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


Another MN fan here, I have a B&G system which I lusted after for a long time and eventually caved on, after owning other MN modules such as Maths and the STO. Never regretted picking it up, and hopefully it will outlive other Euro purchases.

Among many other uses the system is a fantastic portable “cv lab” for testing other modules and synths, something I don’t see mentioned often. With the analog input and output it’s a great fx box too. I ended up adding all the bits from the new system to my older one, so felt dumb for a good while.

I keep getting satisfying sounds from the DPO years after first owning it. Taught me a lot about fm and waveshaping aesthetics.

I have the FxDF/RxMx combo too, and it just sounds beautiful to me. It inspired me to use more bandpass filtering in the digital realm.

I’ve pretty exhaustively explored Erbe-Verb, definitely seems like a classic. Learning to avoid its clichés.

Echophon is next, it’s capable of some truly bizarre things when heavily patched and is great for chaotic patching via its cv output. Looking forward to exploring it more with precise cv from the computer. I see it as a mini Eventide in my rack with insane CV control.

Slowly learning Morphagene, I had an anti-hype reaction to it but finally diving in. Enjoying how fluid it makes sampled audio, and trying to use it musically. Would be nice to see more stereo modules from MN.

Had a used 0-coast for a while before trading it in a package deal, but would definitely get another, it’s such a fun little box, and perfect for learning about cv and synthesis. Another future classic to my mind.

The only downer I can think of is the lightshow in the corner of my case (tempi, wogglebug). Being able to neutralise the colours from tempi would be nice, as i didn’t expect the riot of primary colours in a system like the B&G, but I learned to love it :-]

In general their stuff seems really well thought through, and they seem like good people. Always happy to support them and excited to see what they do next.


I started out without a real sort of vision for what I wanted to do when I got into Eurorack, buying a bunch of random things after deciding on Maths as my first module. I realized quickly that franken-rack was not for me, and found that focusing primarily on one manufacturer made understanding the format a lot easier. As I’ve slowly added more and more Make Noise modules into my system, I feel I’ve become fluent in Tony’s hieroglyphic language and I spend less time consulting the manual before patching. I’m working my way toward a custom, expanded 7U+3U Shared System, which I imagine will keep me occupied for years

Honestly, my favorite thing about Make Noise might be the community of people I’ve found because of their products. Between buying used MN modules from various people on this forum, chatting with Make Noise employees, and even travelling to Asheville for their 10 Year Celebration, I’ve met a lot of wonderful people, made lots of new friends, and have been more inspired to create things than I have in years.


For me it’s been quite obvious that the stuff they make deserves a good amount of knowledge. When I started out about three years ago I had Maths, MMG and STO from the beginning. I can’t remember why I bought these modules, but there must’ve been a much cooler person than myself that were using them and tickled my attention. I sold or traded them rather quick just because of frustration for not being cool.
It took me two years to get a Maths again and I couldn’t understand why I had so much problem with it in the first place.
Nowadays I have no problem with their design at all and would trade my setup for a shared system with no hesitation what so ever.


When I started out, I can clearly remember seeing Maths and QMMG in a case at an event for the first time. It l was such a revelation and a challenge: they seemed so alien, such a different way to look at the world. And Maths in particular has been, as I learned it, another revelation, realising envelope shapes can have such a profound influence on sound, and how much you can patch with simple building blocks. I’m currently playing with Maths + Graphic EQ, which is a world of weird feedback loops and benjolin-like chaos.


That sounds amazing! And a great reminder that I need to pick one of those up. Easy soldering? Got any sound samples of that feedback loop?


gotta love 'em


I have just decided to get into Modular Synths, having become frustrated and fed up with trying to make music through a computer. And,having spent a loooong time researching all the possible modules to start with, I dived head first into buying a Shared System Plus.

I like the idea that all the modules speak the same ‘language’, and so provide a great path into learning modular piecemeal, with each of their modules leading neatly into the next. I think it is a very innovative architecture and ecosystem that they are building, with each new module very much a part of the system, and I’m excited to know that my System will be gradually evolving over the years, with each new module they bring out.

This also has the added bonus of being a great time saver too, as I won’t be spending hours having to research new modules to add to a basic setup, but can invest some serious time into learning this ‘instrument’, and Modular in general.

And the fact that they have such a great learning channel via their youtube channel was the final influencer for me, as I’m quite daunted at the whole process, and this provides a safe and loving electronic hand to hold as I take the plunge. This Instagram post above mine is a brilliant example of their thoughtful and inspiring ideas.

I also think that their System guides you down quite a unique musical path, and so you don’t end up composing more generic synth music that’s been done time and time again. I like the way it forces you down a more West Coast route, as that is the path less trodden, and so you’re forced to think for yourself a bit more, and produce more individual music.

And I’m also very excited to have joined this wonderful little Modular community too!


Tony knows the what, the why, the how.

Making noise results in the common good.

The human soul degrades itself. To be disgruntled (at anything) is a kind of secession from Nature.

Desires: the soul, or, why I love the big knob on Echophon.

Treat everything around you as a dream. Miniscule, transitory, insignificant.

We shold let Make Noise decide for itself.

I once sold an Optomix.


Is anyone using a RxMx? Having ankthetook at Make Noise and that one seems intriguing.


I am, and I really really like it. Even more than I thought I would. Got it cheap so I had to try it out and it turned out to be a keeper.


A friend of mine picked up a RxMx and LOVES it with the DPO.


RxMx is one of the few modules (in general) would really, really like to take for a spin


I have RxMx and love it. Very versatile module. FxDf is a good companion module.


Man, already have DPO, fxdf…really want to try a Rxmx (and maybe Control file) but it’s a big and expensive module to try on a whim. Too bad there’s not a ton of material out there to give a better idea of the combo.


Here’s the latest Modular Podcast, featuring Walker from MakeNoise:


I picked up an Optomix as part of a trade last week and it sounds great.

I am having difficulty understanding the functionality or range of the Damp control. (It doesn’t seem to do anything?) Perhaps I am misunderstanding its application.

Can any Optomix users coach me here? :pray::grinning:


The damp control affects the response of the gate.

It will be most obvious if you ‘ping’ the gates strike input with a trigger.

Think of it a bit like a decay control for the gates response to cv.


I think the dampening control is a high pass filter, so as you turn it up your signal should have less low end response and volume (I do this often to remove competiting low end between voices). More damping will also affect the response of signals to the control and strike inputs. You can route and envelope or other signal here for “sidechain” type effects.

FWIW, I use a v2 Optomix.


Hi nutritionalzero, I had a similar experience with my Optomix damp controls. Optomix uses vactrols, which have a wide component-level variation, so my Optomix v1 may or may not be similar to others. My damp control is subtle.

But here’s what I found with my unit:

  • Patch a broadband sound into the input (like a low frequency saw wave) and listen to the output.
  • If CTRL is set to knob fully clockwise (8V), then DAMP seems to do nothing. I’m pretty sure that’s intentional.
  • CTRL is set half way (4V) plus DAMP full clockwise (8V) makes the sound mostly quieter.
  • CTRL is set half way (4V) plus DAMP half way (4V) makes the sound quieter and a bit darker.
  • CTRL is set half way (4V) plus DAMP full clockwise (0V) makes the sound quieter and darker.
  • CTRL is set full clockwise (0V) plus DAMP full clockwise (8V) makes the sound very quiet, but a tiny amount of the signal bleeds through, at most frequencies
  • CTRL is set full clockwise (0V) plus DAMP half way (4V) makes the sound very quiet, but a tiny amount of the signal bleeds through, but mostly at low frequencies
  • CTRL is set full clockwise (0V) plus DAMP full clockwise (0V) makes almost no sound get through

(I am writing from experience; I haven’t verified this with my unit directly yet. Forgive me if I am in error.)

I feel like DAMP kind of moves the Optomix to different combinations of VCA and low pass filter. This is a subtle effect, definitely, compared to many of the other knobs in my modular system which change things from music to noise in a quarter turn.


Got it. This is more or less my experience too. The functionality of Damp seemed relative to the value of Control but I couldn’t tell if that was my ears playing tricks on me.

Tonight I will set Control to lower values and experiment with Damp again. I think I had Control fully open, which would have accounted for Damp “doing nothing.”

It sounds great anyway. Optomix v1 user here too.