Best square wave VCO?

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black_label
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Best square wave VCO?

Post by black_label » Tue Mar 31, 2020 12:26 am

Looking for an analog VCO that has an awesome square & pulse wave & pwm. Preferably in 10hp or less. What modules should I be looking at?

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Re: Best square wave VCO?

Post by lisa » Tue Mar 31, 2020 1:06 am

I’d go with AniModule Lil' Monster VCO. Analogue, PWM, good tracking, lin/exp FM and so on. 8hp.
91351481-A404-4FFA-87BA-45DD739D0E27.jpeg
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My first modular track where I used drum modules! BIA, Entity Percussion, Chimera, Elements. There's also a ton of FM cross modulation from the Instruō Cš-L in there and the Metasonix R56 is a big part of the sound. :star:


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Re: Best square wave VCO?

Post by black_label » Tue Mar 31, 2020 2:13 am

lisa wrote:
Tue Mar 31, 2020 1:06 am
I’d go with AniModule Lil' Monster VCO. Analogue, PWM, good tracking, lin/exp FM and so on. 8hp.

91351481-A404-4FFA-87BA-45DD739D0E27.jpeg
Thank you! I’ll definitely check that one out.

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Re: Best square wave VCO?

Post by Dave Peck » Tue Mar 31, 2020 2:28 am

Depends on what you mean by 'best'. Most technically accurate square wave shape? Best pitch tracking? Features that other modules don't have? (i.e. there are a few that have more than one type of PWM, for more sonic options).

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Re: Best square wave VCO?

Post by joncharliefeathers » Tue Mar 31, 2020 2:47 am

The intelligence Dixie 2 has a square and pulse wave. Although discontinued they are easy to find

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IEC
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Re: Best square wave VCO?

Post by IEC » Tue Mar 31, 2020 2:58 am

the erica black vco has a rounded square wave sub osc thats pretty tasty

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Re: Best square wave VCO?

Post by black_label » Tue Mar 31, 2020 3:11 am

Dave Peck wrote:
Tue Mar 31, 2020 2:28 am
Depends on what you mean by 'best'. Most technically accurate square wave shape? Best pitch tracking? Features that other modules don't have? (i.e. there are a few that have more than one type of PWM, for more sonic options).
Pitch tracking is definitely important. A nice pristine square wave is nice too. I’d love features like a sub osc and low frequency range but I’d trade them for a great sounding oscillator. What other types of pwm are there?

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Re: Best square wave VCO?

Post by cptnal » Tue Mar 31, 2020 7:38 am

Dixie II+ is a rock. I don't think it's discontinued.

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Re: Best square wave VCO?

Post by KvotheKingkiller » Tue Mar 31, 2020 8:08 am

I'm partial to my noise reap uBermuda

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BenA718
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Re: Best square wave VCO?

Post by BenA718 » Tue Mar 31, 2020 9:08 am

Oscillation by Studio Electronics is a wonderful VCO that is plenty versatile, tracks great, and sounds great!

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Re: Best square wave VCO?

Post by cg_funk » Tue Mar 31, 2020 9:12 am

Squarewave being a primitive of synthesis.. it’s hard to call anything the ‘best’ square IMO. I mean aside from how well an osc tracks v/oct, and layout, I’m not sure what else you could judge by.

Maybe look for one that has PWM as an option, as that’ll get you some harmonic variety.

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Re: Best square wave VCO?

Post by Voltcontrol » Tue Mar 31, 2020 9:20 am

The New Timbral Oscillator by Random*Source is worth checking out, there's just something to the raw tone of this osc. https://randomsource.net/serge_eurorack?mod=RS_NTO_E

AniModule Lil' Monster VCO looks good too, but haven't heard it irl, Dixie also def a solid choice.

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Re: Best square wave VCO?

Post by black_label » Tue Mar 31, 2020 11:11 am

BenA718 wrote:
Tue Mar 31, 2020 9:08 am
Oscillation by Studio Electronics is a wonderful VCO that is plenty versatile, tracks great, and sounds great!
I like Studio Electronics stuff a lot and was looking at the Slim O. Are they similar?

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Re: Best square wave VCO?

Post by BenA718 » Tue Mar 31, 2020 3:05 pm

black_label wrote:
Tue Mar 31, 2020 11:11 am
BenA718 wrote:
Tue Mar 31, 2020 9:08 am
Oscillation by Studio Electronics is a wonderful VCO that is plenty versatile, tracks great, and sounds great!
I like Studio Electronics stuff a lot and was looking at the Slim O. Are they similar?
Unfortunately I cannot speak to that one. I own the Oscillation and Quadnic and they are both awesome.

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Re: Best square wave VCO?

Post by mome rath » Tue Mar 31, 2020 6:23 pm

lisa wrote:
Tue Mar 31, 2020 1:06 am
I’d go with AniModule Lil' Monster VCO. Analogue, PWM, good tracking, lin/exp FM and so on. 8hp.

91351481-A404-4FFA-87BA-45DD739D0E27.jpeg
agreed, this is an excellent VCO and the square is BEEF
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Re: Best square wave VCO?

Post by Dave Peck » Tue Mar 31, 2020 6:34 pm

Voltcontrol wrote:
Tue Mar 31, 2020 9:20 am
The New Timbral Oscillator by Random*Source is worth checking out, there's just something to the raw tone of this osc. https://randomsource.net/serge_eurorack?mod=RS_NTO_E
I used to have a New Timbral Osc many years ago in the original Serge format. This is a great osc and has the extra feature of being able to smoothly sweep between all waveform shapes, not just PWM.

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Re: Best square wave VCO?

Post by luketeaford » Tue Mar 31, 2020 9:42 pm

The NTO is an awesome oscillator, but if you want 0 or 100% duty cycle PWM, I don't believe it does that-- mine don't, although maybe it could be calibrated.

The Subconscious Communications vampire has a really good sounding square. It's sort of an "East coast" take on the complex oscillator. It gives you PWM that goes to 0 and 100%. It has "windowing" which is amplitude modulation. It has an octave-up sine wave and a 2-octave down sub oscillator. Plus you can modulate between the waveforms (stepped unlike the NTO). That has a more dramatic and pronounced effect and sounds really great.

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Re: Best square wave VCO?

Post by black_label » Tue Mar 31, 2020 11:09 pm

luketeaford wrote:
Tue Mar 31, 2020 9:42 pm
The NTO is an awesome oscillator, but if you want 0 or 100% duty cycle PWM, I don't believe it does that-- mine don't, although maybe it could be calibrated.

The Subconscious Communications vampire has a really good sounding square. It's sort of an "East coast" take on the complex oscillator. It gives you PWM that goes to 0 and 100%. It has "windowing" which is amplitude modulation. It has an octave-up sine wave and a 2-octave down sub oscillator. Plus you can modulate between the waveforms (stepped unlike the NTO). That has a more dramatic and pronounced effect and sounds really great.
That sounds really cool. I haven’t heard of an osc that does a +1 sine with a -2 sub (square I’m assuming) and the ability to modulate between all 3. I’ll have to dive into YouTube over this one.

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Re: Best square wave VCO?

Post by kwaidan » Tue Mar 31, 2020 11:13 pm

Livewire AFG.

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Re: Best square wave VCO?

Post by Voltcontrol » Wed Apr 01, 2020 12:44 am

black_label wrote:
Tue Mar 31, 2020 11:09 pm
luketeaford wrote:
Tue Mar 31, 2020 9:42 pm
The Subconscious Communications vampire
That sounds really cool. I haven’t heard of an osc that does a +1 sine with a -2 sub (square I’m assuming) and the ability to modulate between all 3. I’ll have to dive into YouTube over this one.
Same!

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Re: Best square wave VCO?

Post by Navs » Wed Apr 01, 2020 1:27 am

If you already have a VCO you like, consider a comparator and make your own square/PWM. There are dedicated modules, like ones from Doepfer or Metabolic Devices' 2Win. But you'll also find them 'hiding' in other modules like the A-137-2, MN Maths or Toppobrillo Sport Modulator.

I'm also partial to a flip-flop-based sub oscillator, e.g., a CMOS clock divider like the A-160.

I'm not sure if there's any real 'magic' involved in this, tho. It's a design choice whether the manufacturer allows you to modulate beyond 1% or 100%, like the Plan B Model 15. More important is maybe the core of the VCO, saw or triangle, and how the comparator derives the square from that.

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Re: Best square wave VCO?

Post by KSS » Wed Apr 01, 2020 1:53 am

black_label wrote:
Tue Mar 31, 2020 3:11 am
What other types of pwm are there?
PWM is usually created with a comparator on an input waveform. If saw, only the rear edge will be moving as pulse width changes. if ramp, the front edge only is moving. If the triangle is used, then both edges of the pulse will be moving. Sine wil also move both edges, but not in the linear way of a ramp, saw or triangle due to its curved shape.

We don't hear these phase change differences in isolation, but as soon as the PWM or static wave is mixed with other waveforms the differences become apparent. It can be a huge resource for additional sounds from your oscillator.

The next way PWM's can vary is the degree to which they are width limited. Most go from some lower limit like 5-10% to some upper limit like 90-95%. But others will let you go past the ends of the range to waveform extinction. Combined with the variations above there are even nore sonic possibilities whn you can havethe osc go silent for definable portions of its waveform, doing that either linearly with saw, tri and ramp or using the sine for non-linear modulation of width and silence.

Another factor in how PWM works out is whether the ramp or saw is 0-10V or -5/5V+ Because this will change how the typical cv you feed it with ends up affecting the output.

Next think about all these PWM variations at LFO rates. Maybe driving a sequencer or divider. Now the moving edge or edges become timing delays and advances, swing and rhythm variations. It doesn't matter that you can't hear the difference in phase changes at audible rates when they're being used this way when you can for sure hear them in the tempo results.

Since most VCOs don't have all these variations, it's a good reason to have at least one comparator as part of your toolkit,and an attenuator-offset utility to condition the WF going into the PWM comparator. If you have VC offset, then the types of PWM available again go up in great number as you can now move the WF higher and lower going into the PWM comparator.

That's probably mopre than you expected ot see about PWM. But this is why I'm always suggesting having a good set of basic utilities ike mixers, attenuator-offsets and comparators to use with vanilla modules instead of looking for fancy modules.

There is a huge amount of 'unexplored' available taking this path that those who patch only the native PWM of their VCO never see/hear.

To answer the thread question, Buchla 100 square is notable. Also moog 901 square.

edit: Leave it to Navs to nail it! Yeah, what he said. :hail: /edit

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Re: Best square wave VCO?

Post by ehness » Wed Apr 01, 2020 3:07 am

WMD/SSF's Spectrum has a gnarly sounding PWM. 10hp, feature rich and good tracking to boot.
It's very much a bread and butter VCO 👍

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Re: Best square wave VCO?

Post by black_label » Wed Apr 01, 2020 3:24 am

KSS wrote:
Wed Apr 01, 2020 1:53 am
black_label wrote:
Tue Mar 31, 2020 3:11 am
What other types of pwm are there?
PWM is usually created with a comparator on an input waveform. If saw, only the rear edge will be moving as pulse width changes. if ramp, the front edge only is moving. If the triangle is used, then both edges of the pulse will be moving. Sine wil also move both edges, but not in the linear way of a ramp, saw or triangle due to its curved shape.

We don't hear these phase change differences in isolation, but as soon as the PWM or static wave is mixed with other waveforms the differences become apparent. It can be a huge resource for additional sounds from your oscillator.

The next way PWM's can vary is the degree to which they are width limited. Most go from some lower limit like 5-10% to some upper limit like 90-95%. But others will let you go past the ends of the range to waveform extinction. Combined with the variations above there are even nore sonic possibilities whn you can havethe osc go silent for definable portions of its waveform, doing that either linearly with saw, tri and ramp or using the sine for non-linear modulation of width and silence.

Another factor in how PWM works out is whether the ramp or saw is 0-10V or -5/5V+ Because this will change how the typical cv you feed it with ends up affecting the output.

Next think about all these PWM variations at LFO rates. Maybe driving a sequencer or divider. Now the moving edge or edges become timing delays and advances, swing and rhythm variations. It doesn't matter that you can't hear the difference in phase changes at audible rates when they're being used this way when you can for sure hear them in the tempo results.

Since most VCOs don't have all these variations, it's a good reason to have at least one comparator as part of your toolkit,and an attenuator-offset utility to condition the WF going into the PWM comparator. If you have VC offset, then the types of PWM available again go up in great number as you can now move the WF higher and lower going into the PWM comparator.

That's probably mopre than you expected ot see about PWM. But this is why I'm always suggesting having a good set of basic utilities ike mixers, attenuator-offsets and comparators to use with vanilla modules instead of looking for fancy modules.

There is a huge amount of 'unexplored' available taking this path that those who patch only the native PWM of their VCO never see/hear.

To answer the thread question, Buchla 100 square is notable. Also moog 901 square.

edit: Leave it to Navs to nail it! Yeah, what he said. :hail: /edit
That’s a great explanation. Than you!

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Re: Best square wave VCO?

Post by maltemark » Wed Apr 01, 2020 6:00 am

I'd love to have a VCO based on the Korg Monotribe oscillator. The square wave on it really has a very enjoyable type character in its own right
Feel free to use my old samplepacks: https://freesound.org/people/altemark/
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