Make Noise XPO: Stereo Prismatic Oscillator with Vari-Timbre and Wavefolding
Make Noise has unveiled the XPO stereo oscillator, the perfect companion to the QPAS, X-PAN and Mimeophon as part of a stereo modular system.
It feels like this has been a long time coming. We first saw the X-PAN and QPAS stereo modules in 2019. According to the press release, Tony Rolando of Make Noise has been dreaming about pulse width modulation (don’t we all) ever since. In particular, he was impressed by the voice panning in the Oberheim OB8 and how PWM was used for waveform animation. This led him to thinking about stereo pulse width modulation and how that could feed into Make Noise’s existing stereo modules. To cut a long and fascinating journey short, we have the XPO stereo VCO.
So, the XPO is an analogue oscillator with eleven outputs. There are five outputs for the four individual waveforms and sub-oscillator in mono, and three stereo pairs. Everything else is all about the manipulation of waveshape and modulation in stereo.
You can start with three regular waveforms, the triangle, sine and sawtooth. Using Stereo Vari-Timbre which was based on the variable shape parameter on the ST0 VCO, you can push the sine and sawtooth waveforms through a Buchla-style crossfade to find pleasing combinations. Instead of a square wave, Make Noise has gone for a “Spike” which is a bit unusual but works great with a bandpass filter mode on the QPAS.
The DPO module already had stereo wave folding and so it was an obvious idea to bring that across to the XPO. It also allowed you to use a centre “Shape” parameter, which could modulate both sides of a stereo signal from one modulation.
The Stereo Pulse Width Modulation brings a lot of richness to the sound and was rewarded with it’s own output. This means you can easily use the stereo output with or without the Stereo PWM.
Throughout the module you can modulate the left and right channels together or separately with centre parameters available on the Vari-Timbre and Wavefolder. Completing the module is the good old FM and Sync inputs, and a pair of 1v/oct inputs helps with transposition or melody stacking.
Exploring the front panel
As usual with Make Noise modules the front panel is an adventure all by itself. The scattering of icons and arrows can be a bit baffling, but as it goes, the XPO seems relatively straightforward. It’s distinctively Make Noise in style and would sit nicely next to the QPAS, and other Make Noise modules.
Here’s the launch video where Tony goes into all the details behind the XPO.
Stereo signals in Eurorack are a bit commitment. It means having to process parallel lines of audio. Which means outside of the few stereo modules, you have to have two of everything else. It makes complete sense for Make Noise to produce something that will use their existing stereo modules. But to get the best out of XPO, you’ll need those modules. Price hasn’t been announced yet but we should see the module at the end of September.
There’s a forthcoming video demonstrating the sounds of the XPO, which is premiering on Wednesday 20th July at 12pm EST.
Prismatic? Where did that come from?
It’s a Make-Noiseism
At best, underwhelming product announcement so far.
In my opinion if you have DPO you don’t have to buy this module