Comparing Amplitude and Balanced Modulation

Comparing Amplitude and Balanced Modulation

Two of the older module designs around are the VCA (Voltage Controlled Amplifier) and the Ring Modulator (sometimes called a Balanced Modulator). Both use the signal from a modulator – usually a VCO – to rapidly alter the volume of a waveform from another VCO (the...
Understanding the Differences Between Exponential, Linear, and Through Zero FM

Understanding the Differences Between Exponential, Linear, and Through Zero FM

We know using one oscillator to frequency modulate another is a lot of fun…but just what is the difference between the different types of FM? I finally got my hands on a module – the Endorphin.es Furthrrrr Generator complex oscillator – that is capable of being switched (with some behind-the-faceplate fiddling) between exponential, linear, and linear through zero FM, so this is a good opportunity to finally make an apples to apples to apples comparison between the three.

The Eurorack Expansion Project

The Eurorack Expansion Project

I created the original Learning Modular Synthesis course for those who were complete beginners to the world of modular synthesis. The next question became: How do I help users reach the next level? The answer is the Eurorack Expansion Project. The idea is you have a nice core system, and want to know how to intelligently expand it – particularly if you interested in a specific technique or are after a certain sound. I’m tackling this in two parts: an online course, and a weekly series – including a dedicated Patreon page for the hard-core users out there.

Improving Intonation using the AJH Synth V-Scale

Improving Intonation using the AJH Synth V-Scale

One of the potential challenges of using a modular synth is keeping multiple VCOs in tune with each other as well as external instruments as you play up and down a scale. Most VCOs have trim controls to improve their tracking, but they can occasionally be frustrating to use: They may require you to remove the module from the case to access them, or the manufacturer might have not have used high-precision multi-turn potentiometers for the trimming controls. Therefore, I’ve added several AJH Synth V-Scale Variable Precision Buffers to my modular cases, and have been happier for it. What sets it apart is that 4 of its 5 outputs have high-precision trimmers accessible from the front panel, allowing you to improve the tracking of connected modules like VCOs and resonating filters.

The “Eurorack Expansion” Host Rack

The “Eurorack Expansion” Host Rack

The next big “Learning Modular Synthesis” project is Eurorack Expansion. The idea behind it is that you already have a semi-modular synth or a small modular system, and now you’re wondering what to add next. As the saying goes, you need to walk before you can run. I’ve built up a core set of deceptively boring yet essential modules that will make it easier to interface your core system with the fun new modules you’re dying to try out.