Analog soul and the CV attenuators

One reason why analog synthesizers are so popular in these modern days in my opinion is the fact that they don’t work every time like expected or surprise you in a way like a VST instrument won’t. Attenuators (or potentiometer also called) for example work in a mechanical way. In consequence every unit acts a little bit different and will change their behavior over time regardless the high industrialized production quality. You can easily realize that by using the Main Tune knob: it has a midway indent which isn’t precise enough to land on the same frequency again once you turned it. In my humble opinion this indent makes not much sense on this pot but since you have three additional knobs to tune the two oscillators it isn’t a problem at all. There are eight attenuators with midway indent altogether used in the Synvoiz and some of them can influence the sound while sitting in their neutral position because of these little imperfections. The best illustration I found so far is the CV 1 pot at the filter section. Default the LFO 1 is routed there. I recorded a standing bass sound with no modulation dialed in – CV 1 in center position.

While recording this I turned the LFO 1 frequency slowly up and you can hear that very clear in a change of harmonic content. The solution for this is pretty simple.  Just plug a spare cable into the CV 1 socket. Now the sounds stays stable:

As long as the source of prerouted modulation is only slowly changing in time the variations in sound might appeal to most users. If you have trouble to understand a certain aspect of your sound and suspect an ongoing “secret” modulation just plug a cable into the according socket to bypass the routing.

Starting position

You got the unit, turn it on, connect the audio and midi cable and don’t hear anything while pressing keys on your keyboard? Here are some first hints to get started:

There are four locations where the output volume can be influenced. The master volume doesn’t need any explanation – just turn it on. At the envelope section (the faders) you will find in the top left corner one called BIAS which basically bypasses the whole VCA section. The fader underneath called CV controls the envelope amount going into the VCA. In the filter section you have two input controls. For the start tune only the IN 1 into middle position*. Now comes the tricky part – the extra VCA section in the middle of the oscillators. When the MIX control is in middle position and the little black knobs around it are all turned counterclockwise you should hear nothing. The MIX control blends in OSC 1 or 2. If you want to hear both at the same time use the BIAS controls over it. Now you should hear something. Turn the knobs listen whats happening and try out some stuff. Happy tweaking!

* The filter input can be overdriven pretty easily. The IN 2 is the ring modulated signal of both VCAs.