Thoughts on Semi-Modular Synths vs. Eurorack – Part 4
Thoughts on Semi-Modular Synths vs. Eurorack – Part 4
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We are still in chapter 3 talking about sonic functionality and potential of semi modular synths, and about how much certain semi modular synths can contribute to our purely semi modular setup (compared to the legions of different and dedicated modules in the world of Eurorack). I mentioned Make Noise “Strega” in the last part: https://www.dev.rofilm-media.net/node/354. Today it´s all about Strega. How many and which kind of modules would Strega add to our collection of semi modular synths? Will it bring sonic potential outside the common mainstream VCOs, VCAs, ADSRs, VCFs etc.? And of course: can I use its modules individually to process external audio and CV? To make it short: Yes, it will. And yes, I can.
So, what is Strega then? Make Noise calls it “an audio alchemical experiment”. This term gives us a first hint of what we can expect. Yes, it´s a full-fledged semi modular mono synth, but it will take a while to get your head around its internal structure. The manual tells you a lot, but (intentionally?) not everything. And it has an inclination to using mystical/mysterious terminology (Gandalf couldn´t do it better): “To me it represents the auditory equivalent of an object left in the sea for decades: currents have smoothed its edges, colors have mutated, textures are softer.” (Alessandro Cortini about Strega – page 5 in the manual). Ah – thank you, I´ve got it now. By the way: Make Noise developed this synth in cooperation with Alessandro Cortini. Do you want more from the manual? You shall have it: “It is not important to fully understand the Strega itself.” (Gandalf talking about the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche, manual page 7). Or what about that: “Tonic Modulation Interference Combo Control: with nothing patched to Tonic Modulation Interference Input sets the amount of Interference from Time/Filter experiment.” Ah, yes! Experiment! If you start to think I didn´t like Strega you are mistaken – completely mistaken. I LOVE THIS THINGY! It fills a good deal of the gab in preternaturalness normally missing with semi modular synths, and its pure existence makes the world of semi modular synthesizers reach a good deal further up to the manifoldness of the Eurorack world.
Alright, let me talk about the modules and about details now. There are 4 main sections: The Tone Generator section, the Filter-Delay module (called “Time-Filter Experiment”), a kind of envelope generator called “Agitation Function Generator”, which can set to loop, and an input section/envelope follower. The Tone Generator section has the following patch points: 1V/Oct FM input, a general FM input, a triagle wave output and a subharmonic output. The controls knobs are: pitch (coarse and fine), modulation strength and interference strength (more about this “Interference” thing a bit later in this article).
The patch points of the Time-Filter Experiment are delay time/strength, mix CV in plus attenuvertor, cutoff (kind of) in plus attenuvertor, delay decay time CV in plus attenuvertor, and delay audio in. The control knobs are strength (coarse and fine), filter cutoff (kind of), and a kind of dry/wet mix.
The Algorithmic Function Generator (kind of envelope) has got an envelope beginn input CV jack, and envelope end input CV jack and a jack called “Agitation out” (kind of envelope out. The generated function can be looped. The controls are Speed and Angle.
The input area / envelope follower has got an external audio in jack (of course), a kind of amplifier CV in jack, an envelope foller CV out and a CV filter signal feedback jack. The controls are gain, and sent to filter.
Strega has an “Interference Signal Generator”. Which can interact with most of the parameters of this semi modular synth. The points in the signal flow, where this interaction can be applied are marked with a cross-like symbol on the front plate. The way this interference signal works is not at all always the same, but depends on to which values the other parameters of the synth (the ones which the interference actually isn´t applied to) are adjusted.
Instead of patch cables we can do a different kind of “patching”. That is what the touch plates are meant for. Round plates are outputs, square plates are destination. Touching an output plate and a destination plate at the same time works as if we had patched a cable between these two patch points. The player of the synth is the patch cable in this situation. This technique makes playing the synth life a lot easier and faster.¨
All in all we can say, that Strega delivers four quite uncommon and interesting modules to our semi modular setup, and delivers great life-act possibilities. And because of its audio input section Make Noise Strega can serve as a versatile FX machine as well.
For those who want to have a deeper look at the synth, here is the link to its manual: https://www.makenoisemusic.com/content/manuals/strega-manual.pdf
... to be continued
to part 1: https://www.dev.rofilm-media.net/node/336
to part 2: https://www.dev.rofilm-media.net/node/352
to part 3: https://www.dev.rofilm-media.net/node/354
to part 5: https://www.dev.rofilm-media.net/node/366
to part 6: https://www.dev.rofilm-media.net/node/375
to part 7: https://www.dev.rofilm-media.net/node/382
to part 8: https://www.dev.rofilm-media.net/node/387
to part 9: https://www.dev.rofilm-media.net/node/392