Verbos Harmonic Oscillator

This is gorgeous, and highlights the incredibly mournful character that the VHO can sometimes have, which I love (alongside its surprisingly bright aggressive alter ego which it also can pull out of the hat!).

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Thanks, yes - absolutely. It can be super orchestral, ranging from organ to basoon. Really love it for that. For the more aggro stuff I usually prefer a complex osc.

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I a nice trick I’ve found is having all the sliders down and patching a fast envelope into the width control to make a really powerful plucky LPGish sound. I do wish there was a switch to make the spectral controls and individual outs pre or post fader though…

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Thats why I a bit undecided about the HO. I also have some other modules like Just Friends which can be used in a similar way and are more controllable in sound.

  1. Technically: If you would VCA-CV each single Harmonic channel, couldn´t you better control the overall distortion at the mix out? Or even take the single outs… which could be a bit ridiculous :slight_smile:
  2. Aesthetically: Is the HO that much kindly differing (beside its analog circuitry of course) in sound for example to Just Friends that it is really no question to add a HO if you already have JF? I also have a Serge NTO and DUSG (which can be by the way a great sound source too) and also afraid that the HO could be just a bit to “much” in the overall soundfield of my modular. Once I sold therefore the Verbos Complex Oscillator - was just overkill with all my other Serge stuff.

Your thoughts are welcome! At least I maybe just have to do the trial by myself and buy a HO.

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HO sounds nothing like just friends :slight_smile: Not going to make comparisons, just different.
You can cv individual levels, that’s what jacks beneath sliders are for.
As well as take individual outs for processing.
Scan functionality is unique to this compared to just friends, or stages in ho mode. But I’m not sure if it’s the main thing on this module.

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have owned all of these and the HO is the only one i still have and will never part with. very different sounds than JF - just friends sounds more opn/tim hecker to me. very digital, harsh even. much more flexibility to the ratios involved, cool detuning effects, crazy digital fm noise for days. while the ho is more caterina barbieri/james holden if that means anything to you. a much more warm, soulful sound to my ears. even if i sold all my euro, i’d find a way to keep the harmonic oscillator. it’s not for everyone i guess but it really does it for me :sparkles: and yes, lots of vcas can open up your options considerably

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@kveye / @violet
Thanks for your personal point of view which I was looking for!
Yes, JF is digital, but in my opionion very soulful (not warm) cause it can be very subtile in its harshness. I will give HO a try!
@kveye The Scan function at JF maybe can be implemted via i2c and a 16n or TXi. It´s on my long-term todo list to give it a try.

I have both the VHO and JF. JF is hands down my favourite module, especially paired with teletype or ansible, so so powerful and full of it’s own little universes.

So I spent quite a bit of time trying to convince myself that I could make it sound like the VHO. But really, the VHO has got something magical about its sound. It’s frustrating at times because the upper partials can be quite harsh so you need a filter after it to tame its aggressive side (and I do wish there was a pre/post switch for the faders and the scan function), but when you’ve got it dialled in, it can generate something truly soulful, almost mournful in tone. There’s something amazingly moving about what it can create out of a simple sequence.

To be honest, the closest I’ve got to it is the Plaits harmonic oscillator using the ALT output. That can sound like a more clean and clinical VHO. Far more so than JF in my experience.

Luckily, I have a thing for harmonic oscillators it seems, so happy to have all three in my rack!

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Yes, I heard this harshness in a lot of videos. Sometimes it fits to my taste, but a lot times its also too harsh to me. I read that the harshness is on the mix out. Is there maybe even a fixed waveshaping implemented for character reasons? Verbos modules are the crazy electric guitar of modular…
But maybe it can also be tamed by taking the single outs with dedicated VCA control. I will see in a few days whats reasonable to me and how it generally feels to me :slight_smile:.

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Something that i haven’t seen mentioned here is that older harmonic oscillators are pretty different. Having owned both a new model and an old one, the new one is cleaner and has heavier pot action. Old ones have lighter pots, more noisy harmonics, and a distinct high pitched whine/aliasing sound on every output including classical waveforms. I’ll try and pull up a comparison somehow - it’s very distinctive and sounds awesome.

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I agree, and is on my 2nd one. Checked a folder with old sampled waveforms from my 1st unit, and I have to say that I much prefer the older one.

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This is interesting, have you come across when the change occurred? Was it a few years back when they shifted to Berlin from New York or what?

@zbs / @tournesol: That explains the very different audio sample I found on utube etc.
It confused me a bit since I usually can rate the sound of a module quite good alone by listening to videos - and I listened to a lot of the VHO videos I found :slight_smile:
I ordered a new unit. And if the newer one wouldn´t be as harsh as the older one, would be great even if some of its magic has gone maybe.
I also took a look on different pics of the pcb which I found. The only thing which I noted was that on newer units are now used resistor arrays instead of single resistors. So I estimate nothing ground breaking changed - maybe some resistor values to reduce “overdrive”. Maybe someone else knew more compared to what I can see :slight_smile:

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You know, I’m not sure. I know at some point around 2016 (?) they shifted to heavier pots and away from vactrols. Is that when they moved to Berlin? Anyway, I assume that’s when the VHO sound changed as well.

This demo is definitely the old one - you can hear distinctive whine right at 0:00, and each time they pitch the oscillator down. Verbos Electronics Harmonic Oscillator demo - YouTube

This is a random recording with the old one: https://zbs.fm/audio/reel-002.mp3 the whine is prominent immediately

And here’s a track of mine with the new one - this is raw out (unfiltered) and the sound is cleaner. Dewdrop - ambient performance with Harmonic Oscillator, Mangrove, Sisters, Just Friends, etc. - YouTube

@KitKatAndy , it’s also worth noting that there are trim pots on the back that change the character of the odd harmonics pretty dramatically, so it may have to do with how each user had them set.

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Thanks for your conclusion and examples!!
Yours sounds personally fine to me at first sight! I like the cleaner, but still gently distorting sound!

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ah jeez that older patch is so nice. didn’t really realize there were revisions like that. wondering how mark’s buchla version stacks up in this mix? are there multiple revisions of that one as well? 😵‍💫

edit - won’t have time to a/b until tomorrow but this demo looks good

edit 2 - another 262v w vactrols

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I’ve re-racked my HO after some months of rest in a box and the pitch now is very unstable even after hours of warming (one semitone up/down). Could be the pitch knob defective? This happened to one of my Mangroves earlier and replacing the knob fixed it.

Very likely the tune pot. I’d ask Verbos just to be sure, though.

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I just recieved a HO (I had one earlier that I sold, can’t remember why) and got it together with a NTO and DUSG among some other modules. In my head those should work well together. The only problem is that Verbos goes up to 10V gates while Random*Source is only reaching up to 5V (-2.5V to 2.5V unipolar) so of you feed cv to its inputs it might not reach as far/high as you want it to do.

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It’s a pain for sure but I use a blend of Frap tools and Verbos modules. You can scale between voltage standards using an attenuator/offset that can amplify. I use frap tools 321 and Intellijel Quad VCA but there’s lots of options out there. That way you’ll be able to get the full range.

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