Make Noise XPO, a stereo analog prismatic oscillator with stereo PWM

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Make Noise XPO, a new stereo analog prismatic oscillator with pulse-width modulation, wave shaping, and vari-timbre in stereo. 

A few days ago Make Noise announced that it would be presenting a new product in a Perfect Circuit live stream. The first speculations arose quickly.

Now the new product is out of the bag. It’s a new module, the first release since 2019.

Make Noise XPO

Make Noise XPO

XPO or “Stereo Prismatic Oscillator” is a new 18HP voltage-controlled stereo analog oscillator with a unique, innovative feature set. According to Make Noise, it is designed to complement to its stereo filter QPAS.  During a sleepless night, Tony Rolando, chief developer of Make Noise, thought about how they could take stereo voicing even further after the QPAS, X-PAN…

The result is the XPO, which refers to the initial inspiration from the Oberheim OB-8’s voice panning circuit. Let’s start with the most essential the waveforms. It features sine, triangle, sawtooth, spike, and SUB mono outputs. Additionally, you get unique mono versions of all stereo waveforms via left output normalization.

That would be too easy for Tony Rolando if it stopped there. So he decided to make the shaper section in stereo as well, which became the main strength of this new stereo oscillator.

Stereo PWM, Stereo Vari-Timbre, Stereo Wave-Folding

XPO features different shapers allowing you to take your sound in different directions. It includes innovative stereo pulse-width modulation, stereo vari-timbre, and stereo wave folding. Both the vari-timbre and wavefolded outputs offer a center parameter adding additional timbre control.

Make Noise XPO module

For the Stereo Vari-Timbre function, Make Noise took inspiration from the early Buchla oscillators 158 and 258, allowing to crossfade between sine and saw. The developers, however, had difficulties with the stereo PWM and the center knob. So the decision was made to have a series of outputs that are not influenced by the center knob. So for example, you can FM the center for more rich sounds all while PWM remained clear of these harmonics. Sounds very wild.

For the stereo wave folding, they took over the circuit from the DPO oscillator. Further, you get a linear FM bus giving you voltage control over the FM depth and a normalization of the SUB to FM input. This makes easy growls possible. There is also a unique hard sync circuit as well as an exponential FM input with a dedicated attenuverter.

That’s not all. You can also modulate the left and right channels together or separately thanks to built-in normalization and attenuverters. This allows you to make the whole thing a step more complex. XPO gives you in total eleven simultaneous outputs, five mono outputs, and three stereo pairs. There are also two 1v/octave inputs for transposition, melody stacking, or even the richest FM tones.

Optimized Outputs

When it comes to the outputs, Make Noise didn’t leave anything to the standard either. Besides the classic sine, tri, saw, Tony Rolando added a less common spike waveshape that works great with BP filters as you can find in the QPAS. There is also a variation of the SUB waveshape from the STO.

The XPO looks like a fantastic stereo analog oscillator. They clearly show what is possible if you deal deeply with the topic of stereo. According to the motto: “how can we make this even more stereo”. That should be on a t-shirt. I think we’ll be hearing very intense, eye-opening sound demos soon. The feature set promises a lot. For me, the possibility of animating the shapers in the stereo field sounds like a killer function. Looking forward to hearing more demos.

Make Noise XPO will be available in mid-September, and the price is TBA. It will be in the range of the Mimeophon and QPAS modules. So probably around $400 USD.

More information here: Make Noise 

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1 Comment

  1. Is there a synth maker that makes uglier and more redundant nonsense that Make Noise? It’s rhetorical!

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