider to be 3 VCAs in DPO?


Two VCAs that control the FM-index: One for VCO A modulating VCO B and one for VCO B modulating VCO A (both share the same controls). And another one that controls the MOD index.
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