The Oscillator One – update 1

I’ve put some updated schematics for the oscillator one online.  Changelog:

  • Changed Linear Ramp output volume so it’s in line with the other ones (R59 to 20k instead of 10k)
  • Changed the sensitivity of the coarse and fine knobs (R10 and R11)
  • Used an LM4040 to create a 5V reference instead of L7805 and L7905 voltage regulator. I hope this will improve stability when switching octaves.
  • Added a potentiometer for the saw animation in


I was one of those guitarists who spended more time with his effect pedals, then actually playing. I ended up exchanging my guitar for synths when it comes to making music after a while. Not really a surprise there, but my love of piling effects together into a huge unpredictable pile is still there, and somehow, even with a bunch of 19″ racks I haven’t been able to scratch that itch. You could use a computer these days, but nothing beats a bunch of wires and noisy electronics to spark creativity. Guitar pedals are nice and all, but do lack in certain areas when you try to use them with synths.

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FML – 4 operator FM percussion drone module

While doing research for the oscillator I stumbled –  seems to be a common theme — upon these IC’s. The ICL8038 promises to be a stable oscillator with very few external components. It’s an obsolete product, but I could get a few of them via Ali-express cheap enough to experiment with. Since it offers a sine output I immediately thought about doing some FM type percussion. That way I wouldn’t need 1/v per octave and pitch fluctuations wouldn’t be that much of a problem either. I also had a V2164 quad VCA chip around, so a 4 operators (aka oscillators) seemed a perfect fit. Enough to provide some interesting FM timbres at least.

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The Oscillator One

Since Coolaudio started reissuing old IC’s used in various synths I always eyed the V3340, which is a reissue of the CEM3340 chip as used in many classic synths such as the Roland SH101, Prophet 5, Memory Moog and plenty of others. It’s, in essence, a fully featured 1V/oct oscillator on a single IC and thus takes away a lot of the headaches inherent to VCO design. Things like linearity and temperature compensating are taken care of for you. This takes away a lot of the pain of building VCO’s, in fact, since these IC’s are available again a DIY polysynth starts to become a possibility.

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