Make Noise modules: design, usability, theory, philosophy, etc


Keeping the DPO discussion going; here’s a new DPO-centric video from @walker:


Also, this Scott Jaeger / Tony Rolando collaborative experiment that Alessandro Cortini shared today looks like it would be a blast to play:


I just mounted up the DPO and I’m going through some initial testing.

What an incredibly dense module. I can’t wait to learn what makes it tick.

I’m done buying modules for a while. Famous last words!


Ooooh…new rxmx?


(staff edit: to keep this thread on-topic, covering the philosophy and design of make noise modules, the discussion & speculation on the upcoming/new module has been moved to its own thread. once the name of the module is known, that thread will be retitled.)

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The X-PAN kind of confuses me strategically. There are now a number of stereo modules in the MN eco-system, and while the X-PAN brings their mono modules into the stereo domain, there isn’t a solution for mixing stereo signals. So between QPAS, X-PAN, Morphagene, and Mimeophon, and heck, let’s include the output of Erbe-Verb, there’s no ideal way to mix these nicely out of series? :thinking:

The X-Pan can be used as a three stereo input mixer with volume control over one of the three stereo inputs, and I believe they’ve got a new module called XOH which is a stereo mixing output module.


My reading is that channels 1 and 2 mix one or two mono channels on a crossfader before applying panning wherein they are summed with the stereo aux in. Is there a jumper for stereo inputs or something? :thinking:

True, I suppose channels 1 and 2 are more summing than mixing, using left and right stereo into the two mono sides of the crossfader, with the crossfader set in the middle. I’m assuming that a mix of fader and panning can get a stereo sum, rather than mono, though I may be wrong there.

EDIT: ignore me, yeah I had early morning brain slowness, channels 1 and 2 are only mono, so that would just be a two channel stereo mixer with channels 1 and 2 as stereo left/right, and the 3rd channel as the stereo mix in.

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All good; just making sure they didn’t say something that I missed! :blush:

MN is enamored of what they call “decentralized mixing”, in part because it opens up more patching opportunities. By contrast, a monolithic stereo mixer is a kind of bottleneck toward which everything has to converge. (Aux sends are a way to try to restore some flexibility, but MN would argue their approach is more elegant and modular.)

Whether you have a monolithic stereo mixer or not in your rack can have a profound effect on your patching habits. I happen to love my WMD Performance Mixer, but I am also aware of its limitations, which stem from it being fixed at the very end of the chain. I may well pick up an X-Pan to live in the middle of the chain and act as a stereo submixer.


He mentions in one of the demo videos that that is exactly the intended purpose. It does seem the other stereo modules are intended to be used in series, although as wm.wragg points out the XOH does some mixing as well

(also @mdoudoroff) Yeah, that is fair. It just strikes me that many of the modules don’t make as much sense “mid-chain”? Even just Morphagene, Mimeophon, and something through QPAS currently can’t be mixed in stereo. XOH has two inputs, one of which could be XPAN, which ultimately just as 1 stereo input. So as of now you can’t combine 3 stereo signals in the MN ecosystem.

I would never expect MN to make anything remotely like the WMD Performance mixer, and I’d be disappointed if they did. Even XOH is way more boring than Rosie - X-PAN and XOH are clearly like a decentralized Rosie. However, I’d love to see their take on a stereo mixer.

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Make Noise zine issue 2 is now up on the Make Noise site, featuring an interview with Tony about the development of the X-Pan module, an interview with @walker about writing manuals / making videos and other educational content, Make Noise crew recommendations and milestones, and some info about a partnership they did for an exhibition with local artist Eleanor Annand:


It’s so cute they have a zine! I’m kind of blushing (which means my grizzled, grey-stubbled face momentarily turns the colour of cooked salmon then immediately back to north-of-the-wall white).

Nice to hear from Walker about the manuals. The 0-Coast manual is one of my favourite pieces of technical writing ever. The only thing I’ve ever gone to the copy shop to print out and later realized I had already printed…

Also nice to hear from Tony on “decentralized mixing.” This is the hardest concept to grok if, like me, you learned “audio production” with mixing desks and multi-track tape machines, etc. The Make Noise approach favours performance and “instrumentalism” (the system user is more like a cellist than a studio engineer, despite the superficial similarities to the latter).

Weirdly I’m just starting to embrace mono as I study more deeply in synthesis and not “audio.” And now this happens! Sheesh! :wink:


100% agree. The 0-Coast manual single handedly got me on the path from “IDK I’ll choose some cool presets and maybe turn some knobs” to actually knowing what I’m doing and studying synthesis as a “thing”. The explanations of synth history and patch examples are awesome - I always look forward to cracking open their manuals.


I’ve probably said this before, but I love MN’s manuals. Always super helpful, clear, and informative.


i’m always forgetting the MG button combos as well :slight_smile:


I’m really loving my tELHARMONIC. I’ve only had it for a few weeks but it’s been in heavy rotation. I like to use one of the outputs to FM Plaits which is sitting next to it, send the noise output into a VCA to add a contrasting rhythm, etc. etc.

Together these two are really powerful… Plaits has more options overall but, I dunno, the tELE has something of that special Make Noise essence: It gives little away initially but, as you learn it, you realize it seemed so opaque only because it presumes absolutely nothing about who you are or what you want to do with it.