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 Forum index » Instruments and Equipment » Modular Synthesis
why so many VCAs?
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waveplant



Joined: Apr 26, 2011
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 30, 2011 12:42 pm    Post subject: why so many VCAs? Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

One opinion I hear amongst modular synthesis veterans on these forums is that you can't have too many VCAs.

Would someone mind explaining to a newbie like myself why that is? And perhaps citing a really simple example where a VCA isn't just the last step in an audible signal chain?
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Blue Hell
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 30, 2011 1:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

You can put a VCA before a modulation input for instance and so make the modulation amount voltage controlled.

For instance when you start a note you might want deeper vibrato that dies off slowly. This can be done by adding a VCA between the vibrato LFO and the FM input of the oscillator and controlling the VCA from the ADSR that you cantrol the volume with as well.

Or in general, it allows you to modulate the modulations, this can give you a more lively sound.

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cbm



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PostPosted: Sat Apr 30, 2011 1:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

In addition to the dynamic modulation that Blue Hell mentions above, which is really important, a VC mix of signals is totally useful, if you have VC resonance in a filter, that's done with a VCA. Counting VCAs that are built into other modules like oscillators, and filters, I probably have 40–50 VCAs in my system

(that said, you can have too many VCAs)

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elektro80
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 30, 2011 3:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

What they said...

And yes.. there is probably a VCA saturation point.. at some stage.. Laughing

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Blue Hell
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 30, 2011 4:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

elektro80 wrote:
And yes.. there is probably a VCA saturation point.. at some stage.. Laughing


Thats where virtual modulars shine, no wasted rack space for too many xxx modules Wink

(and patch cables are free too!)

But anyway, the point is that control signal handling should not be undervalued - often I build patches with just one oscillator and tons of control signals and control modulations and delays and feedbacks and modifiers, and such can sound like an orchestra .. or like mud Wink

(blub b)

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cbm



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PostPosted: Sat Apr 30, 2011 5:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I often use VCAs as effects sends to external delays & verbs. Being able to have a delay send controlled by a lfo/envelope/sequencer/random/whathaveyou is really fun.
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elektro80
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 30, 2011 6:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

cbm wrote:
I often use VCAs as effects sends to external delays & verbs. Being able to have a delay send controlled by a lfo/envelope/sequencer/random/whathaveyou is really fun.


Yup, I also use VCAs for mixing delays, reverbs and what have you. Serious fun. Very Happy

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waveplant



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PostPosted: Sun May 01, 2011 4:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

oh, of course - it's the same thing as the filter envelope amount knob on a hardwired synth. or [*~] in maxMSP. should've realized but with all this new information, my brain wasn't processing the details.

appreciate the clarification!

so is that the same thing attenuators are used for, albeit with the knobs calibrated in the opposite direction and without the added flexibility of serving as an output stage?
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cbm



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PostPosted: Sun May 01, 2011 11:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Yes, a VCA is a multiplier. Love this analog computing thing.
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Antimon



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PostPosted: Mon May 02, 2011 2:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

waveplant wrote:
oh, of course - it's the same thing as the filter envelope amount knob on a hardwired synth.


You don't need a VCA to implement a filter envelope amount knob, that's just simple attenuation. Sometimes VCFs have a knob next to the CV frequency input, that would be a filter envelope amount knob, of you've hooked an ADSR there.

But if you want the filter envelope amount to change over time automatically, that's a job for a VCA + modulation source.

waveplant wrote:
or [*~] in maxMSP.


That's a better analogy I think.

/Stefan

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Eric G



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PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2012 3:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Also, what about layering???
Of course you would like to have two or more different sounds layered. So you need more VCA:s.
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