Travelsized oscilloscope recommendations. DSO Quad?

Hey all.

I’m desperately on the market for an oscilloscope. It’s going to be used both at home, work and in the studio, so i was thinking about getting a small and handy version. I got my eyes on the DSO quad: as it’s travel sized, and with both digital and analog channels, which would be usefull for my work where there’s alot of debugging of interdependent sensors.

Does anyone here have experience with this or other models, or any other recommendations. I’m not made of gold, but is also willing to spend a little on a usefull tool.


I’ve the DSO Quad. I think it is “OK” bit nothing more. It is nice for watching Waveforms but not for measure someting in a good quality. And be aware, you do not have four full channels. It has 2 Analog+ 2Digital.
If you ar looking for something cheap with a very good balance between price and quality, I can recommand the DSO138 from Jaytech. Sure, it is still a toy like the DSO Quad but on the other had it cost only ~25 Euros.

If you need a “professional” Scope, take the RIGOL DS1054 (~400Euros)

Ok. sucks that it’s so toy-like, but i guess that’s the trade-off for the mobility.

Ooh, following this thread as I’m after a scope too.

I got a DSO Nano V3 a year or so ago. I needed it mostly to help calibrate a TTSH (ARP 2600 clone) I was building at the time. Worked fine, and its come in useful since too.
I’ve no real complaints for what it cost, other than the refresh rate feeling a bit slow at times.

I can highly recommend the rigol digital oscilloscopes. With the DS1054Z you get 4 channels @ 50MHz analog bandwidth with really deep memory. All models of that series are the same in terms of their hardware. There are upgrade codes you can buy to get higher analog bandwidth and serial decoding of all relevant protocols. Guess what? There’s a “third party online tool” (called “riglol” IIRC) that spits out such codes. In essence: You get a deep memory 4 channel 100MHz DSO with a stable OS for ~400€ - what else could you possibly want? Mine has been very stable with all the features I’ve ever wanted.

I don’t know if it fits your “travelsize” requirement. And its pretty loud as well so maybe not ideal for a studio.
I think it ultimately depends on what you want to do with it. For displaying waveforms of your modular, I would always recommend a simple scope that is ANALOG. The digital scopes shine when you want to look at non-repeating stuff like serial data streams etc. (You can even trigger on certain data packets - how cool is that?). For Waveform display the refresh rate of a (affordable) digital scope is too slow.

DSO Nano V3 does the job for me here.

@TheSlowGrowth, and everyone else.

Thank you for all the input.

Thank you for all the input. It looks like the way to go is the DS1054Z for the workbench, especially with the bonus features. It doesn’t really live up to my hope for backpack size, but it’s properly gonna be the Rigol this month and then I can see if it’s too much to take around, and cave in and get the DSO, or similar, aswell.

Hi Jensu,
FWIW, and if it’s an option for you, I’ve head bad things about USB scopes in general but pretty good things about Picoscopes. Basically, they seem to be doing an OK job, sufficient for a basic use, and they’re cheap and compact.
I was looking for a compact scope a few months ago, and got the DS1054Z. Now I regret a little bit, because it’s relatively bulky (for my tiny Parisian appartment) and above all very noisy.

Hey mqtthiqs.

Size is mostly an issue for the transportation, although my apartment is no castle either, so small footprint is preferred.

When you, and SlowGrowth say that it’s noisy, do you mean signal noise or actual beeping’n’stuff?

The picoscope 2000 series looks really nice indeed. An nice with I2C decoding in the box. Hmpf, so many choises now.

It has a pretty loud fan. I guess you can mod this to be more silent. (I remember having looked up some modding suggestions on the web). I don’t care as I’m not using the scope 24h a day.

As I said, for displaying the waveforms on a modular, there are better options. For troubleshooting of (even advanced) digital and analog circuits this thing is unbeatable in terms of price and features.

I have that Rigol DS1054Z too. The noise is from the cooling fan inside - it really gets quite annoying after a while. Except for that, I’m very happy with the scope.

Yes, just like you guys, the annoyance is the noise coming from the cooling fan. To give you an idea: when I’m sitting at my desk in front of loudspeakers and scope, I have to turn the scope off if I want to hear and debug subtle artifacts like aliasing; I feel relieved when I turn it off after 30 mins of use; I can hear it significantly even with my closed studio cans on. Yes I saw the mods too but I haven’t tried them (yet?).
That and the fact that the thing looks like some kind of medical equipment, which is not of the greatest effect (but this will be the curse of any oscilloscope I guess).

Wow, ok. That does sound pretty extreme. I could start blasting harsh noise in the office to drown it out, although that’s properly not a viable long term solution.

Jokes aside, it would mostly be on for debugging sessions, and not all the time, but if it makes it impossible to work on audio applications while having it on, that’s of cause a deal breaker for synth related work. My day job is not sound related though, so yeah. Choises.
The picoscope looks more and more interesting.

I’ve used a picoscope at work. Its okay-ish but the analysing tools on the rigol are vastly superior. I also remember the update rate was pretty slow. It might be better with the USB3 versions. Does it have a variable intensity display? I find that very useful for repetitive signals.

A thing that would also concern me with a PC based solution is: OS support. How many windows versions will they continue to support it? A standalone scope won’t be obsolete as quickly.

have no experience with it but thought I’d throw it into the mix: oscium (ipad app + HW)?

The Rigol is super easy to mod. Just get any of the options for silent PC fans and make the swap. Works beautifully!

Good to know! I might do just that.

I just got a DSO 138 in the mail today. Can’t say for advanced operations like calibration and repairing stuff but it works like a charm if you just need to display waveforms :slight_smile:
You can get a nice transparent acrylic case for 5€ on Aliexpress.