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WIGGLING 'LITE' IN GUEST MODE

Buchla 285e Ring Mod vs. Balanced Mod?
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Buchla, EMS & Serge Goto page 1, 2  Next [all]
Author Buchla 285e Ring Mod vs. Balanced Mod?
drewskee
I was looking at the Buchla 285e and I am not sure I know what the difference is between Ring Modulation and Balanced Modulation. Anyone care to provide enlightenment?

Looks like a nice module that i don't see in many systems...I really like ring mod in my Serge and the EMS Synthi ring mod has been all over records for decades (Eno, Gong, Hawkwind etc)
prscrptn
"Ring modulation" is a subset of balanced modulation.

The other term you'd see in RF jargon is "double sideband suppressed carrier". Both ring modulators and balanced modulators produce DSSC, which is by definition, the multiplication product of two signals. The result has only integer multiples of the sum and difference of the original signals, but neither of the original signals.

If you ringmodded or balmodded a 150Hz and a 270Hz sine signals together, the result would be a signal composed of 120 Hz (270-150) and 420 Hz (150 + 270). Neither 150 nor 270 would be present in the output.

Ring modulation was once done with a ring of four diodes, hence the name. It was once called "diode ring modulation" but the "diode" got dropped off sometime mid last century.
drewskee
Sorry....but is there any difference sonically? It would seem so but I am missing that part.
thermionicjunky
drewskee wrote:
Sorry....but is there any difference sonically? It would seem so but I am missing that part.


Diode ring modulators are dirty and imperfect, but the name is often used for other circuit topologies. Buchla, for instance, has never sold a diode ring modulator. He's done it with transistors (111), vactrols (208) and whatever he does now.
7thDanSound
All technical descriptions aside I really like my 285e. Took a while for me to warm up to but it is really useful actually. And the Timbre knob in the ringmod section is good fun, especially under CV.

I do mostly prefer the frequency shifter though.
sempervirent
Good question drewskee. I think a dry A:B audio demo would be more useful than the "RF jargon"

7thDanSound are you up for it? Or do you have a video that demonstrates this already?
drewskee
sempervirent wrote:
Good question drewskee. I think a dry A:B audio demo would be more useful than the "RF jargon"

7thDanSound are you up for it? Or do you have a video that demonstrates this already?


I am not sure I've seen any video or tracks showing the 285e in action. I've also never owned a Frequency Shifter and usually have heard them doing weird tremolo / chorus / sidband stuff on radio broadcasts or full songs.

Would be great to see / hear how the 285e works and sounds on both the Freq Shift and Ring Mod sides...especially the Timbre control mentioned. Also would like to know if you can use the Ring Mod as a basic Oscillator as it seems to have an internal OCS that can be modulated.

Inquiring minds and ears want to know!

applause
7thDanSound
It's been ages since I did a video but I can see if I can find some time soon. I've quite lost the habit though so it may be some time before something happens.
sempervirent
There's a good comparison of two other frequency shifters here, with some audio examples:
http://navsmodularlab.blogspot.com/2011/01/shifter-shootout.html
franzschuier
Total speculation, but I think the 285e uses vactrols in the FS because it bleeds a bit as the 292e does? But maybe i dont understand enough about it.

It sounds nice. I like the Fs for percussive sounds after the 292e. Mix the outputs and spread them L\R for a moving Perc. The RM is nice for drones if use the CV output and modulate or wiggle between Balanced Modulation and RM.
djangosfire
Just for example of possible tones... here is a vid I did over a year ago. Featuring the 285e Frequency Shifter section. Although not a demo, at least you can hear a bit of shifting:



And this vid also features loads of 285e:

thermionicjunky
franzschuier wrote:
Total speculation, but I think the 285e uses vactrols in the FS because it bleeds a bit as the 292e does? But maybe i dont understand enough about it.


Bleed in a frequency shifter suggests to me simply that it is analog. It can be hard to do perfect math, particularly as capacitors age.

You hear the vactrols in the 208 balanced modulator as the frequency of the carrier is increased. The high end gradually rolls off as the LDR struggles to keep up. It's an engineer's nightmare but it sounds great. The dry/wet crossfader and FM index VCA use the same vactrols, so they respond like a 292.
dkcg
drewskee wrote:

I am not sure I've seen any video or tracks showing the 285e in action. I've also never owned a Frequency Shifter and usually have heard them doing weird tremolo / chorus / sidband stuff on radio broadcasts or full songs.

Would be great to see / hear how the 285e works and sounds on both the Freq Shift and Ring Mod sides...especially the Timbre control mentioned. Also would like to know if you can use the Ring Mod as a basic Oscillator as it seems to have an internal OCS that can be modulated.


If you can access the carriers, I haven't found the trick to do so. As far as I can tell, the carriers stay inside and you have no direct access.

The ring output and the voltage controlled output of the balance modulator are the same with the timbre at full. Changing the timbre knob or sending it CV makes it a pretty cool timbre tool. The 261e and the 285e play together extremely well. I made a little youtube demo today and am waiting for the movie to render out and flatten with audio. It'll be up in a few hours. I'll post the link here once it's up and running. It's a "demo" of the 261e going into both sections of the 285e and out to the 227e and one channel of a 281e to modulate a couple CVs. The first 2/3 are dry, and I got bored at the end and added in the TResonator and Eclipse for some effects.

Damn after effects takes a while to render.... meh
dkcg
Here you go! thumbs up



I'll see about adding annotations this weekend. I admit it's difficult to figure out what I'm doing off screen. d'oh!
mudlogger
dkcg wrote:
Here you go! thumbs up



I'll see about adding annotations this weekend. I admit it's difficult to figure out what I'm doing off screen. d'oh!


Thanks for this - much appreciated.

Never sure whether to get one or not as it would mean dropping an osc.
dkcg
mudlogger wrote:
Never sure whether to get one or not as it would mean dropping an osc.


I would keep the 2nd oscillator, unless you have a pair and want to focus more on timbre and processing external (and internal) signals than polyphony. it's a great module to trick the ears into thinking you have a second oscillator, I especially like using it with the 261e or external signals. I love using the frequency shifter with my lap steel guitars.
mudlogger
dkcg wrote:
mudlogger wrote:
Never sure whether to get one or not as it would mean dropping an osc.


I would keep the 2nd oscillator, unless you have a pair and want to focus more on timbre and processing external (and internal) signals than polyphony. it's a great module to trick the ears into thinking you have a second oscillator, I especially like using it with the 261e or external signals. I love using the frequency shifter with my lap steel guitars.


Ahh - sorry i didn't say, I have 3 osc in a 12 wls - 258v, 261e and 259e which i think is too much. Its strange, but i use the 261e the least....but i don't have the 285e - and it sounds fantastic on your video. I like the 259e and 258v the best..so far as i prefer an pure analog / harsh digi combination - 2 extremes. I really like 258v for FM, bass and modulating the 291e. I like the abrasiveness of the 259e for percussive use. I guess the 261e is in the middle somewhat. I think Dougcl has recommended a 285e + 259e combo before also. I guess its just down to personal taste.

I'm looking at the 285e as i really like to pitch shift and double up and ring mod with the same osc - you nailed it calling the 285e a fake 2nd Osc - that what it sounds like to me.
I'm not really into processing external gear - i prefer onboard sequencing - all in one box type affair, so I probably wouldn't use the external in.

This will give you the sound i'm after and style of music (in euro) its DPO / Optomix / Moddemix (ring mod) :

[s]http://soundcloud.com/mudlogger/bombies[/s]

heres my current set-up - what to drop for a 285e? :
prscrptn
I love the 261e, but I would sub it for a 285e... thumbs up
mudlogger
prscrptn wrote:
I love the 261e, but I would sub it for a 285e... thumbs up


Thats what i was thinking...
Peake
thermionicjunky wrote:
drewskee wrote:
Sorry....but is there any difference sonically? It would seem so but I am missing that part.


Diode ring modulators are dirty and imperfect, but the name is often used for other circuit topologies. Buchla, for instance, has never sold a diode ring modulator. He's done it with transistors (111), vactrols (208) and whatever he does now.


The 285 used the MC1494L balanced modulator IC and the later 212 Dodecamodule's ring modulator used IIRC the MC1496, which is far, far more common. There are vactrols in the 285 but IIRC they're for cross-fading and not audio-rate modulation as they'll slew anything faster than a few dozen milliseconds.
dkcg
mudlogger wrote:
prscrptn wrote:
I love the 261e, but I would sub it for a 285e... thumbs up


Thats what i was thinking...


After listening to your track, I'd agree. You could do more sonic damage between the 259e and 285e than the 261e. You could also swap the 250e for the 251e and add the 285e. The 250e is so quick and easy to program tho...
mudlogger
dkcg wrote:
mudlogger wrote:
prscrptn wrote:
I love the 261e, but I would sub it for a 285e... thumbs up


Thats what i was thinking...


After listening to your track, I'd agree. You could do more sonic damage between the 259e and 285e than the 261e. You could also swap the 250e for the 251e and add the 285e. The 250e is so quick and easy to program tho...


Yes - i was thinking about 250e -> 251e to make space....but i like to program quickly and the 250e i'm more than happy with.
Thanks for your ideas - i think i'll go for a 261e -> 285e swap in the not too distant future. I don't see many 285e going up for sale either. If anyone wants to sell - let me know - i'm in no hurry thumbs up

Edit : 285e found and bought. Thanks Wigglers!
261e v30 now FS
DrOctave
I was playing the 285 tonight very weird and fun. I was sending the 208r into it. Then I put the 258j into it. thanks for the vid Don
BHC303
Cant wait to get mine that I have on order hyper

Is it subtle? or a beast? or both hihi
mirf59
7thDanSound wrote:
All technical descriptions aside I really like my 285e. Took a while for me to warm up to but it is really useful actually. And the Timbre knob in the ringmod section is good fun, especially under CV.

I do mostly prefer the frequency shifter though.


...

Apologies for the necro-bump. I just got my hands on a 285e from rkilman (thank you), and I was fiddling with it a while yesterday.

In the ring modulation section, I couldn't really make out what, if anything, the FM and timbre sections were doing to the signal.

I'm sure it's that I'm a newb with the module, but can someone shine light on how to get the timbre and FM sections of the ring mod going? Maybe it is highly frequency dependent?

....
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