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What do I need to start a Make Noise modular system?

In addition to a functional selection of modules you will need a case with power supply and at least 8 patch cables. The Make Noise complete systems are proven functional selections of modules pre-installed into a case with a power supply and plenty of patch cables to get you started, all at a discounted price. If you are looking to start with just a module or two, consider a Skiff, which is a single row case with power supply. Make Noise modules are manufactured in the Eurorack format, which specifies the height, power connector and signal standards. Any case, power supply or module in the Eurorack format will be compatible with Make Noise products.

How deep are the cases used for Make Noise Systems? Will I be able to add a module that is __mm in depth?

Rail -> bottom of case, 2.56"
Rail -> top of busboard, 2"

CV Bus 7U
Rail -> bottom of case, 64mm
Rail -> top of busboard, 48mm
Rail -> top of power inlet on far left, 33mm
Left edge of top row of case to the rightmost jutting of the power inlet wire: 35mm (12hp)
The left and right sides of the bottom row have 12 and 15hp free respectively before you run into the busboard (a total of 27 which might be distributed differently between cases).

Could you recommend a voltage transformer in order for the Make Noise systems to be best used in Europe, Asia and other parts of the world?

The AC Adapter for the Make Noise case and power supply will work just about anywhere in the world. It accepts 100VAC-240VAC and has the standard male IEC inlet for connecting the AC power cable that is correct for your region.All cases and systems ship with the US style AC power cord.

Where is the output? Where is the volume control?

Unlike fixed-architecture synthesizers, modular synthesizers typically do not have a dedicated output or volume knob. You get to decide exactly what stage in a signal path you want to get the sound from. Any audio output jack will output sound, for example, any of the waveform outs on the DPO, the outputs on MMG or Echophon, etc. It is useful to keep in mind that the levels in a modular system are much higher than those used in most audio gear, and attenuating your output is a good idea. You can do it with a mixer or with a module that has an amplitude control, such as an Optomix or a center channel of MATHS.
The Rosie and CV Bus modules have dedicated stereo outputs designed to drive headphones or PA. These outputs also have dedicated volume controls.

I just got a DPO. I plugged it into my soundcard/amplifier and I hear a steady note coming out constantly no matter what I do. How do I make the sound turn off?

Welcome to modular! In this system you have power over every single piece of the system and how the sound is created and altered. VCOs (voltage controlled oscillators) such as the DPO typically produce sound but do not control its volume. Volume is controlled over time, typically, by a VCA (voltage controlled amplifier) or LPG (low-pass gate). For example, if you run the signal from your DPO into the input of an Optomix (which is a low-pass gate), you can control the amplitude (volume) with the control knob or via a function (envelope) or other signal patched into the control input.
A distinctive feature of the DPO is the wavefolder on its final output. As the gain on the wavefolder is turned down far enough, the amplitude of the wave will eventually reach zero. For example, take the Final output from the DPO, and turn the FOLD knob all the way from maximum to minimum. The timbre and amplitude change at the same time, and at the minimum value the sound will have "turned off." If you set the FOLD knob to minimum and insert an envelope from Function or MATHS into the FOLD CV In (make sure the associated attenuator is turned up), you can hear the amplitude going from zero and up, then back down again. This is the simplest way to create discreet "notes" on the DPO.

How do I connect my Make Noise system to a computer for recording in a digital audio workstation (DAW)?

You can plug directly from an audio output on a module, to an input on your audio interface. However, modular signals run much hotter than the typical line level signal expected by most audio interfaces, so attenuating the signal via a mixer, VCA or other form of attenuator is recommended to avoid distortion and/or damage. Also, most audio interfaces use 1/4" jacks for their inputs, as opposed to the 1/8" jacks on Make Noise modules, so a 1/4" - 1/8" adapter cable may be necessary.

How can I control my Make Noise system with a computer or MIDI keyboard?

Make Noise systems are designed to work equally well as standalone systems or in conjunction with other instruments and computers. There are several ways of controlling modular systems with computers and MIDI equipped:

  1. MIDI to CV converter. This is a tool that takes MIDI note information via standard MIDI cable and converts it into control voltage and gates for use in a modular system. There are standalone boxes like the Kenton Pro Solo, and also dedicated Eurorack modules such as the Kenton Modular Solo

  2. The company Expert Sleepers makes a software called Silent Way, which allows your audio interface to output and input control voltage. They also make Eurorack modules that fully integrate the computer into the system. This solution may be a bit more expensive than MIDI, but is also much more versatile.

  3. If you require only timing/ synchronization information, it is possible to do this without any additional hardware. Use a spare track/ channel on your drum machine, sequencer or DAW. Program a sharp, short, loud sound on this track. Set the volume for this channel as high as possible. Patch this signal to any clock input in the Make Noise System, the Wogglebug Clock IN, for example.

Will Make Noise products work with products from X modular synth company?

Make Noise modules are manufactured in Eurorack format and will be compatible with other Eurorack modules, and all Eurorack modules can sit alongside them in your case. Examples of other companies making Eurorack format modules include Harvestman, Intellijel, 4MS, Snazzy, and many more.

Other formats such as FRAC, MOTM, Synthesizers.com, Buchla, Serge, 5U, 4U, etc. have different sizes, power supplies, and expected voltage levels, and connecting multiple formats together is a bit tricky. Generally, modules of different formats will not sit together in one case, because they are different sizes and use different power supplies. As for patching them together, there are several types of patch cables. Eurorack uses 1/8" cables, others use 1/4" cables or banana cables. Adapter cables may be necessary to make the connection. It is also a good idea to check expected voltage levels between two formats to see if attenuation or scaling is necessary on one side or the other.
In general it is much easier to keep a system within a single format.

What is the difference between MATHS and a pair of Functions?

The Function is part of the MATHS family. It is similar to channel 1 or 4 of the MATHS. Here are the differences:

The Function has two gate outputs (end of rise, end of cycle) whereas there is only one available on a given MATHS channel. It also has positive and negative outputs available simultaneously. Additionally, the Function has a unique Hang input that allows it to be used as a track & hold or sample & hold. This feature is not available on MATHS. For these reasons, a pair of Functions is more powerful than just channels 1 and 4 of MATHS.

MATHS allows its four channels to be combined in various ways via the SUM and OR outputs. It's biggest strengths are in scaling, inverting, mixing and rectification of signals. Its function generators/slew limiters on channels 1 and 4 are slightly less full featured than those on the Function, as detailed above.

How do I connect 4 Pressure Points to my Brains?

It is not possible to connect more than 2 Pressure Points to a BRAINS. You may connect 1 or 2 Pressure Points to a BRAINS. Additional Pressure Points are still highly useful with the 2 Pressure Points/ BRAINS combo. For example, you could use another Pressure Points as a dedicated transport control for your BRAINS by patching it to the RUN/ Stop and DIRection control inputs. Furthermore, it is wonderful to have a non-sequential, non-clocked source of control in a system as it adds immediate, human expression.

I have connected a Brains to my Pressure Points, and the common gate output no longer works.

This is by design. If you had a combined gate out at last stage, then you would not be able to use that stage for patch programming the BRAINS. See the patch examples in BRAINS manual for reasons why this distinction is so important.
It is still possible to achieve the Combined Gate Out functionality when you have a BRAINS connected to your Pressure Points(s):

Mult your clock signal to achieve the combined gate out when running a sequence. Use the Touch-Gate Out when you manually play the Pressure Points.
Having the touch gate and clocked gate being exclusive lends itself to many uses.

To recap: when using the BRAINS with Pressure Points, the Pressure Combined Out is the same and the Gate Combined Out functionality is retained through use of T-Gate Out (on BRAINS) and Multing the incoming clock signal (while sequencing).

What is an Attenuverter?

It is an attenuator (aka Modulation Amount or Depth control) that has the added capability of being able to invert the control signal. It is useful when you want to modulate two destinations in opposite directions using the same control source. For example, you could create an LFO on the MATHS and patch it to modulate both the FM Bus parameter on the DPO and the and the PITCH parameter on the Echophon. Using the attenuvertors built into those modules, that one LFO could modulate the Pitch Shift UP (increasing pitch shift) while reducing the amount of FM (turning DOWN the depth of FM). There are also attenuvertors at the center of the MATHS module. These are useful for adding, subtracting and inverting control voltages, to create new control signals from existing control signals.

What is an Offset Generator?

It is a static DC voltage generator. An offset sits at one level unless manually changed.

On most Make Noise modules, each parameter has an Offset Generator (aka the Panel Control, usually a blue knob or grey knob) and CV Attenuator or Attenuvertor (aka Modulation Depth or Amount, usually a white knob). The Offset generator lets you manually set the value for a parameter while the CV IN (jack) combined with the CV Attenuator (or Attenuvertor) allows you to modulate from and around that manually set value.

There are a couple of modules where this arrangement is not used since it is either not applicable or some additional functionality is required. The Optomix, for example, has the CV Attenuator doubling as an Offset generator (aka Panel Control) when there is nothing patched to the associated CV IN. Another example is the middle channels (2 and 3) of the MATHS which generate offsets when there is nothing in their inputs.

Does my Phonogene have the latest firmware?

You can check this easily as follows:

  1. Record something into the buffer and start it playing, either forward or backward. Confirm that the EOS trigger fires at the end of each splice.

  2. Set Gene Size to 12:00. If EOS continues to fire, you have the latest firmware. If not, you have the original firmware. Contact your dealer for information about updating.

Does my TEMPI have the latest firmware?

TEMPI Rev31 powers up flashing BUTTON1,2,3,4 and 5.

For a short video demonstration and description of changes in this firmware, download the firmware update package at http://makenoisemusic.com/manuals/tempi31_firmware.zip

Does my 0-Coast have the latest firmware?

0-Coast 1.5.4 powers up with the following LED sequence: flash PGM_A, PGM_B and MIDI A Activity Windows on power up.

The update package is available at http://makenoisemusic.com/manuals/0coast_154update.zip

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