A little heads up - what's next at Mutable Instruments
  • After careful considerations, I have decided to progressively ramp down the production of most of Mutable Instruments’ DIY line.

    The reasons

    • Some of these products are getting old and/or are not as successful as I thought they would be, and it doesn’t make much sense to keep them in inventory when only a couple units are sold in a month – while their cost has been decided at a time they were produced in batches of 100s.
    • There’s little overlap in the way Mutable Instruments’ as a maker of modules, and Mutable Instruments’ as a maker of DIY kits operate; to the point that it really feels like I’m running two companies; dealing with two groups of suppliers, two ways of managing accounting or keeping track of stock etc. Some decisions related to growth (small things like formalizing procedures through software, or big things like relocating or hiring…) can’t really be done in a way that would serve both missions. I have reached a size at which a choice must be made, and the ratio of things I like to do / annoyances is lower when it comes to the kit business.
    • I no longer agree with some of the design decisions (be they aesthetic or technical) defining these products. It just feels wrong to me to sell products I would not personally buy.
    • I’d like to explore a few (non-music and/or non-electronics and/or non-DIY) projects and I badly need to make room in my life for that.

    The consequences

    I do not plan to produce new batches of the following products:

    • MIDIpal. There are currently 55 units left in stock. I’m keeping a small stash to serve warranty requests. As time passes, I’ll get rid of them (without warranty).
    • Shruthi XT kits. There are currently about 50 kits left in stock.
    • Anushri (as a kit and as a PCB set). There are currently about 100 kits left in stock. I only have 40 Euro panel sets, so I might do a small run of them to prevent the last kits from being sold naked.
    • Shruthi filter boards. I have in stock (or on order for the Polivoks and Yellow magic) about 50 pairs of filter boards. The digital filter board is already out of production.
    • Ambika (as a kit and as bare PCBs). I currently have 50 kits being sorted, which will be available as a bundle with Adrian’s case in november or early december. I still have a big stash of PCBs – so this one will take more time to disappear.

    I do plan to produce new batches of the following products:

    • Shruthi kit. There’s really nothing quite like this little beast. I might narrow it down to one or two flavors (like vanilla = kit+plexi case and vanilla-caramel-choco-chips-cookie-dough = 4PM kit + metal case).

    The fate of the following products is unknown:

    • CVpal.
    • Module tester.

    This forum will continue to exist of course!

    And after that?

    Some of you might want to organize mini-runs of PCBs on this forum to keep one of these products alive – just as it has been done for the sidekick. I’m fine with that, but obviously I won’t provide any support. Keeping the DIY line alive through a commercial initiative is something that requires more thought. If this happens, and I am currently exploring several paths for this to happen, this has to be done in a way that does not involve the Mutable Instruments name, or only as a sort of quote or tribute.

  • The business is yours to do as you feel necessary, and I appreciate you sharing your insights with the forum. I’m also not surprised you are going in this direction, it seems like the only way to really grow your business and make a nice living for yourself and your family.

    Randy

  • Can we keep the forum? ;)

  • “This forum will continue to exist of course!”

  • Good open-source products, whether they are software or hardware, or both as in the case of the Mutable Instruments products, never completely die. They persist as spores in cloned Git repositories forever, and someone, somewhere, will always be bringing one of them back to life.

  • Can’t say that I’m surprised, but I guess my resistance to change and fun times in past makes me a bit nostalgic. That said, I think and hope that this move gives you more time and space to pursue the modular stuff, other interests and gives you time for your family.

    At any rate, thanks for the fun times and the DIY products you brought to the table! I hope and trust some great modular goodness will see continue to see the light of day :)

  • “I have reached a size at which a choice must be made”

    Which in itself is something you should be very proud and happy about !

    With the Sidekick as an example, you’ve seen that your designs won’t die, even if you stop selling the PCBs etc. yourself. So the choice should not be seen as too hard, especially if you keep the forum going (thanks for that !).

  • Good decision!
    Long live Mutable Instruments.. Can we throw a goodbye party?

  • Can´t say I am surprised.

    I think this is good for Olivier and, in the end for all of us too in a way.

    I love that the Shruthi will live on, and I imagine there will be exciting new (maybe non-DIY) MI products down the pipeline that will take up all the time MI spent on supporting the DIY side of the business.

    And I personally appreciate Pichenette´s openness on his future decisions.

  • @shiftr A “Goodbye DIY” song compo?

  • Well, there is no goodbye, the Shruthi lives on!

  • There is more than enough of a critical mass of heads to keep this going for a long time.

  • Yes i’m sure this will live for a long time! And hopefully it will even grow as there are still new filter boards being developed.
    But we can have a party anyway :) song compo sounds good! I hope to finally participate in one.

  • I’m not going to run any compo this time. Or maybe a modular noodle compo…

  • I’d be very up for a modular noodle compo… Maybe it’s nice for around christmas time.

  • Exciting times, indeed. Despite the shift in focus, I think this is a testament to Olivier’s hard work and dedication to his mission. The shruthi-1 lives on, as it should – quite a unique and amazing synth. The modular side of MI has been taking the world by storm, so it makes sense to focus the efforts there. I think we, as friends and consumers, will only benefit from this. Plus, there are so many helpful users here who can help with the troubleshooting of kits and DIY stuff. I know I appreciate it! Good luck, Olivier, I’m glad to be an observer during this moment of transition.

    p.s. A modular noodle competition closer to Christmas would be cool. I should have enough modules in my modest case by then (and maybe even a clue about what to do with them)!

  • To me, very sad. I found MI from searches for DIY synths and have really enjoyed that aspect. Not being a Eurorack guy, there is not too much left for me :(

  • I knew this was coming for some time.

    The tipping point for me to officially recognize when the DIY would be limited was when someone replaced their diodes with “equivalent” wire.

    I think the two Shruthi kits are a good idea. I say cut it back to just the 4PM personally.

    I am very excited for the new projects. I can’t wait to see that new synth you hinted at in an interview earlier this year.

  • The end of an era and the beginning of a new one. I glad I took the plunge into DIY when I did and I am glad I hopped on the modular train. I’m sure this will continue to be a great DIY forum. Just ordered my last two Ambika filter boards.

  • I totally get this change, especially the business aspect. It’s quite clear that Olivier have made MI a well deserved success. From my egotistical perspective it’s a bit sad, since I’m not into modular stuff. I love the Ambika. Good to hear that the Shruthi will live on.

  • If you like synths, then it’s really not possible to not be into modular stuff. The only possibility is that you’re not yet into modular stuff. ;)

  • @pichenettes: presumably you will be continuing to maintain the firmware for all the products mentioned above, but won’t be adding any new features or capabilities? By “maintain” I mean bug fixes, which I imagine would be few and far between. There’s very little or no room for extra features in any case – the flash storage for most of the DIY products is essentially full, by design.

  • Yes, I’ll continue fixing bugs… There aren’t many left I presume :)

  • One other thing to consider at some stage might be including the build instruction for the various products in their respective GitHub repositories. Or at least ensure that all those DIY build resources are available as historical archives from the MI web site. The BOM lists are probably the most fragile or ephemeral elements, subject to the vagaries of suppliers etc. It might be worth starting some sticky or permanent threads on this forum to facilitate maintenance of the BOMs as a community effort.

  • Okay. The race is on to sell some stuff so I can finally afford the Ambika I’ve been dreaming of…

  • Understandable :)

    1 question though if I may. If the Shruthi essentially lives on, does that also mean we’ll still be able to buy the controller PCB’s and programmed chips from your store for the foreseeable future?
    (I ask, as i’ve been hoarding/building various filter boards..)

  • > does that also mean we’ll still be able to buy the controller PCB’s and programmed chips from your store for the foreseeable future?

    No, sorry. I want to keep it simple to the point that I buy all parts, PCB, chips at the same time – by 250 – not the kind of awful staggered pattern I have today between cases, accessory packs, PCBs, chips, and kits. And that shipping an order is just picking the right box from the shelf in which everything will be neatly arranged and sticking a DHL label on it. I really want the product to continue to exist, but in the least obtrusive way.

  • ^ Understood. So as you might perhaps have noticed, I just placed an order for a couple of each just now. That should keep me covered for a while..
    Thanks Olivier :)

  • Would there be a point in “devolving” the Shruthi firmware so as to take some space back from the XT´s features and use it for the plain Shruthi, seeing as there would be essentially no more official XT´s?

    I mean stuff like the performance page etc. that did not make it to firmwares >1.00

  • I can’t help feeling a bit sad about this announcement, I have to say. I can’t say I’m surprised, however. The writing has been on the wall for MI’s DIY line of products for some time, and Olivier has been dropping some none-too-subtle hints to that effect for several years now. I’m sure this all makes perfect business sense. From my own point of view, I’d love to collect the whole set of MI Euro modules. That’s not going to happen, however, simply because, though reasonably priced compared to other modules in Euroland, they’re too expensive for me. I’m sure I’m not the only one in this position. I’m equally sure Olivier will find plenty of people with more disposable income than myself who will snap up everything he turns out. The sad thing is that most of these buyers will be passive consumers, with no involvement in the development of these no doubt fine products.

    a|x

  • > I mean stuff like the performance page etc. that did not make it to firmwares >1.00

    Performance page was removed to save legato/portamento & arpeggiator settings with a patch. This has nothing to do with XT.

    If I’ve removed stuff from version < 1.0, it’s not because of the XT code (which takes almost nothing in terms of program memory). It’s because it was broken, or caused something else to be broken, or got in the way of fixing something which was broken.

  • After reading about Olivier’s realisation that the compromises to make the Ambika DIY-friendly ensured it wouldn’t be viable as a finished, commercial product I’ve been waiting for this for a while. I think it’s a sensible decision and I really look forward to what Mutable has on the horizon. All I can say is personally is that it’s been an amazing ride so far and I’ve been glad to have been along for part of it.

    Thanks to open-source and the healthy third-party support for the Shruthi/Ambika platforms (looking at you in particular Frank, Andre and Adrian) I’m sure they will live on for a long time…

  • I can’t pretend I am not sad to lose the ambika. It is by far my favourite synth and I will have to scrounge some cash to buy up extra filter boards while I still can. That being said as others have mentioned I am sure they will live in with community based PCB runs etc.

    I can totally understand your reasons for this move and am incredibly impressed that you would be so transparent as to explain here.

    Good luck with it. Looking forward to seeing (and playing with) what the future holds for mutable instruments.

  • I wish you the best of success in whatever direction you take. I suspect that you will do well.

    From the DIY perspective I can’t thank you enough for sharing your knowledge, and with such patience. I have learned so much from studying your designs. Much respect.

  • onwards and upwards! Done It Yourself :)

  • Good luck! Sounds like a logical, sensible and healthy path forward. I’m a bit relieved to hear it actually — I’ve been worried that you’ve been burning the candle at both ends for too long. Ultreya!

  • Hey, remember me? I built one of the first ShruTis (not ShruTHis)! I was referred by the great Todd Bailey, of WTPA sampler fame.
    The Shruti was one of the first SDIY projects I completed where I had to create my own enclosure (there were none available, at that time). Without this project, I may have never been inspired to learn how to create something, completely from scratch. Thanks, Oliver!

    By the way, this is the ultimate realization of almost every DIY project curator/creator. Success is great when and if it comes, but the DIY game is just so laborious. Your assembled modules are innovative and highly sought-after. Sticking to those (and pursuing whatever else you want to do) is a great idea.

  • (by the way) Todd says WPTA2 will definitely happen before christmas. This year!

  • @shiftr I´ll believe that when I see it!

  • yea ditto!

  • If you believe that, I have this bridge to sell you…

  • sounds like a logical decision to me.
    .. and i can only just imagine, what you will do with the extra time for r&d you get that way. hopefully you will get also more time for yourself.
    i hope mi products will stay open source.

    thanks for all your work. live has been great fun since i built my first shruthi as an introduction to sdiy.

  • I’m sure Olivier’s announcement has gladdened the heart, and rightly so, of Mrs Mutable (who has been mentioned previously as resident song critic at Mutable Manor, IIRC).

  • The deadline for Mrs Mutable’s doctoral dissertation is in 2 days. I am super heavily involved as a proof-reader and more generally as a walking full-text index of some of the works she’s been studying. The first thing I’ll do after that is sleep.

  • Bonne chance à Mme Mutable pour sa défense! I hope for her sake (and yours as the index) that she is not studying Proust… (or Lacan, or Derrida, or…[insert list of obscurely-wordy Frenchpeople of your choice]).

  • No Proust, and only small doses of Lacan. As for Derrida, the SNR is abysmal but there’s some signal for sure… she can’t complain anyway because her advisor is one of the translators…

  • Well, Lacan and Derrida were safe guesses! My favourite Derrida aphorism, which is probably apocryphal (all the best ones are): “I don’t talk to journalists any more, because every interview I have ever done has resulted in a catastrophe of oversimplification.”

    Obligatory at this juncture:

    I’m in love with Jacques Derrida
    Read a page and know I need to
    Take apart my baby’s heart

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pNNbJ04167I

    I have found this to be of assistance in reconstruction efforts:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C4qVS6GrmRc

  • I’m always amazed how everything is transparent at MI, even the business decisions are explained clearly. It makes perfect sense of course, and like many people here, I want to thank you Olivier for all the work that, I believe, inspired a lot of non DIYers to enter this wonderful world and to be actor rather than just consumers! The Shruthi was my first hardware ever, and I learned so much since!
    Well, that clearly put an end to my Ambika dream (It would be really difficult for me to source, etch and do everything on my own, and I clearly won’t have enough funds for the goodbye kits in december), but I am really happy the Shruthi lives on! If one should be kept, it is this little beast!

  • Just a word to say thanks to Olivier, I still use my Shruthis, Anushris, and for the first, I look forward to builts others for friends. DIY became important in my life :)

    Denis

  • Is all of this happening with immediate effect when the shop re-opens, or will the discontinued stock be around until it runs out? I only found out about your instruments recently, and I’d been thinking of building a Shruthi from the bare board and using the TubeOhm ladder filter with it. Will it be full kit only when the shop opens again?

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