What VCO to recreate Arp sound?

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drdel
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What VCO to recreate Arp sound?

Post by drdel » Wed Oct 09, 2019 3:50 am

Hello, what VCO would you recommend as best suitable for re-creating the early Tonus-Arp 2600 sound? how much does the choice of VCO matter? AMS and MacBeth might perhaps suit but seem to be unobtainium, Steffcorp and SE I found only very few and perhaps not so impressive/revealing (?) demos ... many thanks for your advice! drdel

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Post by boubi » Wed Oct 09, 2019 5:02 am

The choice of VCOs matters. They are very unique, unlike others from the times. Back in the day it's obvious ARP, EMS, Buchla, Moog, etc, could pride themselves in unique designs. No endless rehash of the same ICs... (my 2 cents)

Early Tonus 4017 or 4027 are uncloned. Macbeth is moogish stuff. Closest to 4027-1 is AMS (yeah I know) and yes Steffcorp again, although it does not implement the LFO function of the original.

To my ears anyway the 4027 is slightly different sonically... darker... Unless there are clones I don't know about, it's impossible to match the Tonus exactly.
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Post by deftinwulf » Wed Oct 09, 2019 9:51 am

I've never owned or used a real ARP 2600, but maybe the Tonestar 2600 would get you close to both your questions (this and the other VCF thread)?

Might be worth a shot... https://www.studioelectronics.com/produ ... star/2600/

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Post by EATyourGUITAR » Wed Oct 09, 2019 10:53 am

I was talking with steffcorp when the vco was being developed. He showed me the original and the clone. They are very close. I have full confidence in the steffcorp VCO. There could be others but I don't know exactly who or where.
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Post by johny_gtr » Wed Oct 09, 2019 11:25 am

I think to clone the sound you need the whole chain: VCOs, filter, vca, mixer, envelopes, even PSU should be appropriate.
For vintage sound I will looks on original items ( :deadbanana: ) or proper clones. TTSH or another one clone which costs like an original (forget its name) - will provide better results.

If you need only flavor of 2600 - you need just a filter
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Post by Foghorn » Wed Oct 09, 2019 11:49 am

I would think that any good VCO would work, as long as they have the same waveforms available (sawtooth and pulse waveforms)

I would guess that it is mostly the filter response and choice of VCO modulation, mostly including modulation by another identical VCO that would give you a similar sound.



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Post by boubi » Wed Oct 09, 2019 12:57 pm

I hate to disagree and be a sonical pain in the lower output, but my answer to the proposed leads is: no, no, no, no.

Go Steffcorp.

Tonestar 2600 is inspired by the 2600, and Studio Electronics state that clearly. It has character and is a great synthesizer voice, it has similarities in sound, but it's a tribute, not a clone.

No, any VCO with the same waveforms won't do. They have a certain shape, and you don't find them in other circuits. Well, it's OK if you only want a flavor, as already suggested - but the filter doesn't do everything...

And Johnny Gtr is right, you might as well look for at least the Ring Mod and the VCA. They have been both cloned to specs by Oakley Modular.

The 2600 enveloppes are acquired taste, but if you chance upon clones of the ARP Odyssey enveloppe - I think Frequency Central did them - they're the same circuit.
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Post by deftinwulf » Wed Oct 09, 2019 1:13 pm

boubi wrote:Tonestar 2600 is inspired by the 2600, and Studio Electronics state that clearly. It has character and is a great synthesizer voice, it has similarities in sound, but it's a tribute, not a clone.
To be fair, I never stated it was a clone. I simply suggested that it might get drdel close to the sound he's after (in a pretty convenient synth voice package). :tu:

I have no doubt that Steffcorp are fantastic recreations and will provide the true ARP sound. :nana:

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Post by Isaiah » Wed Oct 09, 2019 1:23 pm

Another +1 for the Steffcorp VCO.
Rickard’s attention to detail is amazing.

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Post by drdel » Wed Oct 09, 2019 2:38 pm

Hi guys, many thanks to both of you! Yes I am contemplating the SE Oscillations/slim-o and 4075, not sure about the latter it may more resemble Arp 4072 (= the later version) and not sure about its sound, how much impairment/volume drop wit( resonance .. the VCO I wonde4 will it fit OK? not sure if yes or no, they use it also in their Roland- and Oberheim-type products .. all of these appear to be excellent modules though by all means .. what do you think? drdel

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Post by drdel » Wed Oct 09, 2019 3:55 pm

will consider the Steffcorp too .. awaiting Rickard’s reply

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Post by drdel » Wed Oct 09, 2019 4:03 pm

for that matter .. how about the Steffcorp Arp filter, also in comparison to the G Storm Tonus VCF? many thanks! drdel

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Post by boubi » Thu Oct 10, 2019 1:56 pm

drdel wrote:for that matter .. how about the Steffcorp Arp filter, also in comparison to the G Storm Tonus VCF? many thanks! drdel
I answered in the other thread you started: run for it while they last :love:
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Post by drdel » Fri Oct 11, 2019 5:53 am

many thanks!!

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Post by MindMachine » Fri Oct 11, 2019 8:33 pm

Add yourself an Oakley VCA and Ring Mod for sure 2600 sound.

http://www.oakleysound.com/e-projects.htm

There is nothing like the 2600 VCO # 2 as far as I know.
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Post by drdel » Sat Oct 12, 2019 7:26 pm

Hi MindMachine, and all, thank you, contacted Paul for availability info ;-)
can you tell me any difference between Oakley Classic VCA (resp. Arp 4019) and other VCAs (eg Pitts dual VCA), and Oakley RM (resp. Arp 4014) and other RM (eg AJH RingSM)? many thanks! drdel

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Post by MindMachine » Sat Oct 12, 2019 8:10 pm

You would need to examine the topography of different VCA's, RM's... I'm not schematically literate, so I can only suggest with my ears. The Oakley units are copy/clone/representations of the ARP 2600 units. The RM is incredible sounding and to my ears very close to a 2600. The VCA I have never actually tried.

And you will want a spring reverb unit too.
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Post by drdel » Sun Oct 13, 2019 6:47 am

Hi MindMachine, your advice confirms again that the whole chain may be needed, not just the filter .. btw can you tell the difference between the (few) Eurorack filters that are available as early (Tonus) Arp 2600 “clones”? perhaps see my other thread in this regard, esp. re. AM 8027, G Storm Tonus VCF and Steffcorp.. seems all are very good (?) maybe some not easy to get though, and how do they differ/which is most recommended? (I know if I want the real thing, I have to get the real thing .. so here it is only about how to achieve a reasonably good emulation..) thank you! drdel

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Post by EATyourGUITAR » Sun Oct 13, 2019 7:24 am

ring mod depends a lot on diode matching and carrier bleed calibration. these are things you may or may not have in the original and likewise for any clone. even so, you may have things that drift out of calibration with time. there is also variation between production units from the same manufacturer. you can get close with information but you need to use your ears at some point to decide what works for you with ring mod. I am assuming that something this old had a real diode ring made with germanium matched diodes. or maybe a shitty diode ring with unmatched diodes. I'm not a vintage synth historian.

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Post by ersatzplanet » Sun Oct 13, 2019 11:41 am

  • Foghorn wrote:I would think that any good VCO would work, as long as they have the same waveforms available (sawtooth and pulse waveforms)

    I would guess that it is mostly the filter response and choice of VCO modulation, mostly including modulation by another identical VCO that would give you a similar sound.
    Foghorn
    I agree. The VCO has very little to do with the sound of a particular synth. A well made sawtooth has the same sound and basically the same harmonic content as any other well made sawtooth. There may be a difference if the VCOs are made poorly - overshoot on the squares, slanted tops on square and pulse, droo
ping ramps, non-symmetrical triangles and sine, but even these distortions don't change the harmonic content even close to what a filter does. FILTERS make most of the audible character of a synth. The way the slope changes with change in resonance. The way the volume level of plateau on the filter changes with resonance. The way it distorts. All of these are unique with each filter design.
Second would be the Evelope generators and how "snappy" or log/linear they are. These are different with each design.
Third would be the audio chain itself. In a semi-modular, the audio chain has been optimized for the components used. Impedances have been changed and optimized for the typical chain. In a modular this can not be predicted so compromises are made.
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Post by boubi » Sun Oct 13, 2019 3:42 pm

Well I gonna have to disagree again with part of the comment above. Tonus VCOs have a topology that differ from the later VCO designs that appeared in the 1970s. They're in the same league as EMS, Moog 901, EML... The waveforms ARE specific. They do create specific harmonics, they do react specifically to modulations.
I know you are a respected man, James, and mean no offense. I just think it is pushing things a bit far as to say those very early oscillators designs are interchangeable. They are not poorly made indeed but still... skillfullness happened later in the history of synth.
Guess the OP is precisely looking for those mad scientist rough around the edges sounds of 1971, not the precise oscillator of 2019.
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Post by ersatzplanet » Sun Oct 13, 2019 6:29 pm

boubi wrote:Well I gonna have to disagree again with part of the comment above. Tonus VCOs have a topology that differ from the later VCO designs that appeared in the 1970s. They're in the same league as EMS, Moog 901, EML... The waveforms ARE specific. They do create specific harmonics, they do react specifically to modulations.
I know you are a respected man, James, and mean no offense. I just think it is pushing things a bit far as to say those very early oscillators designs are interchangeable. They are not poorly made indeed but still... skillfullness happened later in the history of synth.
Guess the OP is precisely looking for those mad scientist rough around the edges sounds of 1971, not the precise oscillator of 2019.
I'm afraid you are wrong about it in that the resultant waveforms, like I stated, if done correctly, have the same harmonic structure as correctly made waveforms of the same shape. A sawtooth will have the same harmonics as another sawtooth no mater how the circuit made it. That is Physics. The differences in waveform harmonics in synth VCOs come all from how poorly they are made. A sawtooth with droop in its ramps will have a SLIGHTLY different harmonic content than one without one. The same for a sawtooth that overshoots at the top or bottom. This it true for ALL the basic waveforms. The other things that may make a VCO different from another are tracking, distortions that happen at higher frequencies, offsets, and other deformities.
I'm sorry but a square wave that is truly a square wave, a ramp or sawtooth that is truly a ramp or a sawtooth, or any other waveforms that is truly those waveforms, will sound NO DIFFERENT from a another that is the same shape. There is no such thing as a "Phat VCO" for instance if it is not a wave shaping or wave table one.
If you can access the VCOs of this older synths, and link at them with an oscilloscope, you will find that they made the standard waveforms very well. In fact it was the goals of the engineers back then to make as perfect a waveform as possible. That was how they showed off their design chops.
Filters have all the character. That is why you see LOTS of filter clones - Moog, EMS, Wasp, Oberheim, Roland, etc, but see very little VCO clones. They are not harder to make.
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Re: What VCO to recreate Arp sound?

Post by Graham Hinton » Mon Oct 14, 2019 10:23 am

drdel wrote:what VCO would you recommend as best suitable for re-creating the early Tonus-Arp 2600 sound?
First you have to define what you think the early ARP sound is. Then how that differs from a late ARP sound. Then find someone else who agrees with you.
boubi wrote:Tonus VCOs have a topology that differ from the later VCO designs that appeared in the 1970s. They're in the same league as EMS, Moog 901, EML...
Actually all those are remarkably similar in topology. There are not many different ways of creating basic waveforms.
The waveforms ARE specific. They do create specific harmonics, they do react specifically to modulations.
This is just an assertion, not a proven fact. Given 1V/oct FM and linear PWM they all react the same. What is modulating them does differ though so that is what creates different sounds.
I just think it is pushing things a bit far as to say those very early oscillators designs are interchangeable.
All the ARP oscillators were designed to be interchangeable. Changes were made to improve operation or manufacturing, not to make a different sound.
They are not poorly made indeed but still... skillfullness happened later in the history of synth.


So you think that people like Alan Pearlman and Dennis Colin lacked skill?

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Re: What VCO to recreate Arp sound?

Post by drdel » Sun Sep 20, 2020 4:57 pm

Hello, just a brief update, I am using the Steffcorp VCOs now, very nice. The GSE VCOs are also nice I am pretty sure (judged based on the YouTube demo). Thanks tonal, if you for your kind help!

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Re: What VCO to recreate Arp sound?

Post by jfloftin » Mon Sep 21, 2020 2:02 pm

Graham Hinton wrote:
Mon Oct 14, 2019 10:23 am
drdel wrote:what VCO would you recommend as best suitable for re-creating the early Tonus-Arp 2600 sound?
First you have to define what you think the early ARP sound is. Then how that differs from a late ARP sound. Then find someone else who agrees with you.
boubi wrote:Tonus VCOs have a topology that differ from the later VCO designs that appeared in the 1970s. They're in the same league as EMS, Moog 901, EML...
Actually all those are remarkably similar in topology. There are not many different ways of creating basic waveforms.
The waveforms ARE specific. They do create specific harmonics, they do react specifically to modulations.
This is just an assertion, not a proven fact. Given 1V/oct FM and linear PWM they all react the same. What is modulating them does differ though so that is what creates different sounds.
I just think it is pushing things a bit far as to say those very early oscillators designs are interchangeable.
All the ARP oscillators were designed to be interchangeable. Changes were made to improve operation or manufacturing, not to make a different sound.
They are not poorly made indeed but still... skillfullness happened later in the history of synth.


So you think that people like Alan Pearlman and Dennis Colin lacked skill?
Good to see Graham bringing clarity to this. I have had a 2600 from the 70s. It's oscillators stayed in tune and tracked great. I don't want to get into the specifics but in Mark Vail's "Vintage Synthesizers", Timothy Smith discusses at length the flaws in the builds of the 2600. Phil Cirroco's site is another place to reference as well where he explains with some detail the specifics (getting rid of capacitors in the feedback loops of certain old op amps i.e the "audio path upgrade"):

UPGRADES / SERVICE FOR THE ARP 2600

You might also look at Phil's Eurorack modules (they are pricey):

THE CMS EURO RACK SYSTEM

I especally like Graham's point at the end. It says it all...

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