Intellijel Rubicon 2 vs SSF Zero Point Oscillator

Cwejman, Livewire, TipTop Audio, Doepfer etc... Get your euro on!

Moderators: luketeaford, Joe., lisa, Kent

Post Reply
closedLoop
Common Wiggler
Posts: 205
Joined: Sat Feb 02, 2019 9:01 am
Location: nyc

Re: Intellijel Rubicon 2 vs SSF Zero Point Oscillator

Post by closedLoop » Thu Jun 25, 2020 4:47 pm

daphnid wrote:
Thu Jun 25, 2020 1:54 pm
Nothing seems quite as capable of the variety of tones that the ZPO is though, esp at 16hp. I really want one. I have absolutely no issues with the fact that it may not be true tzfm. I'm just trying to make music here. I don't buy gear based on spec or get a boner for engineering. It all seems like a schoolyard argument to me.
I'd agree.

After reading this thread, I patched up my Generate-3, ZPO, and A-110-4. If you just stop thinking, and LISTEN, they're each so different. I really like the A-110-4, but, like most things Doepfer, it's more of a component of a larger thing than a thing in and of itself. The Generate-3 does amazing, buzzy, crazy things, but it leads you away from your initial intentions, for better or for worse. The ZPO does still strike me as the most balanced oscillators that go into the the thru-zero realm. I think of it more like a synth than a module, if that makes sense. There are so many things you can modulate once you start to get the sound close to what you want.

I don't think I'd get ever rid of any of those 3 oscillators, and I've dumped far more oscillators than I've kept.

Beware the scientist when you want to talk about art!
(& I do love science...)

User avatar
keyofnight
Common Wiggler
Posts: 128
Joined: Tue Jan 03, 2012 2:30 am
Location: Seattle, WA

Re: Intellijel Rubicon 2 vs SSF Zero Point Oscillator

Post by keyofnight » Thu Jun 25, 2020 5:03 pm

analogPedagog wrote:
Thu Jun 25, 2020 7:01 am
Useful range is much more correct than supersonic.
I get sh*t for using the word bandwidth - in which I meant a frequency range and you use the word supersonic? If I wanted to be an ass about that I might say - What do you mean by that? Like a jet that is breaking the sound barrier? No I don't think basari was using a supersonic mach 1 VCO as a modulator - the frequency was in the upper range of hearing.
Right. We're making FM sounds, so we're talking about audio-range carriers and modulators. I mean, there are certainly places for supersonic VCOs (…I like them for clocking my sequencers at supersonic rates, where they act as a divider and wacky oscillators…), but (maybe?) not in this context.
analogPedagog wrote:
Thu Jun 25, 2020 7:01 am
A major goal of mine as a synthesizer designer is to explore new ways to create known and perhaps unknown types of synthesis. If I have to throw mathematical purity out the window for sonic improvements and new territory I will happily do so. I design synths for people who make music, not a panel of scientists. So you can poke fun at the way I describe things and point out that my designs are not real or meet your narrow criteria of acceptability, I don't care.

I care about making my users happy and giving them something unique and fun to use. Judging from the response I have seen by the users who have compared the ZPO to the pure TZFM VCOs, they do think that the ZPO is more musical, and they certainly do not feel that I have mislead them, so mission accomplished in my book.
I know you've said this before, but thanks for saying it again.
"…an answer which cannot be expressed the question too cannot be expressed. […] If a question can be put at all, then it can also be answered." Wittgenstein, Tractatus, §6.52

User avatar
analogPedagog
Steady State Fate
Posts: 966
Joined: Wed Apr 14, 2010 10:56 pm
Location: New York
Contact:

Re: Intellijel Rubicon 2 vs SSF Zero Point Oscillator

Post by analogPedagog » Thu Jun 25, 2020 6:21 pm

keyofnight wrote:
Thu Jun 25, 2020 5:03 pm
analogPedagog wrote:
Thu Jun 25, 2020 7:01 am
Useful range is much more correct than supersonic.
I get sh*t for using the word bandwidth - in which I meant a frequency range and you use the word supersonic? If I wanted to be an ass about that I might say - What do you mean by that? Like a jet that is breaking the sound barrier? No I don't think basari was using a supersonic mach 1 VCO as a modulator - the frequency was in the upper range of hearing.
Right. We're making FM sounds, so we're talking about audio-range carriers and modulators. I mean, there are certainly places for supersonic VCOs (…I like them for clocking my sequencers at supersonic rates, where they act as a divider and wacky oscillators…), but (maybe?) not in this context.
analogPedagog wrote:
Thu Jun 25, 2020 7:01 am
A major goal of mine as a synthesizer designer is to explore new ways to create known and perhaps unknown types of synthesis. If I have to throw mathematical purity out the window for sonic improvements and new territory I will happily do so. I design synths for people who make music, not a panel of scientists. So you can poke fun at the way I describe things and point out that my designs are not real or meet your narrow criteria of acceptability, I don't care.

I care about making my users happy and giving them something unique and fun to use. Judging from the response I have seen by the users who have compared the ZPO to the pure TZFM VCOs, they do think that the ZPO is more musical, and they certainly do not feel that I have mislead them, so mission accomplished in my book.
I know you've said this before, but thanks for saying it again.

I hope you did not think any of that besides the first sentence was directed at you, keyofnight

But a high freq VCO would be ultrasonic. Supersonic means something is moving faster than sound. And since Doc etch-a-sketch felt the need to spank my hand because i wasn't talking like an engineer - I felt the need to point out the hypocrisy of him using the word 'supersonic' to describe the frequency range where TZFM dies off.

User avatar
keyofnight
Common Wiggler
Posts: 128
Joined: Tue Jan 03, 2012 2:30 am
Location: Seattle, WA

Re: Intellijel Rubicon 2 vs SSF Zero Point Oscillator

Post by keyofnight » Thu Jun 25, 2020 6:59 pm

analogPedagog wrote:
Thu Jun 25, 2020 6:21 pm

I hope you did not think any of that besides the first sentence was directed at you, keyofnight

But a high freq VCO would be ultrasonic. Supersonic means something is moving faster than sound. And since Doc etch-a-sketch felt the need to spank my hand because i wasn't talking like an engineer - I felt the need to point out the hypocrisy of him using the word 'supersonic' to describe the frequency range where TZFM dies off.
No, I know, and I understood you. :)
"…an answer which cannot be expressed the question too cannot be expressed. […] If a question can be put at all, then it can also be answered." Wittgenstein, Tractatus, §6.52

User avatar
brandonlogic
Super Deluxe Wiggler
Posts: 2681
Joined: Tue Jan 27, 2015 9:17 am

Re: Intellijel Rubicon 2 vs SSF Zero Point Oscillator

Post by brandonlogic » Thu Jun 25, 2020 11:04 pm

Both awesome vco’s.
Ultimately the only reason I choose rubicon 2 over zpo was because I determined from the demos that the zpo couldn’t do super clean sounding sine on sine fm (at least, that’s the impression I got from them). It always sounded like the sine had some extra harmonics and lost purity when tzfm’ed. I’m sure some people prefer that and like it but I personally really appreciate clean sines fmed.
Sine modulator on a sine wave carrier in tzfm is one of my favorite sounds in modular synthesis and on rubicon it’s liquid smooth. I still might try the zpo, I’m really interested in the tones it has to offer, but i really needed the rubicon 2 first for this reason.
I love ssf and intellijel. Both make some of my favorite, must have modules. Much respect to both of them.

User avatar
Dr. Sketch-n-Etch
Super Deluxe Wiggler
Posts: 7842
Joined: Thu Jan 21, 2010 1:46 pm
Location: Vancouver, BC, Canada

Re: Intellijel Rubicon 2 vs SSF Zero Point Oscillator

Post by Dr. Sketch-n-Etch » Fri Jun 26, 2020 1:09 pm

analogPedagog wrote:
Thu Jun 25, 2020 7:01 am
Useful range is much more correct than supersonic.
I get sh*t for using the word bandwidth - in which I meant a frequency range and you use the word supersonic? If I wanted to be an ass about that I might say - What do you mean by that? Like a jet that is breaking the sound barrier? No I don't think basari was using a supersonic mach 1 VCO as a modulator - the frequency was in the upper range of hearing.

And will say again, whatever a purely mathematical representation of TZFM has to offer, it barely improves anything substantial to the sound. Not only that, but the result still glitches and still has tracking issues. These are some of the issues I wanted to circumvent when designing the ZPO. The goal was to create something that can 'emulate' TZFM sounds and improve the short falls of even the purest TZVCOs, all while adding the ability to make new sounds. Is it a perfect representation of pure TZFM? No. I never claimed it was. There are aspects of normal TZFM that the ZPO does not do better. I'm fine with that because I found what the ZPO can do over normal TZFM much more interesting and musical. The ZPO has way more sweet spots, is not dependent on whether the modulator is higher or lower or closer to the carrier frequency, etc.

A major goal of mine as a synthesizer designer is to explore new ways to create known and perhaps unknown types of synthesis. If I have to throw mathematical purity out the window for sonic improvements and new territory I will happily do so. I design synths for people who make music, not a panel of scientists. So you can poke fun at the way I describe things and point out that my designs are not real or meet your narrow criteria of acceptability, I don't care.
I care about making my users happy and giving them something unique and fun to use. Judging from the response I have seen by the users who have compared the ZPO to the pure TZFM VCOs, they do think that the ZPO is more musical, and they certainly do not feel that I have mislead them, so mission accomplished in my book.
1) "Supersonic" -- Yes, I misspoke.

2) You can design whatever you want, obviously. I just wanted to design a TZFM VCO, mostly cuz I thought that Cynthia's video was cool, but her module was overpriced and overcomplicated (and, incidentally, it's full of white goop -- I've never put white goop on a module).

3) My goal was to design the best version that I could of whatever I was designing, and my designs were almost always what one might call the basic building blocks. My stuff was not flashy, but it worked well. It did the job it was designed to do. Occasionally there were issues (anyone remember the HP bleed on the Korgasmatron 2?) but we tried to fix them as they were discovered and pointed out to us (the Morgasmatron has no bleed issues, but required an almost total redesign).

Module design today has largely moved away from my aesthetic. I'll admit that I'm pretty "old-school" -- I don't love all of these complicated modules, and I don't love the sounds that they make (and I don't think that people are making very much inspiring music with them, because I believe that most people are overwhelmed with the possibilities and are suffering from "choice paralysis"). I'd much rather listen to a vintage Moog modular than a modern eurorack modular. If I don't have a clear idea of what a module does, then I have a hard time envisioning it within a patch, so I basically wouldn't reach for it. Even my handmade Rubicon mostly gets used as a basic VCO, because I generally can't be bothered patching up anything more complicated.

I know that I'm different than most in this regard, which is why I drifted away from module design. I haven't designed a module for Intellijel since 2016 -- the Polaris was the last complete thing I designed (I think) and that was a design that I had kicking around on my computer for about four years at that point. Also, I no longer make any money on my Intellijel designs because I was formally bought out at the beginning of 2019. My only "financial" interest in modular now is to convert my designs into nice 4U and 5U layouts and sell handmade versions of them to individuals for fun.
this night wounds time,

Bernie Hutchins
Learning to Wiggle
Posts: 23
Joined: Sat Jun 27, 2020 3:19 pm

Re: Intellijel Rubicon 2 vs SSF Zero Point Oscillator

Post by Bernie Hutchins » Sun Jul 05, 2020 10:40 pm

While browsing MW for a different topic I chanced upon this recent discussion of Through-Zero Frequency Modulation (TZFM). I know NOTHING of Intellijel Rubicon 2 vs SSF Zero Point Oscillator - but there is only ONE process that is TZFM. It may be achieved through frequency-shifting (Bode/Moog [5]), heterodyning (Hall [6]), or by time-reversals (Kraul [7,8]), the latter being very convenient for a VCO. The discussion [9] is rather complete.

The fact that [9] is not mentioned on this thread makes one of two points I claimed on the original EN/MEH/PCC thread (that even if free and one-click, people don’t bother to read things already there – while asking for more! Another point was that I defend authors, my own and others, as evidenced by the reference list here. Speaking of IP, Moog (FM for “clangorous sounds”) in 1965 [1] and not Chowning in 1973 [2] “invented” audio/audio FM.

How do you know if you have true TZFM? Well, as the instantaneous frequency approaches zero, goes to zero, and through to negative frequencies NOTHING dramatic happens. The spectrum just gets richer, incrementally. TZFM is ordinary FM with the barrier removed.

[1] Moog, R.A., “Voltage-Controlled Electronic Music Modules,” J. Audio Eng. Soc., Vol. 13, No. 3, pp 200-206, July 1965 ]
[2] Chowning, J.M., “The Synthesis of Complex Audio Spectra by Means of Frequency Modulation,” J. Audio Eng. Soc., Vol 21, No. 7, pp 526-534, Sept 1973
[3] Hutchins, B., “A Review of Frequency Modulation Synthesis Techniques for Musical Sounds,” Electronotes, Vol. 16, No. 171, pp 3-45, April 1988
[4] Hutchins, B. “The Frequency Modulation Spectrum of an Exponential Voltage- Controlled Oscillator,” J. Audio Eng. Soc., Vol 23, No. 3, pp 200-206, April 1975
[5] Hutchins, B., “The ENS-76 Home-Built Synthesizer System – Part 9, Frequency Shifter,” Electronotes, Vol. 9, No. 83, pp 5-19, November 1977; Bode, H., & R. Moog, “A High-Accuracy Frequency Shifter for 5])5])Professional Audio Applications,” J. Audio Eng. Soc., Vol. 20 No. 6, July/August 1972, pp 453-458
[6] Hall, J., “A ±10 kHz Through-Zero VCO,” Electronotes, Vol. 8, No. 65, May 1976, pp 11-13
[7] Kraul, D., in “New Ideas for Voltage-Controlled Oscillators”, Electronotes, Vol. 8, No. 62, Feb. 1976, pp 13-17
[8] Hutchins, B., “The ENS-76 Home-Built Synthesizer System – Part 7, VCO Options,” Electronotes, Vol. 9, No. 75 (March 1977) (see Option 4); Hutchins, B., “A VCO with Through-Zero Frequency Modulation Capability,” Electronotes, Vol. 13, No. 129, (Sept. 1981) pp 3-12; http://electronotes.netfirms.com/EN129.pdf
[9] Hutchins, B., “Negative Frequencies – and Through-Zero Frequency Modulation,” Electronotes, Vol. 22, No. 206, (Dec. 2010) http://electronotes.netfirms.com/EN206.pdf

User avatar
daphnid
Wiggling with Experience
Posts: 337
Joined: Fri Mar 06, 2020 4:23 pm

Re: Intellijel Rubicon 2 vs SSF Zero Point Oscillator

Post by daphnid » Sun Jul 05, 2020 11:05 pm

Damn shit just got academic.

When you need a subscription to Elsevier to choose an oscillator you may be too deep into modular.

User avatar
Dr. Sketch-n-Etch
Super Deluxe Wiggler
Posts: 7842
Joined: Thu Jan 21, 2010 1:46 pm
Location: Vancouver, BC, Canada

Re: Intellijel Rubicon 2 vs SSF Zero Point Oscillator

Post by Dr. Sketch-n-Etch » Mon Jul 06, 2020 1:28 am

Bernie Hutchins wrote:
Sun Jul 05, 2020 10:40 pm
While browsing MW for a different topic I chanced upon this recent discussion of Through-Zero Frequency Modulation (TZFM). I know NOTHING of Intellijel Rubicon 2 vs SSF Zero Point Oscillator - but there is only ONE process that is TZFM. It may be achieved through frequency-shifting (Bode/Moog [5]), heterodyning (Hall [6]), or by time-reversals (Kraul [7,8]), the latter being very convenient for a VCO. The discussion [9] is rather complete.

The fact that [9] is not mentioned on this thread makes one of two points I claimed on the original EN/MEH/PCC thread (that even if free and one-click, people don’t bother to read things already there – while asking for more! Another point was that I defend authors, my own and others, as evidenced by the reference list here. Speaking of IP, Moog (FM for “clangorous sounds”) in 1965 [1] and not Chowning in 1973 [2] “invented” audio/audio FM.

How do you know if you have true TZFM? Well, as the instantaneous frequency approaches zero, goes to zero, and through to negative frequencies NOTHING dramatic happens. The spectrum just gets richer, incrementally. TZFM is ordinary FM with the barrier removed.
Hi Bernie, Xerox machine PDF maker guy here again. Yes, I designed the Rubicon, which for a while was the only commercially available analog TZFM oscillator. (There was another one called the Zeroscillator, but by the time the Rubicon was released, the ZO was not what one could call "commercially available." Now I guess there are a few, although not actually that many -- maybe three or four.)

I think I scanned the Electronotes write-up on TZFM, but I didn't use any of the concepts therein to design the Rubicon. I basically just sat there (yes, on the toilet) and visualized how to achieve it. Then I tried it and it worked, and then we developed a commercial product.

I think a lot of these things have acquired a patina of being extraordinary, but there really isn't anything extraordinary about how the Rubicon works. I suppose it is a flavour of what you would call "time reversal" (although, again, I find that terminology to be full of unhelpful mystery and ambiguity). Basically, it's a classic tri-square oscillator with a balanced modulator in the square wave loop returning to the integrator. In fact, the modulator can be more or less balanced. If it is perfectly balanced, then the TZFM is symmetric about zero. If it is totally unbalanced, then it is conventional Linear FM. (This balancing control is called, appropriately, SYMMETRY.) Because the comparator in the tri-square oscillator must receive an input signal of a certain polarity to change the triangle's direction, and because TZFM can change that polarity, then there must be a way to switch the polarity of that signal. This is extremely convenient in the Rubicon, because the control signal which defines the gain of the balanced modulator (a pair of linearized 2164 VCAs) also goes through zero when the FM goes through zero, so this gain-determining voltage is used to drive a comparator whose output drives a JFET which switches an opamp positive or negative.

It turns out that any tri-square VCO can be converted to a TZFM VCO with just a few parts. The reason more people don't do it is probably because the whole concept has been dressed up in so much mystery with meaningless terms such as "time reversal."
this night wounds time,

Bernie Hutchins
Learning to Wiggle
Posts: 23
Joined: Sat Jun 27, 2020 3:19 pm

Re: Intellijel Rubicon 2 vs SSF Zero Point Oscillator

Post by Bernie Hutchins » Mon Jul 06, 2020 11:32 am

DS&E
You said: meaningless terms such as "time reversal." Do you REALLY not understand?

If x(f,t) = sin[2*pi*f*t]

Then

x(-f,t) = sin[2*pi*(-f)*t] = sin(2*pi*f*(-t)]

which is a time reversal IS IT NOT? The EN#129 (after Doug Kraul on EN site) is brilliant; direct, simple, and dirt cheap (and true TZFM). Does your design show the same time reversals? A heterodyning approach (yours?) also shows reversals (see EN#206).

-Bernie

User avatar
Dr. Sketch-n-Etch
Super Deluxe Wiggler
Posts: 7842
Joined: Thu Jan 21, 2010 1:46 pm
Location: Vancouver, BC, Canada

Re: Intellijel Rubicon 2 vs SSF Zero Point Oscillator

Post by Dr. Sketch-n-Etch » Mon Jul 06, 2020 6:04 pm

Yes, Bernie, my design gives perfect and true TZFM.

In a tri-square oscillator, the square wave is returned to the triangle integrator (through an exponential amplifier in the case of a musical VCO). Typically, this square wave will enter the expo amp at a gain of +1. If this gain is modulated around the centre of +1, then that is conventional Linear FM. If this gain is biased towards zero and modulated, then one obtains TZFM. If the gain is biased all the way to -1, then one obtains conventional Linear FM again, only now the waveforms are 180 degrees out of phase with where they were at +1. This means that the sawtooth has changed direction (if there is a sawtooth).

The most elegant way to get this +1 to -1 gain shift happening is to put the square wave through a variably-balanced modulator (which is easily built from two opposing linear VCAs, or even just one linear VCA and an inverter, if you're clever). Since the output of the modulator is XY (where X is the square wave), then the biasing of Y determines the biasing of the square wave's gain, and the degree of through-zero modulation.

However, one can't just do that. One also has to allow for the changing of the triangle's polarity at the core comparator, because if the frequency goes through zero but the polarity isn't changed, the comparator will be in the wrong polarity and will never hit the threshold, and the VCO will rise (or fall) to the rail and hang there forever.

Hence, I don't think of this as "time reversal" -- just in terms of positive and negative gains -- it makes more sense from an electronics point of view.
this night wounds time,

Bernie Hutchins
Learning to Wiggle
Posts: 23
Joined: Sat Jun 27, 2020 3:19 pm

Re: Intellijel Rubicon 2 vs SSF Zero Point Oscillator

Post by Bernie Hutchins » Mon Jul 06, 2020 8:48 pm

We badly need some "pictures" here. Have you provide a public technical description anywhere?

Bernie Hutchins
Learning to Wiggle
Posts: 23
Joined: Sat Jun 27, 2020 3:19 pm

Re: Intellijel Rubicon 2 vs SSF Zero Point Oscillator

Post by Bernie Hutchins » Mon Jul 06, 2020 9:06 pm

I guess a fair simple question is: What does your TZVCO do that Doug's TZVCO does not do [at 1/4 the cost (multipliers)]?

User avatar
Dr. Sketch-n-Etch
Super Deluxe Wiggler
Posts: 7842
Joined: Thu Jan 21, 2010 1:46 pm
Location: Vancouver, BC, Canada

Re: Intellijel Rubicon 2 vs SSF Zero Point Oscillator

Post by Dr. Sketch-n-Etch » Mon Jul 06, 2020 9:32 pm

Bernie, if you've got 9 minutes to spare, then this video put together by the fine folks at Intellijel will answer some of your burning questions:



I haven't published a public technical description because this is a commercial product and competition (at least in the eurorack realm) can be quite fierce. In fact, I've said more in my last four or five postings to this thread than I've ever said publicly about the Rubicon's internal workings.

As far as what does it do that Doug's TZVCO does not, I don't really know what Doug's TZVCO does, so I can't answer that question. However, one thing I would ask about Doug's TZVCO is, does it track 1V/octave very well? Because, in my experience, obtaining good TZFM is easy. Getting it to track to 1V/octave (especially as the symmetry, or Linear FM bias point, is changed) is the real challenge. To me, that's really where the "rubber hits the road" in terms of, is this a viable commercial product, or just an academic curiosity that makes for a nice article in a newsletter?
this night wounds time,

User avatar
oldenjon
Ultra Wiggler
Posts: 779
Joined: Sun Feb 26, 2012 1:28 am
Location: Sacramento, CA

Re: Intellijel Rubicon 2 vs SSF Zero Point Oscillator

Post by oldenjon » Tue Jul 07, 2020 12:09 am

This thread is funny. I remember a thread comparing the ZPO to Generate 3 a few months back where the morph feature was given the same treatment. I haven't watched them all but I don't really hear the kinds of TZ sounds I'm familiar with in the demos. TZFM is very of the moment, and it does seems possible that ZPO is capitalizing on that by offering a lot of bells and whistles to entice customers to a product that only sort of does TZFM. Not saying it isn't an excellent and very musical VCO, but the nomenclature and technical differences are worth discussing and investigating for people who don't know and want to get in on one of eurorack's latest trends.
Last edited by oldenjon on Tue Jul 07, 2020 12:47 am, edited 1 time in total.
"We all dance by ourselves, that's why we only play electronic music"

http://synthscalledbeasts.tumblr.com/

VibratingMotorGate
Learning to Wiggle
Posts: 41
Joined: Tue Jul 16, 2013 9:30 pm
Location: Berkeley, CA

Re: Intellijel Rubicon 2 vs SSF Zero Point Oscillator

Post by VibratingMotorGate » Tue Jul 07, 2020 12:42 am

agreed Oldenjon, but this all brings into serious question the the method of TZFM at higher audio rates when compared to SSF's method, which is seems superior in phase, but also in tuning when using both lin and exp FM. This kind of AM trickery really deserve's it's own standalone module, if at all possible away from the oscillator core. I don't see the appeal of the wavemorphing stuff, but the VCO has a very crisp and clinical tone. The Rubincon is just more rubbery, thick and goopy - while still holding together mostly - well up into the upper midrange (when he was combining the sync and both FM's?), whereas the SSF generally sounds more punchy and snappy (ultimately meeting it's demise in the lower registers (in FM), but still providing it's own useful/different utility (AM)). I don't own either of these.

User avatar
oldenjon
Ultra Wiggler
Posts: 779
Joined: Sun Feb 26, 2012 1:28 am
Location: Sacramento, CA

Re: Intellijel Rubicon 2 vs SSF Zero Point Oscillator

Post by oldenjon » Tue Jul 07, 2020 1:07 am

How much of an issue is that in practice vs. theory? It seemed like a straw man argument. I guess if the ZPO isn't really doing TZFM or sounding like TZFM then it's not a point of comparison.
"We all dance by ourselves, that's why we only play electronic music"

http://synthscalledbeasts.tumblr.com/

User avatar
Voltcontrol
Ravey Dave
Posts: 1076
Joined: Thu Jan 25, 2018 1:31 pm
Location: The Netherlands

Re: Intellijel Rubicon 2 vs SSF Zero Point Oscillator

Post by Voltcontrol » Tue Jul 07, 2020 1:49 am

Regardless of mmentioned improper use of terminology versus what it does on the ZPO, in terms sonic capabilities and functionality the Rubicon 2 is the hands down winner in this comparison for me. That isn't to say I wouldn't enjoy the ZPO, I would very much!
Last edited by Voltcontrol on Tue Jul 07, 2020 2:29 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
nios
Wiggling with Experience
Posts: 274
Joined: Tue Feb 26, 2019 11:32 pm
Location: lost in a dream

Re: Intellijel Rubicon 2 vs SSF Zero Point Oscillator

Post by nios » Tue Jul 07, 2020 2:00 am

Having heard Basari's comparison between the two honestly the ZPO seems to do not just good on "through zero" however you'd define/qualify it, it audibly handles it better than Rubicon when pushed to the limits. ZPO also has a peculiar sync sound that's quite quite pleasing compared to Rubicon's. I say all this as someone with a Rubicon 2. Really though I like them both for rather different reasons as they both have some rare/unique features to each other and I think compliment each other fine. I've been debating trying either a ZPO or an NTO and, "faker" or not on the wave morph and TZFM the sound you record is what matters in the end and ZPO looks more than a match for the R*S.

User avatar
daphnid
Wiggling with Experience
Posts: 337
Joined: Fri Mar 06, 2020 4:23 pm

Re: Intellijel Rubicon 2 vs SSF Zero Point Oscillator

Post by daphnid » Tue Jul 07, 2020 4:40 am

nios wrote:
Tue Jul 07, 2020 2:00 am
Having heard Basari's comparison between the two honestly the ZPO seems to do not just good on "through zero" however you'd define/qualify it, it audibly handles it better than Rubicon when pushed to the limits. ZPO also has a peculiar sync sound that's quite quite pleasing compared to Rubicon's. I say all this as someone with a Rubicon 2. Really though I like them both for rather different reasons as they both have some rare/unique features to each other and I think compliment each other fine. I've been debating trying either a ZPO or an NTO and, "faker" or not on the wave morph and TZFM the sound you record is what matters in the end and ZPO looks more than a match for the R*S.
The NTO shape morphing blew my mind, I've never really heard anything like it from just a single oscillator. To my ears the ZPO is definitely leagues below it in this regard. I've never, in all my years with synths, been so happy to just tweak a single, unprocessed, analog oscillator.

I've had a ZPO for a few days now and I love it. It provides a wealth of usable, pitch trackable audio rate modulated sounds. And I'm not even that well versed in analog FM and struggled a bit with the Rubicon (1) and Dixie combo. The ZPO (w/ Dixie) is more approachable for me and has rewarded me more during somewhat ignorant experimentation. Although to be fair I knew fuck all about analog FM when I started with the Rubicon, but it's what I've been learning on. The Rubi's TZFM does sound a bit more full and, idk, bubbly? But I'm roughly 20 hours hours into the ZPO and I'm smitten.

If you're looking for a VCO that can do a bunch of clangorous but useful FM the ZPO is excellent. It's particularly good at percussion (sending a bunch of s+h'd lfos to various inputs at every trigger can give you an analog Akemie's Taiko vibe, especially with some noise and VCA modulation. Currently experimenting with sending slewed, quantized ratios to the modulating VCO via o_C, which gets it even closer). It's raw wave morphing is definitely not anywhere near comparable the NTO however. I find it's something to help you get more out of the FM/AM than be a source of inspiration in itself. It's not something that makes you want to just sit there and tweak it for 20 minutes like the NTO.

User avatar
Prunesquallor
Veteran Wiggler
Posts: 549
Joined: Wed Nov 11, 2009 3:08 am
Location: Valencia, Spain

Re: Intellijel Rubicon 2 vs SSF Zero Point Oscillator

Post by Prunesquallor » Tue Jul 07, 2020 5:22 am

daphnid wrote:
Tue Jul 07, 2020 4:40 am
The NTO shape morphing blew my mind, I've never really heard anything like it from just a single oscillator. To my ears the ZPO is definitely leagues below it in this regard. I've never, in all my years with synths, been so happy to just tweak a single, unprocessed, analog oscillator.

The Rubi's TZFM does sound a bit more full and, idk, bubbly? But I'm roughly 20 hours into the ZPO and I'm smitten.
Right! It's the core sound that counts, doesn't it? FOR ME, the best sounding TZFM VCOs are the Rubicon, the Fritz Teezer, and the Dannysound EN129; and I agree that the morphing on the NTO (and Stroh/J3RK VCOs) sounds better than that on the ZPO. Personally speaking, unless a module gives you goosebumps, makes your heart pound, or makes you laugh out loud there's no point in buying it - no matter what the technical specs. A lot of the argument in this thread has lost me.
If at first you don't succeed read the instruction manual.

User avatar
daphnid
Wiggling with Experience
Posts: 337
Joined: Fri Mar 06, 2020 4:23 pm

Re: Intellijel Rubicon 2 vs SSF Zero Point Oscillator

Post by daphnid » Tue Jul 07, 2020 6:14 am

Prunesquallor wrote:
Tue Jul 07, 2020 5:22 am
daphnid wrote:
Tue Jul 07, 2020 4:40 am
The NTO shape morphing blew my mind, I've never really heard anything like it from just a single oscillator. To my ears the ZPO is definitely leagues below it in this regard. I've never, in all my years with synths, been so happy to just tweak a single, unprocessed, analog oscillator.

The Rubi's TZFM does sound a bit more full and, idk, bubbly? But I'm roughly 20 hours into the ZPO and I'm smitten.
Right! It's the core sound that counts, doesn't it? FOR ME, the best sounding TZFM VCOs are the Rubicon, the Fritz Teezer, and the Dannysound EN129; and I agree that the morphing on the NTO (and Stroh/J3RK VCOs) sounds better than that on the ZPO. Personally speaking, unless a module gives you goosebumps, makes your heart pound, or makes you laugh out loud there's no point in buying it - no matter what the technical specs. A lot of the argument in this thread has lost me.
I partly agree, there's something to be said about turning on an instrument and getting immediate goosebumps the first time you use it. The ZPO definitely did not do that for me but after a bit of poking around I was uncontrollably smiling. The first time I turned on a synth and started laughing out loud was with a Pro 1, after only having used a Nord Lead 1 and DX7 (both of which I love dearly). It was kind of like the first time I got a real pair of cross country racing skis. All these years of practice on cheesy equipment and suddenly I was on the real thing and soaring. But at the end of the day if I had to pick between the Nord 1 and and the Pro 1 I'd pick the Nord. Maybe because I know that synth inside out, but mainly because it's just so useful for my musical aesthetic. When I'm choosing an instrument that's all that matters in the end. Alas, synths are not like skis. It's not about which ones are fastest (or fattest).

User avatar
Prunesquallor
Veteran Wiggler
Posts: 549
Joined: Wed Nov 11, 2009 3:08 am
Location: Valencia, Spain

Re: Intellijel Rubicon 2 vs SSF Zero Point Oscillator

Post by Prunesquallor » Tue Jul 07, 2020 8:46 am

daphnid wrote:
Tue Jul 07, 2020 6:14 am
Prunesquallor wrote:
Tue Jul 07, 2020 5:22 am
daphnid wrote:
Tue Jul 07, 2020 4:40 am
The NTO shape morphing blew my mind, I've never really heard anything like it from just a single oscillator. To my ears the ZPO is definitely leagues below it in this regard. I've never, in all my years with synths, been so happy to just tweak a single, unprocessed, analog oscillator.

The Rubi's TZFM does sound a bit more full and, idk, bubbly? But I'm roughly 20 hours into the ZPO and I'm smitten.
Right! It's the core sound that counts, doesn't it? FOR ME, the best sounding TZFM VCOs are the Rubicon, the Fritz Teezer, and the Dannysound EN129; and I agree that the morphing on the NTO (and Stroh/J3RK VCOs) sounds better than that on the ZPO. Personally speaking, unless a module gives you goosebumps, makes your heart pound, or makes you laugh out loud there's no point in buying it - no matter what the technical specs. A lot of the argument in this thread has lost me.
I partly agree, there's something to be said about turning on an instrument and getting immediate goosebumps the first time you use it. The ZPO definitely did not do that for me but after a bit of poking around I was uncontrollably smiling. The first time I turned on a synth and started laughing out loud was with a Pro 1, after only having used a Nord Lead 1 and DX7 (both of which I love dearly). It was kind of like the first time I got a real pair of cross country racing skis. All these years of practice on cheesy equipment and suddenly I was on the real thing and soaring. But at the end of the day if I had to pick between the Nord 1 and and the Pro 1 I'd pick the Nord. Maybe because I know that synth inside out, but mainly because it's just so useful for my musical aesthetic. When I'm choosing an instrument that's all that matters in the end. Alas, synths are not like skis. It's not about which ones are fastest (or fattest).
Nothing to do with the fattest sound necessarily. Life's too short and there's too many modules. 8-)
If at first you don't succeed read the instruction manual.

AugustusArnone
Learning to Wiggle
Posts: 16
Joined: Fri Jan 31, 2020 11:32 am

Re: Intellijel Rubicon 2 vs SSF Zero Point Oscillator

Post by AugustusArnone » Tue Jul 07, 2020 12:22 pm

I've owned a Rubicon2 for about 6 months and I just bought a ZPO and am waiting on it to arrive. I really like Basari's videos on the ZPO but I think the designer of the Rubicon is right to take exception to the comparison because it's a bit prejudicial. I know it's not meant to be at all, but I think the video shows the strengths of the ZPO very well but not the strengths of the Rubicon. And all of the tests are those which show areas where the ZPO has a bit more extra richness or extra range. For example, by doing sweeps it shows off the ZPO's unique modulation in the higher ranges and so one is sort of uninfluenced to believe it's a better oscillator. But once he declares that the symmetry has no value and doesn't explore the timbral possibilities of fine adjustments of the symmetry, or explore the range of timbral possibilities of the different levels of FM index on the Rubicon, it's not showing most of what's great about that oscillator. What I like about the Rubicon is that by going from lock to adjustable symmetry, and playing with the index, once can find an incredible range of distinct timbres, all of which track exceptionally well and all of which work really well with envelope modulations for example. I feel it's kind of missing in this video, instead the demonstrations are almost exactly set up to show the ZPO to be a superior oscillator. And I'll freely admit that his videos inspired me to buy a ZPO, because they really do show what a great sounding and wide ranging oscillator it is. But as a Rubicon lover too, I felt like a true comparison of the two oscillators would focus a bit more on the range of timbral possibility that the Rubicon has to offer, and the special timbres it can do that others can't, and the degree to which they stay in tune and harmonically focused rather than just offering crazy and ultra fat effects, which it can also do, but the ZPO seems it can do a bit more of, not surprisingly given the Amplitude modulation capabilities.

Bernie Hutchins
Learning to Wiggle
Posts: 23
Joined: Sat Jun 27, 2020 3:19 pm

Re: Intellijel Rubicon 2 vs SSF Zero Point Oscillator

Post by Bernie Hutchins » Tue Jul 07, 2020 12:53 pm

DS&E – thanks for the video

The main problem with the video is that it moves WAY TOO FAST. He turns knobs too fast for the analog scope to give a stable display. I can’t see the TZFM turn-arounds. Slow down, and/or use a sampling scope, and give the viewer a chance (waveforms like 4a, 4d, and 4e of my EN#206) http://electronotes.netfirms.com/EN206.pdf

Note that he is apparently comfortable with time-reversals (negative frequencies causing “VCO waveforms with reversed direction” at 3:44).

It’s too bad you do not provide circuitry/block-diagrams. If as you say you are changing integrator gain from +1 to -1 (direction) than aren’t you just doing what Doug did with just a flip-flop?

The volts/oct tracking data on Doug’s VCO is provided on page 10: http://electronotes.netfirms.com/EN129.pdf
and seems quite good.

What does Doug’s TZVCO do you ask. It does proper dynamic-depth TZFM and has been fully-documented, and doing so for 40 years.

-Bernie

Post Reply

Return to “Eurorack Modules”