Sheep user manual

Overview

Sheep is an unofficial firmware for Mutable Instruments’ Tides which implements wavetable synthesis. This update completely replaces the stock firmware and turns Tides into a new module. It is not possible to run this firmware side by side with the original version – so it’s an either-or affair.

Sheep provides three banks of waveforms laid out in a 2D grid, with continuous interpolation between waves – think of it as the director’s cut (or dub version?) of Braids’ WMAP. The filter/wavefolder control is still available, for further filtering or distorting the sound of the raw waveforms. And obviously, you won’t need a VCA because of the LEVEL CV input!

Firmware upgrade procedure

Tides’ original firmware (right click and ‘save link as’)

Sheep firmware (right click and ‘save link as’)

Unplug all CV inputs/outputs from the module. Connect the output of your audio interface/sound card to the FM input. Power on your modular system with Tides’ mode switch (A) pressed. The 3 LEDs will blink, with a yellow color.

Make sure that no additional sound (such as email notification sounds, background music etc.) from your computer will be played during the procedure. Make sure that your speakers/monitors are not connected to your audio interface – the noises emitted during the procedure are aggressive and can harm your hearing. On non-studio audio equipment (for example the line output from a Desktop computer), you might have to turn up the volume to the maximum.

When you are all set, play the firmware update file into the module. The LEDs show a cyclic pattern and periodically flash green upon receiving a valid block of data. The unit reboots after the last packet has been received.

In case the signal level is too weak or too high, the procedure will stop and all 3 LEDs will be lit in red. Try adjusting the output level, press the mode button and retry from the start of the update file.

Hackers and modders will be happy to know that Tides can also be reprogrammed with a USB->serial adapter and stm32loader.py, and that the board has a mini-JTAG connector.

Differences with the original firmware

A. The mode switch is used to cycle through the 3 banks of waves. Green: additive harmonics (no phasing effect, little aliasing). Off: PWMish (that one can alias a bit more). Red: waves from Braids’ WMAP mode. Sheep does not provide any single cycle modes. Are sheep and wavetable oscillators an Agambenian form-of-life, caught, like the benedictine monk, in the cyclicity engendered by the rule?

E. F. The SHAPE/SLOPE knobs and CV inputs control the X and Y coordinates in the wave map.

9. By default, the CLOCK trigger input cycles through the 3 banks of waves. Hold the range selector button (B) until the range LED blinks to use it for synchronization/PLL just like in Tides’ original firmware (Check the Clocked/PLL mode section of the manual).

10. The HIGH TIDE output contains a low-fidelity (1-bit) version of the signal. Crrbrbrbshshsh!

11. The LOW TIDE output contains a -1 octave square sub oscillator.

12. The UNI and BI outputs contain the same signal, but UNI oscillates between 0V and 8V ; and BI between -5V and +5V.

Olivier Gillet, Mutable instruments SARL 2011-2016. Except where otherwise noted, content on this site is licensed under a cc-by-sa 3.0 license.