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 projectwoofer » Wed Feb 17, 2010 11:34 pm

otto wrote:…So says the guy without a VCO synth.
Haha, yes I don't have a VCO synth yet but I plan to buy one soon...I've played with some VCO synths though (monophonic synths) and I know what you mean...but I think that for poly synths, the DCO option is a very decent one, at least to my ears...I also acknowledge that I need a VCO mono too...
otto wrote: Honestly though, if the ultimate goal is music I don’t think it’s as much about what you use but how you use it and that it inspires you. I hear great music produced on synths I didn’t exactly gel with.
I couldn't agree more...I really believe that good programming can make wonders...
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Re: I guess I’m just not a big fan of DCO’s

Post by balma » Wed Feb 17, 2010 11:58 pm

Well I have the 106, and the AX 60. The were competence on the early eighties, must say I don't like any one more than the other. They have their disctintive sound, one DCO, one VCO, and a happy owner.

Part of the characteristic sound from the Juno is the DCO....


Is the Evolver DCO???????

I have been enlightened :shocked:
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Re: I guess I’m just not a big fan of DCO’s

Post by clubbedtodeath » Thu Feb 18, 2010 12:04 am

balma wrote:Is the Evolver DCO???????
It has two DCOs and two wavetable oscillators.

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

Post by Snarecrash » Thu Feb 18, 2010 12:10 am

otto wrote: Poly 800 – good at a couple interesting things (dirty grungy bass and pads)
Actually nice to see that someone uses the words "Poly 800" and "interesting" in one sentence...
and that although it has DCO's. ;)

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

Post by JMP » Thu Feb 18, 2010 12:38 am

Interesting read. I've never decided for or against any particular synth dependant on whether it was VCO or DCO based and I've had loads of both. Interestingly, I preferred the sound of an Oberheim Matrix 6 over the OBXa and the Synthex over a Jupiter 6 or 8, on the basis they sounded bigger and/or better overall. Maybe they're exceptions to the norm..? Or maybe it's just me. :)
All of this is, of course, a matter of taste and I envy the person that prefers DCO synths.


I'm no techie but there must so many other variables in the design, components and subsequent sound of these things before considering categorisation into DCO and VCO 'sounding' synths. I've never distinguished between any of mine in this way (other than the DCO ones are immediately in tune).

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

Post by nathanscribe » Thu Feb 18, 2010 1:00 am

As someone mentioned earlier, DCOs are inherently more stable, which is partly why they were used. Who wants to wait half an hour for your synth to be in tune before you can play it? The down side of that stability is that the method of achieving it means the oscs don't drift against each other, and I've never played a DCO synth that gives that lovely, buttery phasing sound as two oscs are almost, but not quite, matched. It's a sound that works really well on my Moogs but my Junos, among others, cannot manage it. They excel in other areas.

The Juno 6 and 60 have always been two of my favourite synths - easy to use, sound very nice, have proved very reliable with only minor occasional quirks, and it's difficult to get a bad patch on them. Compare one DCO synth with another, and like JMP says, there's more to it than just the fact they're DCOs. It's the whole set-up. It's the filter, the modulation possibilities, the way the package feels to use.

Personally I'd rather judge each synth on its own merits, and whether I like it or not has less to do with circuit topology that the level of engagement with its feature-set and whether, on balance, the effort of getting something I want from it is worth it. There are synths of each and every type that I'd be very happy with, and some of each and every type that I'd hate and would never use.

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

Post by Christopher Winkels » Thu Feb 18, 2010 12:30 pm

I've failed to bond with just as many VCO as DCO synths in my day. But the real keepers; the ones I either deeply regret selling, or which I've held onto for years, or - and this is crucial - the ones where I feel I must lavish money on them to keep them running have all been the VCO ones. I'd never given it much consideration before, but I suppose there is a pattern to be discerned in my case.

It's possible too that DCO synths have fallen short for me because of the horrible interfaces they were usually saddled with. In my case the guilty offenders were units like the MKS-70 and Matrix-6, though I did let other ones like the Juno-6 go too, and that had a slider and switch for every function. I think in the case of that one it was the lack of programming options and meagre performance controls (no second oscillator, no sync, no unison, no portamento, modulation as an on/off button only, no velocity or AT, etc.)

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

Post by mao » Thu Feb 18, 2010 2:04 pm

I agree... VCO and DCO sounds are really like oranges and apples. So you must decide what you like the best.

The Andromeda vs Prophet 08 is one of the best way of thinking VCO vs DCO staying in these day without having to remember from the past. I prefer the lush, spacious, phase unlocked sounds of the Andy and I have no problem on waiting 20 mins to warm it up... that's what you must pay to have some great spacious pads... but... I'm looking to add a P08 to have some more "solid" sounds. The P08 just sound "powerful" and I believe it's due to it's phase locked DCO.

Unbelivable to say but with my old EX-8000 (despite it's hybrid nature) I can do sounds that the Andy can't come close at all ! it's real analog filter does great thing but the stable phase locked oscs give that "solid" and powerful sounds that you can't touch with a VCO synth...

so as usual... you must choose what to eat... or save $$$ for apples&oranges.

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

Post by CapnMarvel » Thu Feb 18, 2010 2:32 pm

First thing I'll admit straight off that I've never owned a 'five star' vintage VCO synth - no Minimoogs, Omnis, CS, MS, Obie, etc. I own an Andy, a MKS-80, and have had a few 'lesser' vintage VCO synths (Moog Rogue, for instance).

I have, however, had a whole host of DCO synths - Junos, JX's, P600, Matrix 6 and 1000, MEK. I really, truly think I prefer DCO sounds, and the ease of use of a DCO synth is just icing on the cake. I like spot-on tuning, if I want phasing, etc. I'll use an outboard effect, and let's be honest - the best vintage VCO synths are quite expensive for their feature set, unless you HAVE to have that specific sound. To me 'that specific sound' tends to be awfully cliche'd in a lot of ways. My favorite synths of all tend to be the DCO- and flat-out digital ones with tons of available controls - JD800, D-50/550 with the PG-1000, MKS-70, Waldorf XT, Evolvers. IMHO, these are flexible enough to approach VCO warmth but with so much more range available for experimentation and surprises. YMMV.

Not to say I wouldn't love having a CS-80 fall into my lap or anything, and I sure love my Andy, but in a lot of ways vintage VCO seems more trouble than it's worth.
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Re: I guess I’m just not a big fan of DCO’s

Post by JJQ » Thu Feb 18, 2010 3:21 pm

Im actually happy that so many has preconceived ideas of synths:

-That some think vintage synths with real VCOs are some kind of unstable, constant source of worries.

-And that synths with DCOs are apples and synths with VCOs oranges or vice versa.

Otherwise prices would bee even higher.

Im no better, I also have ideas, that I prefer discreet over CEM, vintage over new etc. That meens that you dont have to compete with me when you bid for a Prophet-08. :)
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Re: I guess I’m just not a big fan of DCO’s

Post by memory cords » Thu Feb 18, 2010 3:22 pm

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.
What exactly, in technical terms, does Dave Smith Instrument's 'slop function' actually do? It is like a random LFO on the oscillator pitch? How does it sound in actual use?

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

Post by adamstan » Thu Feb 18, 2010 3:25 pm

The P08 just sound "powerful" and I believe it's due to it's phase locked DCO.
FYI: the Prophet has multiple clock generators for its DCOs to get rid of that phase-lock effect ;-)
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Re: I guess I’m just not a big fan of DCO’s

Post by memory cords » Thu Feb 18, 2010 3:30 pm

CapnMarvel wrote:First thing I'll admit straight off that I've never owned a 'five star' vintage VCO synth - no Minimoogs, Omnis, CS, MS, Obie, etc. I own an Andy, a MKS-80, and have had a few 'lesser' vintage VCO synths (Moog Rogue, for instance).
In my opinion the MKS-80 is a 'five star' vintage synth. And the Andromeda may not be vintage but it is definitely 'five star'. Both great pieces of kit!

I love all the old seventies synths as well though. But I'm not sure if the difference in sound is just because of the oscillators. There are probably a lot of other components/factors that add to that so-called 'vintage sound'.

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

Post by pflosi » Thu Feb 18, 2010 4:12 pm

memory cords wrote:
CapnMarvel wrote:First thing I'll admit straight off that I've never owned a 'five star' vintage VCO synth - no Minimoogs, Omnis, CS, MS, Obie, etc. I own an Andy, a MKS-80, and have had a few 'lesser' vintage VCO synths (Moog Rogue, for instance).
In my opinion the MKS-80 is a 'five star' vintage synth. And the Andromeda may not be vintage but it is definitely 'five star'. Both great pieces of kit!
+1. and i would not say that the MS and CS are five star. though i like the cheap sound of the MS :D
memory cords wrote:I love all the old seventies synths as well though. But I'm not sure if the difference in sound is just because of the oscillators. There are probably a lot of other components/factors that add to that so-called 'vintage sound'.
yeah, also the factor of aging components. who knows if a jupiter 8 sounded the same when they came out as they sound now? who knows how much of the "vintage sound" is due to dying caps?

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

Post by drawtippy » Thu Feb 18, 2010 4:30 pm

I guess I never reach for a certain synth based on it's technology in general. I just look for the right tool for the job. In fact, I know I have several different ways to produce the sound I need, so it's a matter of the song or project I'm doing. I find these creative choices to be the funnest part. I actually love my JX-8P and use it more than my Jup-6 for warm pads that don't overpower a mix. Ease of use, programming knowledge, musical application and of course personal preference are what make me switch on certain synths-- DCO, VCO or other.
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