3320 VCF

The Curtis CEM3320 VCF IC brought relief to analog synth makers in the ’80s, especially polyphonic instrument builders. It was used in the Oberheim OB-8 and OB-Xa, PPG Wave 2, Sequential Circuits Prophet V and Prophet 10, Elka Synthex and many others. This implementation is an almost literal clone of the filter circuit in Sequential Pro-One (the poly Prophets’ little mono brother), with some control resistor values adjusted for a 12-volt supply and the expected control voltages in a modular system.

It features a 3 channel input mixer and 3 frequency modulation inputs, same as the original, and a resonance modulation input. A trim pot has been added to keyboard CV input so it can be adjusted to follow V/Oct (when the pot is at maximum). This way the filter can be used as a sine VCO when self-resonating. Another trim pot is used to set the lowest cutoff frequency (when the cutoff pot is at minimum).

3320 is wired as a 24dB low pass. The datasheet example uses 300pF filter caps (C2 to C5), Pro-One uses 150pF caps. I had only 220pF ones at hand, so I built the circuit with them and it sounded good. Later I tried with 150pF but decided that 220pF sounded better.

The actual IC I used was ALPHA RPAR AS3320, and I expect it will work just as well with the CoolAudio clone or the original CEM if you’re lucky enough to have one.

Recommended reading:

Verbose CEM 3320 datasheet
Sequential Pro-One schematics


2 thoughts on “3320 VCF”

  1. Hi,
    I think the 3320 wasn’t used in the Memorymoog, OB-x or the Roland SH101.
    It was used in the OB-Xa though, but that was quite a revision compared to the OB-X.
    Love the schema!

    Greetings, Luud

  2. Hi Luud and thanks for the tip. Article corrected. Guess I’ve googled it wrong, the only listed synth I had hands-on experience with was the Prophet V (and I didn’t take the cover off to check the ICs 😉


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s