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  • Image 2 Q106 Oscillator (VCO) & Q161 Oscillator Mixer


Product Description

The Q106 Oscillator is the foundation of any synthesizer providing the basic waveforms used to construct sounds. With a total range of .05hz to 20kHz+, the Q106 operates as a powerful audio oscillator and a full-featured LFO.

  • Precise tracking with temperature compensation
  • Pure analog circuitry
  • Rock solid stability
  • Sine, triangle, saw, ramp, pulse outputs
  • 2 fixed 1V/Octave control inputs and 1 variable
  • Variable linear control input
  • Manual and voltage controlled pulse width (PWM)
  • Quick, precise range switching
  • Hard sync
  • Add soft sync, waveform switching, inversion and attenuating with the Q141 Aid module
  • Add waveform mixing with the Q161 Mixer module

CRS - The Q106 now includes the CRS (Calibrated Range Switch) which use to be optional.

  • Panel Size:  Dual width 4.25"w x 8.75"h
  • Response:  1/V per Octave
  • Frequency Range:  .05hz to 20khz
  • Output Waveforms:  Sine, Triangle, Saw, Ramp, Pulse
  • Waveform Levels:  10V PP
  • Sine Waveform THD:  3%
  • Pulse Waveform Duty Cycle:  5% to 95%
  • Power:  +15V@30ma, -15V@30ma, +5@5ma.

Oscillators are the main source of sound in a synthesizer. The waveforms are then routed to filters and other modules for modification. Oscillators can also be used to modulate other module's parameters or to trigger envelope generators and sequencers.

Exponential Pitch Control
Pitch of the oscillator is usually controlled by a keyboard but can also be controlled by a sequencer or any module's output. Normally pitch is controlled by a keyboard that produces 1 volt per octave. Each additional volt results in a 2x increase in pitch (frequency). This is called exponential or 1V/Octave response. The main reason for this is to allow controllers to produce the entire audio range of frequencies with lower voltages. A 10 octave range requires only 10 volts of control voltage. If the response was linear then 10 octaves of range would require 512 volts of control signal. There are a total of 3 exponential pitch control connectors on the oscillator and one has an adjustable response. All of these inputs can be used at the same time if needed. In most cases you will simply connect the output from your keyboard into one of the 2 non-adjustable 1V/Octave inputs. It's also common to modulate from another oscillator into the adjustable exponential control connector.

Linear Pitch Control
There is also a pitch control connector which has a linear response. This is normally used to produce vibrato which is a modulation of pitch. The amount of the affect of the modulation signal upon pitch can be adjusted with the front panel control.

Pulse Width Modulation
The width of the pulse waveform can be adjusted manually or from an external control signal such as another oscillator. This produces interesting effects similar to a violin. You'll have to experiment to see how this sounds.

Using the Oscillator to Modulate
The Q106 Oscillator is designed to produce both audio signals and slow moving signals to modulate other modules. Normally this will be done using the 'Low' range which will give you frequencies below 32hz. All of the output waveforms are available and can be used to control an oscillator's pitch (vibrato), an amplifier (tremolo), or a filter's cutoff frequency or resonance. You can also use the oscillator to trigger an envelope generator or to start and stop a sequencer.

All outputs are available at the same time and can be patched anywhere you like. Use a Q125 Signal Processor to attenuate, amplify, invert or offset any waveform from the oscillator.

The Oscillator has a Hard Sync input which is used to synchronize multiple oscillators. Use the pulse waveform from a slower oscillator into the Hard Sync inputs on higher frequency oscillators to synchronize them. This will eliminate beating. Strange effects can be created by synchronizing oscillators at non-multiple frequencies.

You can take one of the outputs from the oscillator and patch it back into the adjustable exponential response connector or the linear response connector and completely change the waveform. If you have an oscilloscope you can see exactly what's happening. Almost any type of waveform can be produced this way.


The following tests were done on a Q106 Oscillator taken right off the production line. No special calibration, parts, procedures, or modifications were used.

Tracking Accuracy
Tracking accuracy determines how closely your oscillators track the keyboard. Human hearing is very sensitive to pitch and some people can discern differences as low as .2%. Tracking is most important on frequencies from 32hz to 4096hz (7 octaves). We think this is the most important parameter of an oscillator.

Test Equipment Used (all have recent calibration):
   HP 5335a 9 Digit Frequency Counter
   Fluke 3330b Voltage Calibrator

Q106 Tracking Accuracy
DesiredActual% Error
32hz 32.07hz +0.22
64hz 64.16hz +0.25
128hz 128.2hz +0.16
256hz 256.2hz +0.08
512hz 511.9hz -0.02
1,024hz 1023.2hz -0.08
2,048hz 2046hz -0.09
4,096hz 4094hz -0.05
8,192hz 8236hz +0.5
16,384hz 16778hz +2.3

Temperature Drift
When using your synthesizers in a hot environment temperature drift can be a problem. The Q106 Oscillator has special circuitry to compensate for this drift.

Test Equipment Used (all have recent calibration):
   HP 5335a 9 Digit Frequency Counter
   Ransco CC-580 Digital Oven

Q106 Temperature Drift
Freq/Temp #1Freq/Temp #2% Error
32.03hz@80ºf 32.18hz@100ºf +0.5
512.3hz@80ºf 512.4hz@100ºf +0.02

Waveform Purity
Analog waveforms are not supposed to be perfect but we don't want strange artifacts that add unwanted harmonics or ones that can be heard when modulating at low frequencies.

Test Equipment Used (all have recent calibration):
   HP 5335a 9 Digit Frequency Counter
   HP 8903b Audio Analyzer
   Fluke 3330b Voltage Calibrator

Q106 Sine Distortion
Freq% Distortion
64hz 3.31
512hz 3.26
2048hz 3.01

Power Supply Rejection
You don't want your oscillator pitch changing when the system's power supply voltages vary. The Q106 uses precision voltage references instead of relying on the system's power supply voltages.

Test Equipment Used (all have recent calibration):
   HP 5335a 9 Digit Frequency Counter
   HP 3455a 6.5 Digit Voltmeter

Q106 Power Supply Rejection
+15 Voltage RailPitch
+15.027 512.1hz
+14.508 512.1hz
+15.514 512.1hz
-15 Voltage RailPitch
-15.059 512.1hz
-14.556 512.1hz
-15.499 512.1hz

Q161 Oscillator Mixer for Q106

Use the Q161 Oscillator Mixer next to your Q106 oscillator to easily create new waveforms. Simply select the amount of Triangle, Sine, Ramp, and Pulse waveforms used to contribute to the final waveform which is available at 2 connectors.

The Q161 is connected to the Q106 oscillator using cables behind the panels. Requires exchanging connectors on the Q106 oscillator. Soldering not required. Does not interfere with use of a Q141 oscillator aid.

  • Panel Size:  Single width 2.125"w x 8.75"h
  • Typical Signal Levels:  10V PP
  • Power:  +15V@20ma, -15V@20ma.

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