There is no technical difficulty in the assembly itself: Step by step instructions are provided, the parts are relatively easy to identify, and the kit uses only big through-hole parts. However, the kit contains more than 300 parts, and any bad soldering joint or mix-up between two parts might take you to a painful troubleshooting session. It wouldn’t be wise to jump straight into DIY synths by building Anushri. We recommend beginners to start with a simpler kit (Some suggestions here) and if you are still unsure about their skills, a Shruthi. If you did not have any problem building your Shruthi-1, the Anushri build will go fine! But remember, work slowly and think twice before soldering anything.
All the decisions that have been taken during the design of this product (feature set, choice of processor, board design, part selection) were motivated by one goal: make it a synth that you can build and service yourself – eventually from scratch, with standard self-sourced parts. Because of these choices, the assembly of our products cannot be efficiently automated, and hand-assembly is the only way to go. Mutable Instruments cannot offer this service in a cost-effective way.
However, you might find someone willing to build one for you. You can browse a list of experienced builders willing to offer their services on the Mutable Instruments forums.
From VCO to VCA, the audio signal chain is fully analog; and the first two rows of front panel controls are directly interacting with the signal.
Digital is used in two places:
- In addition to the primary VCO, a modulation digital oscillator is also available. It can be used as a sync source, a FM source, or – if you have no concern with the analog purity of your signal chain – mixed with the VCO and sent to the filter.
- Envelopes and LFOs (the two lowest rows of controls) are digitally generated. This allows MIDI control, tempo synchronization, and is indeed a widespread design choice taken by other manufacturers. Anushri uses a high CV refresh rate and 12-bit resolution, which eliminates zipper noise and stepping problems.
The Shruthi uses digital oscillators and a digital modulation matrix; and the functions assigned to its four knobs are context-dependent. As a result, it can pack an amazing amount of synthesis capabilities in a small size and low part count, covering various synthesis types and offering extensive modulation options.
Anushri was designed with three very different goals in mind: keep the signal chain analog, use separate controls for all important synthesis parameters, and make it fun to use as an inspirational “groovebox”. Given these constraints, we had to get back to basics – it would have been impossible to pack the 2 LFOs, 2 envelopes, 2 oscillators and multiple synthesis techniques that the Shruthi-1 delivers in an all-analog board! As a result, Anushri’s sound palette is more limited; but what it does – leads, basses, and analog FX – it does it well and with character! There are areas indeed in which it actually beats the Shruthi-1 hands down: PWM, FM and hardsync sounds – not the easiest ones to emulate with digital oscillators!
Anushri’s sequencer is very direct: press rec, input notes step by step, press rec again when you are done, then press play to start. The Shruthi-1 sequencer has more options – in particular control values can be recorded at each step – but is not as immediate. Finally, Anushri’s secret weapon is the built-in drum section – rough in sound and unusual in interface, but very inspiring!
So if you want to know what it’s like to modulate the balance between two wavetable oscillators with a step sequencer, while sweeping filter resonance with a 25 Hz LFO, the Shruthi-1 is the right synth for you – a sound design beast. If you are looking for solid bass/leads analog sounds, record a 4 bars loop, fire up a kick drum and immediately start a microparty in your studio, Anushri is the better choice.
Anushri’s circuity was designed as an answer to the following question: “what’s the leanest, but accurate and honest, way of building an analog synth voice?”. No “cloning” happened and we did not have the 303 in mind. However, you might have noticed similarities on some demos, which we attribute to the following factors: Anushri’s built-in “fuzz” circuit immediately delivers the typical saturated/squelchy sound very frequently applied to the 303; furthermore, the filter 12dB/octave slope makes it more “nasal” than the widespread 24dB Moog style filters – with a loudness gain rather than loss when resonance is increased. Finally, Anushri’s sequencer is capable of slides/accents, which makes it good at looping acid patterns – not a 303 imitation but something able to play the same role – just like a MC-202 is often used as a different sounding substitute of the 303.
Oops! Thanks for pointing that to us! Honestly, we did not notice… If this is a problem to you, you can stick a tube inside your unit and pretend it’s a Metasonix product. Heck, it already has the right color!
We accept returns of goods in the same state as we shipped them (unopened bags of parts). We ship at no cost any part that could be missing or damaged from your kit. In the event you have damaged a part while assembling your kit, we can sell you a replacement.
However, it is your responsibility to ultimately get your kit to work.
In the event of an assembly error, we do not exchange or repair boards. We provide support through the Mutable Instruments forum. Very experienced DIYers are hanging out there and will be happy to join us to assist you.
If your question has not been answered here, you can:
- Check from user contributions on the Mutable Instruments wiki
- Join the Mutable Instruments’ forum and ask
- Contact us
Olivier Gillet, Mutable instruments SARL 2011-2017. Except where otherwise noted, content on this site is licensed under a cc-by-sa 3.0 license.