4U VCA ecology today

Discussing some incredible modules that don't quite fit into the other forum categories.

Moderators: Kent, luketeaford, Joe.

kevin0
Common Wiggler
Posts: 61
Joined: Fri May 26, 2017 6:11 am

4U VCA ecology today

Post by kevin0 » Sat May 01, 2021 4:48 am

Hello all,

I am looking to expand on my 73-75 homebuilt and I am curious about dedicated VCAs in 4u. The following is a tentative list of the VCAs in the wild:


Serge designs:
-R6 Gate (On early Serge panels, PCBs formerly sold by Elby, on the 73-75 panels, PCBs might be sold by Prism.EOC in future?)
-Xfaders (STS, R*S)
-Dual VCA (STS)
-Universal Equal Power Audio Processor (STS, PCBs formerly sold by Elby)
-Active Processor (STS, R*S)
-Serge VCM (top Section)
-Dual Channel Stereo Mixer (R*S, CGS)
-Multi Channel Stereo Mixer (CGS)

Designs by others:
-Clee Quad VCA
-VCAs on the Ugly Sound / Ian Fritz panels.
-Stroh FadeX
-Stroh Dual Pico VCA
-Slightly Nasty’s Multiband filter has a VCA on it
-CGS 64 / 364
-Metasonix Bellend
-Hollasynth 4 Channel Scanning / Quad VCA

LPGs:
Clee VC Resonant Gate
Thomas White Dual LPG
Metasonix RK5
Random Source Donks


Have I forgotten any? My only experience is with the R6 Gate on the THC 73-75 panels and I think it sounds super!

What are people’s favourites? Do you use different VCAs for different applications?

Do people use the VCAs on the DCSM / MCSM just to set the levels rather than feed envelopes into the VC Gain? It seems like an attenuator on the VC Gain input would go a long way here...

Is the active processor the only DC-coupled VCA on STS/R*S panels? What do DIYers use for DC VCAs?
Last edited by kevin0 on Tue May 04, 2021 5:03 pm, edited 4 times in total.

User avatar
batchas
Super Deluxe Wiggler
Posts: 5013
Joined: Wed Nov 09, 2011 2:51 pm

Re: 4U VCA ecology today

Post by batchas » Sat May 01, 2021 6:13 am

kevin0 wrote:
Sat May 01, 2021 4:48 am
Have I forgotten any?
Stroh Dual PICO VCA.
-----------------------------------
FS: KESAKO Player & Reverb for Serge and Buchla

User avatar
finlayshakespeare
Common Wiggler
Posts: 89
Joined: Fri Jan 24, 2020 3:42 am
Location: Bristol, UK
Contact:

Re: 4U VCA ecology today

Post by finlayshakespeare » Sat May 01, 2021 6:16 am

I’m gonna do a discrete VCA design for a forthcoming BPoOT panel ;)

kevin0
Common Wiggler
Posts: 61
Joined: Fri May 26, 2017 6:11 am

Re: 4U VCA ecology today

Post by kevin0 » Sat May 01, 2021 6:22 am

finlayshakespeare wrote:
Sat May 01, 2021 6:16 am
I’m gonna do a discrete VCA design for a forthcoming BPoOT panel ;)
Exciting! Discrete to avoid using CA3080?

User avatar
finlayshakespeare
Common Wiggler
Posts: 89
Joined: Fri Jan 24, 2020 3:42 am
Location: Bristol, UK
Contact:

Re: 4U VCA ecology today

Post by finlayshakespeare » Sat May 01, 2021 6:25 am

kevin0 wrote:
Sat May 01, 2021 6:22 am
finlayshakespeare wrote:
Sat May 01, 2021 6:16 am
I’m gonna do a discrete VCA design for a forthcoming BPoOT panel ;)
Exciting! Discrete to avoid using CA3080?
Ah no! Just a transistor based design that’s nice and easy to make work. We used it at FSS in the Stumm module. It can also be nicely overdriven

kevin0
Common Wiggler
Posts: 61
Joined: Fri May 26, 2017 6:11 am

Re: 4U VCA ecology today

Post by kevin0 » Sat May 01, 2021 6:41 am

Ah okay! Did I read that you're designing this panel to complement the 73-75 Homebuilt?

User avatar
finlayshakespeare
Common Wiggler
Posts: 89
Joined: Fri Jan 24, 2020 3:42 am
Location: Bristol, UK
Contact:

Re: 4U VCA ecology today

Post by finlayshakespeare » Sat May 01, 2021 7:05 am

kevin0 wrote:
Sat May 01, 2021 6:41 am
Ah okay! Did I read that you're designing this panel to complement the 73-75 Homebuilt?
Ish... it’s all gotten a bit out of hand in all honesty. Expect a relatively full system from BPoOT in the next couple of years ;)

User avatar
oldenjon
Super Deluxe Wiggler
Posts: 1045
Joined: Sun Feb 26, 2012 1:28 am
Location: Sacramento, CA

Re: 4U VCA ecology today

Post by oldenjon » Sat May 01, 2021 8:29 am

There is also the HollaSynth 4 Channel Scanning / Quad VCA
"We all dance by ourselves, that's why we only play electronic music"

http://synthscalledbeasts.tumblr.com/

User avatar
listentoaheartbeat
Super Deluxe Wiggler
Posts: 2707
Joined: Sun Mar 30, 2014 7:42 am
Location: Berlin

Re: 4U VCA ecology today

Post by listentoaheartbeat » Sat May 01, 2021 8:34 am

How about VCM top section, and the New Ring (R*S)?

User avatar
johnchantler
Wiggling with Experience
Posts: 293
Joined: Wed Dec 17, 2008 7:31 pm
Location: Stockholm, Sweden
Contact:

Re: 4U VCA ecology today

Post by johnchantler » Sat May 01, 2021 11:37 am

I have one of these L-1 quad VCAs behind a LW panel: http://l-1.su/QuadVCA.html

User avatar
bwhittington
Terrifying Brain Secret
Posts: 5852
Joined: Thu May 21, 2009 11:48 pm
Contact:

Re: 4U VCA ecology today

Post by bwhittington » Sat May 01, 2021 12:07 pm


User avatar
cygmu
Super Deluxe Wiggler
Posts: 1699
Joined: Mon Feb 15, 2016 3:33 pm
Location: UK

Re: 4U VCA ecology today

Post by cygmu » Sat May 01, 2021 3:15 pm

oldenjon wrote:
Sat May 01, 2021 8:29 am
There is also the HollaSynth 4 Channel Scanning / Quad VCA
So there is, heh. I will stay away from self-promotion as far as possible but for information it consists of 4 x linear VCAs (lm13700 based) plus a 4-way crossfading function.

User avatar
NeolithicElectrophones
Ultra Wiggler
Posts: 786
Joined: Fri Jul 28, 2017 12:38 am
Location: SFV, LAC

Re: 4U VCA ecology today

Post by NeolithicElectrophones » Sat May 01, 2021 3:44 pm

cygmu wrote:
Sat May 01, 2021 3:15 pm
oldenjon wrote:
Sat May 01, 2021 8:29 am
There is also the HollaSynth 4 Channel Scanning / Quad VCA
So there is, heh. I will stay away from self-promotion as far as possible but for information it consists of 4 x linear VCAs (lm13700 based) plus a 4-way crossfading function.

My favorite VCA in any format I've used. Very easy to dial in, solid and clean sounding, very ergonomic layout even when patched. It's the main hub of my LW setup. Also, a real pleasure to build with a great PCB layout to boot!

Nisse_D
Common Wiggler
Posts: 71
Joined: Fri Apr 05, 2019 7:33 pm

Re: 4U VCA ecology today

Post by Nisse_D » Sun May 02, 2021 3:21 am

+1 for the Scanner; great sounding and very straightforward build - no hard to get components and no wiring if you use the LW panel. Agree was a pleasure to build!

kevin0
Common Wiggler
Posts: 61
Joined: Fri May 26, 2017 6:11 am

Re: 4U VCA ecology today

Post by kevin0 » Sun May 02, 2021 3:57 am

Lot of great options I did not know about! Still curious about a couple of points though:

-Do people have favourites for particular purposes? (i.e. percussive sounds, gritty sounds, clean sounds etc)

-Do people use the MCSM/DCSM for enveloping sounds or just setting the output level?

-What do people use for DC signals?

mfaraday
Common Wiggler
Posts: 67
Joined: Sat Jan 31, 2015 9:49 am
Contact:

Re: 4U VCA ecology today

Post by mfaraday » Sun May 02, 2021 9:12 am

kevin0 wrote:
Sun May 02, 2021 3:57 am
-What do people use for DC signals?
the R6 gate has both AC and DC inputs - that flexibility makes it easily one of my favorites. along with separate log and linear control inputs, it is a hell of a lot of fun

really keen to have a panel with like a bunch of R6 gates and rings and an R2 dual mixer or something

kevin0
Common Wiggler
Posts: 61
Joined: Fri May 26, 2017 6:11 am

Re: 4U VCA ecology today

Post by kevin0 » Sun May 02, 2021 9:52 am

The R6 does seem pretty special. I love feeding a log envelope into the log input to get an exceptionally dramatic swell. Very gritty!

syncretism
Morbidly self-aware and liking it
Posts: 1644
Joined: Sun Jan 25, 2009 7:05 pm
Contact:

Re: 4U VCA ecology today

Post by syncretism » Sun May 02, 2021 10:53 am

Stroh has a new, dual VCA with manual offsets.

86F142BD-89B1-43DB-BC20-5FE2AF2924DB.jpeg
Last edited by syncretism on Sun May 02, 2021 3:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Xomrys
Common Wiggler
Posts: 176
Joined: Wed Feb 26, 2020 12:54 am

Re: 4U VCA ecology today

Post by Xomrys » Sun May 02, 2021 2:44 pm

I absolutely depend on the '73 VCA, due to separate DC/AC inputs, the convenient inverted LIN input, small footprint and general sound quality. Sometimes it is useful just to gain stage, meaning without CV controls, when I run out of mixers.

kevin0
Common Wiggler
Posts: 61
Joined: Fri May 26, 2017 6:11 am

Re: 4U VCA ecology today

Post by kevin0 » Mon May 03, 2021 3:24 am

syncretism wrote:
Sun May 02, 2021 10:53 am
Stroh has a new, dual VCA with manual offsets.


86F142BD-89B1-43DB-BC20-5FE2AF2924DB.jpeg
That sounds interesting! Manual offsets meaning there is a gain knob and an attenuator for VC gain? Or something else?
Xomrys wrote:
Sun May 02, 2021 2:44 pm
I absolutely depend on the '73 VCA, due to separate DC/AC inputs, the convenient inverted LIN input, small footprint and general sound quality. Sometimes it is useful just to gain stage, meaning without CV controls, when I run out of mixers.
What version of R6 are you using? Original paperface? CGS? THC? I understand that the CGS version can be built with either LM3700 or CA3080 and I've always been curious about the difference.

User avatar
Prunesquallor
Veteran Wiggler
Posts: 656
Joined: Wed Nov 11, 2009 3:08 am
Location: Valencia, Spain

Re: 4U VCA ecology today

Post by Prunesquallor » Mon May 03, 2021 4:32 am

There's also Mutable Instruments Blinds in a LW panel, and I'm pretty sure Charlie made the L-1 Quad VCA for himself. I don't really see the point of listing these third-party VCAs, though. If it's DIY then it can be put behind a panel. Should the list stick to VCAs designed by 4U guys, Serge, Clee, Stroh, Fritz, etc? And where do ring mods and LPGs fit into this?
If at first you don't succeed read the instruction manual.

RIP Ziggy, the companion in my avatar.

Xomrys
Common Wiggler
Posts: 176
Joined: Wed Feb 26, 2020 12:54 am

Re: 4U VCA ecology today

Post by Xomrys » Mon May 03, 2021 8:16 pm

kevin0 wrote:
Mon May 03, 2021 3:24 am
syncretism wrote:
Sun May 02, 2021 10:53 am
Stroh has a new, dual VCA with manual offsets.


86F142BD-89B1-43DB-BC20-5FE2AF2924DB.jpeg
That sounds interesting! Manual offsets meaning there is a gain knob and an attenuator for VC gain? Or something else?
Xomrys wrote:
Sun May 02, 2021 2:44 pm
I absolutely depend on the '73 VCA, due to separate DC/AC inputs, the convenient inverted LIN input, small footprint and general sound quality. Sometimes it is useful just to gain stage, meaning without CV controls, when I run out of mixers.
What version of R6 are you using? Original paperface? CGS? THC? I understand that the CGS version can be built with either LM3700 or CA3080 and I've always been curious about the difference.
Original paperface. It's strange given how versatile this module is and how well it sounds, why they went away from this design, integrating VCA functionality into the mixers and UAP/UPAP which are more audio-focused.

qwoned
Common Wiggler
Posts: 107
Joined: Tue Apr 23, 2019 10:18 pm

Re: 4U VCA ecology today

Post by qwoned » Tue May 04, 2021 12:44 am

Xomrys wrote:
Mon May 03, 2021 8:16 pm
kevin0 wrote:
Mon May 03, 2021 3:24 am
syncretism wrote:
Sun May 02, 2021 10:53 am
Stroh has a new, dual VCA with manual offsets.


86F142BD-89B1-43DB-BC20-5FE2AF2924DB.jpeg
That sounds interesting! Manual offsets meaning there is a gain knob and an attenuator for VC gain? Or something else?
Xomrys wrote:
Sun May 02, 2021 2:44 pm
I absolutely depend on the '73 VCA, due to separate DC/AC inputs, the convenient inverted LIN input, small footprint and general sound quality. Sometimes it is useful just to gain stage, meaning without CV controls, when I run out of mixers.
What version of R6 are you using? Original paperface? CGS? THC? I understand that the CGS version can be built with either LM3700 or CA3080 and I've always been curious about the difference.
Original paperface. It's strange given how versatile this module is and how well it sounds, why they went away from this design, integrating VCA functionality into the mixers and UAP/UPAP which are more audio-focused.
I feel like a lot of the R series modules are much more versatile than their successors

syncretism
Morbidly self-aware and liking it
Posts: 1644
Joined: Sun Jan 25, 2009 7:05 pm
Contact:

Re: 4U VCA ecology today

Post by syncretism » Tue May 04, 2021 11:33 am

kevin0 wrote:
Mon May 03, 2021 3:24 am
syncretism wrote:
Sun May 02, 2021 10:53 am
Stroh has a new, dual VCA with manual offsets.


86F142BD-89B1-43DB-BC20-5FE2AF2924DB.jpeg
That sounds interesting! Manual offsets meaning there is a gain knob and an attenuator for VC gain? Or something else?

Yep, just a knob for each, setting initial gain. Any CV requires processing elsewhere.

ashleym
Veteran Wiggler
Posts: 650
Joined: Thu Oct 22, 2009 3:34 pm

Re: 4U VCA ecology today

Post by ashleym » Tue May 04, 2021 11:56 am

finlayshakespeare wrote:
Sat May 01, 2021 6:16 am
I’m gonna do a discrete VCA design for a forthcoming BPoOT panel ;)
Sounds very exciting. Could i suggest just 0.5mm or so thicker panel please? I aim to have an instruments for a long time, nearly 40 years with my first- an SH101. Not everyone is like me so please make your own decisions..... :stardance:

Post Reply

Return to “Buchla, EMS & Serge”