And I do imply something, by the best way. My second favourite factor concerning the Stega (after the delay) is the truth that it has an audio enter. It may be used not solely as an instrument, however as an impact. The delay sounds simply as candy on a guitar or vocals because it does on the synth itself. But it surely additionally might be an unimaginable overdrive. That I’m so in love with the saturated sounds you get by cranking up the Power and Exterior Fixed controls shouldn’t be too stunning. The preamp circuit is modeled partially after the EMS Synthi, which was additionally the inspiration for the Erica Synths SYNTRX, and I spilled numerous phrases fawning over that.
On this demo the Strega is getting used to course of a guitar, my voice and a dulcimer with no extra results:
The preamp can add a contact of heat and crunch to something you run via it, nevertheless it works finest with indicators which might be fairly sizzling to start out with. The Atomic Humbuckers on my Fender Toronado are sufficient to push it to full on distortion mode. Even with out an amp and straight into an audio interface it’s good for the rough-around-the-edges riffs of Guided by Voices and The Who.
The opposite factor you’ll in all probability discover instantly when wanting on the Strega is the sequence of gold squares and circles peppering the entrance. These are literally touchplates. When you can, and will, nonetheless use patch cables to design sounds, these pads offer you a uniquely tactile manner of manipulating your creations. The circle pads are sources and the squares are locations. Normally, the locations are fairly simple to determine since there are traces pointing to what they manipulate, however circles are more durable to decipher. They’ve unusual icons on them that seem like they had been ripped straight from a e book on the occult.
Principally, although, all of them introduce some stage of randomness or interference. All you do is lay one finger (or another conductive materials) on a circle, then one other finger on a sq. and immediately you’re altering the filter cutoff or the delay time. And, because it’s utilizing your physique as a bridge between these two factors, the quantity and high quality of that interference will likely be completely different for each particular person.
The Contact Bridges and Gateways are type of emblematic of the entire Strega idea. They beg you to actually poke, prod and discover. They dispense with the technical stuff and get straight to the managed chaos.
And “managed chaos” is certainly the easiest way to explain what comes out of the Strega. It’s a little bit of a cheerful accident machine, nevertheless it’s a lot simpler to recreate one thing you’ve patched up on it than, say, Moog’s Subharmonicon.
It’s clear that Strega was constructed with drones in thoughts. And it excels at them. You possibly can simply craft cinematic soundscapes which might be both disarmingly stunning or nightmarishly claustrophobic. In case your factor is scoring movies or video games, you’ll virtually definitely need what the Strega has. As you flip the Tones knob clockwise the gentle hum of the triangle wave turns into thicker and extra menacing. And the Activation Interference management (the unlabeled knob instantly above activation) introduces crackles, dropouts and different touches of unpredictability to the tone.
However, as a lot because the Strega looks like a drone machine, it’s able to rather more. For one, it’s not a giant leap from drones to monophonic pad sounds. When you join the gate out of a sequencer or keyboard to the Start and Finish on the Agitation circuit and run that to the Activation, then you could have an amp envelope that permits you to get the lengthy assault and launch instances that any good pad wants. You possibly can even get some easy synth string and organ sounds with the tone set to the correct place. Now clearly pads, strings and organs all demand polyphony, however you’ll be able to kinda faux it with the decay on the delay cranked up excessive.
All sounds on this brief demo monitor originate from the Strega. Some EQ and compression was added after the actual fact in Ableton Dwell:
Issues don’t cease there both. You possibly can even get easy bass and drum sounds. Now, simply since you can play a bass line on the Strega doesn’t imply it’s best to; the vary of bass tones is fairly restricted. However I’m fairly enamored with the percussive loops I used to be in a position to coax out of it. They’ve a unusual vibe about them that jogs my memory of the type of percussion sounds that Hainbach generates utilizing his large assortment of check gear.
However I believe the true energy of the Strega is unlocked whenever you mix its inside tones with these of an exterior instrument. For instance, you need to use a guitar to manage the playback of the Strega and mix the 2 sounds collectively to play a easy dreamy melody over a drone that reacts dynamically to your taking part in.
On this demo the enter of a guitar is getting used to drive the Strega synth engine earlier than finally being blended in to play on prime of the ensuing drone:
Issues get much more fascinating in case you have an instrument that has CV outputs, just like the Microfreak. This specific pairing was certainly one of my favorites. The considerably chilly, digital sounds of the Microfreak are warmed up properly by the Strega’s preamp and lo-fi delay. And the skinny single oscillator of the Strega advantages from being bolstered when taking part in in sync with the Microfreak. With the Mix knob cranked to full moist, the 2 devices get misplaced in one another and change into one thing fully new.
Right here the Microfreak is being performed via the Strega, whereas concurrently controlling it by way of CV:
The most important draw back to the Strega is certainly its worth. $599 isn’t prohibitively costly, nevertheless it’s in all probability a contact excessive contemplating its considerably restricted performance. There’s no MIDI, no keyboard, no sequencer. Out of the field Strega will make great noise and lovely drones, however you’re not gonna play something too melodic with out some extra gear. An apparent pairing could be Make Noise’s desktop sequencer, the $399 0-CTRL. The 2 have the identical kind issue, aesthetic and experimental strategy to music making. However something with CV out will do, like Arturia’s Keystep series. When you’re searching for one thing that may add MIDI and increase the sonic potentialities of the Strega, the $499 0-Coast would make sense.
Whereas the Make Noise gear isn’t low-cost, there may be positively an enchantment to sticking with its desktop ecosystem. You possibly can energy two gadgets from a single energy adapter and the 0-Coast, 0-CTRL and Strega had been all designed to enrich one another. Plus, they only look nice collectively.