[LAU] interview with Dave Smith -- OT about oscillators

robert lazarski robertlazarski at gmail.com
Sun Jan 16 17:58:54 UTC 2011

On Sun, Jan 16, 2011 at 2:12 PM, Q <lists at quirq.ukfsn.org> wrote:
> I don't want to create a DCO vs VCO flamewar here -- after all, that's what
> the KVR and VintageSynth forums are for :-) -- but I don't see what the
> problem with DCOs is. Smith himself says they got a bad rap when they first
> came out, but these days are worlds apart with very high frequency control.
> I find it easier to get lush, drifty sounds out of my Mopho than my Little
> Phatty, whose VCOs are too tightly controlled and too stable with no drift
> (but not to the point that it doesn't go out of tune when the temperature
> drops!). You can't detune them too far before you start getting very
> prominent, obnoxious beating.
> On the Mopho the beating from detuning is much less pronounced so you can
> detune more, then there's the oscillator slop parameter, which I wish would
> go higher.
> In a way I'm glad they've brought out a drum machine as it means I'm not
> interested and so don't have to resist temptation! I'm trying to ignore the
> fact that you can hook a keyboard up to it and use it as a six-voice synth,
> but I'm broke so couldn't afford one anyway.
> Q

I don't participate on KVR but I do on gearslutz, where I get enough
flaming so no worries :-).  I've never demoed DSI gear personally -
there are no distributors for that in Brazil. Some say it sounds cold
but I personally can only go by the demos. My only Moog gear is the
moogerfoogers phaser, delay and midi murf. I do have a Future Retro XS
and a Analogue Solutions Red Square - both semi-modulars that have
VCO's and detune easily. And I certainly don't claim to be an expert
in subtractive synthesis.

IMHO there is nothing wrong with DSI gear, its just that if I'm going
thru the hassle and expense of analogue, I want the entire chain to be
analogue and I'll pay extra for it. Since the sound chain starts at
the oscillator, I want it to be analogue because imho that's the most
important part of a synth's sound. I've got VA's like the TI2 virus
for digital. Where DCO's can make sense though is poly analogue - add
about USD $4K to the prophet 08 price for an similar alternative
(stock SE CODE) with VCO's.

As for analogue drums, my jomox 999 is something I'll never part with
- it sounds that good. I've yet to hear a beefy kick like that from
the Tempest demos, but its not even released yet so we'll see. The
analogue Roland tr-* machines from the 80's still dominate along with
new players Jomox and Vermona, so in the end the Tempest is going to
have to sound damn good in that competition to warrant USD $2K - more
than any other current DSI product. And it might, time will tell.

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