Goals and values
We love electronic music instruments, and we love inventing/designing/building things. We dream of the instruments we would want to play, then we build them.
We care deeply about:
Sound quality and musicality
There is a canon of classic synthesizers that have defined how synths should feel and react, which sounds we should expect from them, and which pleasures they should give us. We know this canon, and while we are not interested in cloning designs from the past, we aim at reaching the bar this heritage has set.
We want our machines to produce sounds which are musically pleasant and meaningful – in the largest possible context. Not tailored to ephemeral trends.
The design process at Mutable Instruments has always followed the same pattern:
- Define a feature set.
- Build the most efficient circuit achieving this goal.
- Make use of any available resources left (gates, computing cycles, MCU peripherals) to bring extra features. This is how Anushri got its drum machine, the Shruthi its duophonic mode, or the MIDIpal so many creative apps.
We know the canon and have a good feeling about how things should be done, and from there we feel free to explore and bring back new sounds and features. We like formalizing mathematically what is happening in synths – be it at the signal or control level – abstract it, turn the concepts on their head and re-specialize them into new ideas. We are keeping a finger on the pulse of the academic research world.
We particularly care about embedded software quality and our products are extremely stable. More than 15 years writing demanding software – games/demos, language libraries, a mobile DAW, drivers or massive data analysis pipelines – have taught us how to easily navigate the layers of code that power a modern hardware synth. We code rigorously.
We are committed to releasing under open source licenses the code and schematics of everything we build, and we do not hesitate showing you what is happening under the hood. This is our way of saying “thank you” to all the DIYers from which we learnt the trade, and paving the way for a new generation. This is a guarantee of quality – we cannot just sweep things under the carpet when they are posted on github.
But more importantly, and this is the “Mutable” in “Mutable Instruments”, we want to give our users a chance to be more involved with their instruments – understand them, customize them, adapt them to what they want to express or how they intend to play them. Some choices have to be taken when releasing a product; but by giving you all the raw footage instead of just the director’s cut, we give you a chance to play an instrument even closer to the one of your dreams.
Olivier Gillet is responsible for Mutable Instruments’ product design and hardware/software engineering.
He earned in 2003 a M.Eng. from the ENST, one of France’s leading tech institute, and the same year a M.Sc. in artificial intelligence from University Pierre et Marie Curie. In 2007 he earned a Ph.D. in signal processing, after having developed and improved techniques to extract, transcribe, and recognize drum patterns from music recordings – some of which having recently begun to appear in DAWs.
Prior to starting Mutable Instruments, he implemented some of the massive user profile/logs mining backends that power services like Google AdWords or Last.fm.
Some of his earlier audio related projects include granulèse, a BeOS granular synthesis tool; Bhajis Loops, the first PalmOS DAW; and several module players/game audio engines for the Palm platform.
He owns or owned, plays or played the following gear: SH-101, RS-09, ESQ-1, S-612, S-2000, D-50, Evolver, JX-8P, Virus, TR-505, Drumtraks, and an ever-expanding Eurorack setup. His musical inspirations include: Broadcast, Pram, Stereolab, Jessica Bailiff, Sam Prekop, 95′s bristolian trip-hop, 94′s israeli psy-trance, 80′s british synth-pop, a healthy dose of carnatic music, and pretty much everything else that has or has not synths, ring-modulators or positive organs.
Frank Daniels, from Germany, handles the design and production of Mutable Instruments’ plexiglas cases, and some of the kit preparation.
Our contract manufacturers and assembly partners are located in Illinois, USA; and Normandy, France.
Olivier Gillet, Mutable instruments SARL 2011-2013. Except where otherwise noted, content on this site is licensed under a cc-by-sa 3.0 license.