Eurorack modular gear 2022: Seven of the best Eurorack oscillators
From Buchla-inspired modules to sound generators based on pizza, these oscillators will help you create some incredible sounds.
Choosing an oscillator is like choosing a superpower. Stellar sound generation is the essence of enthralling electronic music. Whether analogue or digital, an oscillator’s features will help you discover unique and poignant timbres in addition to the essential waveforms. To help you choose wisely, we’ve rounded up seven insanely powerful Eurorack modules.
- READ MORE: Best freeware of the month: July 2022
Top 7 Oscillators at a glance
- Mutable Instruments Plaits
- Tiptop Audio Model 258t
- Intellijel Designs Dixie II+
- Klavis Twin Waves MKII
- Dreadbox Hysteria
- Endorphin.es Godspeed+
- Bastl Instruments Pizza
Mutable Instruments Plaits
No oscillator guide is complete without Plaits, the successor to Mutable Instruments renowned macro oscillator, Braids. Plaits is a multi-faceted oscillator that is a superb introduction to Eurorack. It boasts 16 synthesis forms, each of which you can edit with three parameters, all housed in a neat 12HP module. The digital oscillator offers powerful-sounding basic waveforms but also more exotic functions such as additive synthesis, wavetables, a swarm oscillator, chords, FM synthesis and even drum synthesis.
Plaits’ versatility empowers you to dig deep into different modes of synthesis and is excellent value for money if you are starting with a limited budget.
- 16 synthesis forms
- CV input for modulations
- Compact form factor
- Excellent value for money
- Street price: £199/€229/$259
Check it out at mutable-instruments.net
Tiptop Audio Model 258t
TipTip Audio has brought the iconic sounds of West Coast synthesis guru Don Buchla to Eurorack form with its Buchla-inspired module, Model 258t. This analogue powerhouse of a module has two independent voltage-controlled oscillators. Each has one processing input, a frequency modulation input and a 1V/oct input. Wave shapes, as well as frequency, can be voltage controlled.
This module features sine to saw waveforms from one oscillator and sine to square waveforms from the other oscillator. Combined, and harnessing the use of CV and self-modulation, you’ll easily be able to conjure a healthy variety of gnarly, complex waveforms.
- Dual analogue oscillators
- Buchla retro sound and haptics
- Variable waveforms for each oscillator
- Stable tracking across octaves even with varying room temperatures
- Street price: £170
Learn more at tiptopaudio.com.
Intellijel Designs Dixie II+
Sometimes, you just need a basic oscillator that sounds clean, has stable tracking and gives you a satisfying number of CV inputs, switches and functions. Put this all into 8HP and you have the Intellijel Dixie II+ Oscillator.
Boasting all basic waveforms with a sub-oscillator, the Dixie is an analogue triangle core VCO that can also double as an LFO (0.01 Hz to 240 Hz) at the flick of a switch. It has two frequency modulation CV inputs with a switch for linear and exponential FM, a pulse width modulation input and a Chucky 8-way octave switch. Dixie II+ is a fantastic VCO with handy features and a reasonable price tag.
- 8-Way octave switch for quick setting of the octave
- Switchable between VCO and LFO mode
- Two FM inputs
- Pulse width control with attenuator
- Street price: £205/$229
Learn more at intellijel.com.
Klavis Twin Waves MKII
If you’re after a feature-rich module but short on space in your modular rack, the the Klavis Twin Waves could be an ideal solution. Twin Waves is an 8HP digital dual VCO/LFO where both oscillators can be used as a VCO or LFO. Boasting 20 synthesis algorithms from waveshaping, phase modulation, unison oscillators, oscillator sync (with phantom oscillator), additive synthesis, bit reduction, ring modulator, noise with filter and many more, deep sonic exploration is inevitable with this module.
The functions in LFO mode allow for simultaneous signal and trigger outputs, external synchronisation, waveshaping, phase modulation and even randomised algorithms. All of the settings can be automatically saved, with a handy small display on the unit providing visual feedback for navigating the module. There are also three CV inputs with attenuators for FM and you can explore internal pre-patched cross-modulations.
- Digital Dual VCO/LFO
- Oscillators can be used as VCO or LFO
- 20 Synthesis algorithms
- Quantiser with different scales
- Automatic saving of all settings
- Street price: £205/$275
Learn more at klavis.com.
Dreadbox has made quite a name for itself in the modular and desktop synthesizer scene. The Greek company is now synonymous with rich-timbred oscillators and robust boutique monophonic and polyphonic synths.
The Hysteria oscillator is a capable organic-sounding VCO with a simple layout and beginner-friendly features. Measuring in at 10hp, and with awesome value for money, Hysteria boasts a variable voltage-controlled waveshaper and advanced pitch control with voltage-controlled quantizer, so it is always in tune. All of Hysteria’s parameters can be controlled via the CV inputs and it includes a Hard Sync input and Pulse output.
- 10HP form factor and skiﬀ friendly
- Variable voltage-controlled waveshaper
- Advanced pitch control with voltage-controlled quantiser
- Hard sync input
- Street price: £110/€130/$159
Check it out at dreadobx-fx.com.
Big things sometimes come in small packages. Godspeed is a powerful, elegant solution for small Eurorack cases in need of a West Coast synthesis flavour. Boasting a waveshaper and built-in autotuner, this oscillator is packed with more than meets the eye.
Godspeed features Endorphin.es’s innovative Strong Zero VCO Core, so you can deploy frequency modulation and add harmonics as you wish via its even/odd and side/fold outputs – a feature directly from the complex oscillator the Endorphin.es Furthrrrr Generator. Plus, a sub oscillator output is included for more bass in your Eurorack case. Godspeed is a little pricier than other oscillators on this list but, rest assured, you’ll get some mind-boggling sounds out of this module.
- 6HP oscillator with autotuning and octave shift
- Strong Zero VCO core delivers powerful thru-zero linear FM
- Modulation index with pre-patched self-modulation
- Hard and Soft sync inputs
- Built-in variable gain noise generator
- Street price: £200/€269
- Contact Endorphin.es
Learn more at endorphin.es.
Bastl Instruments Pizza
Straight from Bastl‘s kitchens comes Pizza. A fresh slice of digital oscillations, waveshaping and FM synthesis. Pizza is a complex digital oscillator with three forms of sound generation. This easy-to-use oscillator has a unique take on FM synthesis combined with waveshaping, offering a vast sonic palette.
Pizza has three oscillators inside – the main oscillator can be phase modulated and folded, while the other two are modulation oscillators. The CTRL knob and CV input are assignable and allow you to gain more access to the oscillator core. Assignments include linear FM, exponential FM (global, Octave, or Ratio oscillator), octave, detune, modulator ratio selection, waveshaping, wavefolding, ring modulation, and built-in bipolar VCA.
You can create otherworldly digital sounds alongside more traditional subtractive synthesis tones. This makes Pizza flexible as a main oscillator – or it can be used to provide some sonic contrast when paired with an analogue VCO.
- Complex oscillator with three internal oscillators
- Tune mode for adjusting semitone transposition and fine-tune
- SHAPE section with waveshaping of operators, two flavours of wavefolding, and ring modulation
- Octave transposition and detune via Pitch knob
- V/OCT input with automatic calibration and quantization
- Street price: £260/€245
Grab a slice at bastl-instruments.com.
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