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


I love that the 20hp designs are very generous with the attenuverters on inputs. So many modules where attenuation is essential and you’re stuck using a dedicated utility :confused:


I agree with a lot of the comments in here. I love their aesthetic. I can understand why some people aren’t into it, but it works for me. I do have grayscale panels on many of mine, but that is just so that I can have black faceplates. I’d prefer to have the actual black MN faceplates. I have a bunch of their modules, and they all sound great and are easy to use (except the button combos on tempi and morphagene. I hate trying to remember those).


Yeah, I’d be way into a chance to replace my silver faceplates with the black ones.


they just had a special bundle for sale today that included the rare black maths and my friend tells me they sold out instantly. everyone wants those black panels!


I feel like there are a lot of weird aggro vibes here lately and I’m not sure how it is enhancing the community. The steady stream of negative energy and really reductive judgments just seem counter to the spirit of what initially drew me to the forum in the first place. I hope at some point, you do honor whatever promise you’ve theoretically made to stop. No one is making you like Mutable, heck, the modules have never spoken to me either, but I’m still not getting the need for all the hostility…


For the record, I’d like to walk back my own comments about Make Noise. I do feel like they were taken out of the context they were intended, but I still did say them, and that’s the bit that got quoted and responded to and turned into 'some people in the forum are saying Make Noise doesn’t like “music”. That’s a lesson for me in lowercase-d discourse.

I have a few Make Noise modules, and I have mixed feelings about them, which I think is healthy :slight_smile: I love Maths. I can’t tame my DPO, nor am I taking to my Wogglebug, and those are both on me. I am very tempted by the Morphagene and Teleharmonic.

As many people have pointed out, MN offer a lot of education about synthesis. I really appreciate their ‘Strange Patches’ series, especially as the only way I’ve ever seen Strange’s book otherwise is as a very dodgy looking photocopy turned into a PDF. I don’t know my eurorack history to know if they were the first to take a very “West Coast” bent on their designs, but it seems they’ve been very consistent in their designs in promoting that side of design philosophy.

I very much do not feel that Make Noise ‘fanboys’ are anything bad. I feel that some of their modules are not for me, and that is all.

Hoping to restore positive vibes. Really really not intending blanket criticism of any manufacturer or person, and it is a lesson for me that what I said was interpreted that way. Lesson for the future.


Okay that’s it for me. Peace!


First, I appreciate the willingness to own and ‘walk back’ your comments, it’s a lot easier to puff up and double down on hostile vibes. So I thank you. I wasn’t even sure whether or not to approach all of this at all, because I guess in a public forum where everything has to be a lot more delicate and thoughtful than in person discussion with friends, I very much take to heart the idea of ‘if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say it’. Still, I felt compelled finally with the post I quoted, because I also felt the need to try to nudge the conversation in a direction that didn’t trouble me. I really love this place, and I can feel it changing in a way that I don’t particularly love, but that I guess I have to accept to some degree. Anyway…

To sort of extrapolate on my initial post: everyone here has some manufacturers they like and dislike. That’s inevitable and reasonable. What weirds me out is the recent urge to make reductive (often binary) judgments about the manufacturer, ‘fanboys’ (not big on that word either), or every module a manufacturer produces. I just think it lacks nuance and doesn’t account for a wonderful aspect of modular - you get what you prefer and can customize. There is no better. There is no worse. There is only what works best for the individual. Because of that, the idea of casting judgments is even more wacky when the instrument is so uniquely customizable. It’s probably why I get pretty quiet on the gear evaluation threads that are cropping up lately. The questions that matter to me: What does it do? Does it have a place in my workflow?

I’d be curious what questions others consider valuable in gear discussion, because after that it starts getting a lot more subjective, dicey, and often ends up going down weird quibble-tastic paths. Maybe I’m forgetting an important question that others find valuable in evaluating modules/instruments?

(EDIT: Maybe this should be another thread, who knows, feel free to break it off since it isn’t directly MakeNoise related anymore?)

Anyway, thanks for engaging and considering even if I wasn’t responding directly to you.


I know you were more responding to other comments, but early on in the thread I feel like my comments about MN took on a life of their own. My intention in what I said was meant to empathize with @nutritionalzero, i.e. “I have also felt this kind of antipathy to a manufacturer, so I feel you.”. It may not have been clear in the context when I wrote that that I was intended that to describe my own feelings, at times, about MN, and not how MN is. It probably wasn’t clear except in my own head :slight_smile: but definitely once it was taken out of context, there was no way it wasn’t just going to sound negative and nasty.

I’m not blaming anyone who quoted me; I said what I said, it was said without nuance, and nuance and intention are hardly ever clear in text. Again, that’s a lesson for me in how online discussions work, even with a thoughtful community. TBH this is the first time I’ve participated actively in any online community in a very long time, so I’m still probably re-learning how to do civilized discourse.

Maybe as penance for my sins, per the thread about engaging with things you dislike, I have to buy a Morphagene and Optomix. Or a Shared System Plus. Twist my arm!


I’ll just quickly add to the list of people who have had great experiences with Tony/Makenoise. I just met him once a few years ago at Tokyo festival of modular and he was super nice and helpful, and I exchanged a few mails with him when I had questions about modules (mostly me not understanding something in my signal path) and he was there too super helpful.

And the guy curates a records label and works directly with musicians all the time, I don’t see how he could be perceived as having any negative attitude toward musicians…


btw, i have also always been puzzled by the audio outs on wogglebug, but last week there was an illuminating post on the Make Noise instagram:

Haven’t tried it yet, but sounds cool!


I’ll confess that I’m more than a little mystified by the desire to look at eurorack manufacturers as political entities or as something that communicates something greater/different than what their products enable you to do.

I think we all feel drawn to define aspects of ourselves through the products we purchase & use. And I get that musical instruments are among the most personal products imaginable, making them especially susceptible to people reacting strongly to things that don’t match their sense of self. That said, I personally feel like this is an instinct to avoid, rather than one to cultivate.


I popped by the MakeNoise office when I played in Asheville in 2013 and he was nice enough to quickly update the Phonogene to the newer firmware when I was still using it and show me around for a bit. It cracked me up when we realized we had played a show together almost 15 years earlier when he was in a band called We Ragazzi out of Chicago. Small world indeed :slight_smile:

So yeah, my minimal interactions have been positive. I have gradually pulled out most of my Make Noise stuff, but not because I didn’t enjoy the modules, it was more about spatial considerations with my case.


FWIW I know I’ve been guilty of this somewhat. I know I project my frustrations with something (e.g. Maths) onto the manufacturer, and sometimes other users. I think in this context, part of the frustration is that I can totally see how powerful MN modules and systems are, but I haven’t found a space for that in my own work. I’d like to think that I have opinions that would be worthwhile contributions to conversations about design, technique etc., but I haven’t always communicated that very positively. I’m working on this, but I have a long way to go.

Yes! I forget about the label somehow, but there is some amazing work on there.

Huge +1 to this.


Strongly agree - modern culture is full of “team” thinking - somehow our identity can be tied up in our consumer choices… (see phones in particular, but the reality with phones is having Apple and Samsung BOTH making great phones and pushing each other on is great for all of us. gives us choice and better phones and we see this in module makers - lots of variety and although there isn’t competition per se, it’s no zero sum because I may buy more than one low pass filter, say, from different manufacturers but it does encourage them to want to stand out and offer something interesting or different)

Music making gear is intensely personal and our brains all work differently - I look for the things that resonate with me personally to make the music I want to make. Those choices are by and large not relevant to any of the rest of you since you aren’t me :wink:

Free your identity from your consumer choices!


btw, i have also always been puzzled by the audio outs on wogglebug, but last week there was an illuminating post on the Make Noise instagram:
Haven’t tried it yet, but sounds cool!

Thanks! I didn’t catch that one and it looks sounds pretty interesting, will have to find room for the woggle into one of the cases now :slight_smile:


I’ve used the Woggle Bug audio outputs as audio rate FM on oscillators and filters quite a lot (plus they work great to excite Rings).

Never thought about using them tracking pitch via the influence jack… great tip thank you!


I found this comment hilarious, and not weird, aggro, reductive, or hostile.

Tone can be a hard thing to judge on the internet, and honestly, I find that leaping to conclusions about someone’s motives or “vibes” and then lecturing them on that basis is itself reductive. There has to be some room between intelligent adults for disagreement about things they care about, and for various styles of communication. Some will make jokes. I’d suggest asking someone about the intent of what they said, before drawing conclusions. But, maybe that’s just me.


I definitely thought about that - and the circular nature of jumping in to comment on a comment.

Just to be clear, it wasn’t just this comment in isolation, but a pattern that made me feel like I finally should say something. Given that I have no authority here, NZ is certainly welcome to continue making jokes if that’s what they are. Humor is tricky on the internet. I guess I just found the pattern of ‘jokes’ more aggro and less funny than you. I’m definitely not trying to silence disagreement - NZ is welcome to dislike MI (why would I care ultimately?). This forum has been great for civil disagreements over the years - which is one of the things I love about it. With that said, clearly we also disagree, and that’s ok.


like others have said, thanks for posting this! I :heart: phase-locked-loop (PLL)/fucked up pitch tracking and this is a cool example that I hadn’t realized the Wogglebug can do, but now see that PLL is listed right on the MN page.