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Epoch Benjolin tracking
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Author Epoch Benjolin tracking
Yikes
So a good while ago I got an Epoch Modular Benjolin. The oscillator sounds fantastic. Only problem is, the pitch tracking is so horrendously bad that I can't use it for anything musical. Is there a way to fix this? Would a quantizer fix the tracking problem?

I'd love to actually play this module with my keyboard.
Infinity Curve
From the Epoch website:

Modulation CVs: The three top most CV inputs, corresponding to MOD A, MOD B and MOD F. Each of these approximates a 1V/O curve, however the range for accurate tracking limited to around two octaves. Fine for a sequencer, or simple quantizer, but not ideal for tracking a keyboard.
Yikes
Infinity Curve wrote:
From the Epoch website:

Modulation CVs: The three top most CV inputs, corresponding to MOD A, MOD B and MOD F. Each of these approximates a 1V/O curve, however the range for accurate tracking limited to around two octaves. Fine for a sequencer, or simple quantizer, but not ideal for tracking a keyboard.


Yes, this I know. But is there a work-around?
Yikes
Infinity Curve wrote:
From the Epoch website:

Modulation CVs: The three top most CV inputs, corresponding to MOD A, MOD B and MOD F. Each of these approximates a 1V/O curve, however the range for accurate tracking limited to around two octaves. Fine for a sequencer, or simple quantizer, but not ideal for tracking a keyboard.


Yes, this I know. But is there a work-around?
Infinity Curve
If you are OK with using software, Silent Way can likely get you a much larger tracking range, it's calibration procedure can work wonders with stuff that doesn't track very well, but not much good if you are looking for a purely modular 'outside the box' solution.
Yikes
Hmm, I do have SW in my system. I will try giving it a go. Thanks!
brandonlogic
another solution coming soon will be the FLXS1 sequencer!
http://www.zetaohm.com/

it has inputs for each sequence channel that can listen to the oscillators and adjust its v/oct accordingly so that it tacks perfectly! you'll even be able to track with resonating filters that aren't supposed to track at all!

I just built the diy euro Benjolin, has the same tracking issues, excited to use it with the flxs1!
Pighood
At the risk of sounding pechilint (sic) here, but I don't WANT Benjolin to track properly.
shred
Pighood wrote:
pechilint (sic)

petulant* (sorry)
novotnik
Pighood wrote:
At the risk of sounding pechilint (sic) here, but I don't WANT Benjolin to track properly.


yes ! neither do i ....
noisejockey
There's no way I'd trust a Benjolin for set/song-critical lead, bassline or melody out of even a quantizer. I let it do The Weird S#!%, or I tune it by ear using Pressure Points, so I can dial in both OSC's at once, maybe with the third PP lane for the Rungler or filter cutoff. Actually makes a great controller for that beast.

But YES, of course, does it sound rich and great!
shreeswifty
honestly i have to agree
why would you get a benjolin for that kind of duty?
I know it sounds great but i do get note recognition just not perfect tracking
Jturbide
Sorry to be late on this but I'm considering buying a Benjolin, I'm actually thinking: Benjolin, Harmonic Oscillator or SMR. (I'm on a tight budget so Benjolin would be the best option if I can get it to do what I want.)

So there is my question. When you say it doesn't track well with a keyboard but fine with a sequencer, is it only because it isn't good for like fast lead stuff or tracking more than 2 octaves ? I want to get a good droney soundscape setup and I've seen great stuff by severence on youtube using a Benjolin. I would like to control drones pitch with my Qunexus but I could probably live without being able to do so. I just wonder, can you achieve great sounding drones that you can change the pitch with a Benjolin, or is it not that great for that ? thanks

(this is what I mean by good sounding drones) wink

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9uf8hFbm0Ls&list=PLBd7ibkOhvBy4JAKbtl0 eEIVPqtMlgVK2 (Abul Mogard)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C0gZuv5lziQ (severence)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qcu57sbBh2E

also, if I said something that sound stupid it's because I'm quite new to modular so excuse me oops
Refund
using a benjolin for a lead oscillator just makes no sense, the moment you start using ANY of the built in functions, it will throw it out of tune

It's like buying a Porsche so that you can use the headlights to light your kitchen, bad for the task (parking the car in front of the kitchen window and turning the headlights on) and useless once you use it for what it's good at (driving)
Jturbide
Refund wrote:
using a benjolin for a lead oscillator just makes no sense, the moment you start using ANY of the built in functions, it will throw it out of tune

It's like buying a Porsche so that you can use the headlights to light your kitchen, bad for the task (parking the car in front of the kitchen window and turning the headlights on) and useless once you use it for what it's good at (driving)


lol

So you don't think Benjolin is a good module for drones/soundscapes ? Just trying to figure out what I should buy or not. (As I said I don't want to use it for crazy leads or anything but for like droney ''chord'' progression if that makes sense)
ccastellanossf
Jturbide wrote:
Refund wrote:
using a benjolin for a lead oscillator just makes no sense, the moment you start using ANY of the built in functions, it will throw it out of tune

It's like buying a Porsche so that you can use the headlights to light your kitchen, bad for the task (parking the car in front of the kitchen window and turning the headlights on) and useless once you use it for what it's good at (driving)


lol

So you don't think Benjolin is a good module for drones/soundscapes ? Just trying to figure out what I should buy or not. (As I said I don't want to use it for crazy leads or anything but for like droney ''chord'' progression if that makes sense)


Benjolin's are great for drone's/soundscapes just not ones that feature consistent pitch tracking or equal tempered tuning. Here's a great drone piece featuring a Benjolin

edit: just realized you already linked to one of Severence's Benjolin drone pieces. Those pieces almost by themselves convinced me to get a Benjolin! beer!
Jturbide
Haha yeah it's what got me into it!

hmm so it's better to use it with noise sources ? not even for like, long sustaining notes ?

Maybe someone can propose a better oscillator or combination for the purpose? Maybe I'm overthinking this and the Benjolin would be great for what I want to do ?

Trying to get that type of sounds:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xoxsC-7bsFU
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lwGjUF0aM_8
Refund
don't get me wrong, the benjolin sounds amazing! it's just that all the modulation parameters mess with the tracking deliberately/by-design

so a continous stable pitch (drone) would be fine

but the moment you expect it to track a pitch (even badly) you'd need to dial back all of the internal modulation (which is the thing that makes it sound good!) resulting in a vanilla squarewave output, which is about the most boring sound you could acheive with the module

in which case you might as well get the most basic square wave oscillator you can find, and use that instead
MarcelP
Refund wrote:
using a benjolin for a lead oscillator just makes no sense, the moment you start using ANY of the built in functions, it will throw it out of tune

It's like buying a Porsche so that you can use the headlights to light your kitchen, bad for the task (parking the car in front of the kitchen window and turning the headlights on) and useless once you use it for what it's good at (driving)


Excallent analogy! applause

The Benjolin is great for drone stuff and blip bloop stuff, it can even play a melody in tune - though not necessarily a tune entirely of your choosing. For that one would be better to use a more obedient oscillator - otherwise it is a bit of a wrestle.
Jturbide
Cool thanks guys. So, anyone could propose me a better option for what I posted just above?
Refund
I'd probably say you'd want to use some modules that wreck the harmonic spectrum of the sound without affecting the pitch

Wavefolding and Waveshaping like the makenoise DPO

phase locked fm modulation like the ALM akemies castle or modcan FMVDO or WMD phase displacement oscillator

Wavetable oscillators like the harvestman piston honda or Pittsburgh Modular Dna Symbiotic Waves

or get a simple oscillator and do some outboard FSU like the mutable instruments warps or the harvestman malgorithm

a big part of the sound that you sent examples for is due to heavy filtering and reverb, so you just need a lot of spectral information for the filter and reverb to bite into
InnnerSight
Jturbide wrote:
Cool thanks guys. So, anyone could propose me a better option for what I posted just above?


You can use any noise source for drones. My favourite two at the moment are the Benjolin and the Erica black wavetable.

A couple of examples of drones I have created with those are:

[soundcloud url="https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/317813343" params="auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_use r=true&show_reposts=false&visual=true" width="100%" height="450" iframe="true" /]

[soundcloud url="https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/318311424" params="auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_use r=true&show_reposts=false&visual=true" width="100%" height="450" iframe="true" /]
Jturbide
Refund: Thanks!

Innersight: sounds great! I particularly liked BlackWavetable Drone 1 thumbs up

As I said in my first post I'm also considering the 4ms SMR and Verbos Harmonic Oscillator (pretty expensive thought).. but I mean, I could just use the benjolin with a sequencer and kinda get what I'm looking for I guess..

Also, could I patch a simple oscillator, like the STO for example, to the Benjolin so that I get those Benjolin filters and ''general sound'' but with the possibility to have that 1V/O (play it with a keyboard) ?

I might as well post a new thread hihi
jayrope
I agree that the Benjolin isn't really made for tracking like a standard VCO.

However it does track in my experience just as Epoch said, in a range of 1 1/2 to 2 octaves.
It can be hard to fine tune the OSCs (or even just OSC1) to the right root note, though. Due to the OSC range of approx. 18 octaves it doesn't really offer single cent resolution on those small faders - seems to jump even on the slightest movements.

A oossible workaround could be Klavis CalTrans, however i didn't try this yet.
Anyone with experience there?
starthief
I don't have a Benjolin, but the Doepfer A-196 PLL plus an extra oscillator can be used to make almost anything track.

Not necessarily reliably, not necessarily cleanly, not necessarily without affecting timbre (for similar reasons that FM and sync affect timbre) and it might slip octaves sometimes. It can sound awesome and/or terrible. smile

I've used it with a Pittsburgh Generator, for dynamic exponential FM on the DPO, for Maths, and other things.

Pitch CV source -> reliable tracking oscillator pitch input
RTO square output -> PLL signal in
PLL CV out -> weird non-tracking oscillator pitch input
WNTO output -> PLL second input
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