ECE4893A: Electronics for Music Synthesis
Due: Tuesday, April 8 – turn into Logan between 12:05-1:25 in the
Senior Design lab
Ground rules: You are free to discuss approaches to
the problems with your fellow students, and talk
over issues when looking at schematics,
but your solutions should be your own. In particular, you should never
at another student’s solutions at the moment
you are putting pen to paper on your
own solution. That’s called “copying,” and it is lame. Unpleasantness
may result from such behavior.
Late policy: 20 points off per day.
This isn’t to be mean – it’s
to encourage you to get it turned in and
get on with whatever other work you have to
do in other classes, even if it’s not
perfect – but also to encourage you to
go ahead and do the work and turn it in
and learn some stuff and get some points, even if you’re past the deadline.
If you are going to turn it in late, you will need to make arrangements
with Logan to get it to him.
In class, we look at second-order filters whose transfer functions had
denominators of the form
w_0 s^2 + ----- s + (w_0)^2 Q
Recall that to get unity gain at infinity, the highpass version of the
filter had a s^2 in the numerator; to get unity gain at 0,
the lowpass version of the filter had a (w_0)^2 in the numerator; and to
get a unity gain at w_0, the bandpass version had (w_0)/Q in the numerator. We
will use these conventions in this problem, where we further explore
the mathematical properties of second-order filters.
a) In class, we found the half-power frequencies
of the bandpass filter. Find
the half-power frequencies of the highpass and lowpass filters
as a function
of w_0 and Q. Simplify your expression as much as possible.
b) Find the quarter-power frequencies of the highpass and lowpass filters
function of w_0 and Q. Simplify your expression as much as possible. What
does your expression simplify to for Q = 1/2?
c) For a fixed normalized frequency of w_0 = 1, make a plot showing how the
poles migrate as Q is increased from values near 0 to high values of Q.
You can probably do this by using MATLAB to make a vector of Q values,
and hand sketching a smooth curve connecting between the resulting poles.
Be sure to specifically label some of the poles with the value of Q
that made those poles (you need only label one of the pair, since the
poles are always symmetric.) Be sure to label the particularly interesting
values of 1/2 and 1/sqrt(2).
Let’s check out
State Variable VCF 12dB/Octave With VC Resonance.
The schematic is drawn as a strange twisted psychopretzel, but you should
be able to find the OTAs that are taking the place of resistors in the
variable gain integrators. You should also be able to find the capacitors
that the output currents of the OTAs are being sent into, as well as
the op amps that buffer the resulting voltage. Finally, you should be able
to look at the inputs of the OTA and find what resistor you will want to
call “Rbig” and what resistor you will want to call “Rsmall” to form the
Rsmall/Rbig gain factor that you will want to combine with the gain of
the OTA when computing w_0.
a) Are the variable-gain integrators inverting or non-inverting?
w_0 as a function of the current fed to the control current inputs
of the OTAs. This should be a simple calculation once you find the component
values you need.
c) What is the output impedance of the HP, BP, and LP outputs?
The Mutron III is a state-variable filter that uses light-dependent
resistors to vary the cutoff frequency. The original Mutron III schematics
I’ve found on the web are difficult to read, so let’s take a look at
a modern clone called the Neutron. You can find the schematic
of the Neutron in
a) Find the f_0 of the filter
for the following four conditions:
- Caps C5 and C7 switched “out”; LDRs = infinite ohm
- Caps C5 and C7 switched “out”; LDRs = 5 kohm
- Caps C5 and C7 switched “in”; LDRs = infinite ohm
- Caps C5 and C7 switched “in”; LDRs = 5 kohms
b) According to the VTL5C3/2 datasheet (which you can find in
Aaron’s datasheet collection), what control current would
generate a 5 kohm LDR resistance? Use curve #4 on the graph (you’ll see
what I mean when you look at the datasheet). (Note I haven’t actually
analyzed the control circuit in detail, so I’m not sure such a current
could be produced by this circuit, but my intuition says it’s plausible.)
c) Consider the “Peak” 150K pot. As the wiper is moved to the left
on the schematic, does the Q increase or decrease? Explain your reasoning.
Let’s take a look at
Tom Gamble’s EFM VCF8E circuit, which is somewhat based on
the Korg MS-20 (but notice the capacitor values are somewhat different).
(Tom appears to have taken down the schematic on his ele4music.com site,
but I was able to find it on
Magnuson’s analog modular page.)
It has two
separate filter circuits, but they look more or less the same to me.
a) When switched in the lowpass mode, find the OTA control current
result in an f_0 of 2500 Hz. (The 10K resistors to the negative supply at
the output of the buffers are just goo needed to make the built-in
Darlington buffers of the LM13700 work.) Remember you can fold the
R_small/R_big factor in with the gain of the OTA when using the formula
for the critical frequency w_0 of a Sallen-Key filter.
b) In the original Korg MS-20, resonance is controlled with a pot. Notice
how Tom has modified the circuit to make the resonance voltage controllable.
In class, we showed that for this “Bach” topology, a feedback of K < 2 is
needed, or else the filter will go unstable. What value of control current
for the resonance-controlling OTA would give a feedback of 2? (I conjecture
Tom has designed this so that isn't possible, but I haven't checked it
In class, we looked at the
Buchla 292C Lowpass Gate. We focused primarily on
the main Sallen-Key part of the filter. In this problem, we’ll look at
the circuit that creates the current for the vactrol LED.
Look in the upper left corner of the schematic. To simplify things, let’s
assume that the leftmost CMOS switch is “off,” and we will ignore C2 (treat
it as closed, i.e., close the cap). Also ignore D1 (treat it as open) –
as far as I can tell, when the circuit is operating normally, it doesn’t
come into play. Suppose the R8 pot is set to the middle (i.e. it forms
two 10K resistors).
a) Find the current through the vactrol diode as a function of the
control voltage input at jack 11 in the upper left hand corner of the
This doesn’t match any standard op amp circuit I am aware of. I tackled it
it by writing two node-voltage equations and solving them.)
b) Find the voltage at the output terminal of op amp 9 as a function of
the control voltage input at jack 11. Assume that the vactrol LED has
a “diode drop” of 1.65 volts. I found this figure on the VTL5C3 datasheet.
(The answer to this question is less important than the answer to (a),
but it is useful since it tells you how far the output of the op amp
needs to be able to swing.)
Spend some time browsing through the
Owner’s Manual and the
MS-20 Setting Examples.
Choose a patch setting example from the
documentation that uses at least one patch cable.
Set the knobs and connections on our MS-20 to match the settings on the
patch sheet, and take a photo of you smiling next to the MS-20 set up with
your patch. Your photo should also show that you have the MS-20 hooked to
speakers to prove you actually listened to it. 😉
Include a printout of the original patch sheet and your photo.
You should also just spend time time playing around with the MS-20.
To avoid too many people trying to use the MS-20 at once, try not wait
until the last minute to do this problem.