My favorite system until now is the MakeNoise Shared System. It’s a collection of legendary modules and some of them represent the best you can buy. For instance, it features the Maths function generator and the mighty Erbe-Verb reverb. Its characteristic organic sound comes from the DPO complex oscillator – but even more – from the musical Optomix low pass gate (LPG). This is a voltage controlled amplifier that changes its timbre (filter) as the volume dims, offering a woody and natural sound. But the DPO can also reap havoc and tear the paint from the ceiling.
The biggest disadvantage of the system is that it runs in mono. Well, not entirely, because the Erbe-Verb has stereo outputs and the Morphagene is a stereo sampler. There are two VCA’s, a two channel ring modulator and Maths offers four mixing paths. So patching a stereo sound requires multing a summed sound to the mono inputs of the Erbe-Verb and the Echophon. You can use Maths to pan the sound, but this all does not deserve the word ‘easy’. There always seems to be something mono in the way and I hate it. Mono just doesn’t do justice to the system as a whole and it sucks.
Fortunately, Make Noise is now switching to the development of full stereo modules like the QPAS filter, the X-PAN mixer/panner and the forthcoming Mimeophon (a kind of Echo-Verb). But all these new modules also mean you have to abandon some of the original Shared System modules, or start a new case. Taking out the Pressure Points analog memory with touch plates will give you 20HP new space. But you’ll lose a very powerful module, especially when you hooked it up with a Brains that turns PP in an analog sequencer. I think it’s still the #1 solution if you want to turn the Morphagene into a beatmaker because it requires ‘precision CV’ and this can be easily dialed in.
Exit WoggleBug, Tempi and Rene MK2
I chose to take out the Wogglebug random stuff generator and the excellent Rene MK2 sequencer, to give the Shared System a lot of new space. This finally allowed me to put in the Telharmonic sound module. The only sequencer capable of outperforming the Rene (and any other) is the Toolbox from 1010Music, offering gates, sequences, random stuff, tempo synced LFO’s, the ability to record and play CV and a neat SD card to save songs. And finally I just had to fit an X-PAN to add full stereo support.
I have to admit the new additions work very well. I also added an Endorphin.es AutoPilot to tune the DPO and the fixed FxDf filter which is very cool when you limit FM synthesis to a smaller frequency band – or send dimmed sounds to the Erbe-Verb. It’s a cheap and very cool little module that can have some serious sonic surprises. And it’s deprecated so get your hands on some old stock before they end up as collectors items.
I have to admit the 1010 Toolbox looks weird in a Shared System. It doesn’t belong there with its colorful little touch interface. So I followed the advice of the Rolling Stones and painted it black.
I also took the Morphagene out and put the old Phonogene back. The Morphagene is now part of a new case, with the help of the Wogglebug, Rene MK2, the Tempi and a second PressurePoints/Brains combo. I also fitted the Q-PAS. I use the 0-Coast, a ‘paint-it-black’ Noise Engineering BIA and the incredible Mysteron as sound sources. An Instruo Clouds clone provides the special effects. It’s absolutely wonderful to use the two cases in a shared set.