Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Oscillator Synchronizing

Interesting sound-effects can be obtained by the synchronising of (multiple) oscillators.
In a typical setup, one oscillator (master) restarts the cycle-period of the other one (slave) , what results in equal base frequencies on both oscillators. This is called Hard Sync.

The result is an irregular waveform with it's own harmonic spectrum, completely different from 'standard' waveforms

Soft Sync is a more general name for all kinds of oscillator synchronisation.
This form is very similar to Hard Sync, but here the slave oscillator is forced to reset to zero with every cycle of the master regardless of position or direction of the slave waveform, which often generates asymmetrical shapes.

In Soft Sync, rather than resetting to zero, the wave is inverted;  its direction is reversed.
Further variations to the sound can be made by comparing the sounds with different comparison tresholds. For more info see the Wikipedia page on Oscillator Synchronisation
Soft Sync sounds smoother  and distinctly different from hard-sync.
It is difficult to replicate this effect on digital synths, due to aliasing problems.

Soft Sync-like effects can also be created with other modules, for example a phaser or a Phase Locked Loop (PLL) Module.


  1. That's very interesting, I hadn't heard about soft sync before. Sounds very cool!

    Marc JX8P

  2. I hope my explanation was clear enough.
    There's a nice video on the web with Hard an Soft Sync made visible on an oscilloscope;