Make Noise 2018: Project Update

So, we’ve been talking about the components, the bits and bobs of the project, for a couple of weeks now, but how is the project going in general? Good question!

I like to stay ahead of the blog while building out the system. It doesn’t seem like a good idea to spend a couple hours with a module, then declare everything to be very excellent (or very bad). I much prefer to have spent several weeks and many sessions with them. As a result of this, the system I’m blogging about and the system I’m currently using are two different things, and generally separated about a month’s time. Think of it like starlight, it’s traveled a great time and distance to reach you, and though what you’re seeing is real, it is a vision of the past, not the present.

What is the current setup then? Have a look!

I’ve spent the last month now with Function and Dynamix in the system. (We will be blogging about them in the future.) I really feel like the current state of the system is nearly complete. This little system looks like a cute little gremlin, but I guarantee you, I’ve been feeding it after midnight, and it’s a complete monster now. Function was an experiment, as I originally planned to have two Contours. The system is greatly benefited by having one of each. Together they really flesh out the capabilities. And Dynamix is a real gem. I love the “mix” line DNA this thing has, it’s a great little formula Make Noise has going.

You might also notice a little trio of pedals at the top. I decided that it would be good to take a look at some effects pedals that fit within the project’s concept of budget. Sometimes a dry signal is just no fun. My research led me to these three little pedals. From right to left (the order of the signal chain) is the EHX Small Clone, TC Flashback II, and TC Hall of Fame II. Nothing that’ll break the bank, but I can get a huge range of sounds from the combination and really add some body to an otherwise anemic tone. Note, Rosie’s send/return section does not play well with pedals. It’s designed for modular level effects, and I strongly recommend you use it that way. And, speaking of the importance of spending time with things, rather than blogging at first-blush, Small Clone was a crushing disappointment out of the box, but the more time I spend with it, the more I fall in love with it.

Lets not forget our little friends, out of sight, but not out of mind. A pair of Pulp Logic passive attenuator modules come in to save the day from time to time, managing some CV source when both channels of Dynamix are tied up with audio sources. And of course, a handful of Mystic Circuits 0hp modules (VCA/AND, OR Gate, Vactrol LPG and HP Filter) these four little guys I bring in from time to time on various patches. They can really bring some much needed magic to a piece. I really need to pick up another VCA/AND kit (blog post in the works) You can never have too many VCA’s right? Well guess what, now they cost absolutely NO hp, and only a few of dollars. So load up!

The synth itself. It feels close to complete in its current state. Yes, our plans are for a much more substantial 104hp system but there is so much here. Currently, I feel like the biggest shortcoming is the lack of a random source. Wogglebug is definitely going to be coming in the next batch I order. In fact, I dare say, if I had a 60hp powered case, I’d throw in Wogglebug and a second STO and call it a day. I am very seriously contemplating getting handy with the drill and attempting to mount the uZeus to the body of the case to do this very thing. (Confession: at this point I stopped writing and actually did this, we’ll see how it works out in the long term.) I’m a bit on and off about Rosie. Rosie makes the system self contained, and I love it for that. But if all I’m ever going to do is use it in the studio (the corner of my office) I could easily see kicking it out and doubling up on Contour or Function. If the send/return worked with pedals and not just modular level signals, Rosie would be an absolute keeper, no questions asked.

All in all, I’m having a lot of fun. This little thing is a real joy to patch and play. There’s plenty of possibility, but without the sense of being overwhelmed that one can get when SO many modules are in play. It lacks a bit in utilities, but the little passive tools really help it out on that end. If this little guy has taught me anything, it’s to build small and patch big.