I took it upon myself to interview Cwejman because I need a little bit more information about his products. Well, that was one of the reasons. The other reasons were that I felt that there is not enough coverage about these products and their creators. There are a lot of synth companies out there now making new and interesting analog synthesizers that have their own sound and bring something new to the table. Cwejman makes a full synth and Modules for the Eurorack(doepfer) modular systems. I wanted to pick his brain on a few subjects regarding his products. I seriously am fed up with most magazines that cover this gear. I wanted an even more in depth form of covering and asking questions about this gear that true synth-nerds will understand. I cannot thank him enough for answering my questions.
BE: What sets your oscillators apart from the others?
Wowa Cwejman: I don’t know. It’s actually up to users opinion. My constructions are not “copy and paste” from older products (more about it later).
BE:What are the main differences between the Vco-6 and the VCO-2RM.
Wowa Cwejman: All my oscillators (S1 MK2, VCO-2RM and VCO-6, so far) have the same stable oscillator core. The VCO-2RM is more a standard oscillator (OK, two in one module + a ring modulator). The VCO-6 has a very different solution for the sine wave (much cleaner as result) and different set of PW modulated waveforms: PWM saw tooth gives a true dual saw detuned effect (for low speed modulation) and a ring modulated effect with modulation with another oscillator in audio range. Pulses are symmetrical in the whole range of pulse width and they are different from the “classic” variable pulse whichis asymmetrical when the pulse width is not equal to 50% (square waveform). The Pulse1 contain more even harmonics (as saw tooth waveform) and the Pulse2 contain more even harmonics (as square waveform) which results in different sounding signals.
PWM pulse 1 with even content of harmonics
PWM pulse 2 with odd content of harmonics (like square wave and even with very narrow pulse width, my favorite) ..and, of course a regular saw tooth and triangle.
BE:Do they sound similar or are they completely different?
Wowa Cwejman: I already answered to this question…and yes, the VCO-6 sounds very different (sine wave + all PWM waveforms).
BE:How do the Cwejman Eurorock modules compare in sound and function to your S1 MK2?
My ambition was (and still is) to make modules as a compliment to the S1 MK2 (no exact copy of different modules inside the S1). The cores of oscillators are the same (for tracking and stability reason). Filters have also the same “engine”. However, the complexity of my two (so far) filter modules offer much more functions and patching (modulation) possibilities. The transient generators are very different (solution for electronic circuits). Voltage controlled amps are also different; all my vca modules are build around “the-state-of-the-art” integrated circuits for very low noise (dynamics) , low distortion (THD) and almost non-existing DC offset. All vcas are also DC coupled for controlling of DC and audio signals. Below the list of modules where I used those circuits:
and soon VC-FCS (stereo version of VC-FC) and VCEQ-4.
BE:Did you make your systems and modules to cover all the analog ground from the strange sci-fi sound fx to bread and butter synth bass and leads?
Wowa Cwejman: I don’t know exactly how to answer. My ambition is to offer the best I can make and with no focus on a specific “sound”. I’ll here quote Gordon Read from Sound-On-Sound magazine and what he wrote and what also reflect my concept; “The difference is hard to quantify, but seems to me to be one of precision. This is a weird concept, and hard to put into words, but the S1 does exactly what you ask of it, neither coloring nor enhancing the sound beyond what you ask it to do. Curiously, this means that it is equally at home producing the sounds of a vintage American synth as it is the fizzy, squelchy sounds of many Japanese instruments.”
BE:I have read that your oscillators track the best for true analog modules. What is your take on this?
Wowa Cwejman: All my products/concepts are simulated in computer simulation software. Already om this early stage I can predict the performance of circuits, such as temperature stability, waveforms shapes, frequency, amplitudes..and all other qualities. I usually don’t make any breadboard but “jump” directly to production units. Exception are S1s oscillators; I tested/confirmed the stability in my climate oven from -10degC to +60 degC and which confirmed the result of my simulated temperature behavior of oscillators. The tracking (and especially in the high region of frequency) is a result of a careful calibration and nothing else. I’m a perfectionist and I strive to make perfect calibrated products.
BE:What is your favorite old school synthesizer?
Wowa Cwejman: Moog modular, at least back in the 70-th. They are so musical.
BE:Who do you admire most in the synth industry past and present?
Wowa Cwejman: Bob Moog (of course) and Wendy Carlos, as his musical adviser back in the 60-th. I’ve no prefered synth-maker right now…well, maybe Modcan guy.
BE:Where do you see the future of analog synthesizers heading?
Wowa Cwejman: Integration between analogue and digital (DSP) techniques but still with “analogue” interface. We can already see this process..and MIDI should be replaced by other control interface.
BE:I have been struggling with oscillators in the eurorack format. My main gripe is tracking stability, and tuning stability. I still want growly animated oscillators, but I want them in key and musical as well. I use a kenton pro solo, will these work with the Cwejman oscillators well? Have you tried these, and what do you recommend for midi to CV? I sequence with computers. (I have done extensive midi timing test on PCs and macs and have found that Logic 8 with a AMT8 has the least amount of midi jitter, as you might tell, I am a bit OCD about calibration and tightness as well).
Wowa Cwejman: I’m not an expert in MIDI matters but Kenton products should make the perfect job, as long all gears match (1 Volt/octave). I don’t own any MIDI to CV converter. I use my own from S1 for calibration. I’ve no experience with computer based MIDI stuff, sorry.
BE:What old gear do you own, You spoke so highly of the old moog modulars, Do you have one?
Wowa Cwejman: Nothing! I even don’t have my own gear because all I produce is ordered. I’m not a musician.
BE:So, for a Cwejman marketing slogan, would this be a good way to sum up what your company and your products are about? “Stability, Calibration, Perfection” ?
Wowa Cwejman: I’ve already one; sound for demanding musicians.
with best regards
I suggest, if this is new to you and you are in the market for a new synth go check out http://www.cwejman.net. There are sound examples of the s1 mk2. I think it sounds pretty cool and unique. He also has many great modules in the doepfer a-100 modular format. Check it out. If you want to buy any of this stuff, head over to http://www.analoguehaven.com. In particular the Cwejman Section of AH. AND PLEASE, Tell Analog Haven that you found out about it from Velvet Acid Christ and make him feel guilty for not giving me better deals, JUST KIDDING. LOL. To listen to the sound of Cwejman Click Here.
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