Exploring the Legendary Sound of the Curtis CEM3340 IC: A Review of the Mosaic Analog VCO Module

The Mosaic Analog VCO Module is an all-analog voltage-controlled oscillator based on the reissue of the Curtis CEM3340 IC. This legendary IC is known for its presence in some of the most iconic synthesizers of all time, such as the Prophet 5 and Roland Jupiter series. In this article, we will dive into the features of the Mosaic Analog VCO Module and explore the unique sound that can be achieved with the Curtis CEM3340 IC.

The Mosaic Analog VCO Module features a triangle core CEM3340 based VCO and provides four waveforms (sine, triangle, sawtooth, square) with smooth and accurate 1V/Oct tracking over 10 octaves. The module also offers linear and exponential FM, PWM, and sync capability. The Intellijel format front panel houses all of the controls and provides a sleek and user-friendly interface.

One of the standout features of the Mosaic Analog VCO Module is the Curtis CEM3340 IC itself. This IC is responsible for the unmistakable sound of the Prophet 5 and Roland Jupiter synthesizers, and it brings that same sound to the Mosaic Analog VCO Module. The module produces a rich and warm sound characterized by its smooth and stable waveforms, making it perfect for a variety of genres, including ambient, techno, and experimental music.

Overall, the Mosaic Analog VCO Module is an excellent choice for anyone looking for an all-analog VCO that can deliver the legendary sound of the Curtis CEM3340 IC. With its intuitive controls and versatile features, it is sure to find its way into many Eurorack setups, whether you are a seasoned synthesizer veteran or just starting out.

Example Usage

If you're new to using analog VCO modules like the Mosaic Analog VCO, a simple way to start experimenting with its capabilities is by connecting it to a basic sequencer module like the Doepfer A-155. You can use the A-155 to sequence notes, and then patch the Mosaic Analog VCO to receive those pitch sequences. Then, start playing with the different waveforms and control knobs on the Mosaic Analog VCO to hear how they affect the sound of the sequenced notes. This is a great way to get a feel for how the module works, and to start exploring the unique sound of the Curtis CEM3340 IC.

For an intermediate-level usage example with the Mosaic Analog VCO, try modulating the Exponential FM with another modulation source, such as an LFO. Use the Square waveform output to create rhythmic variations in the pitch by sending it through a quantizer or use the sawtooth wave output for a more natural pitch variation. Adjust the PW knob to explore the range of pulse widths available, and take advantage of the CEM3340 IC's sync capability to create unique harmonic combinations. With its 1V/Oct tracking over 10 octaves, the Mosaic Analog VCO offers a wide range of musical possibilities for the experimental electronic music producer.

Further Thoughts

One of the most unique features of the Mosaic Analog VCO Module is its ability to sync to external sources. By patching a trigger or gate signal from a sequencer or drum machine into the sync input, the VCO will reset its cycle to match the incoming signal. This can create a wide range of interesting rhythmic patterns and is particularly useful in creating percussive sounds. Additionally, the module features both linear and exponential FM, as well as pulse width modulation (PWM), allowing for even more sonic possibilities. The use of the Curtis CEM3340 IC gives the module a classic analog sound with smooth, musical waveforms. Whether used for leads, basslines, or percussion, the Mosaic Analog VCO Module is a powerful addition to any eurorack system.