Top 11 Best Eurorack Oscillator Modules On The Market 2022


The world of Eurorack modules can be daunting and expensive, and with so many oscillator modules to choose from, it can be a challenge to pick the ideal module for a given Eurorack system.

In this article, we'll go through the best options for choosing one or more oscillator modules as the basis of your Eurorack system.

The top 11 best Eurorack oscillator modules are:

  1. Mutable Instruments Plaits
  2. Intellijel Rubicon2
  3. Instruo Cš-L
  4. Qu-Bit Electronix Chord v2
  5. 4ms Ensemble Oscillator
  6. E-RM Polygogo
  7. After Later Audio Benjolin v2
  8. Frap Tools Brenso
  9. Make Noise STO Sub-Timbral Oscillator
  10. Xaoc Devices Odessa
  11. ACL Multifunction Discrete VCO

Each of these makes for a superb Eurorack oscillator choice. In this article, we'll discuss why that is.

Related articles:
The Ultimate Eurorack Buyer's Guide
Top 11 Best Eurorack Module Synth Brands In The World
Full List: Synthesizer Module Brands (Eurorack, 5U & Others)
Are Modular Synthesis & Synth Design Difficult To Learn?


Mutable Instruments Plaits

Taking up a very modest 12HP of space, this new iteration of the classic “Braids” by Mutable Instrument is a powerful module ready to transform your rig. Although Braids was a best-seller, it had some features that needed further tweaking; Mutable Instruments delivers big-time with Plaits.

The Mutable Instruments Plaits (link to check the price at Perfect Circuit) is a multi-algorithm macro oscillator capable of providing analog percussion emulation; FM, granular, and modular synthesis, and wavetables. Although it is based on Braids, it attempts to correct pitfalls and build on the strengths. In that sense, it operates at a much higher audio resolution, and its user interface is much more intuitive than the original.

Mutable Instruments Plaits

Likewise, the screen, hidden settings, menu system, and the list of synthesis models are gone. That way, the unit gains a lot in simplicity. The three timbre-shaping parameters for each model and the additional CV inputs make it easier than ever to get an extremely wide tonal palette.

With a straightforward and simplified design, enhanced sound, and a plethora of amazing sounds, this small unit can cause a revolution among your Eurorack modules. Check out this 40-minute sonic walkthrough video or this short overview video to get a better idea of what it can do.

Mutable Instruments is featured in My New Microphone's Top 11 Best Eurorack Module Synth Brands In The World.


Intellijel Rubicon2

Intellijel took their flagship, loud and proud, all-analog oscillator and overhauled it to keep testing its sonic boundaries. As a result, this new module is not only more powerful but also easier to use.

To begin with, the Intellijel Rubicon2 (link to check the price at Sweetwater) is not at all a set-it-and-forget-it kind of oscillator. Rather, it's the opposite, as a module that demands tweaking until you find exactly the sound in your head. Moreover, according to Intellijel, the Rubicon2 is a proudly analog oscillator eschewing all shortcuts to amazing old-school sounds. Thus, the bolder you are in tweaking, the more rewarding your results shall be.

Intellijel Rubicon2

The secret to the Rubicon's endless possibilities is that it features nine simultaneous waveshape outputs. Moreover, it also features three variations of the sine wave, two sub-oscillators, a new Tri-State pulse circuit, linear and exponential FM, pulse width modulation, hard and soft clip, a new foldable warp circuit, CV control over the FM index, and the capability of performing thru-zero FM (perfectly symmetrical, by the way) with absolutely no modifications in tracking accuracy or pitch.

If you have the 20HP of space and the budget to add one of these to your setup, you'll enjoy its endless possibilities for years. To watch a quick panel overview, check this video. For a speechless sound demonstration, watch this video.

Intellijel is featured in My New Microphone's Top 11 Best Eurorack Module Synth Brands In The World.


Instruo Cš-L

The heart and soul of this utterly capable Eurorack module is a pair of contrasting, discrete circuit oscillators. These dual analog oscillators are normalled to one another. Thus, they offer a wide variety of modulation routings that can be used simultaneously.

The Instruo Cš-L (link to check the price at Perfect Circuit) design is optimized to generate complex waveforms. It expands upon the concept of the classic complex oscillators (at least in West-coast synthesis philosophy), including some variations.

Instruo Cš-L

Some examples are the inclusion of a wavefolder per oscillator, signal multiplication and amplitude modulation. It also includes biasing for the final waveform symmetry, a global modulation index bus, classic and contemporary PWM (Pulse Width Modulation), and a digitally-controlled routing scheme (that can be reconfigured on the fly). Moreover, this unit allows bi-directional modulation (there are two separate oscillator cores) and simultaneous access to all included waveforms.

With all these parameters to play with, the simple user interface, and the amount of power at hand, this is one serious Eurorack module capable of taking you as far as your imagination can go. If you have the room and the budget, this is a great addition to your current rig. Check out this video for an overview and this video to learn some specific techniques and tricks.


Qu-Bit Electronix Chord v2

Those looking for a plug-and-play, one-stop solution to bring polyphony to their system will find a goldmine in the Qu-Bit Electronix Chord v2 (link to check the price at Perfect Circuit). Moreover, this second version of the classic offers more flexibility and an expanded set of features deriving in an extended sonic palette in half the size.

Qu-Bit Electronix Chord v2

This module features four oscillator voices, intelligent tuning, and a multitude of waveforms. These voices work in three primary operation modes: Chord, Free Running, and Unison.

In each scenario, the oscillators are tuned to diatonic chords (Chord mode), run as an independent entity from each other (Free Running mode), or are tuned to the same internal frequency (Unison mode). This last mode allows external v/oct sequencing utilizing independent CV outputs.

But that is not all; this unit ships with 8 banks containing classic sounds for you to get started with and features an SD-card slot to load your own custom wavetables.

If you're looking for powerful polyphonic magic to expand the frontiers of your rig, you'll be more than happy to add this small module to your setup. You can check this video for a quick overview or watch this video for a patch-from-scratch approach.


4ms Ensemble Oscillator

In only 16HP of space, 4ms managed to put together one of the most complex and powerful polyphonic oscillators in the market. Indeed, this unit features 16 complex oscillators in a unified polyphonic voice. Furthermore, this voice combines FM, additive, wavefolding, and phase-distortion synthesis techniques in novel, unorthodox ways to create extreme soundscapes.

In this sense, the boundaries that divide chords are also blurred since the oscillators are quantized to a series of harmonics or scales. Hence, you can explore the rich area between chords. This allows the 4ms Ensemble Oscillator (link to check the price at Sweetwater) to produce new, evolving, rich textures to push the sonic boundaries of Eurorack even further.

4ms Ensemble Oscillator

Although it might seem like a lot of jargon and a complicated endeavour, the easy-to-use user interface makes things simple. Create anything from pure sine wave, aggregates, pristine harmonic tones, pulsar synthesis, and wide, lush chords to a mass of rumbling glitches, dirty drones, and sonic mayhem.

If you are after a single module to drastically open up your sonic pathways into new, unexplored territory, you have to give this Ensemble Oscillator a chance. This is a silent video, so you can watch it perform, and this video is an explanatory one so you can understand the control layout better and hear it in action.

4ms Company is featured in My New Microphone's Top 11 Best Eurorack Module Synth Brands In The World.


E-RM Polygogo

The E-RM Polygogo (link to check the price at Perfect Circuit) is a graphical stereo oscillator with original polygonal synthesis. You might be wondering what polygonal synthesis is all about. Well, it is an original invention of E-RM based on the combination of complex two-dimensional amplitude shaping of sine waves with a new type of wave folder and internal modulation sources.

E-RM Polygogo

Based on this revolutionary approach, the Polygogo is a hybrid unit. It features a digital processor that takes care of the main algorithmic core making internal modulations absolutely stable and analog circuitry to take care of the stereo wave-overflow. This juxtaposition of technologies provides uncanny crispiness and openness to the sound while sounding larger-than-life.

Design-wise, the “single knob – single function” interface is the result of collaboration with legendary instrument designer Tatsuya Takahashi. This approach transforms the Polygogo into an amazing live instrument as well as a sharp tool for sound design in a studio environment.

To see and hear this oscillator in action, check out this video for a quick overview and this video for an in-depth review and tutorial.


After Later Audio Benjolin v2

Synthesizer pioneer Rob Hordijk teamed up with After Later Audio to bring back the classic Benjolin module, but with a twist. As an opening line, let's say that this is not a module for the faint of heart. You'll need to be comfortable working in chaos to truly appreciate the unleashed power of this one-of-a-kind, temperamental Eurorack module.

Indeed, the After Later Audio Benjolin v2 (link to check the price at Perfect Circuit) is based on chaos theory principles and works blending stable and unstable states seamlessly and unexpectedly. This is possible because the unit features dual (super wide-range) oscillators that work in a feedback loop modulating each other.

After Later Audio Benjolin v2

The heart of the unit, nevertheless, is the rungler circuit. It is based upon a shift register, and while one oscillator provides the clock, the other provides the data for the shift register. In the words of its creator, the rungler output is a “stepped havoc wave”. When the random patterns start to arise from the relationship between the oscillators, the unit tries to settle into a balanced state. Thus, sound alternates, creating an unpredictable, chaotic behaviour because of the unbalanced imperfections.

If you want a state-of-the-art unit that can push your sonic boundaries and creativity to a terrain you had never imagined before, this unit is for you. Check out this video for a walkthrough and this video for a quick overview.


Frap Tools Brenso

The Frap Tools Brenso (link to check the price at Perfect Circuit) is a unit that works as a primary source of articulated waveforms. But it is not just any unit; you can set the degree of entanglement it generates precisely. Indeed, the company set out to revolutionize the traditional approach complex oscillators are made with. Instead of pre-defined waveforms, this unit offers many threads woven together; this enhances the control level that the artists possess on the resulting sound. Also, it delivers more sonic options.

Frap Tools Brenso

The unit's layout is perfectly organized, using green and yellow for each oscillator and white and red for the processing side of the unit. This way, utilizing the sound-generation section, you can control the dual triangle-core oscillators to combine or sync them externally or internally. Furthermore, frequency modulation can combine linear through-zero and exponential.

On top of that, the processing section offers a Timbre Modulation (in the colour white) and Amplitude Modulation (in the colour red) as a final stage.

With all these controls at hand, waveshapers, a PWM circuit, and ring modulation, there are very few sonic adventures you can't dare with this module. If you want to see an unboxing and overview, check out this video; for a tutorial, check out this video.


Make Noise STO Sub-Timbral Oscillator

Make Noise came up with a compact yet powerful voltage-controlled oscillator that can generate sine waves, sub-octaves, variable wave-shapes, linear FM, and oscillator sync. Furthermore, it can do it all strictly within the analog domain.

With a width of only 8HP, the utterly capable, minimalistic Make Noise STO Sub-Timbral Oscillator (link to check the price at Sweetwater) can add the fatness your rig might be missing. Although it is capable of some unique timbres and can have you playing and having fun for hours, it really shines in the lower registers.

Make Noise STO Sub-Timbral Oscillator

But while you're not into those sub-low territories, the unit's unique variable shape circuit swells odd and even harmonics, creating subtle, complex layered timbral shifts. Finally, the S-Gate input allows you to sync or gate the sub-oscillator independently of any other output.

For those looking for those larger-than-life bass sounds, this unit is a definite must-check. You can watch this video for a quick overview and this video for a review and tutorial.

Make Noise is featured in My New Microphone's Top 11 Best Eurorack Module Synth Brands In The World.


Xaoc Devices Odessa

The Xaoc Devices Odessa (link to check the price at Perfect Circuit) is a variable-spectrum cluster oscillator that works with additive synthesis. In other words, it synthesizes the output signal adding sinusoidal components to the original sound (up to 2560 harmonic partials).

Xaoc Devices Odessa

With the simple control layout, you can easily obtain classic square, saw, and pure sine waves or manipulate the components' parameters to reach a virtually infinite variety of sounds. These controls operate over the harmonic spectrum. Changing the number of partials and their distribution in amplitude and frequency can modify the resulting sound to unearthly results you had never heard before.

Taking up 24HP of space, this unit can add 5 unison detuneable voices that can be spread apart to create a fat, dense cluster or a (very) powerful chord. Furthermore, to navigate this complex scenario, the unit comes equipped with a spectrum analyzer in the form of 12 multicolour LEDs and a set of easy-to-use controls that will have you playing in no time.

Check out this video for a 5-minute sample of the Odessa or this video for a deeper review.

Xaoc Devices is featured in My New Microphone's Top 11 Best Eurorack Module Synth Brands In The World.


ACL Multifunction Discrete VCO

While the STO by Make Noise is capable of some serious low-end when you want to achieve those super-phat, complex, layered sounds to work as the spine of your productions, the ACL Multifunction Discrete VCO (link to check the price at Perfect Circuit) can get the job done without sweating. Furthermore, this module also offers detuned voices to create otherworldly scenarios.

ACL Multifunction Discrete VCO

With a total width of 26HP, the heart and soul of this module is a massive sawtooth single-core combined with an utterly powerful sub-oscillator. This gives the unit enough power to create larger-than-life low-frequency sounds. In that vein, the unique approach that ACL opted for was to add a frequency divider that will retain the one-octave-down quality of the sub-oscillator at all times (while keeping it always in phase with the rest). This design cascades into two main characteristics setting this VCO apart from the rest: the sub-oscillator can provide any waveform, and it can be modulated.

The ability to mix and match up to 10 simultaneous waveforms multiplies your sonic possibilities by 10. It allows you to dial in exactly how much and in what shape you want that mammoth low-end to break into your music production.

If you are looking for a diverse, modern, easy-to-use, utterly powerful module that can deliver massive lows with many open options to shape the sound, this unit has to make it to your podium. To see a demo jam with the inclusion of this module, watch this video; this video is a short overview so you can get an idea of how it sounds.


Building your Eurorack system can be overwhelming. For this reason, I've created My New Microphone's Comprehensive Eurorack Buyer's Guide. Check it out for help in determining your next Eurorack purchases.


This article has been approved in accordance with the My New Microphone Editorial Policy.

Arthur

Arthur is the owner of Fox Media Tech and author of My New Microphone. He's an audio engineer by trade and works on contract in his home country of Canada. When not blogging on MNM, he's likely hiking outdoors and blogging at Hikers' Movement (hikersmovement.com) or composing music for media. Check out his Pond5 and AudioJungle accounts.

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