A “comparator” is a module or function within a module that compares two input signals and generates an output signal based on the comparison. Comparators are often used for processing and shaping control voltage (CV) signals, generating gate and trigger signals, or creating more complex modulation and timing relationships within a modular synthesizer patch.
The most common type of comparator used in modular synthesizers is a voltage comparator, which compares the voltage levels of two input signals, often referred to as “A” and “B.” The output signal of the comparator is typically a gate or trigger signal, which is high (e.g., +5V) when the voltage level of input A is greater than input B, and low (e.g., 0V) when the voltage level of input A is less than or equal to input B.
Comparators can be used in various ways in a modular synthesizer patch, such as:
- Converting a continuous CV signal into a gate or trigger signal: By comparing the CV signal to a fixed reference voltage, a comparator can generate gates or triggers based on the input signal crossing the threshold.
- Generating sync signals: Comparators can be used to synchronize oscillators or other modules by generating a reset signal when the input signals reach specific voltage levels.
- Creating complex modulation patterns: By comparing two CV signals, such as LFOs or envelopes, a comparator can generate new modulation patterns based on the relationship between the input signals.