How Digitally Controlled Oscillators (DCOs) Work

This video, via GOLT !, explores how Digitally Controlled Oscillators (DCOs) work.

Digitally Controlled Oscillators are frequently confused with digital oscillators. While DCO’s offer improved pitch stability and tuning, the oscillators are still analog, so they do not offer the wide range of waveshape possibilities of true digital oscillators.

The video takes a look at how DCOs work; differences in the DCOs of the Juno 6/60/106, Korg Poly-61/800, Akai AX80 and Kawaii SX240; and speculates about the design of the upcoming Behringer DeepMind 12.

9 thoughts on “How Digitally Controlled Oscillators (DCOs) Work

  1. The DCOs on the SX-240 are my favourite. I’m not quite sure what it is about them that does it for me. If you put it into 4 voice unison it just feels so right!

  2. I spend too much time posting responses to people in forums who think DCO’s are not analog. Now I’m just going to post this video. Get the people educated!

    1. don’t forget those who also don’t understand what it takes to fully do full analog
      like multi voice
      or memory of presets
      or knob movement in time
      or just midi control

  3. This is a great way to spend 42 minutes. A wonderful overview of some classic DCO designs that really helps to explain why the various DCO-equipped Rolands had their own distinct sound.

  4. I have friends who are analog purists that consider anything with DCOs a digital synth, despite the rest of the signal path. It frustrates the hell out of me. The Novation Bass Station is a good example. I try to explain a DCO as an analog circuit with a short leash on it.

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