I guess I’m just not a big fan of DCO’s

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Re: I guess I’m just not a big fan of DCO’s

Post by analogholic » Sat Feb 20, 2010 8:21 pm

OK gotcha...
I thought you also meant bigger regarding Matrix 6/OB-Xa...
Will check out your OB-Xa vid.

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Re: I guess I’m just not a big fan of DCO’s

Post by projectwoofer » Sat Feb 20, 2010 9:32 pm

shaft9000 wrote: for an 8-voice 2-VCO poly w/ MIDI and patch memory, no $1500 is not a lot. Remember these things commonly sold for well over $5-10K (adjusted for inflation) when they were new.
For me, it's still a lot of money...! :)
Stab Frenzy wrote:You're someone who has the blessing of creativity, you don't need to buy a particular synth to get the sound you want so it doesn't matter which synth you use, you actually know how to use it.
Thanks!I always try to do the best I can in terms of programming with the synths I have...I don't think the solution is to just go and buy a whole bunch of synths in order to find "that sound"...less is more IMHO...
otto wrote:The new SEM is exciting, I personally like the Moog LP I also like the MFB synthII which sounds pretty vintage to me and s a lot of bang for the buck
Moog LP: After reading other threads, I had the impression that this one is a bit "modern sounding"...I also don't like LF's user interface actually

MFB Synth II: I wanted to check this one but what put me off was the rumour that its oscillators drift a lot and it gets out of tune every 10 mins or so...plus its LFO cannot be synced!

FR XS: I somehow knew that this one would be more "modern sounding" too, plus I find it a bit expensive...

Anyway...I find it strange that no one had mentioned anything about the Neptune II...I've heard quite a few demos and it sounds fantastic to my ears..very reasonably priced too and much better built that the MFB...full-featured too! :)
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Re: I guess I’m just not a big fan of DCO’s

Post by nathanscribe » Sat Feb 20, 2010 10:54 pm

projectwoofer wrote:Moog LP: After reading other threads, I had the impression that this one is a bit "modern sounding"...I also don't like LF's user interface actually
What, don't tell me you believe what you read around these parts..? You know very well half the people who make comments on stuff have never even seen one in real life, let alone heard one anywhere except a cruddy You Tube clip recorded on a mobile phone.

Really though the LP is a breeze to use. Push a button, see what the parameter is from the LED rings around the knob, and then turn to taste. Can't get much easier. Menus are limited to arpeggiator control and non-standard stuff like number of filter poles, etc., as well as housekeeping duties and MIDI setup.

As for sounding modern, well, it sounds a lot less modern than any other synth I've had that has been made in the last ten/fifteen years, if by "modern" one means something like "Microkorg".

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Re: I guess I’m just not a big fan of DCO’s

Post by OriginalJambo » Sun Feb 21, 2010 12:03 am

Boy, I'm late to this thread. :o

Well, here goes:

When ever this thread rears its head I'm immediately reminded of when I owned both the Polysix and a Juno-6. Now it's obvious both have rather similar architectures, but trust me in saying that they both have distinct characters - they really do not sound much alike. This is part to do with the former offering VCOs as opposed to the latter's DCOs. However when you consider the big picture - the filter, the effects (that Roland chorus for example) - it's clear this this only contributes to the difference.

With this experience I do feel there is a discernible difference between VCOs and DCOs, but I am prepared to judge each and every instrument on the sum of its parts. So I'm with Nathan and JMP on this one.

And what's more I believe DCO synths have their place too. In my experience the Juno range and JX range in particular are capable of some amazing string, pad, brass and general poly synth sounds. More importantly, I've found it's generally much easier to fit these into a mix over say, a typical Polysix patch. I mean just think for a second how thick/fat/wide/full a good VCO mono synth can sound. Now when you double, triple, quadruple that with polyphony it may be too much!

Sure it may sound great in isolation, but there's a real danger of it dominating a mix. Sometimes less is more. Therefore sometimes the "thinner" character of a DCO synth is what you want. To be honest I'd say I generally prefer DCO poly synths for this very reason alone.

Oh and I've found, like FM-based synths, DCO synths tend to play with external effects really well so don't be afraid to experiment with chorus, phasers, flangers, delays etc.

And why not have both? Then you really can't complain!

That's me now said my rather lengthy piece. :oops:

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Re: I guess I’m just not a big fan of DCO’s

Post by stikygum » Sun Feb 21, 2010 12:08 am

clubbedtodeath wrote:But how about VAs versus DCO synths though? I've just heard something on the grapevine: rumour has it that Roland may be working on a DCO version of the SH-201 - with potentiometer controls too, not encoders. And discrete components with a real analogue signal path! Can you imagine??
That's quite a grapevine. Would love to see them do this and give the new digital sound a rest and go for the gold in what made them infamous for their sound in the first place.
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Re: I guess I’m just not a big fan of DCO’s

Post by OriginalJambo » Sun Feb 21, 2010 12:09 am

clubbedtodeath wrote:What I can't understand is, why doesn't someone do a DCO synth, but with sophisticated timing control to shape the waveform more to a VCO synth's? If it can be done in VSTis, surely it can be done with a small CPU. (And I mean something more sophisticated than DSI's 'slop' function). That'd nicely sidestep flakey temperate-dependent circuitry, whilst maintaining an analogue signal path.
You probably know this already but both Novation and Alesis have made use of oscillator/analogue drift algorithms on their synths. Doubt it'd alter the waveshape but I found it to be a welcome feature.
clubbedtodeath wrote:But how about VAs versus DCO synths though? I've just heard something on the grapevine: rumour has it that Roland may be working on a DCO version of the SH-201 - with potentiometer controls too, not encoders. And discrete components with a real analogue signal path! Can you imagine??
I don't know if you're being serious here or not but stranger things have happened. I think it might be difficult for them to market their VAs and workstations as effectively though, since they'd effectively admitting that there's enough of a difference! ;)
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Re: I guess I’m just not a big fan of DCO’s

Post by Dano » Sun Feb 21, 2010 2:17 am

OriginalJambo wrote:You probably know this already but both Novation and Alesis have made use of oscillator/analogue drift algorithms on their synths. Doubt it'd alter the waveshape but I found it to be a welcome feature.
Something cool you can do on the Yamaha AN synths using the editor is draw your own oscillator drift patterns using the Free EG parameters.

Roland JV synths have the "Analog Feel" parameter.

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Re: I guess I’m just not a big fan of DCO’s

Post by clusterchord » Sun Feb 21, 2010 2:21 pm

maindeglorie wrote:The only DCO synths that I tend to like are Roland ones. The Juno 6/60 and JX-8p sound beautiful to me. Not exactly huge analog, but still beautiful.
exactly. they have their place, and as mentioned in this thread, sometimes the phase-locking or "solid" sound of DCO is just what the doctor ordered. also, i think one of the reasons why early Junos are mentioned so often is bcs, even tho designed to be cheaper than Jupiter range, they retained the filters, vcas and envelopes from the big brethren. most other DCO ranges went to cheaper designs in all respects form their VCO counterparts. for example, matrix6/1000 filter which has nothing to do with filters in OBXa, OB8, or Xpander. it may have a "curtis" label on it but it isnt the same model or circuit or quality. same with VCAs. it is an interesting synth in its own right, if you investigate its special routing capabilities, and not use it for typical analogueness, or expect it to be an "oberheim".



overall, i'm in the boat with Otto, i do prefer and use the sound of good VCO synths, and even tho i liked DCOs on their own merit, in the end i only kept MKS70. partly for it's unique sound, partly bcs of small space it is occupying, and partly for nostalgic reasons, bcs JX-10 was my first decent analog poly. well, if there was a Juno-60 3U rack module with sliders, i think i'd get it right away.
projectwoofer wrote:Seriously though, I also find the P08/Tetra sufficiently thick plus very reasonably priced. Sometimes when I want a more vintage, dirty sound, I use a tiny amount of white noise to modulate the oscillator pitch or use a little bit of feedback...it works surprisingly well! Plus, when I want something more "meaty" than the Curtis filter, I combine the Tetra with the Waldorf 4pole which has a more "raw" power in it...Of course I can also layer two almost identical sounds and voila!
no ammount of modulation to a DCO will make it sound like a VCO. too many things, processes going on to be emulated as simple as that. just go and play/experience a big vco polyphonic you will land on your behind ;). i went thru the same process may yrs ago, imitating stuff on my jx10, using outboard, all kind of tricks to make it more vintage/vco, until i played the real thing, and suddenly that sound was right there, and larger than i could ever imagine. there was no going back.

second, as i mentioned above, a real Curtis 3320 filter can be meaty, and big as a house when going into resonance, but not the peticular Curtis filter found on DSI products. so, when DSI claim they're using "curtis" they are telling you the truth, just not the whole truth. once you have experience with both, i am positive there will be no doubt in your mind.




as for your search for the mono VCO, if i may suggest, you can take a look at Roland SH2. insanely big organic sound. it will complement your Tetra very nicely. if one vco plus a sub is enough then look at the SH-09 (same circuits). i havent yet tried the new SEM, but would love to. even tho the demos show its different from the original, still it seems to have most vintage vibe of the current monosynth crop. alternatively, a few of the modern modular manufacturers, like motm, macbeth, oakley, yu synth etc, have made some very vintagey sounding modules, if you are into that sort of thing.
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Re: I guess I’m just not a big fan of DCO’s

Post by nathanscribe » Sun Feb 21, 2010 2:59 pm

clusterchord wrote:when DSI claim they're using "curtis" they are telling you the truth, just not the whole truth.
From the DSI website FAQ:
Are the Curtis chips used in DSI products the same chips used in the Sequential synthesizers?

The Curtis chips we use are newly manufactured (not NOS—new old stock) and are not chips that were used in Sequential products. However, the filter design is essentially the same as that used in the earlier chips.
How much truth do you want? Schematics? Of course they'll sound different as they have different circuits, components, etc., but the statement above suggests to me that they're open about the difference.

As for Oberheim, the Matrix 6/1000 use CEM 3396, which is a 'voice-on-a-chip', and includes waveshaping, filter and VCA. Noise, Envelopes and LFOs aren't included.

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Re: I guess I’m just not a big fan of DCO’s

Post by redchapterjubilee » Sun Feb 21, 2010 5:13 pm

Moog LP - Definitely not as sweat hog in the higher frequencies as the Source (never owned a Mini) but more than serviceable. Sounds like a Moog to me.

MFB Synth II - Tuning rumors are true. It's a studio piece. I couldn't take it out of the studio and depend upon it to be in tune.

Mopho is always in tune :D

DCO, VCO eh. Does it sound good? Can you use it? Cool. Then that's an awesome synth.
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Re: I guess I’m just not a big fan of DCO’s

Post by clusterchord » Sun Feb 21, 2010 6:31 pm

nathanscribe wrote:
clusterchord wrote:when DSI claim they're using "curtis" they are telling you the truth, just not the whole truth.
From the DSI website FAQ:
Are the Curtis chips used in DSI products the same chips used in the Sequential synthesizers?

The Curtis chips we use are newly manufactured (not NOS—new old stock) and are not chips that were used in Sequential products. However, the filter design is essentially the same as that used in the earlier chips.
How much truth do you want?
they should admit it sounds like c**p? :lol: :mrgreen:


sorry, couldn't resist. i don't really think that. just a bit maybe..


yeah, i know about the FAQ, but similar with the whole episode with naming their synth "Prophet",i feel that in the beginning, they weren' t so clear about these differences, and were leaving a LOT of room for speculation that the filters are indeed like in P5. oversimplification was working to their benefit. then after users started comparing them, things started getting out of hand, and they quickly started distancing themselves from the whole "new prophet" idea. wiggle, wiggle, wiggle..

you can see the result of that initial marketing right here on VSE, or on other forums. there is tons of ppl (who never played a P5) who bought into the story that it's the same "curtis" filter. referring to MEK or Mopho KBD as a new Pro One etc. i's all over the place. nothing to do with reality. but that's internet for ya.. just talk, no hands -on experience.
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Re: I guess I’m just not a big fan of DCO’s

Post by nathanscribe » Sun Feb 21, 2010 6:59 pm

clusterchord wrote:with the whole episode with naming their synth "Prophet",i feel that in the beginning, they weren' t so clear about these differences, and were leaving a LOT of room for speculation that the filters are indeed like in P5. oversimplification was working to their benefit. then after users started comparing them, things started getting out of hand, and they quickly started distancing themselves from the whole "new prophet" idea. wiggle, wiggle, wiggle..

you can see the result of that initial marketing right here on VSE, or on other forums. there is tons of ppl (who never played a P5) who bought into the story that it's the same "curtis" filter. referring to MEK or Mopho KBD as a new Pro One etc. i's all over the place. nothing to do with reality. but that's internet for ya.. just talk, no hands -on experience.
I think any confusion about the similarity of the P08 to the P5 is down to lack of awareness, not misleading info from DSI. It's clearly not the same thing and is related more closely to the Evolver line than the old Prophets, on a circuit and features level - yet the general feel of it inspired him to revive the Prophet name (I paraphrase Dave Smith's words here, can't recall the source unfortunately). I'd be inclined to agree that it's more in line with the generally familiar analogue poly setup than the semi-digital Evos, so why not ? I don't think it's just marketing - anybody who expects it to be a recreation of the old models would have to be naive about synths and the origins of the P08.

Your point about the internet is more pertinent I think - you know what folk are like, people generate their own hype whether it's based on truth or not. I think that's more in line with the build-up of people's expectations than any direct info from any manufacturer, no matter how detailed. It works in reverse too - as soon as anything is announced, there's one thread here gawping at the wonder of it, and another saying how s**t it'll be and how nobody in their right mind would waste money on it. Doesn't matter what the "it" is. Internet = large amounts of hearsay, pointless bickering, misinformation based on guesswork, one-upmanship, deliberate trollism, and all the other joys. It's also a great place to learn, but that seems to be a minority occupation sometimes.

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Re: I guess I’m just not a big fan of DCO’s

Post by JMP » Sun Feb 21, 2010 7:09 pm

clusterchord wrote:no ammount of modulation to a DCO will make it sound like a VCO. too many things, processes going on to be emulated as simple as that. just go and play/experience a big vco polyphonic you will land on your behind ;).
Clusterchord, I'm wondering if you or anyone else can clarify something that always puzzles me when these things come up. I'm not trying to be a smart a*s, I'm genuinely interested in the reason behind it...

I'm no techie as I said earlier and don't pretend to be, just like to think I know what sounds good to me whatever the make up of a particular synth is and that what I like or prefer isn't necessarily someone else's choice. Anyway, I've had a good mix of VCO and DCO synths but the one that has always stood out is the Elka Synthex. Without its chorus on and when using a normal eight voice patch, it still sounds bigger, fatter and more analogue? than anything else I've owned or played. This includes a Jupiter 6, 8 and OBXa amongst others. I think I can relate to what you and others have said in this thread on some DCO based synths such as Juno's, JX's, Bit 1 etc. but why is the DCO based Synthex an exception?

BTW, think closest I've got to it with a VCO based synth is my P5 (Rev 3).

Not trying to win any point here, just interested in what the Synthex has that maybe other DCO based synths haven't...?

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Re: I guess I’m just not a big fan of DCO’s

Post by urgetoplay » Sun Feb 21, 2010 8:00 pm

I've always felt that the overall implementation: Filters,modulation options,VCAs and signal path has more to do with the sound than the raw Oscillators. The O's are a part of the mix but quickly get swamped by all the other factors in the overall sound.
JMP: I too have wondered about the synthex, there's a lushness that's unique to that synth. Perhaps someone else can explain why; maybe its one of those sum is greater than the parts sort of thing.
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Re: I guess I’m just not a big fan of DCO’s

Post by otto » Sun Feb 21, 2010 9:16 pm

well, what are the oscillators in the synthex? All DCOs are not the same.

I think the DSI statement above IS misleading. Yes they are using "curtis chips" but each curtis filter chip was different and they aren't using a seperate curtis filter chip. The chip they are using doesn't have a whole lot in common with the chips used in the Prophet 5.
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