Best square wave VCO?

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synonymist
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Re: Best square wave VCO?

Post by synonymist » Wed Apr 01, 2020 5:23 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?
Last year I commented here that "I happen to know that Slim O has the exact same core circuit as the SE Oscillation module (which is twice as big). Both modules sound great: alive, raw, stable, and bold. Excellent hard sync and PWM. I love my Slim O."

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Re: Best square wave VCO?

Post by black_label » Thu Apr 02, 2020 2:51 am

synonymist wrote:
Wed Apr 01, 2020 5:23 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?
Last year I commented here that "I happen to know that Slim O has the exact same core circuit as the SE Oscillation module (which is twice as big). Both modules sound great: alive, raw, stable, and bold. Excellent hard sync and PWM. I love my Slim O."
That’s good to know! Is it based on a Minimoog oscillator with some added features?

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Re: Best square wave VCO?

Post by synonymist » Thu Apr 02, 2020 7:47 am

black_label wrote:
Thu Apr 02, 2020 2:51 am
synonymist wrote:
Wed Apr 01, 2020 5:23 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?
Last year I commented here that "I happen to know that Slim O has the exact same core circuit as the SE Oscillation module (which is twice as big). Both modules sound great: alive, raw, stable, and bold. Excellent hard sync and PWM. I love my Slim O."
That’s good to know! Is it based on a Minimoog oscillator with some added features?
This from the Oscillation product page:

"wave shaping circuits adapted from 2nd generation Minimoog Model D oscillator boards"

Studio Electronics's descriptions of their products tend to be... poetic. You can read that page and conclude what you will. I just know that I like playing their modules. :)

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brandonlogic
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Re: Best square wave VCO?

Post by brandonlogic » Thu Apr 02, 2020 7:55 am

if we are purely talking square waves, how can one raw square wave sound different than another? unless it's not really a square wave?

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Re: Best square wave VCO?

Post by KSS » Thu Apr 02, 2020 8:53 pm

brandonlogic wrote:
Thu Apr 02, 2020 7:55 am
if we are purely talking square waves, how can one raw square wave sound different than another? unless it's not really a square wave?
Questions like this around WF sound and purity come up fairly often, to get more opinions and details look vin earlier threads and on various synth forums.

The -biggest part of- answer lies in the second half of your question.

Nearly every analog 'square' wave is not actually a perfect square. Speed of amplitude verticals, ringing, DC offsets, and varying or various P-P values can all show up as sound variations. There are also potential variations of adherance to perfection when considered over frequency range. All oscillators have a working range and this can vary widely. Some 'squares' at bass end are different by the time they get to treble end. This difference is or can be audible. A DC offset which by itself is not significant can become heard when fed to something downstream like a filter, or when used as CV.

Note that some of the above can still be 'perfect' square waves in shape, and still not sound the same for the reasons listed.

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Re: Best square wave VCO?

Post by brandonlogic » Thu Apr 02, 2020 9:03 pm

KSS wrote:
Thu Apr 02, 2020 8:53 pm
brandonlogic wrote:
Thu Apr 02, 2020 7:55 am
if we are purely talking square waves, how can one raw square wave sound different than another? unless it's not really a square wave?
Questions like this around WF sound and purity come up fairly often, to get more opinions and details look vin earlier threads and on various synth forums.

The -biggest part of- answer lies in the second half of your question.

Nearly every analog 'square' wave is not actually a perfect square. Speed of amplitude verticals, ringing, DC offsets, and varying or various P-P values can all show up as sound variations. There are also potential variations of adherance to perfection when considered over frequency range. All oscillators have a working range and this can vary widely. Some 'squares' at bass end are different by the time they get to treble end. This difference is or can be audible. A DC offset which by itself is not significant can become heard when fed to something downstream like a filter, or when used as CV.

Note that some of the above can still be 'perfect' square waves in shape, and still not sound the same for the reasons listed.
makes sense, thanks for taking the time for a proper answer.

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Re: Best square wave VCO?

Post by black_label » Fri Apr 03, 2020 4:05 am

synonymist wrote:
Thu Apr 02, 2020 7:47 am
black_label wrote:
Thu Apr 02, 2020 2:51 am
synonymist wrote:
Wed Apr 01, 2020 5:23 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?
Last year I commented here that "I happen to know that Slim O has the exact same core circuit as the SE Oscillation module (which is twice as big). Both modules sound great: alive, raw, stable, and bold. Excellent hard sync and PWM. I love my Slim O."
That’s good to know! Is it based on a Minimoog oscillator with some added features?
This from the Oscillation product page:

"wave shaping circuits adapted from 2nd generation Minimoog Model D oscillator boards"

Studio Electronics's descriptions of their products tend to be... poetic. You can read that page and conclude what you will. I just know that I like playing their modules. :)
That’s good to know also! I was under the impression that they were more clones than adaptations.

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Re: Best square wave VCO?

Post by Sweetfiltersweep » Fri Apr 03, 2020 4:49 am

brandonlogic wrote:
Thu Apr 02, 2020 7:55 am
if we are purely talking square waves, how can one raw square wave sound different than another? unless it's not really a square wave?
Because technically perfect square waves are not always implemented. Check this out:

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nectarios
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Re: Best square wave VCO?

Post by nectarios » Fri Apr 03, 2020 2:03 pm

Dannysound EN129 is my favorite VCO for square shape. PHAT

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Re: Best square wave VCO?

Post by Abyssinianloop » Sat Apr 04, 2020 1:15 pm

ehness wrote:
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 👍
I was also going to mention looking at the Spectrum, considering your interest in pulse width modulation.

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Re: Best square wave VCO?

Post by goldplate » Sat Apr 04, 2020 2:06 pm

brandonlogic wrote:
Thu Apr 02, 2020 7:55 am
if we are purely talking square waves, how can one raw square wave sound different than another? unless it's not really a square wave?
AFAIK even if you see a nice square on your oscilloscope, the most significant part is the start of its variations. If you zoom in you can usually see a more or less sharp edge with a little higher peak and this is the critical part for how it will sound. Check with a low pass filter varying its cutoff frequency what change you can visually get on your oscilloscope versus what you can hear.. the sound seems more critical than the visual here.

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Re: Best square wave VCO?

Post by MindMachine » Sat Apr 11, 2020 8:27 pm

BenA718 wrote:
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.
Says they are the same engine:
https://www.studioelectronics.com/produ ... ar/slim-o/
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Re: Best square wave VCO?

Post by psienide » Sat Apr 11, 2020 9:53 pm

I have a Slim-O. Square is all I use, and only with my SE 4075 filter. Probably my favorite sounding combo. It's rich and packs a punch in a decent sized package.

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Re: Best square wave VCO?

Post by RedLab » Sun Apr 12, 2020 4:26 pm

Rolands square waves have always been the way best sounding to my ears - and a big part of why their single-VCO synths could sound so good.
They have a that 'hollow square' almost bell-like characteristic to their sound in a degree I haven't heard anywhere else. And the pwm can get really fat and chorus like when modulated.

So if Rolands eurorack VCOs sound like their analogue hardware synths, I'd no doubt go for one of them

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Re: Best square wave VCO?

Post by scuto » Mon Apr 13, 2020 11:15 am

Though it's more than 10hp, AJH's Minimod VCO has the "sweetest" sounding PWM I've heard compared with my other analog oscs. Really nice.

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Re: Best square wave VCO?

Post by Foghorn » Mon Apr 13, 2020 11:51 am

I have a pair of old (2016) Pittsburgh Modular "Waveforms Oscillators" that have a great sounding square wave.
It also sports PWM at 5% to 95%.
It goes down to LFO frequencies without using an LFO/Audio switch and tracks 1V/octave very well.
I believe it is a sawtooth core VCO and has this strange waveform called a "blade" wave
Too bad it has been discontinued, but I would bet the newer stuff from Pittsburgh sound just as good.
I'm not sure what's going on, but, well ah crap..what now?
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Re: Best square wave VCO?

Post by huffnPuff » Mon Apr 27, 2020 4:08 pm

To add to what's been suggested by Navs -

A clock divider like the NLC Divide & Conquer that can divide by powers of two but also by 1.5, 3, 2.5, 5, 3.5, 7 will output harmonically related pulse waves that can be mixed together. Lots of fun!

The .COM is a comparator that outputs +/-5v, and has -1 and -2 octave sub outputs with variable and fixed PW. Yum.

The Mystic ANA has a comparator that outputs a bipolar "square" signal that can be positive, negative or zero. Think of it as PWM that can work on the positive and negative portions of the wave independently, sort of.

Check out the DPW Zero demos.

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Re: Best square wave VCO?

Post by huffnPuff » Mon Apr 27, 2020 4:11 pm

Oh, a pulse conditioner like the Propagate will create sub harmonics by delaying or extending pulses. Similarly to the Divide and Conquer, you can use it as a "harmonic oscillator".

Another oscillator that is all about pulses is the Jupiter Storm. Not unlike some ideas suggested above, you can patch your own planetary storms by breaking them down to basic building blocks - pulse wave oscillators and logic. In this category you'll have your VCNOs and NAND chaos thingies.
Last edited by huffnPuff on Mon Apr 27, 2020 10:20 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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Re: Best square wave VCO?

Post by evs » Mon Apr 27, 2020 4:15 pm

What’s with the Doepfer precision quad oscillator?
It is 4 oscillators, with pwm, and you can easily tune them so one is a sub and so on..

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Re: Best square wave VCO?

Post by harlequin » Wed Jul 01, 2020 4:21 am

Jumping in here I'm looking for an appropriate oscillator with a tight square out and hard sync for this type of ratchetting:


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Re: Best square wave VCO?

Post by tigersi » Wed Jul 01, 2020 5:07 am

I have an intellijel Dixie 2+. Sounds very decent. With a sub out also. Includes attenuated PWM & FM
I also have a Roland 512 but that’s bigger than 10hp
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