The Cherry Audio Super Oscillator is our mondo-powerhouse, pull-out-all-the-stops oscillator module. It's capable of creating an endless variety of waves, many of which you wouldn't expect from a traditional analog-style oscillator. It's surprisingly easy to use, and all of its fabulous waveshaping parameters are voltage controllable. On top of all that, it features a large, real-time animated waveform display for visual representation of the current waveform (plus it looks really neat).
We'll start with the basic controls, then move into the more advanced waveshaping controls.
Inputs, Outputs, and Controls
Keyb CV jack- Accepts a CV input for pitch. Typically this would come from the PITCH jack in the IO Panel CV OUT section, or from a sequencer pitch CV out.
Hard Sync- Force resets the start of the waveform to the beginning of its cycle. Most often used to create the "sync sweep" oscillator sounds made famous in The Cars' "Let's Go" (or Kraftwerk's "Neon Lights" and No Doubt's "Just A Girl"), by routing the output of a second oscillator to the Hard Sync input and sweeping the pitch of the first oscillator.
Most traditional hard sync sounds are created using square or saw waves, but there's no reason hard sync can't be used with the Super Oscillator's more esoteric waveshapes.
Range- Sets the basic pitch of the oscillator, displayed in traditional organ footage.
LO outputs frequencies beneath the audible range and allows the oscillator to be used as a mod source. There's no reason you can't use the Super Oscillator for modulation purposes, but we suggest using the Super LFO module instead, as its controls and capabilities are similar, but optimized for modulation purposes.
Fine- Fine-tune control for pitch. This can be used to fatten up multi-oscillator patches by detuning a small amount, or for "building-in" a set interval. Its range is a smidge over a fifth, up or down.
Expo Frequency Mod attenuator and input jack- This is used for externally modulating the oscillator frequency. Expo refers to the amount curve across the knob travel - values are finer at the bottom and grow larger exponentially as the setting is increased.
Lin Frequency Mod attenuator and input jack- This is used for externally modulating the oscillator frequency. Lin refers to the amount curve across the knob travel - unlike Expo mod, the amount curve is constant or "linear" across the knob travel.
Waveform Display The waveform display window is a real-time animated display showing the current waveform, and any modulation being applied. The center horizontal line represents the 0V point, i.e. zero crossing of the waveform; the center vertical line represents the start/loop point of the waveform. The -5V and +5V lines indicate the 10V peak-to-peak maximum output of the Super Oscillator. The peak-to-peak differential of the waveform is a good general indicator of overall output level.
Waveshaping Parameters, aka, The Fun Part
Unlike a typical analog oscillator where fixed waveforms are selected using a switch or multiple outputs, the Super Oscillator outputs a single wave, dialed in using its seven continuously variable controls. Each of these controls includes a CV in jack and bipolar attenuator.
Note: If you get really out there, the waveshaping parameter knobs (or any other knobs in Voltage Modular) can be reset to their initial values by double-clicking or option-clicking them (depending on your preference settings in Gear Settings Icon>Interface>On Control Double-Click).
Shape- This defines the basic character of the waveform. By default, its position is far right, which creates a pure triangle wave. Dialing the knob to the left audibly and visibly morphs the wave to a pure square by adding a vertical section in its middle. Interestingly, triangle, square, and all points in-between create a wave rich in odd-order harmonics (real-world examples include clarinets and Wurlitzer electric pianos).
Skew- This slides the waveform start/loop point left or right. Its affect on sound will vary depending on Shape and other settings. If Shape is set full right to a pure triangle wave, it won't have much affect; essentially it will just alter wave phase. It will affect the sound more noticeably when the Shape knob is set to create the aforementioned "vertical line" in the center of a wave. As you'll see, experimentation is key.
Round- Gradually rounds off any sharp edges in the wave. Set to its far right, this will change a triangle OR square wave into a sine wave. Its affects are similar to that of a lowpass filter.
Wavefold- The Wavefold control is one of the Super Oscillator's most powerful sound shaping parameters. It sets a threshold at some point in the wave, and "flips" that portion of the wave for dramatic changes in tonality and harmonics. The best way to illustrate the effects of wavefolding is to set up a sine wave by initializing all waveshaping controls and setting the Round control at full right position.
Now slowly bring up the Wavefold control amount. You'll see the top curves of the wave "fold" over increasingly and hear its harmonic content grow more intense. Wavefolding's effect is look to see if the wave goes above (or below) a specific threshold. When it does, instead of clipping off the top and bottom of the wave, they create a mirror image of it and reflect that portion of the wave back upon itself, creating more high harmonics and interesting spectra in the process.
To help drive the incoming waveshape into this behavior, they may have amplifiers on their input, or offsets to cause the wave to clip & fold on one excursion such as positive but not the other (this is sometimes referred to as symmetry). They are often adjustable to allow several folds to occur on a single positive or negative excursion beyond the folding threshold, which causes increasingly bright and noisy sounds on the output.
Pulse Width- This sets the width or "duty-cycle" of the pulse wave. It has no effect on any other waveform. Its default setting of 50% outputs a perfect square wave, rich in delicious odd-order harmonics. Moving the knob left or right narrows its width as well as the thickness of sound until it almost disappears at its extremes, and we’ve included a nifty “faux-OLED” display to indicate the current pulse width.
PWM Amount attenuator and PWM Mod input jack- You may have noticed that moving the Pulse Width knob back and forth creates a nifty sound; instead of wearing our your mouse hand, the PWM Mod input can be used in conjunction with an LFO, envelope generator, or other mod source to continuously vary the pulse width. Best of all, the OLED display looks real cool swooping back and forth.
Waveform Output Jacks- These are output jacks for ramp, sawtooth, pulse, sine, and triangle waves. These can be used simultaneously, in any combination.