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Frequensteiner Tracking
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Eurorack Modules  
Author Frequensteiner Tracking
Hi folks, has anyone noticed that the cv inputs on the Frequensteiner are not 1v/oct? Further, there are no calibration pots on it. It appears that the cv attenuators on the front need to be set to about 50% to get 1V/oct tracking, but it's still pretty loose. I think this could be considered a feature. Polivoks is similar, but seems to track best in LP mode. I'm not a big tracking tweaker, but my other filters (Cwejman, AS, and Doepfer) all track pretty well at 100% CV. I like the idea of "correct" tracking at ~50%, so you can choose to overshoot or undershoot, although I'm not sure I'm getting that with either the Polivoks or the Frequensteiner.

I find that most great filters in *software* synths can be set to over-track. it can add a lot to the sound, but I've never thought about it on analogue modular, for some reason.

It doesn't invert though, right? You'd need an extra module to help with that?
The Polivoks has a polarized input, but not the Frequensteiner.

I just noticed that the Frequensteiner was effectively emphasizing higher notes and suppressing lower ones. I had the pitch CV going to the CV input with the attenuator full up. The band pass was not tracking the pitch, so I quickly did a comparison across all my filters (too many filters!) and they all tracked except the Polivoks and the Frequensteiner. I got the best tracking on the Frequensteiner with the CV attenuated at about 50%, which made me think about the value of over-tracking. I didn't check the Polivoks, but I don't think it overtracks, but it does seem to behave differently in BP vs LP.
over-tracking and under-tracking are VERY useful in sound design, especially if you plan on using a large range of pitch for your sound - effectively you can attenuate high notes or low notes, indeed - it's fab.
Wow, I didn't even realize there was a spot where it would track. I was well aware that it didn't track when there was no attenuation, so I just left it at that.

Thanks for sharing that!
the original filter the Frequensteiner is based on did not have 1V/Oct, so it doesn't either. that's the main reason. i've got a SEM based filter coming out and it has 1V/Oct, but it's not temp. compensated and a trimmer on the board. but these are only there because they were in the original and i would never think about using a better expo converter in the SEM or tighten up the tracking with a Tempco resistor, as this could change the response to CV significantly from the original and then what's the point.
some of eurorack companies are focused a little too much on the engineering side of things, reducing noise to zero, tracking with no drift for 12 octaves... that sort of thing. in doing this they may be making instruments that live up to what moog and oberheim were trying to do 30 or 40 years ago, but it's the failures we love. i believe that at least some of the character of analog synthesis is in the noise, sloppy tracking and the crappy power supplies of gear of the past.
I had a 10 voice OB-MX for a long time. Unlike many out there, ours worked perfectly and for a while it was my favorite in our studio. After a while the super clean sound of the OB-MX got a little boring. All the LFOs synced up perfectly to MIDI, the Oscillators tracked very tight and the ADSR was nice and fast. but it was all too clean, to tight and in the end it was very hard to tell it from a Nord. Compared to our MemoryMoog or 2600 the OB-MX might as well have been a V/A or VST. I'll take the Arp 2600 filters with their crappy 10K ceiling and noisy VCAs over the audiophile stuff some are putting out any day.
I totally understand why people would want a really clean, maybe even balanced output for their modular, it's just that when you apply that same sort of philosophy to the rest of the modules that the magic seems to start dieing.
I guess the crux of this is that a filter is a filter and an oscillator is an oscillator and to get one to do both things at once will most likely limit it's ability to do either thing as well as a dedicated device. by having the tracking sloppier in the filter than the oscillator you're going to have a much richer and more dynamic sound than if they are in perfect unison.
at least that's my $.02. i could be completely wrong.
dbch wrote:'s the failures we love. i believe that at least some of the character of analog synthesis is in the noise, sloppy tracking and the crappy power supplies of gear of the past. ... i could be completely wrong.

You are completely wrong. There is no room for music in electronic music!
While I would mostly agree that some get overly critical of tracking or other such perfection, some of it is not without merit. In several cases a manufacture has claimed to meet these specs, and when people are not getting what was claimed, they have every right to complain.

There's plenty of room IMO for both "perfect" and "imperfect" synthesizer modules. I'm glad that there's a choice; I personally don't find exact reproductions of vintage equipment all that appealing. I certainly wouldn't want all my choices in the modular market (euro or otherwise) to be comprised solely of reproductions of past equipment. What I do find appealing is being able to put together a custom instrument that has all the functionality that I want. If I want some that are more imperfect, and others more perfect, I can get that, and I think that's fantastic.
Hi folks, just to be clear, I did not say that the Frequensteiner *should* track.

That said, there is a great reason why filters in general should track. You might want the cutoff frequency to move with the pitch of the audio signal. I do this all the time, actually. I don't see this as a feature that compromises the filter at all. Seems almost essential, actually.

I must say that I was surprised to find that one of the most praised filters in modularland does not have this feature! Further, the other highly regarded module, the Polivoks, also appears to lack this feature. Hmmm. In any case, I am curious now about working with filters that don't track, and what that might add to the picture.
Yep, I know, and to be clear, my comments were not direct at you.

It is really nice when filters can track 1v/Oct, particularly band pass filters with FM sounds or when using higher resonances on the filter. It adds a specific timbrel shaping to a sound, rather than just removing harmonics.

In general, not tracking the filter frequency adds more variation to the sound; a little more color/character/insert 5cent word here. For example, with a band pass, it might be a little brighter when playing in the bass range and a little darker in the treble range. It makes it a little less of a "static" sound that's being transposed up or down the keyboard.

It can be really great, or it can be a pain in the ass, depending on what you're after.

Another thing to consider is audio-rate frequency modulating is a fairly common application, and a 1v/Oct response may very likely not be warranted for such an application. When you do come across a filter that can track 1v/Oct, it will likely have a dedicated input for that and a separate input for modulation (audio rate or otherwise).
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