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 Forum index » Instruments and Equipment » Modular Synthesis
Amazing Tube Oscillator Module
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telstarmagikistferrari



Joined: Jun 16, 2008
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 17, 2008 4:33 pm    Post subject: Amazing Tube Oscillator Module Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

http://www.youtube.com/v/SMy04e0M0ec

yeah, this thing is AWESOME! I slightly selfishly wanted to wait until the auction is over to post this, but the guy that makes these has others in the works and I wanted to give electro-music folks a heads-up on these. Here's pics:

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I'm amazed that the low price I got it for, this thing is gonna be the centerpiece of my modular! Any thoughts on these oscillators? Metasonix is getting great reviews for their tube synth, but I sure can't afford one of those.
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EdisonRex
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 18, 2008 6:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

It is certainly odd. The demo reminded me of a flock of seagulls circling a fire engine.

It actually looks like a set of neon lamp oscillators, which is a bit thinner than the thyratrons that Eric uses. Also I didn't see where there is any patching to external modulators, it seems like it's self contained.

Very Steampunk design, though.

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BobTheDog



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PostPosted: Mon Aug 18, 2008 6:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Looks nice, sounds awful.
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andrewF



Joined: Dec 29, 2006
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 19, 2008 4:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I think it is great, though more of a noise machine than musical instrument.

It was funny to see this as i am right in the middle of building a neon version of a CGS psycho lfo.
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telstarmagikistferrari



Joined: Jun 16, 2008
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 19, 2008 10:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Yeah, I would agree with that for sure. Alternative / random chromatic relationships and stuff interest me greatly, as does harsh-ass oscillator noise. That said, a filter will likely come in handy Smile
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andrewF



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PostPosted: Tue Aug 19, 2008 5:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

A few thoughts about neon oscillators
Rene's neon VCO sounds fkn excellent, nothing weedy about it.
you can hear it here -
http://www.sdiy.org/pinky/purple.mp3


Neon oscillators and dividers were commonly used in old organs right thru to the 60s. Neons were also used in vintage analogue computers, for clocks, AND gates and OR gates, flipflops and ring counters.

A standalone neon oscillator usually has a cap running to ground. when using more than one neon bulb, the caps can be connected between them. That is what this device is doing, though the caps can be switched in and out of the circuit. In this setup, with caps connected between bulbs, only one bulb can be lit at a time, and it is difficult to predict which bulb will be lit next, and you can set up 'groups' of oscillators to interact whilst ignoring the actions of other 'groups' it means a huge variety of patterns are achievable depending on your switch settings and clock rates....huge meaning virtually infinite. I am happy to see someone appreciating the qualities of neon bulbs, they are deceptively simple but the more you use them the more interesting they get.

A circuit i am currently developing uses just three neons, depending on the settings of the pots the firing order changes in different patterns - 12323123231
12123121212321 Laughing
I have it set up to operate as a chaotic envelope generator, operating frequency is between 0.2-0.5Hz. So I am trying to get a control voltage out of it rather than an audio signal.

This is where neon oscillators are really interesting - they can produce chaos, that strange nether region between order and random Smile
L.Chua, developer of Chua's circuit, wrote a paper on the chaotic properties of neon bulbs, worth a look if you can access engineering databases.
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dougcl



Joined: Feb 08, 2008
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 19, 2008 6:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

EdisonRex wrote:
The demo reminded me of a flock of seagulls circling a fire engine.


Ha ha, I read this right as that part was playing.
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metasonix



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PostPosted: Wed Aug 20, 2008 1:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Cute! He ought to make a PC board for it so it's easier to build.

His soldering work is first rate, but it's not practical to produce this for customers. Especially for $200.

It's a clever hack, and might have musical application. I once saw a small electronic organ that used only neon lamps as active devices. Needless to say, the pitch was none too stable.
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telstarmagikistferrari



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PostPosted: Thu Aug 21, 2008 11:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I got the Octillator yesterday and I am blown away! This thing is great: solidly built w. great craftsmanship, I had seen the pictures but the instrument itself is gorgeous. It's function/controllability is outstandingly nuanced, with the tubes contributing just the right amount of variability/randomness. One becomes aware of the signal/voltage path via the glowing tubes and playing the Octillator quickly becomes very intuitive. Watching the tubes allows one an amazing amount of fine-control for the sort of vacillating[oscillating?]-between-two-semi-stable-states this thing is great for. Rhythmic elements can be bounced around, changed, tuned, etc. to an amazing degree of versatility.
But what about the sound? The youtube video did NOT do this thing justice! The tube oscillation sounds great; it has a moderate,rippling sort of distortion.
...I was concerned somewhat that the Octillator would be a sort of "one-note pony", or just good for drones or choppy stuff. Really I must stress the versatility and endless possibilities with this instrument,*alone* or as part of a modular system or effects. Funny things happen, some you expect, some you definitely don't..It lends itself much better to performance than one would think. I expect to gain further control as I perform with it. I couldn't be happier with the communication w. the seller, expediency of shipping, packing job, or the instrument. Great ebayer, amazing inventor. I'll make a track soon and post a link.
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EdisonRex
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 21, 2008 12:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

well, you sound rather chuffed. You should at least do an mp3 post here when you come up for air.
_________________
Garret: It's so retro.
EGM: What does retro mean to you?
Parker: Like, old and outdated.


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telstarmagikistferrari



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PostPosted: Thu Aug 21, 2008 3:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I guess music is still fun for me, sorry chief!
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EdisonRex
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 22, 2008 1:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Don't be sorry, it's nice to see another person so excited about something. There've been a few here lately that have made me smile.

But I'd love to hear something better than seagulls and fire sirens. Wink

_________________
Garret: It's so retro.
EGM: What does retro mean to you?
Parker: Like, old and outdated.


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telstarmagikistferrari



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PostPosted: Sat Aug 23, 2008 11:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

My mistake. I'll have a track up in a day or two!
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dkcg



Joined: Jul 19, 2008
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 27, 2008 5:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Looks pretty cool...like a steampunk Neuronium. Smile

Looking forward to hearing some tubey warmness.
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telstarmagikistferrari



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PostPosted: Sat Sep 06, 2008 12:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Does anyone know a convenient way to host mp3's/wav's? I have a little 'Octillator!' demo I wouldn't mind sharing if anyone wants to hear it.
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EdisonRex
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 06, 2008 3:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Just add it as an attachment to your post. Look down at the Options below your posting window, click Add an Attachment, browse to your mp3 and add it.
_________________
Garret: It's so retro.
EGM: What does retro mean to you?
Parker: Like, old and outdated.


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telstarmagikistferrari



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PostPosted: Tue Sep 09, 2008 4:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Here's that demo i've been meaning to post.

It's nothing special, just goofing around with the instrument for awhile. Enjoy, if anyone has any questions please share.

edit: wanted to add that I put just a bit of reverb on this sample and EQ-ed it just a bit.


OctillatorDemo-01.mp3
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Per



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PostPosted: Sat Sep 20, 2008 3:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

It sound like nothing else. Where can this strange piece of gear be bought?
Per
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telstarmagikistferrari



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PostPosted: Sat Sep 20, 2008 8:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I got it off ebay.. it's strange, that's for certain. I'm enjoying it.
The guy said people are showing some interest (though the auctions didn't net him much), and that he's going to make several. the one I got was a sort of prototype, he said.
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Per



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PostPosted: Sat Sep 20, 2008 3:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Hope he does. The youtube video looked so great, and the sound far away from anything heard before.
Per
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JohnLRice



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PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2008 10:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

[quote="EdisonRex"]It is certainly odd. The demo reminded me of a flock of seagulls circling a fire engine.
quote]

Good analogy. Although at one point near the beginning it sounded sorta like a bunch of hyenas at a chain-saw party . . .

I think it looks really cool and has an interesting sound. I like it although I doubt I would buy one.
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telstarmagikistferrari



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PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2008 11:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Smile I like these analogies.. analog..geez!
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telstarmagikistferrari



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PostPosted: Mon Sep 21, 2009 12:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

bump..

here's a track of some octillator fiddlings thru some effects. Comments are more than welcome, positive or negative. This thing is fun and offers a lot of frequencies to selectively filter/emphasize. Thanks y'all.

Mark


setone,sept20.mp3
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