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High quality VCA shootout
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Eurorack Modules Goto page 1, 2, 3  Next [all]
Author High quality VCA shootout
denoise
Hi,

I'm looking for a double or quadruple VCA. I don't need something with a lot of character or saturation but something more in the clean side of the spectrum, or at least with a big clean headroom. Usability is a concern too, I just sold a 2HP VCA because of the tiny space around the knobs and other modules.

I plan to use it mostly at the output stage.

Those are on my list:

    ALM Tangle Quartet
    Intellijel Quad VCA
    Mutable Instruments Veils
    2 x Manhattan Analog VCA (does the THAT 2180 sounds clean?)


So, my main concern is quality. Which one would you choose? do you have any other high quality VCA recommendation?

* Please, please, please: just comment only if you know the differences and sound characteristics of 2 or more of those modules. I would have made a pool, but I'm afraid most answers would be the one peoples own.
Igor Berlin
The ProModular MIIIIX has extremy clean VCAs and is very usable. I have tried a few different VCAs and this one defnetly belongs to the best ones. Unfortnatly they are out of production, but I am looking to sell mine.

https://www.modulargrid.net/e/promodular-miiiix-

Otherwise I can recommend the Manhatta Analog one. It's not expensive, but definetly also belongs to the better VCAs in Eurorack.

Both of these come close to Cwejman VCAs, but are stlll not as clean.
mdoudoroff
The Tangle Quartet, Intellijel Quad and MI Veils are market leaders for good reasons: features, price and availability. None are characterful. If you’re really looking for something along these lines, then you can’t go wrong with any of them, and you could choose one based on design, size, price and features. The Tangle is a little more compact. The Quad and Veils have more features and cascading mixing.

The Manhattan option has relatively poor HP density (two vcas in 10hp).

Some folks clearly find utility VCAs (my term for those without sonic character) to be much more interesting than I do. I like compact linear VCAs, and I like to have a lot of them. (I prefer to control linearity with my envelope generators, not my VCAs.) Coming from my point of view, I question the value of offset knobs/attenuators on VCAs—they add cost, consume space, and don’t do much for me. I’ve been pretty happy with the Tangle Quartet for some years—it’s compact and just works. I recently picked up a MUTON, which has no pots, and instead has clickless mutes. I haven’t missed the pots, but I have missed signal level LEDs a bit. The mutes and cascading mixing are really useful (to me).
craigie77
Malekko…. does clean and does Very nice distortion as well

Can rate it highly enough
Igor Berlin
mdoudoroff wrote:
The Tangle Quartet, Intellijel Quad and MI Veils are market leaders for good reasons: features, price and availability. None are characterful. If you’re really looking for something along these lines, then you can’t go wrong with any of them, and you could choose one based on design, size, price and features. The Tangle is a little more compact. The Quad and Veils have more features and cascading mixing.

The Manhattan option has relatively poor HP density (two vcas in 10hp).

Some folks clearly find utility VCAs (my term for those without sonic character) to be much more interesting than I do. I like compact linear VCAs, and I like to have a lot of them. (I prefer to control linearity with my envelope generators, not my VCAs.) Coming from my point of view, I question the value of offset knobs/attenuators on VCAs—they add cost, consume space, and don’t do much for me. I’ve been pretty happy with the Tangle Quartet for some years—it’s compact and just works. I recently picked up a MUTON, which has no pots, and instead has clickless mutes. I haven’t missed the pots, but I have missed signal level LEDs a bit. The mutes and cascading mixing are really useful (to me).


The Tangle Quartet sounds OK, But Intellijel and Veils sound much different from Manhattan or Cwejman and are not really that clean at all.
lisa
Happy Nerding 3xVCA. Only 2hp/VCA but not cramped or small knobs thanks to clever design. Clean sound. Not expensive. 3x nanners
Rex Coil 7
lisa wrote:
Happy Nerding 3xVCA. Only 2hp/VCA but not cramped or small knobs thanks to clever design. Clean sound. Not expensive. 3x nanners
35mm wide (7HP) $150.00

LINK = http://analoguehaven.com/happynerding/3xvca/
Futuresound
Vermona TwinVCAmp and Koma dual discrete VCA both sound very good, quite clean but both offer the option of adding anything from color to full
Distortion should you choose.
lisa
Rex Coil 7: it’s 6hp and 35mm deep. thumbs up
denoise
thanks for your responses!

I just read the Manhattan Analog VCA is only exponential, so it's out of the list now. I forgot to mention I like to shape my envelopes and use a linear VCA than routing them to an exponential VCA.
boundsound
What about the Addac Mixing Quintet?
Top quality built, a nice separation between jacks and pots, and 5 VCA.

And there's one used on modular grid right now! (not mine in case you wonder) w00t
cackland
Intellijel Quad VCA +1

Also, check out Antumbra Dual VCA (Based on Veils). Small compact 4HP module with exp / linear pot, sounds great.
The only negative is the 9mm pots are a little cramped, but mainly keep it linear.
lilakmonoke
intellijel vcas have good features but usually dont sound good at all.

vcas are really central for your overall sound. if you want clean you need to go digital or THAT chip based. i dont like ultra clean vcas at all because they lack dynamics so for me high quality transistor based is much better. there is a fine line where the dynamics turn into a blurred signal so the best ones i found so far are STG .vca and the oakley vintage vca.

here is a test i did a while ago: 1 oakley (good) 2 .vca (very good) 3 cwejman 4mx (semiexponential, boring and expensive but clean)

https://clyp.it/gvmnf10p

.
.
evanc
i like the malekko made roland one that is also good as a mixer in a pinch too. its enormous, but sounds lovely.
tebs213
boundsound wrote:
What about the Addac Mixing Quintet?
Top quality built, a nice separation between jacks and pots, and 5 VCA.

And there's one used on modular grid right now! (not mine in case you wonder) w00t


My favorites are the ADDAC for audio and Blinds for CV. The 802 sounds great and is unbeatable when considering functionality per hp IMO. I’m still surprised no one has copied it’s unique and intuitive approach to adding offset.
resynthesize
Igor Berlin wrote:


The Tangle Quartet sounds OK, But Intellijel and Veils sound much different from Manhattan or Cwejman and are not really that clean at all.


I disagree. Mutable Veils is totally transparent and clean, and I have used THAT based VCAs like the VCA-4mx and L-1 quad vca.
Bartimaeus
I like the RYO 3x VCA kit I built. I pair it with a Manhattan Analog VCA and Doepfer Dual Ring mod. Together they give me a bunch of VCA options, both clean and dirty, in not too much space.
monads
boundsound wrote:
What about the Addac Mixing Quintet?
Top quality built, a nice separation between jacks and pots, and 5 VCA.


+1. One issue that might annoy with the 802 is the switches between pots and ability to flip without accidentally hitting/moving a knob. But they're excellent otherwise. Also check out Electrosmith's "2164 Dual VCA". Performs as described and small 4hp footprint. Another worth mentioning is the WMD "Triple Bi-Polar VCA".
snakehead
Paul Schreiber ((SP) Synthtech) uses L-1 quad. I bought one. I love my Belarussian quad VCA. I look forward to the day when I can afford another one.
soundslikejoe
Tangle Quartet is my least favorite sounding VCA and I've tried MANY. I'm convinced it has something to do with voltage overage and the clipping character of the TQ. It is 5v to full open, but most of my envelopes are 8v or 10v. When patching fast, I would clip the TQ and the breakup was not good.

On the other side... Circuit Abby Vacvac is probably my favorite sounding VCA. Very fat and buttery but still clear. Hit it with any gate or sharp envelop and it's response helps smooth out some of the clicks.
TemplarK
The THAT VCA's are super super clean.
soundslikejoe
TemplarK wrote:
The THAT VCA's are super super clean.


But there's more to the design than the chip... both Tangle Quartet and Intellijel Linix use THAT chips, but they have a different sound and breakup character.
sendepause
snakehead wrote:
Paul Schreiber ((SP) Synthtech) uses L-1 quad. I bought one. I love my Belarussian quad VCA. I look forward to the day when I can afford another one.


Here another vouch for the L-1 quad vca. Best there is and very affordable. Based on the cwejman VCA-1mx, same quality.
droningspaghettimonster
intellijel quad vca is perfect. but...

...it always amazes me that the wmd/ssf amplitude is almost never mentioned when vca threads pop up. i know its not dual, and it's maybe not the cheapest but it's amazing and totally worth the cost for the CV perfect response, 110% bleedlessness and saturation. having a proper audio vca is essential.

https://wmdevices.com/collections/wmd-ssf-eurorack-modular/products/am plitude
mdoudoroff
I’ve carefully AB’d the Tangle Quartet with various waveforms by ear and by overlaying signals in the Mordax Data. The TQ an extremely uncolored VCA. What goes in comes back out. No distortion. Like none. It also has quite a lot of headroom. I can crank the attenuator and pump volts into the CV the TQ happily amplifies the signal faithfully right up to the 20v point-to-point (where clipping becomes inevitable). TQ will amplify well past that point if you send in 10V to the cv with the attenuator cranked clockwise.

It’s a great VCA, and that’s why Control has pushed it so hard over the years.

What soundslikejoe describes sounds exactly like 20v clipping, and he probably needed to leave the TQ pots around noon for his 10V envelopes rather than cranked clockwise. (I also use 8-10v envelopes—I’m a Maths guy.)

By contrast, the Muton shows a tiny bit of distortion under normal use, but nothing that would shift it from firmly in the “neutral” camp. (The Muton is explicitly designed to saturate mildly.)
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