A study of Sub-Oscillators (and Oscillator Waveshaping)

Posted by & filed under Korg, Oscillators, Polysix, Roland, SH-101, Synth DIY, Vintage synths.

This article is a look at sub-oscillators, a common tactic for fattening up the bottom end, particularly  in synths with only one oscillator, or only one oscillator per voice. Classic examples include the Roland Juno 106 and SH101, and the Korg Polysix. More recently, sub-oscs turn up on a lot of modern analog synths since they’re cheap to do and can add more punch and depth. The Arturia MiniBrute, Moog SubPhatty and most of the DSI synths include them. My… Read more »

Adventures in Top Octave Generation

Posted by & filed under Oscillators, Synth DIY, Vintage synths.

Can we make a modern reproduction of the classic top octave generator / top octave synthesiser chips of the 1970s, as used in classic string synths and combo organs? What would be involved? Can we improve on the originals in any way? This page is a summary of what I learned by doing it. A little background In the late 1970’s, many synth manufacturers were thinking about producing polyphonic instruments. One musical area where that was already done was in… Read more »

CEM3340 VCO (Voltage Controlled Oscillator) designs

Posted by & filed under Memorymoog, MKS-80, Moog, OB-Xa, Oberheim, Oscillators, Prophet 5, Prophet T8, Roland, Sequential, SH-101, Synth DIY, Vintage synths.

To celebrate the 2016 return of the CEM3340 chip, I thought I’d do another page in my series looking at how various synths implemented classic synth chips (the others being CEM3320 Filter designs and SSM2044 LP Filter designs). This is especially useful right now, since many people have bought a few CEM3340s or V3340s for their own use and are looking around for circuits to use them in. If that’s your purpose, note that these are all synth voicecard circuits, so they’re… Read more »

Direct Digital Synthesis

Posted by & filed under Oscillators, Synth DIY.

Direct Digital Synthesis (DDS) Direct digital synthesis is a common technique for generating waveforms digitally. The principles of the technique are simple and widely applicable. You can build a DDS oscillator in hardware or in software. A DDS oscillator is sometimes also known as a Numerically-Controlled Oscillator (NCO). How does it work? The most important part of a DDS oscillator is the ‘Phase Accumulator’. This is just a counter. For example, we could use a 16-bit binary counter: When the… Read more »

Wavetable Oscillators

Posted by & filed under DW series, Korg, Oscillators, PPG, Synth DIY, Wave.

This page is an overview of two techniques for creating wavetable oscillators. Contents DDS – Korg DW series and similar Variable sample rate – PPG Wave and similar DDS – Korg DW series and similar The Korg DW series use a DDS oscillator scheme. Korg called it ‘DWGS’ for ‘Digital Waveform Generator System’ in the 80’s style of inscrutable acronyms, but in reality it is a single cycle of digitally stored waveform that can be played back repeatedly. It uses a counter… Read more »

Roland Juno DCOs

Posted by & filed under Juno, Oscillators, Roland.

This page is a brief look at the technology of the Roland Juno series digitally controlled oscillators. These are an interesting hybrid design. Although digitally controlled and digitally stable, the oscillator produces a true analogue output, even for ramp waves, rather than the typical staircase waveform produced by feeding an incrementing count to a DAC or from a wavetable. Here we will look at how this is done. Contents General Scheme Master Clock Counters Waveshapers Sub-Oscillator Sawtooth PWM Frequency accuracy… Read more »