Make Noise Strega Review: Simple, Dirty And Interesting

In his latest Sonic Lab video, host Nick Batt takes an in-depth look at the Strega, a new analog synth created by Make Noise, in collaboration with synthesist Alessandro Cortini.

“It sounds quite simple, and is,” notes Batt, “but it also sounds pretty interesting, capable of some lovely atmospheric textures and dirty, imperfect sounds with degraded feedback.”

Topics covered:

00:00 Introduction and overview
02:54 Oscillator
05:21 Activation (VCA)
06:29 Delay and filter
11:32 Patch demo
14:53 Functio generator
17:15 Touch Plates
22:05 Conclusion

Pricing and Availability

The Strega is available now for $599.

If you’ve used the Make Noise Strega, leave a comment and share your thoughts on it!

32 thoughts on “Make Noise Strega Review: Simple, Dirty And Interesting

  1. Good video by Nick Batt. Nice synth by Make Noise! I swear by Make Noise modules! Their modules are like Swiss Army Knives…ie Maths!

  2. I suppose at the very least it is not as hideous as their other offerings, and Alessandro Cortini, in the words of Bill Murray is a “medium” talent.

  3. Make Noise front panels look like the stuff I used to doodle in the margins of my notebooks when I was bored out of my mind in middle school. Surely they can hire someone to help?

    1. Personally I love the overall build/format, I’m okay with the form factor, but the sound…the sound I do not like. IMO they missed the mark with the strega. Maybe next time. :/

    2. Their products routinely go out of stock everywhere and they can’t make them fast enough. But they should take zaphod of the internet’s graphic design advice, because his exclusion knows no bounds.

      1. Thanks for the insult, anonymous internet commenter. Do *you* think their graphics look good? I thought not.

        1. Actually, a couple of years ago I spoke Tony Rolando at a trade show and attempted to politely question the design and thematic choices in their synth designs and he was adamant that they are quite partial to them. The design is inspired by old schematic fonts and drawings. They are rather entrenched in it thus don’t expect any changes.

          However I find the sound more lacking than anything else yet they have their following. I wish them well.

        2. i was simply making the point that your comments are ALWAYS negative and exclusionary of other people’s ideas, styles, and preferences. then you doubled down and proved me right. i’m trying to figure out the nicest way to continually point this out to you and rabid bat without being banhammered, since you are the 2 people that REALLY sour my experience here by being unneccesarily critical and curmudgeonly towards LITERALLY EVERYTHING.

          1. Is your post intentionally ironic?
            The front panel seems, to me, really chaotic & difficult to decipher.
            & it really does have a notebook margin doodle appearance.
            I’m sure that was intentional, but it feels like a perfectly fine critique.
            Anyway, it sounds good.

          2. Yeah, you’re right Chris. The past year has been absolutely brutal in every single way and I really need a break from this little world. Thanks for the honesty.

    3. It’s always a little strange when anonymous Internet commenters second guess the design and business decisions of super successful Euro manufacturers.

      They’re always second guessing companies like Moog and Make Noise and Mutable Instruments – so everybody thinks that they’re either trolls or clueless.

      1. “Super” successful does not equate to good design and wonderful products, as niche product makers can still be relatively successful without necessarily meeting both criteria equally. Every company has the absolute right to make their products as they see fit, I personally find MN design choices a bit pretentious. However the comment section on boards such as this are designed by nature for enthusiast, musicians, hobbyist, and professionals to opine, clueless or otherwise.

        It is rather odd that someone with such strong views on makers and instruments such as yourself would be critical of others for voicing theirs.

        1. “It is rather odd that someone with such strong views on makers and instruments such as yourself would be critical of others for voicing theirs.”

          If you think pointing out that something is ‘ironic’ is too harsh, talk with your doctor to see if the Internet is right for you.

          When zaphod dismisses Make Noise panels as looking like high school doodling, or you dismiss the Strega panel as ‘pretentious’, it’s ironic, because you are both posing as arbiters of good taste. What’s more pretentious than that?

          Make Noise products are objectively useful, successful and influential – and you’re pretending that your opinion on what’s cool carries more weight than that.

          Your comments and zaphod’s would be a lot more insightful if you just said “I don’t like it.” That’s a valid opinion!

          1. If you could not decipher my critique as a personal view rather than a self imposed arbiter of good taste, then you sir are confused at large about much and it speaks of insecurities that are beyond my abilities to address. And good taste is not as subjective as you believe, to those whom do, they generally lack it.

            Furthermore, your endless muse about various manufacturers and their legitimacy in the marketplace, for which I have typically agreed with your assessment, reeks of the air which you confused my assessment for, and one last thing….

            I did not assign weight to my opinion, you did. And what can be more pretentious than defining commercial success as legitimacy…..would Behringer qualify? See, there is real irony there. I hope you learned something.

  4. I’ll admit I was skeptical of the Strega at first. The cost, aesthetic, sound, etc… but it’s honestly become one of my favorite synths I’ve ever owned. I get it: it’s not for everyone. But I love putting on headphones and getting lost in its sound world. It can sound really beautiful one second and then hugely agressive the next. I haven’t felt this in love since my Prophet-6, which could not be more different. Might not be for you, but I think it’s my favorite thing MN has created yet.

  5. On one hand, I’m glad that Make Noise exists, that they can put out genuinely original and creative modules, and that they’re successful enough to be able to stay true to their vision which includes their devices’ interface design.

    On the other hand, as a strictly personal opinion, I absolutely HATE that interface design. I find it (especially the typeface) very hard to read and the labels and layout painfully difficult to interpret, and hence wholly dysfunctional (again, just for me). I’ve lusted for at least 3 of their modules for years now, but even just trying to engage with them visually has given me a nauseating headache every time. Hence, I’ll never buy any of them.

    I’m sure the vast majority of their current customers love their design choices. What I fail to understand is why it would damage their finances or artistic vision if they opened up their market to others by ALSO releasing the exact same modules with an alternative faceplate that would make them more accessible to stupid old squares like myself.

    1. It’s funny. Of all the subgroups of music enthusiasts (guitar collectors, synth enthusiasts, etc) I’ve found the eurorack community to be one of sweetest and most inviting communities ever. So it’s surprising to me to see some of the negativity on here.

      Walker from make noise could not more helpful if you ever get lost with their devices. I’m sure I’ve driven him crazy with all my questions, but he always gets back to me the same day. They’re a small company and if you don’t like their designs, there are an infinite number of companies out there. But at least they’re trying to create something new and different—even if it’s indebted to Buchla/Moog/Serge.

      I wish I had a Strega when I was 16. Oh, and a prophet 5 and a SEM and CS-80!

      1. People hate the fonts. Nothing new here. Clearly, it is widespread enough it hurts sales. Also, the FR4 as a face plate aesthetic belongs on cheaper equipment IMO.

  6. I don’t get all the negative comments on their interface and typeface design. If you ever use any Make Noise module or instrument you instantly realize that their layout is highly ergonomically and allows for „blind“ operation after just a short time of practice. You might not get them from looking at them, but once you play them they flow instantly.

    1. Right?! It’s just like the grouchiest grouches to ever grouch. I personally enjoy the exploration and discovery of every module and synth, no matter the maker. If you don’t like the iconography, if you think it’s ‘hipster’ (who even uses that term in 2021?), I would recommend not buying it. But I feel like it’s unfair to make an assumption about any device/maker without having owned one of their units. I get it, though. I used to own a Metropolis. Sold it because of the menu diving. I watched the Metropolix demo and shuddered at the amount of menu layers they added. It looks like an amazing sequencer, but I know that it’s not for me given my experience with the pervious unit. Intellijel rules and how they made it for the same price blows my mind, but I personally prefer the immediacy of my RYK M185. I hope they sell a million Metropolix!

    2. same thoughts here… i think you get used very quickly to the knobs on your gear when you use it.
      Menuediving , shortcuts etc. are much more harder to handle…
      I don´t like the graphics on the MN-Modules/Boxes…i love them! 🙂
      but…i can understand people that don´t like the design.
      The Strega is anyway such a special sonically beast…so don´t mind the graphics.

  7. This looked and sounded like a great device from day 1, but the thing I don’t get is the price. Is it really better than a 0-coast? In terms of functionalities I’m skeptical. What else can you get on the market for 600 bucks? Lots of stuff.

    1. Oh, that’s a tough call. The 0-Coast is a more of a traditional synth, but it can produce drum sounds and some crazy FM-like tones with the overtone/multiply circuit. The Strega is different beast. It can go from beautiful and ethereal to swirling sheets of noise in a flash. I couldn’t part with either, but I will say the honeymoon has lasted longer with the Strega. If you are looking for a basic $600 synth, get something like a Minilogue. True bargain. Plenty of great stuff out there for $600, but they usually sound like synths that came out 40 years ago. The Argon and Cobalt are a bit more expensive, but seem really nice. Best advice: get the synth that matches the sounds you hear in your head.

  8. The only thing I dont like about their modules are their labeling why they call a VCA – Activation and so on…

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