A short introduction to reading the pictures

The picture shows two 1: 1 comparisons. Above (blue) is a RM comparison - shown as waveforms. The upper waveform shows Eurorack, the lower MOTM. Below, in the green / violet part, are two White Noise modules, shown as Sonograms. The left half is Eurorack, the right is MOTM. Yellow is loud and violet is quiet. There are three "tones" (envelopes). Below are the low frequencies, above the high ones.

What can be seen in 1): Although the incoming frequencies for the ring modulation are identical, the waveforms are very different (as the sound is). It can be seen that the upper waveform strikes up and down - i. it clips. (Up and down is almost an all-through, straight, horizontal line, because the vertical lines are all cut off.) The lower waveform is very beautifully allotted. The waves do not strike and the superposition of the waves looks almost like 3D.

Albeit at 2), both models promise White Noise - White Noise is a uniform distribution of all frequencies - but it is clearly seen that the frequency distribution (green) over the entire range extends only in the right window, while mainly deep in the left window Frequencies. In fact, the very low frequencies are so loud that a yellow strip can be seen.

Here are a few comparisons:

RM I RM II Noise I Noise II Sinus I LFO I



Doepfer A-114 vs Oakley RM 4014

1: 1 comparison.

The modules tested and recorded in pairs are given identical signals, i. E. An X frequency - in this case about 391 Hz from the Plan B M15 - and a Y frequency, which runs from 3 Hz upwards through the entire spectrum, is generated by the Intellijel Rubicon and by hand. I just wanted to hear the story (and see). The results were clear and helpful to me. I did the recordings not at full level, in order to be able to see the edges (peaks) better.

Doepfer A-114

Oakley Sound RM 4014

On the screenshots, the entire audio file can be seen in the upper, bright part. The lower part shows an enlarged section, which is marked above by the white frame. Left is Doepfer, right Oakley.

1.1 Image: carrier frequency range of 3 - 8 Hz

On the vertical expansion (left) it can be seen that the A-114 does not build up a level. When listening, it is noticeable that as soon as the level builds up (at about 20 sec.), The A-114 does not provide low frequencies even though the Rubicon VCO starts in the LFO range. There is a high buzz or rasping to hear, which remains constant.

The Oakley RM (right) is softer, rounder, more accurate and produces frequencies that we can perceive not only with the ears, but also physically, from the solar plexus downwards (approximately from sec. 24). Pretty much where the Doepfer starts the rasping fully.

1.2 Image: carrier frequency range of 3 - 8 Hz

It is striking here that the A-114 waveform is much brighter and that the frequencies above and below result almost a straight line. The brightness / density on the A-114 indicates higher frequencies (about 200 Hz) and the "straight" border lines above and below show the scratchiness. Oakley shows a much better resolution or staggering of the frequencies. The Doepfer is starting to scratch on the position at which Oakley produces deeply perceptible deep tones: 40 - 110 Hz. That the Rubicon can produce these frequencies apparent, the left waveform (A-114) is much too light.

1.3 Image: carrier frequency range over 200 Hz

Even more clearly in the third screenshot. Here, the Oakley is also brighter because both input frequencies are already over 200 Hz. This is (unfortunately) the mainly reproduced frequency range of the A-114 over the entire spectrum (also to be recognized by the uniformly bright waveform) - together with the rasping.

Als "Sound"-Modul mag das A-114 ok sein, wenn man es denn will - als Ringmodulator ist es völlig unbefriedigend.



Makenoise ModDemix vs Oakley RM 4014
  • 1: 1 comparison.

    The modules tested and recorded in pairs are given identical signals, i. E. An X frequency - in this case about 391 Hz from the Plan B M15 - and a Y frequency, which runs from 3 Hz upwards through the entire spectrum, is generated by the Intellijel Rubicon and by hand. I just wanted to hear the story (and see). The results were clear and helpful to me. I did the recordings not at full level, in order to be able to see the edges (peaks) better.

The maximum volume in this example is -3.1 dB. Oscillators: Intellijel Rubicon and Plan B M15 - both sine, Plan B VCO at approx. 500 Hz), Rubicon from low to high through the entire spectrum.

Makenoise ModDemix

Oakley Sound RM 4014

Here I notice when listening that the differences are not as big as in the first example, but that the Makenoise ModDemix has a somewhat hollow and more high-pitched overall sound.

2.1 Image: carrier frequency range of 3 - 20 Hz

Even at the first glance it is noticeable that the waveforms are different: while rugby balls depicted on the left side are visible, a sequence can be seen on the right - top down top etc.. This shows the different, technical implementation of the Ring Modulation in the two modules, which is already expressed in the name of Makenoise: AM / RM (emphasis on AM).

If one counters the peaks, the ModDemix is twice the number (because it is not alternately up and down) - the reason why the sound of the sound is more high-pitched and somewhat hollow? The Oakley RM 4014 (right): I think that a Ring Modulation, in my opinion, should look exactly like this.

2.2 Image: carrier frequency range of 40 - 110 Hz

In the second picture it can be seen that (in contrast to Doepfer A-114) there is a stronger similarity of the waveforms of both Ring Modulators. The ModDemix sounds a bit brighter / higher overall, the lighter waveform shows (on the left) - the Oakley RM shows a more differentiated distribution / staggering of the frequencies. The brightness also corresponds more to the frequencies (40-110 Hz).

2.3 Image: carrier frequency range over 300 Hz

In the third screenshot the impression is deepened. As you can see, a "tougher" and somewhat blurred modulation pattern is created (on the left) by the denser heights (the bright central region) and the larger empty regions above and below. Regularly, individual lines run outside the waves. Oakley again produces a more multi-faceted waveform.

2.4 Image: carrier frequency range over 1000 Hz

In the higher frequency range extreme modulations can be seen in the ModDemix. One can easily see that it is something wild ... The Oakley RM 4014 remains cool. In the next picture we can again see the fundamental difference of the waves. But what is of greater importance is the much finer (and faster) reproduction of the Attack Time.


With the ModDemix, the bright start looks almost like a fade (rounded edges) - the Oakley's Attack is nice to see and much straighter. Even the first increase before is much more sculptural! After all, we can distinguish most instruments / sounds primarily by the first 20 to 40 milliseconds (beginning of the attack curve)!



Doepfer A-118 vs Oakley RM 4014
  • After the revealing Ring Modulator comparisons, I was very interested in making the big difference between my Noise generators from Doepfer and Oakley visible in order to underline my listening impression.

    The two modules are very different: While the Doepfer A-118 has two outputs for White and Colored Noise - the Colored Noise can be varied by two controls "blue" and "red", the Oakley has three Noise Outputs, "White" , "Pink" and "Infra Red". For the creation of Colored Noise, the Oakley Noise Generator has two CV-controllable 6dB filters (LP / HP). The Doepfer module, on the other hand, still offers a Random Generator, which can be adjusted by "Rate" and "Level".

    For the comparison here, however, only the White and the Colored Noise of the two modules - that is, their central task. The third Noise Output of the Oakley module, "Infra-Red", I do not include. Infra-Red produces a deep "wom", which is suitable to control filters and similar.

    While the A-118 is designed for manual operation (no CV inputs), designed as a useful component of a compact synthesizer that is manually operated, the Oakley module is more suitable for integration into more complex systems. This is, of course, still possible with the Doepfer, but it would need the additional CV-controllable filters. The practical "pocket knife" impression of the A-118 is reinforced by the small random generator (= integrated corkscrew). Especially when coloring, the Doepfer module is more directly (more intuitive?) than the Oakley module, which however brings a bit more gauge charm (in the positive sense!).

    For a better understanding of the Colored Noise: "Red" means the low- and "Blue" the high frequencies.

Also in this comparison, the recordings are maximum -3.1 dB in order to be able to recognize possible distortions better.

White Noise

Doepfer A-118 (In the picture: left half)

Oakley Modular Noise and Dual Filter (In the picture: right half)

When listening, it immediately becomes apparent that the A-118 sounds much lower. How can that be? White Noise is White Noise? After reading the Doepfer-site, I wasn't smarter, but in the manual is talked about the "Emphasis of the Low Frequencies" in the Random Generator - perhaps the reason for the deeper sound is the tuning of the two functions of the module. The White Noise of the A-118, however, corresponds rather to a Colored Noise.

Even without a key, the color distributions in the Sonogram are directly traceable. It is probably the only rethinking crunchpoint of the Doepfer module: the missing high frequencies - or the lack of sharpness of the White Noise - the A-118 will not lead to the goal. In itself, however, it is a good playable module - also very intuitive.

The White Noise of the Oakley Modular is the most perfect I've tested until today. See below for a comparison of 5 Noise Modules in a video.

A comment on "simple" modules. For me, as a "Max-ist" and owner of a "Source of Uncertainty Model 266", it has become clear that "simple random" becomes boring within a short period of time. After a while you can recognize the module because of it's "Random". This is too much musical interference. With Max, there is much more to be done. With the Buchla Model 266 it's the first time to work with fun and inspiration on a Random-Generator Module for a long time. If it is recognizable, then (still - after two years) for positive reasons.

Colored Noise

The Doepfer module does not offer Pink Noise, but two potentiators that can mix (high) blue and (low) red colors. That's why it's called "Colored".

Doepfer A-118 (Due to the blue and red pots without sonogram)

Oakley Modular Noise and Dual Filter (see sonogram image)

Here too, the better defined heights of the Oakley strike. The Doepfer is versatile, but it rumbles with stronger red proportions. The Pink Noise Sonogram of the Oakley module again shows the good resolution and frequency graduation of the Oakley module. It corresponds to the Pink Noise. Interesting that it still shows more heights than the White Noise sonogram of the Doepfer module.... ;-)

For the sake of completeness here are two Filter Sweeps over the two Filters (HP / LP) of the Oakley module (unfortunately bad mp3)

Oakley Modular Noise LoPass Sweep

Oakley Modular Noise HiPass Sweep



6 x White Noise (Max/MSP, Oakley, Analogue Systems, Plan B, Doepfer, Wikipedia)

Two Aiff audio files (RS380 and Plan B M25) were sent to me. Since they were recorded with different setup and levels, they are not really comparable - but I found the axis alignment so interesting that I made a video of it.


5 x Sine

MOTM-300 Ultra VCO / Oakley VCO / Intellijel Rubicon / Dixie II / Subconscious "Plan B M15" )

In the Sono- and Spectrograms (right), the relative loudnesses of the contained harmonics can be seen.


LFO Comparison

MOTM-320 VC-LFO / Subconscious "Plan B M37"

In this video, a sonic aspect comes to light that bothered me at the Eurorack. It is that almost all modules exceed /overdrive and need Attenuation, that's Mixers or VCAs, to sound "good" / correct. If they get that, they are much better than I guessed!