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What are your eurorack of choice oscillators and why?
Old 4th March 2019
  #1
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What are your eurorack of choice oscillators and why?

Hi, I'm looking at finally putting together a modest 2 or 3 oscillator synth in eurorack. The one area that I'm at a loss with is oscillators - so many of them and difficult to tell from "pure" demos (running through the basic waves etc, which ones are best suited for certain purposes, or sonic territory / genres.

At this stage I'm contemplating a) getting Lifeforms SV1 and adding Erica Black Wavetable (good prices secondhand) + utility modules

b) If finances permit, 2 analog oscillators + 1 digital oscillators

Here's what's caught my ear from demos:

Instruo Ts-L

Doepfer A-110-4 SE -

For a digital osc, in addition to the Erica BW,Noise Engineering's Loquelic Iteritas and Cursus Iteritas both look very flexible and quite unique, but pretty expensive for my budget.

I don't have plans dream of building a massive system and not aiming at self-generative styles. Just a good sounding very flexible 3 osc synth. I'm also not looking to nail a vintage sound.

I'd be really interested to hear your experiences with oscillators, which you prefer, why and what they excel at. Cheers
Old 4th March 2019
  #2
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If you're not looking to go the vintage route, why not get all digital? Loquelic Iteritas is a good one and can be found used for a fair price. I've seen Braids go as low as $130 lately.
Old 4th March 2019
  #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Derp View Post
If you're not looking to go the vintage route, why not get all digital? Loquelic Iteritas is a good one and can be found used for a fair price. I've seen Braids go as low as $130 lately.
There no better value in euro for VCO's than the Klavis Twin Wave.
Old 4th March 2019
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Derp View Post
If you're not looking to go the vintage route, why not get all digital? Loquelic Iteritas is a good one and can be found used for a fair price. I've seen Braids go as low as $130 lately.
I've played around with Braids and a Sputnik mod osc. in a friends rig. Obviously very different beasts, I was pretty blown away by the Sputnik - sounded so very round and full, absolutely great for low end. whereas Braids excelled more in mid range and higher end. I think I'd miss not having some real analog osc in eurorack. From the demos I've heard, I think I prefer the sound of the Loquelic Iteritas and Erica BW to Braids.
Old 8th March 2019
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skypainter View Post
Hi, I'm looking at finally putting together a modest 2 or 3 oscillator synth in eurorack. The one area that I'm at a loss with is oscillators - so many of them and difficult to tell from "pure" demos (running through the basic waves etc, which ones are best suited for certain purposes, or sonic territory / genres.

At this stage I'm contemplating a) getting Lifeforms SV1 and adding Erica Black Wavetable (good prices secondhand) + utility modules

b) If finances permit, 2 analog oscillators + 1 digital oscillators

Here's what's caught my ear from demos:

Instruo Ts-L

Doepfer A-110-4 SE -

For a digital osc, in addition to the Erica BW,Noise Engineering's Loquelic Iteritas and Cursus Iteritas both look very flexible and quite unique, but pretty expensive for my budget.

I don't have plans dream of building a massive system and not aiming at self-generative styles. Just a good sounding very flexible 3 osc synth. I'm also not looking to nail a vintage sound.

I'd be really interested to hear your experiences with oscillators, which you prefer, why and what they excel at. Cheers

I'm basically all analog becasue fu** digital they simply dont ever sounds as good as the analog ones.

My first oscs was the malekko richter oscillator 2. I have 3. I think these are the best sounding oscs I have. Very good tracking. These do phase modulation. But they instead dont do pulse width mod on the square. These are also the best sounding modular oscs I have ever heard.

Then I have the AJH minimod oscs. Have 3 of these too. These are the (i think deemed best sounding minimoog oscs recreated). These sound very good too. These have pwm. Very good oscs imo. and good sounding.

I also have 2 doepfer a111-3 miniosc. this is based around an 80ies analog chip so its cheap. It does limited things but basicaaly all you need and nothing you dont kinda. It also does LFO. and also pwm on the lfo square I bought mine for lfo duties and high freq FM modulators. these are very thin and slim.

SE oscillation. This one is inspired by all the classic oscs sonically. but improved. it sounds very old school. and bad ass. The layout is good. and it has a wave mixer out. I kinda like this one alot But i only have 1 of them. i use it mostly as fm mod osc and for single oscs duties where i need good control or need to contro, something over time easily manually. This is easy since you have so clear labelling and much space around the knobs.

I have one digital osc. And its the e352 cloud terrarium. I think this must be one of the best wavetable ones. Too much to write really about this one. One thing though. I think it manages to sound very undigital for being a digital osc.
It likes being slowly modulated by several lfos. all params. I got this one because i needed a very broad sounding/wide spectrum of sounds digital osc. It delivers.

We all have different reasons to go modular. Mine was to get all the baddest ass sounding analog stuff ever created on earth. So I got that. All my stuff goes to analog 11. And i like that.

But you should know one thing. The actual oscs don't contribute that much to the final sound. Its more the vcas (well at least as much as the vco), and the filter (filter much more). not even mentioning the modulation.

But these analog ones are in some ways unpredictable and sound alive somehow. like no digital ever will. So i say Its worth it.
I have made sounds with my stuff I have never ever heard from digital stuff ever. so alive and sweet, and evil, and dark, and deep. It just feels like you are not really limited in actual sound quality somehow. Yeah thats my take on it. analog stuff can sound very similar to acoustic instruments. all analog stuff is imperfect designs and they only go so far linear. Digital stuff can probably go to Mhz ranges and so on linearly. perfectly. And sometimes you want that and sometimes you dont - easy as that.
Old 9th March 2019
  #6
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Mangrove I find super expressive and thick, my fave saw-ish osc, plus you get a vca in the deal (albeit a slightly leaky one)

Not an osc in itself but FM aid adds an arsenal to any conventional oscs giving you a thru zero FM palatte for a bargain

Digital ima hankering for an ataraxic iteritas. Don't get your beef with digital, you can control or exploit artefacts like aliasing in a modular world and I'm equal opportunities their palatte. Not all tones need to be fat analog, sometimes the differences make them gel in a mix better in my view.
Old 9th March 2019
  #7
Here for the gear
Ha, that’s funny. I have the same oscillators as the OP suggests. You can’t go wrong with the Lfeforms: superb. I also like MI Plaits a lot. It’s a VA, but the sound is a great starting point for modular.
But: investigate, read reviews, listen to demos online, buy 2nd hand, and buy one at the time.

Just my 2 cents.
Old 10th March 2019
  #8
A couple years ago I went all out and got and Endorphines Furthrrrr Generator. My favorite oscillator by a country mile at this point. Thick and gooey, analog FM that murders cats easily. If I ever sell this it means I quit playing music, it’s the basis of my modular sound at this point.
Old 12th March 2019
  #9
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Great insights, useful suggestions and much food for thought. Much appreciated.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TracerAnalog View Post
Ha, that’s funny. I have the same oscillators as the OP suggests. You can’t go wrong with the Lfeforms: superb. I also like MI Plaits a lot. It’s a VA, but the sound is a great starting point for modular.
Do you also have the Instruo Ts-L and the Doepfer A-110-4? If so, how would you compare them to the oscs in Lifeforms?

I overlooked the Endorphines Furtherr twin - Osc - fantastic FM capabilities!

I'm having to resist hard not to sell my Nord G2 to finance eurorack!! I
Old 12th March 2019
  #10
yeah don't sell the Nord G2!

favorites:
Malekko Wiard Anti-Oscillator (or any of Grant Richter's Wiard stuff)
J3RK 258J (Buchla clone)
euhm that's about it really.
I like how those Doepfer thru-zero VCOs sound.
And one of these "Red Panel 158" remakes (Buchla 100)
If I'd find a bag of money, I'd get a Tonestar 8106 (also for the filter). And a Mangrove.

Digital?
I like wavetables so I'm trying to save up for a Flame 4VOX.
Also going to experiment with some software oscillators. I know it's blasphemy.
I have a PT Audio Dual Digital Oscillator, but I bought that, because it's a bit weird. And I like weird.
Old 12th March 2019
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Reptil View Post
yeah don't sell the Nord G2!

favorites:
Malekko Wiard Anti-Oscillator (or any of Grant Richter's Wiard stuff)
J3RK 258J (Buchla clone)
euhm that's about it really.
I like how those Doepfer thru-zero VCOs sound.
And one of these "Red Panel 158" remakes (Buchla 100)
If I'd find a bag of money, I'd get a Tonestar 8106 (also for the filter). And a Mangrove.

Digital?
I like wavetables so I'm trying to save up for a Flame 4VOX.
Also going to experiment with some software oscillators. I know it's blasphemy.
I have a PT Audio Dual Digital Oscillator, but I bought that, because it's a bit weird. And I like weird.
I took a long look and listen to the Tonestar 8106 a while ago- would make a great core for a small system. It sounds fantastic!

Thanks to this thread I've looked again at Maleko oscs on the Osc 2 - the phase modulation options are really appealing - I'm now thinking it would pair very nicely with the Instruo Ts. The waveshaping on the Wiard sounds top, but for waveshaping I'm eyeing a dedicated module - probably the Doepfer 137.

The Richter 2 can be found 2nd hand for decent prices!

Ok, so I'm pretty much decided to go with what I like the sound of best and it's functionality:

So for the "sonic core", I'm pretty much decided (of course I'm looking at modulation, mixers, mults etc, but won't go into those now)

1st 2 oscillators: Richter 2, Instruo TS,

(Filter: 1st, System 80 Jove, then a LPG).

Yays or nays?
Old 12th March 2019
  #12
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AJH VCO
Plaits
Piston Honda III
Mysteron
DPO
Old 12th March 2019
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Reptil View Post
I like wavetables so I'm trying to save up for a Flame 4VOX.
You sure you want to do that? I'm a digital oscillator fan too, but I feel the 4Vox is one of the more limited ones. Kind of a pain to edit, and there's not much variety between the wavetables (39 wavetables, sweepable on one axis only). For not much more, why not get an E352 and have tons of wavetables with lots of variety?
Old 12th March 2019
  #14
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Of the digital osc's mentioned, no Erica - Wavetable or Graphic.. No love for them? From demos they sound damn good, seem to have decent modulation options..
Old 12th March 2019
  #15
A buddy of mine has the Kotelnikov Wavetable oscillator and it absolutely crushes.

It has a "Druid" setting AND the number 42. What more could you possibly need?
Old 12th March 2019
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slaughtrhaus View Post
A buddy of mine has the Kotelnikov Wavetable oscillator and it absolutely crushes.

It has a "Druid" setting AND the number 42. What more could you possibly need?
Not to mention that it's got an onboard function generator and a VCA. I have a lot of fun with this one. Thanks for recommending it to me a while back.
Old 12th March 2019
  #17
My oscillator of choice for eurorack is Freak. Reason for it being that it is almost like it was designed for my tastes

All sounds (except drums) come from Freak. Each sound used only a single instance of Freak (no layering going on). No distortion/filters were used. Just raw oscillator sound + a bit of reverb and delay:
Aflecht - Mai Friik


(OK, I'm biased, but it is the only oscillator I'm currently using)
Old 12th March 2019
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kraku View Post
My oscillator of choice for eurorack is Freak. Reason for it being that it is almost like it was designed for my tastes
I see what you did there! I love the Freak. It's a very underrated oscillator. I love how aggressive it is with very little effort to get there.
Old 16th March 2019
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skypainter View Post
I'd be really interested to hear your experiences with oscillators, which you prefer, why and what they excel at. Cheers
I don't have much experience with oscillators from other manufacturers, but I can at least tell you about the various Doepfer ones.

I have 2x A-110 Standard VCO, 2x A-110-2 Basic VCO, 2x A-110-4 Thru Zero VCO, 2x A-111-1 High End VCO and 2x A-111-2 High End VCO.

To begin, I like to buy oscillators in pairs. The A-110 Standard VCOs are good. Better than you might think. Having a saw core, they work well for bright, classic synth tones. The down side is that by the time the core gets shaped to a sine, it's not very clean. The other waveforms (square and triangle) are fine, but the sine is not the greatest (and is barely distinguishable from the triangle).

In fact, for the A-110-2 Basic VCO, which is 2hp smaller, Doepfer decided to just dispense with the sine wave altogether since it was never that great anyway. Still, the A-110-2 Basic VCO is a good oscillator for standard synth sounds. It also adds a linear FM CV input which the Standard VCO lacks (without modification) making it even more worthy of consideration.

Now the A-110-4 Thru Zero VCOs have beautiful sine waves. Stunning, really. Oftentimes I'll just jam on them without any wave shaping at all, they're so crystal clear. They have a sine core, and are good for analog FM. But they're not the easiest to work with, I have to tell you. For one thing, there's no fine tuning knob. So you need to be gentle with the knobs to get precise tuning. There are also some DC offset issues which can affect tuning--but there are work-arounds.

Last but not least, we have the A-111 High End VCOs. As a die-hard CEM fan, these are my favorites. They are triangle core, making it easier to derive clean sine waves. These are noticeably better on the A-111s than the Standard VCOs. It's been improved even further in the latest revision of the A-111s. For linear FM, I actually find these easier to work with than the Thru Zeros, as there's a fine tuning knob and they track well over many octaves. Of course, there are some sounds you just can't get without thru zero, but... anyway, the A-111s are my favorite.

Hope this helps.
Old 16th March 2019
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maisonvague View Post
Hope this helps.
Sure does. Very useful insights
Old 16th March 2019
  #21
Gear Head
Have you considered going with a double/complex oscillator instead of two analog oscillators? I have a good number of oscillators and if I were to chose a setup from scratch now I would go for a Instruo Cs-L as the analog heart of my system. It can be used a 2 standard oscillators, or as a complex oscillator, with internal or external fm, wavefolding, ringmod, sync, pwm, etc.. For the mutitude of features and possibilites with a complex oscillator I think it's a better deal than getting two standard oscs.
Old 16th March 2019
  #22
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This depends heavily on what you want. If you are not sure if you're going to be doing wavetable/distortion/FM/AM/RM/complex stuff right off the bat then I'd avoid those for the time being because they're often more confusing than helpful (saying this as a former Sputnik Complex Osc and Instruo CS-l owner). My default answer is Spectrum VCO -- it's affordable, reliable, track well, full featured, easy octave switching, sub out, doesn't use up too much space, FMs well, and easy to find. I have five of them as my analog osc bank.

My next suggestion is a Synthtech E352.
Old 16th March 2019
  #23
Gear Head
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skypainter View Post
Of the digital osc's mentioned, no Erica - Wavetable or Graphic.. No love for them? From demos they sound damn good, seem to have decent modulation options..
The Wavetable sounds great and is a good option. Haven't tried the Graphic but I bet it's very good too.
Old 16th March 2019
  #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ModularOverkill View Post
My default answer is Spectrum VCO -- it's affordable, reliable, track well, full featured, easy octave switching, sub out, doesn't use up too much space, FMs well, and easy to find. I have five of them as my analog osc bank.
I wasn't familiar with these, so I did a quick image search using the terms "Spectrum VCO" and this is what came up for the first 20 images or so:



At first I was like wtf? Then I figured it out.

Spectrum Virgin Coconut Oil

Old 17th March 2019
  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maisonvague View Post
I wasn't familiar with these, so I did a quick image search using the terms "Spectrum VCO" and this is what came up for the first 20 images or so:



At first I was like wtf? Then I figured it out.

Spectrum Virgin Coconut Oil

That's hilarious. I just can imagine what virgins do with that oil.

This is a fabulous thread by the way.

I just have two oscs in my Eurorack synth. Intellijel Rubicon 2 and Instruo C-sL.
Both can be described as 'complex'.
I chose them over other classical oscs because of the sounds I can achieve with them and because they cover exp., lin. and thru-zero FM. And for my taste they sound very good.

But I have the option to send the mixed oscillators from the MFB Dominion 1 into Eurorackland and also I can route Mutable (Audible) oscillators out of VCV too.

I thought about getting MU oscillators (921) but I don't know if it is good for me to open another pandora's box.
Old 17th March 2019
  #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mekanik View Post
I'm basically all analog becasue fu** digital they simply dont ever sounds as good as the analog ones.

[...]
You should hear the meaty rawness my Yamaha MODX can produce when using its digital AWM synthesis.

I doubt that anybody would think this is digital.

edit: For clarification: The AWM synthesis allows you to choose any kind of sampled audio as oscillator. In my case I sampled a lot raw waveforms from my analog synths and imported them. Also there are sound shaping options per oscillator and there are 8 oscillators you can use simultaneously. Just one osc can sound fatter than my original synth. And you can play them poly. The MODX is awesome.

It takes a bit longer and a bit more work to achieve this, though.
But hey, we're modular users, we do things that take longer.
Old 18th March 2019
  #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Summer Of Nebula View Post
That's hilarious. I just can imagine what virgins do with that oil.
Old 18th March 2019
  #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Summer Of Nebula View Post
That's hilarious. I just can imagine what virgins do with that oil.


Speaking of which, I forgot to provide evidence. As an alternative to Google, I appreciate DuckDuckGo, but... I think maybe they should tweak their algorithms a little.

What are your eurorack of choice oscillators and why?-screen-shot-2019-03-16-4.40.09-pm.jpg
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What are your eurorack of choice oscillators and why?-screen-shot-2019-03-16-4.40.09-pm.jpg  
Old 19th March 2019
  #29
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Oscillators are difficult. Where to start? The web demos don't always tell you much because we modulate them in different ways. Starting out my euro a few months ago I wanted more west coast than east coast. So I ended up with

- Malekko Richter II: because it has an organinc analogue sound, phase mod, and good solid pedigree.
- Sputnik VCO (single): because I love Buchla. And this was a positive surprise, it is perhaps cleaner, and less beefy than the Malekko but due to this it is incredibly good for modulation and does the buchla sounds (bongos etc) better than Malekko. A real gem.

Later I got the
- Wiard Anti-Oscillator: because it was part of a package deal for getting the Borg 1 and Boogie. Great organic tones, violins & cello, works well when cross modluating with one of the above. I will probably keep this and the Sputnik forever.

Now on my radar:
- Buchla/Red Panel 158 (I hope it at least matches the Catalyst): thick organic deep growl
- Hertz Donut mkIII: I prefer the looks and knobs of mk II, but the sound demos the mkIII sounds better, equally aggressive but less harsh, very fresh tones, very cutting-edge 'modular'.
- Doepfer 110-4: Looks fantastic for modulation, reliable Doepfer quality, good price

Now there is something I want to try before buying any new oscillators: getting a Doepfer A-133 for boosting my VCOs either directly to VCA or to the FM input of another VCO. This is supposed to make them meatier and apparently (one of the) 'secrets' of the Buchla 259 is its high gain to FM. Wonder how that will turn out....
Old 19th March 2019
  #30
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Quote:
we all have different reasons to go modular. Mine was to get all the baddest ass sounding analog stuff ever created on earth. So I got that. All my stuff goes to analog 11. And i like that.
I do not have a favorite eurorack oscillator yet because I have very little eurorack so far, but I like your philosophy.
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