Triple Comparator
for music synthesizers.


The Triple Comparator consists of three independent functions which are useful in the production of square waves and variable pulse waves. The Comparator reference level can be a time-varying control voltage, a complex audio signal, or a fixed preset voltage. Additionally, the comparators are useful for level detection and for logic decisions based on amplitude. The module also contains a single, non-adjustable, Schmitt trigger.When running from +12 volts, the output of the Schmitt trigger will rise to about 5 volts when the input falls below approximately 0.6 volts and will  fall to approximately 0 volts when the input rises over approximately 4.3 volts. This section of the module is frequently left off panels

It will work on either +/- 12 volts, or +/-15 volts. No negative power rail is used.

A little on how it works:

Panel photo

The schematic for the Triple Comparator
The upper part of the diagram shows the Schmitt Trigger, while below that are three identical comparators.
At the very bottom is the local "6 volt" regulator. (This will supply a higher voltage when the module is run from 15V, unless the values of R2 and R3 are swapped.)


PCB overlay

Note: On the VER1.0 PCB, do not use the 0V pad. Instead use either the CCW end pad of the pots or the spare pad at the edge of the PCB next to R3

The lower photograph shows the position sof the three 100mF SMT capacitors

Pad identification

A Comp 1 Input 2 (+)
B Comp 1 Input 1 (-)
C Comp 1 Output
CL Comp 1  LED anode
D Comp 3 Input 2 (+)
E Comp 3 Input 1 (-)
F Comp 3 Output
FL Comp 3  LED anode
G Comp 2 Input 2 (+)
H Comp 2 Input 1 (+)
I Comp 2 Output
IL Comp 2  LED anode
B POT Comp 1 pot CCW (0V), Wiper, CW (+6V)
E POT Comp 2 pot CCW (0V), Wiper, CW (+6V)
H POT Comp 3 pot CCW (0V), Wiper, CW (+6V)
+6V Local +6V (Not used)

Part Identification
R2 5k6 for +12 V power supply,
6k8 for +15 volt power supply
R3 6k8 for +12 V power supply,
5k6 for +15 volt power supply

Set up:

Connect a bipolar triangle wave (i.e. AC coupled, or having equal swing above and below 0V) into the B input. Set the top (B) pot fully counterclockwise. Adjust the trimmer for a 50% dutycycle output. Use a scope, if you have one, or set the speed of the triangle wave low enough that you can use the LED to monitor the output


  • The module will work on +/-12 volts.
  • PCB info: 6" x 1" with 3mm mounting holes 0.15" in from the edges.

Parts list

This is a guide only. Parts needed will vary with individual constructor's needs.

Article, art & design copyright by Ken Stone