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 Forum index » DIY Hardware and Software » MusicFromOuterSpace.com designs by Ray Wilson
Mixing different shape outputs from the SAME MFOS VCO
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jukingeo



Joined: Oct 24, 2007
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 06, 2013 1:14 pm    Post subject: Mixing different shape outputs from the SAME MFOS VCO Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Hello All,

This is a question I have to all those that have a MFOS VCO or LFO.

One nice feature I noted on these modules is that you have all the waveforms available on separate outputs at the SAME time.

A long while ago I was wondering what it would be like to mix these outputs together (in varying amounts) before going into a filter. However, I really have no idea on what this would sound like since I don't have one of these oscillators to try this on.

I am curious if the resulting output DOES add enough versatility to warrant building the extra mixing inputs. While adding mixer inputs is no big deal, the costs of the extra controls is.

I know you can layer multiple VCO together to get a fatter sound, but I am curious if this works (within reason) with a single VCO that has multiple waveform outputs.

Furthermore, I was wondering if there is some kind of frequency shifting module? Then you could probably shift one of the outputs an octave or a 5th and that would track as you go up and down in pitch. I think that would be a NICE feature to have. It would certainly cut down on the need to add VCO's.

So I am just wondering if anyone has tried to mix the outputs of a single MFOS VCO (or LFO) together and what was the result.

Thank You,

Geo
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Skrog Productions



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PostPosted: Sat Dec 14, 2013 8:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Hi

Building an audio mixer near or even in the vcf is very common also a small 3 or 4 channel mixer at the vca is quite handy sometimes with a larger amount of modules.

VCO's ..... a single mfos or other vco when mixing the squ/saw/tri/sine doesn't produce a huge sonic difference , but using a wave folder / shaper with modulation, mixed with waves on a single VCO does improve the sound.
2 or 3 VCO's with wave folders & pwm's all seperatly modulated produces a dense source for any vcf , but ,that would be a big order to futurelec for you Smile

Dave.

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jukingeo



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PostPosted: Sat Dec 14, 2013 10:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Skrog Productions wrote:
Hi

Building an audio mixer near or even in the vcf is very common also a small 3 or 4 channel mixer at the vca is quite handy sometimes with a larger amount of modules.


Yes, I have noticed in both commercially made and the MFOS synths that it is popular to put the mixer just before the filter. But the thought had occurred to me, what if you want one (or more) of the sound sources to bypass the filter? Then I definitely could see the need for a second mixer by the VCA as you mentioned.

Quote:

VCO's ..... a single mfos or other vco when mixing the squ/saw/tri/sine doesn't produce a huge sonic difference


That is what I was afraid of. For the longest time I been touting how cool it was that the outputs were all live (not switched). But no one else really seemed to follow suit on this...meaning a synth design that has one oscillator with simultaneous outputs that can be mixed. Then it did dawn on me that what makes mixing TWO osc's so spectacular is that the tuning is never perfect between them so there is always some kind of layering or beating effect. With a single oscillator, all the outputs are perfectly lined up since the source is the same. So there would be no beating effect. More then likely it probably would be better just to choose a single waveform that has more harmonics then to go mixing outputs of the same oscillator.

So thank you for that information...I would have went down the wrong path of designing a synth with my initial belief. I guess it would be better just to have a switched output (put all the oscillator outputs on a multi-position selector switch.

Quote:

, but using a wave folder / shaper with modulation, mixed with waves on a single VCO does improve the sound.


Does MFOS have something like this?

EDIT: In terms of MFOS modules, I think you are referring to the Wave Freaker module, correct? If so, then yeah, I certainly can see with that piece having two VCO's would be plenty enough. The sub-octave control actually does what I am looking for (and mentioned below). Cool!

There is another thing I wanted to ask you about. On the Mini Moog, you can set the octave on each oscillator at 32', 16', 8',4' & 2'. With this switch on each oscillator you could set up the range of each oscillator on even octave intervals...much like pulling out the drawbars on a Hammond organ. This also had me thinking if you could use a single oscillator but use some kind of multiplier that could also give you anywhere from 1 to 4 outputs (mixed of course) at those musical intervals. Would this work or would it fall into the same scenario as mixing the different wave forms? I would think it would work as the outputs would be at different pitches. Now if you come along with another oscillator and shift the pitch and/or change the waveform then you would REALLY have a nice fat sound to work with. Is this doable?

Quote:

2 or 3 VCO's with wave folders & pwm's all seperatly modulated produces a dense source for any vcf , but ,that would be a big order to futurelec for you Smile


Yeah, I am just trying to come up with some wise decisions on what would be appropriate to build up on the front end of that DIY Synth Experimenter as the oscillators are a bit shy on that one. Not too many options to choose from. Nothing like the modular VCO...or even the LFO.

Another question...It seems like for most oscillators the sine wave seems to be the most difficult to create with the circuitry nearly doubling just to provide the sine wave alone. I have noticed most commercial synths don't even bother with a sine wave output on the oscillators including the Mini Moog. Most use a triangle wave. Is having a pure sine wave output that critical?

Thanx,

Geo

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Skrog Productions



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PostPosted: Sun Dec 15, 2013 7:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I have the wave freaker , tri or sine input to freaked output, great unit there are also other interesting designs that are good on a budget (CGS lockhart folder & Fritz 5pulser) but one of those wave freakers would compliment a single vco nicely .


You can fit range switches but remember the experimenter vco's are for drone / experimental frequencies not musically tuned ranges on a modular VCO , a hi / low range switch might be usefull instead.


Sine waves ..... once you discover ring modulation , those sines are much needed also on LFO's , i use low freq sines & triangles for most vcf sweeps on my own melodic music, in my setup i use the square lfo outs the least .

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jukingeo



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PostPosted: Sun Dec 15, 2013 8:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Skrog Productions wrote:
I have the wave freaker , tri or sine input to freaked output, great unit there are also other interesting designs that are good on a budget (CGS lockhart folder & Fritz 5pulser) but one of those wave freakers would compliment a single vco nicely .


Yeah, I was looking at the demo Ray put up on You Tube for the Wave Freaker and what really caught my attention was how you can create and mix multiple outputs on it. Also there are the sub harmonic outputs as well. I could imagine the module would be fantastic for making bass lines and some really cool drone sounds. I am DEFINITELY thinking about that one. In fact down the road, instead of going with three VCOs, I think I would go with two and the Wave Freaker.

It seems the Wave Freaker likes the triangle wave the best and even the Synth Experimenter has a triangle output for both the VCO's and LFO's.

Quote:

You can fit range switches but remember the experimenter vco's are for drone / experimental frequencies not musically tuned ranges on a modular VCO , a hi / low range switch might be usefull instead.


I was actually referring to creating multiple outputs (at different octaves or other intervals) using a single VCO. However, it seems like the Wave Freaker would do that job. Are there other units produced that can do that as well?

As for a range switch...I think I would do that on one VCO to perhaps go a bit lower than normal. Also for LFO's so they can go pretty high up in the audio range.

Quote:

Sine waves ..... once you discover ring modulation , those sines are much needed also on LFO's , i use low freq sines & triangles for most vcf sweeps on my own melodic music, in my setup i use the square lfo outs the least .


Ok, so for an LFO having the sine output is a plus then.

I know that you have a large system, but what would consider would be absolutely minimally necessary to make some good sounds with?

It seems like (from what I gathered from my past) most commercially made synths had these modules:

2 (sometimes 3) VCO's
1 Filter (I don't think I came across a synth with more than one of these)
1 VCA
1 Noise Generator
1 or 2 ADSR EG's (ARP usually had one ADSR and one AR).
1 or 2 LFO's
Sometimes I saw a ring modulator.

Needless to say that seemed to be the standard to shoot for. I might be right, I might be wrong. At any rate I figured going with the Experimenter I have quite a few options since it pretty much as two of most of what I mentioned above. It doesn't have a ring modulator, but I did get the combo pack offered by MFOS and I do have the Sample And Hold. I figured that was necessary for creating those 'spacey computer' sounds.

I mean I THINK I have enough to get me going for now. I am going to go with some normalized connections as well and I am on the fence if I should go with banana or 1/4 for the patch cords. What I like about 1/4" is that you normalize with that, whereas with banana, you need to use switches. The 1/4" jacks though, are MUCH more expensive (but still cost less than having a banana jack AND and a switch).

I thought of perhaps going hybrid using banana for the control lines and 1/4" for the audio lines, but I never seen anyone do that before.

Again, I would value your opinion on this.

Oh! Finally...it seems in terms of making a face panel, I read that standard module height is 5U rack spaces high. So I think I would be safe to stick with that, correct?

Thanx,
Geo

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Skrog Productions



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PostPosted: Sun Dec 15, 2013 9:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

On the VCA outputs only, you could have a 1/4" & a bannana to cover all audio hook ups .

what you've got pcb wise already will keep you busy for months
step 1 , make the power supply , test & verify good order.
Step 2 , build the experimenter as per plan , test & verify good working order.
Step 3 , have fun with this set up only , then on your temporary panel add the S&H and any extras later on.


See the other thread panel answer Smile

Dave.

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jukingeo



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PostPosted: Sun Dec 15, 2013 12:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Skrog Productions wrote:
On the VCA outputs only, you could have a 1/4" & a bannana to cover all audio hook ups .


LOL, I was thinking of that too. Since I had noticed most of the connections on the Experimenter had TWO inputs/outputs. It did have me thinking that since the VCA's could be used for both control / audio duty along with the LFO's, to have one output a banana plug and one a 1/4" jack. The 1/4" jack would allow a normalized connection which can break the normal connection, OR...if I used the banana output I could preserve the normalized connection and feed the LFO elsewhere as well. So that ended up being a good idea.

Quote:

what you've got pcb wise already will keep you busy for months
step 1 , make the power supply , test & verify good order.
Step 2 , build the experimenter as per plan , test & verify good working order.
Step 3 , have fun with this set up only , then on your temporary panel add the S&H and any extras later on.


Yep, that does sound like a good plan of execution. Well, I already have the parts for the experimenter, power supply and the S&H on the way already minus the controls. That I am still working out. Futurlec only has PCB mount pots and they don't have much in terms of jacks. Here Small Bear Electronics seems to have more of a selection, but their prices are slightly higher than Futurlec. They have a good selection of knobs and jacks too.

Geo

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