Shruthi User manual

Note: this manual documents versions v0.96 to v0.98 of the firmware. The firmware v1.00, introduced with the Shruthi XT, is documented here.

Getting started

Overview

Let us familiarize ourselves with the Shruthi:

(Yours is probably not beige)

  • The LCD display D shows, most of the time, the 4 parameters that can be directly edited with the potentiometers. In some other circumstances, it might display a confirmation messages, the content of a sequence, etc.
  • The clickable encoder E can be used to navigate between parameters/pages, or to step through the values of a parameter.
  • The four potentiometers P modify synthesis parameters, in relation to the selection of parameters shown on the display.
  • The 8 LEDs L1...L8 provide complementary information as to which editing page is active.
  • The 6 switches S facilitate navigation between pages. The switches S1 to S4 are used to cycle between groups of related pages ; S5 is used to switch between the synthesis pages and the sequencer/system pages ; and S6 is used to bring the load/save page to save or recall a patch, a sequence, or the system settings.

The following connectors are available on the rear panel:

  • 1: 2.1mm DC power jack. The Shruthi can be powered with a 7.5V-9V unregulated supply, or with a 9V battery adapter. Make sure that the connector has a center pin (or tip) positive / outer collar (or sleeve) negative pin polarity. Most universal power supplies allows the polarity to be selected — the polarity being often represented by a diagram like this: – (o +, or by the indication tip: +. The power supply has a reverse polarity protection and can handle voltages up to 15V. Note that VCF/VCA boards distributed by third parties might not follow these specifications and have different power supply requirements.
  • 2: MIDI in. This input should be connected to the MIDI out port of a sound card, master keyboard, sequencer…
  • 3: MIDI out. This output can be used as a MIDI thru, but also to transmit the notes generated by the Shruthi’s internal sequencer, backup data, or for polychaining units.
  • 4: Line-level, mono audio output.
  • 5: Line-level, mono audio input. Note that the external audio signal flows through the VCF and the VCA – you won’t hear anything until a note or sequence is played by the Shruthi to “open” the VCA.

Depending on how you have assembled the analog board, a global power on/off switch and gain pots for the audio input/output might be available too — on the rear panel, on the sides, or on the front panel.

Controls and navigation

Pages

The Shruthi parameters are edited by blocks of four (one per potentiometer). A set of four related parameters are grouped together on a page. For example, the Filter page will assign the four following functions to the four potentiometers: filter cutoff, filter resonance, envelope->filter modulation, LFO->filter modulation. The LEDs L1 to L6 display the currently active page. Moreover, the LCD display is constantly showing which knob does what in the current page. For example, if the filter page is active, the display will show:

 Cut res env lfo
 110   0  10   0

The Shruthi features 18 pages of parameters — hence the page/navigation is a bit more complex than on its predecessor!

Just like on the Shruti, pages are bundled together in groups, and repeatedly pressing one of the group switches cycles between the different pages in this group. But now, pages are also grouped into two large categories: one category contains all the pages related to sound synthesis — the ones you’ll navigate in when creating a sound — and another category contains all the pages related to sequencing and to system settings. The switch S5 is used to toggle between the two categories. When the synthesis category is active, the LED on top of S5 is lit. When the sequencer category is active, this LED is not lit. The switches S1, S2, S3 and S4 cycle through different groups of pages as shown on this diagram:

The upper list shows the pages in the synthesis category accessible from each switch, the lower list shows the pages in the sequencer category. L7 indicates which page category is active, and the leds L1-L6 show which page is active.

Here’s an example. The Shruthi displays:

 Cut res env lfo
 110   0  10   0

L7 is lit (synthesis category) and L3 is lit: the filter page is active.

Press S1 to jump into the oscillators group. L1 is lit, and the LCD is now displaying:

 Sha prm rng sub
 saw   0   0 tr1

Press S1 again to move to the next page in the oscillators group. L2 is now lit, the LCD is displaying:

 Sha prm rng tun
 squ  16 -12  12

Now press S5 to switch to the sequencer category. L7 is now off, L1 is lit. The active page is the clock page:

 Mod bpm gro amt
 stp 120 swi   0

Press S5 again to get back to the synthesis category. L7 is on, and you are back to the oscillator 2 page.

Editing

When a page is active, a summary of the four parameters modified by each potentiometer is displayed on screen. While tweaking a potentiometer, the full parameter name, its value, and the page name, are temporarily displayed on the screen:

filter
cutoff        89

After a short delay, the four parameters page summary is shown again.

Using the encoder.

When the Shruthi is displaying a page summary, the rotary encoder can be used to scroll through the parameters. The name of the active parameter is capitalized. For example, resonance is here the active parameter:

 cut Res env lfo
 110   0  10   0

Rotate the encoder clockwise to make env the active parameter, rotate the encoder counter-clockwise to make cut the active parameter. If you continue rotating the encoder clockwise for several steps, the next page, env 1, will be shown, and its first parameter, atk, will become selected. Once a parameter is selected, click the encoder to edit it. The encoder is now used to increment/decrement the parameter value. Once the value has been set, click on the encoder again to move back to the 4 parameter summary.

Note that potentiometer and encoder editing can be combined. For example, use a potentiometer to quickly adjust a parameter, and then, while the parameter name is still displayed on the screen, use the encoder to fine-tune it.

A last trick: if you hold S6 while rotating the encoder, it will increment/decrement by 10 instead of 1. This is particularly useful for browsing long lists of patches…

That’s all you need to know about the pages/navigation system!

Display status symbols

The Shruthi sometimes flashes a symbol on the first line of the LCD display to signal incoming MIDI messages or the completion of specific commands.

Symbol Status
(note icon) A Note On MIDI message has been received
(pitch bend lever icon) A pitch bend message has been received
~ A control change message has been received
! The Shruthi is busy accessing memory – this can interrupt sound generation
x The patch has been reset to initial settings
? The patch has been randomized
> Patch or sequence SysEx data is being sent
+ Patch or sequence SysEx data has been successfully received
# The Shruthi has received invalid SysEx data (for example a SysEx message intended for another device)
* A Note On MIDI message has been received and has been interpreted as a trigger

Reference

The section describes one by one all the parameters accessible on the synthesis and sequencer pages.

Synthesis

Before digging into the pages details, here is a diagram of the Shruthi signal flow.

The audio signal flow is represented in red (digital path) and then in orange (analog path):

  • The oscillators 1 and 2 generate digital waveforms, which are combined together by the modulator. The default modulator is a balance control over the level of the two oscillators, but more esoteric modulation methods are available.
  • The sub-oscillator (which is synchronized in pitch with the oscillator 1, but 1 octave lower) also generates a basic waveform.
  • The click generator generates a short transient/click at the beginning of the note. Note that the sub-oscillator and the click generator cannot be used at the same time. It’s bassy-beefy or clicky, not both.
  • The output of the modulator, the sub-oscillator/click-generator and some additional noise are mixed together. You can adjust the balance of each ingredient.
  • The result is converted into a pseudo analog (10 MHz / 1bit) audio signal, and mixed “electrically” with an external signal coming from the Audio in jack.
  • The result is then sent to an analog VCF and VCA, to produce the final audio signal. Note that the signal flow of this section depends on the signal processing board. Some boards might include an additional CV-controlled waveshapper, FX section, additional filter, etc. at different stages of the analog path. Some boards might not even offer a VCF.

Each of these modules have parameters (represented by the blue arrows) which can be controlled by any of the modulation sources listed below. However, some connections are already “hardwired” (or rather “softwired” in the firmware):

  • The oscillators’ pitch always track the note played on the keyboard. However, this can be disabled by applying a negative modulation (amount: -63) from note pitch to oscillator pitch.
  • The filter cutoff frequency always tracks the note. Again, this can be disabled or attenuated by applying a negative modulation from note pitch to cutoff frequency. The rationale behind this choice is that most of the time, you want 1:1 tracking, so this frees up a slot in the modulation matrix for something more interesting!
  • Lfo 2 and Envelope 1 are always connected to the filter, their modulation amount being controlled by dedicated parameters on the filter page.

The following routing programmed in the init patch:

Source Destination Amount
Lfo 1 Oscillator 1 coarse pitch 0
Lfo 1 Oscillator 2 coarse pitch 0
Lfo 2 Oscillator 1 PWM 0
Lfo 2 Oscillator 2 PWM 0
Lfo 2 Oscillators balance 0
Step sequencer Oscillators balance 0
CV 1 Oscillator 1 PWM 0
CV 2 Oscillator 2 PWM 0
Envelope 2 VCA gain 100%
Velocity VCA gain 25%
Bender Oscillator 1+2 fine pitch 2 semitones
LFO Oscillator 1+2 fine pitch (vibrato) 2 semitones

Oscillator 1

 Sha prm rng sub
 saw   0   0 sq1

  • sha (shape): Oscillator 1 waveform shape.
  • prm (parameter): Oscillator 1 parameter. This changes the timbre of the generated waveform, in a waveform-specific way (see below).
  • rng (range): Oscillator 1 pitch, from -24 semitones to 24 semitones (relative the pitch of the MIDI note).
  • sub (subosc): Sub-oscillator shape (see below).

The following is a list of all the available waveforms, with some applications and a description of what adjusting the parameter setting actually does.

none: Silence

This simply switches off the oscillator. This might be useful for filtering/gating external signals, or to temporarily mute an oscillator when editing a patch.

saw: Sawtooth

This waveform is perfect for basses and brass sounds. The parameter controls the waveshapping – when its value is increased, an increasingly large section of the waveform is shifted up. Note that this is not intended to be a perfect, drawn with a ruler, sawtooth. It contains a bit of high-pass filtering to make it sound more Juno-y. This waveform is band-limited. Thus, only a limited amount of aliasing artifacts will be heard when playing high-pitched notes.

square: Square wave

The parameter controls the pulse-width. This waveform is perfect for simulating a clarinet, for basses, “hollow” sounds or Depeche Mode-like leads. Note that this is not intended to be a perfect, drawn with a ruler, square wave. It contains a bit of high-pass filtering to make it sound more Juno-y. This waveform is band-limited and only a limited amount aliasing will be heard when playing high-pitched notes.

Note that there’s a slight difference in sound when moving the parameter from 0 to 1. To offer the best sound quality, the pulse width = 50% flavor is read straight from a wavetable at full sample rate, while the pulse width > 50% flavor is obtained from two dephased sawtooth waves, evaluated at half the sample rate. For bass sounds, for which aliasing is not going to be a problem, it is recommended to use pwm instead of square to get a beefier sound.

triang: Triangle

A pure waveform, which serves as a good basis for flute or soundchip-like leads. The parameter controls some kind of waveshapping, clipping the bottom of the waveform. This waveform is band-limited and will still sound fine above C5.

zsaw: Phase-distortion sawtooth with filter sweep

This waveform uses phase distortion to recreate a low-pass filtered sawtooth by progressively “pinching” the phase of a sine wave. The parameter controls the brightness of the sound: from a sine wave to a sawtooth, then from a sawtooth to a sawtooth gone through an ugly transistor amp. Good for dirty bass guitar sounds or clavinets.

zreso: Phase-distortion sawtooth with resonant filter sweep

This waveform uses phase distortion to recreate a sawtooth sent through a low-pass filter with high resonance. The parameter controls the resonance frequency. Useful for doubly-filtered sounds, formants, or anything where its synthetic, cheesy, feel will shine.

ztri: Phase-distortion resonant triangle monster

This thing is hard to describe and must be experienced. It sounds like a resonant filter sweep, but has a very hollow, synthetic quality. It may or may not have been in the Casio CZ-101. This waveform is likely to result in whacky sounds, vaguely evoking hardsync.

zpulse: Phase-distortion trapezoidal creature

Yet another waveform that makes little sense. When the parameter is set to 0, it sounds like a fat superposition of a square wave and a sawtooth. Sweeping the parameter value progressively increases what sounds like the resonance of an odd, goofily saturated analogue filter.

zsync: Phase-distortion/self-sync trick

You know the trick: one oscillator playing a low-frequency square wave and another oscillator a higher-frequency sine wave, the first one resetting the phase of the second… and the two of them sent into a ring-modulator! Now roll this into one single sound generator, the parameter of which controls the frequency ratio of the two oscillators: we call it zsync… The resulting sound is close to a Jew’s harp or Morsing – band-passey and formantey.

pad: Stack of 4 detuned sawtooth waves

As the name implies, this waveform made of four stacked sawtooth waves is useful for pads (when a copious amount of filtering is applied) or for harsh trance leads. The parameter controls the amount of detuning between the four waves. Note that no bandlimiting is happening here, so this thing doesn’t sound quite good above C5… but it’s doing a perfect job in the bass range!

fm: Minimal 2-operators FM

The parameter controls the modulation strength. This oscillator provides the base material for metallic sounds, bells, metallophones, or the next 386 DX hit.

When the fm oscillator is selected, the range parameter plays a slightly different role than usual: instead of controlling the main pitch of the note, it controls the modulator frequency, and has a drastic impact on the timbre.

waves, tampur, digitl, metall, bowed, slap, organ, male: wavetables, wavetables, wavetables!

All these waveforms are wavetables, comprising 16 single-cycle waveforms. The parameter scans the wavetable, smoothly interpolating between each waveform. Some of these tables are “transwaves”: the single cycle waveforms were extracted from different “stages” of a sample, and you can somehow recreate the original sample by using an envelope that will sweep the parameter from 0 to 127.

waves are 16 basic waveforms, or rather two series of 8 basic waveforms: waveforms 9-16 are one octave higher.

tampur is a transwave extracted from a looped Tampura note.

digitl is a PPG-wave classic.

metall is made from single cycle waveforms extracted from classic D50 patches.

bowed is a transwave extracted from cello sounds.

slap is a transwave extracted from an SQ-80 slap bass patch.

organ contains 16 different mixtures of pure tones, ready for some “Light my fire” action.

male is another PPG-wave classic, it sounds vaguely like a human male voice.

user: user wavetable

This wavetable has two peculiarities: it is smaller than the other ones (8 single cycle waveforms, each of them being 129 samples long), and it resides in RAM instead of residing in flash ROM. By default, it is loaded with the same content as digitl, but its content can be altered by SysEx messages. You can find here some examples of MIDI files containing user wavetables.

8bits: bitwise anarchy

A palette of 8-bits sounding waveforms obtained by applying bitwise operations to a basic sawtooth wave (something now known as “biscuiting”).

crush: bit-crushed sine and triangle wave

From 0-63, this oscillator will produce a bit-crushed sine wave ; 63 corresponding to the maximum amount of decimation. From 64-127, this will produce a bit-crushed triangle wave, 64 corresponding to the maximum amount of decimation. As a result, the transition from the two waveforms is smooth since the bit-crushing is very heavy when the two ends meet. A parameter value near 120 yields a very typical NES bass sound.

pwm: my first Arduino synth

This waveform is a shamelessly naive square wave. The parameter controls the pulse-width. Contrary to square, this waveform stinks aliasing – but for notes below C2 it is not a real problem: it becomes much more aggressive and “in your face” than square.

noise: Filtered noise generator

The parameter controls the frequency of a simple 1-pole low-pass/high-pass filter in which is sent white noise. From 0 to 63, high-frequency content is progressively added. From 63 to 127, low-frequency content is progressively removed. Perfect as a raw material for percussions or sound effects.

vowel: Low-tech formant synthesis

Changing the parameter will sweep between different vocal-like sounds (14 vowels and 2 consonants). Now. Spell. Daftpunk.

Remaining wavetables…

The remaining waveforms are an additional selection of wavetables. Some of them, like cello or vibes, are made of single-cycle waveforms extracted from samples. The others are inspired by some PPG classics!

That’s it for the oscillators waveforms. Oscillator 1 is linked to a sub-oscillator / transient generator. The first 6 settings correspond to the sub-oscillator, which is an oscillator of its own, playing always one or two octave lower than the oscillator 1. The next settings disable the sub-oscillator and enable various transient generators, which will produce a short, clicky sound at the beginning of the note:

  • sq1 square sub-oscillator, 1 octave below osc. 1
  • tr1 triangle sub-oscillator, 1 octave below osc. 1
  • pl1 25% pulse sub-oscillator, 1 octave below osc. 1
  • sq2 square sub-oscillator, 2 octaves below osc. 1
  • tr2 triangle sub-oscillator, 2 octaves below osc. 1
  • pl2 25% pulse sub-oscillator, 2 octaves below osc. 1
  • click produces a discrete click (more obvious on sine/organ sounds).
  • glitch produces a sound similar to that of a skipping CD.
  • blow is a burst of noise with a slow attack.
  • metal adds a metallic sounding, high-pitched click.
  • pop adds a low-pitched discontinuity.

The transient generator can be used for instance to add some punch to metallic-sounding or FM sounds, or for percussive effects.

Oscillator 2

 Sha prm rng tun
 saw   0   0   0

  • sha (shape): Oscillator 2 waveform shape. The available waveforms are the same as for oscillator 1.
  • prm (parameter): Oscillator 2 parameter.
  • rng (range): Oscillator 2 pitch transposition, from -24 semitones to 24 semitones.
  • tun (detune): Fine detuning of Oscillator 2.

Mixer

 Op. mix sub noi
 sum  32   0   0

  • op (operator): Modulation operator (see below).
  • mix (osc bal): Oscillator 1/2 balance. Might do something different than balance when an operator different from sum is selected (see the Oscillator 1 section).
  • sub (sub osc.): Sub oscillator or transient generator level.
  • noi (noise): Noise level.

The operator parameter controls how oscillator 1 and oscillator 2 are blended together. The different modulation modes are:

Operator Description What does the mix parameter do?
sum Mixing Adjusts the oscillator 1/2 balance
sync Mixing and synchronization: oscillator 2’s phase is reset whenever oscillator 1’s phase is reset. You won’t hear the detuning, but instead a timbral modulation Adjusts the oscillator 1/2 balance
ring Ring modulation – oscillators’ signals are scaled and multiplied Balance between the original sound and the output of the modulator
xor XOR modulation. The bits of oscillator 1 and 2’s digital values are exclusive-or’ed, and the result is shifted Shifts the output, with overflow
fuzz Fuzz. Oscillator 1 and 2 are equally mixed and sent to a waveshapper with a warm tanh response Fuzz amount
>>4 Oscillator 1 and 2 are mixed and sent through a dirty 4x sample rate reduction Oscillator 1/2 balance
>>8 Oscillator 1 and 2 are mixed and sent through a dirty 8x sample rate reduction Oscillator 1/2 balance
fold Oscillator 1 and 2 are mixed and sent through a foldback distortion Distortion amount
bits Oscillator 1 and 2 are mixed and sent through a bit depth reducer Bit depth reduction amount
duo Duophony Adjusts the oscillator 1/2 balance
2steps Oscillator 1 / 2 cycling -
4steps Sound source cycling -
8steps Sound source cycling -
seqmix Sound source cycling -

A few words about the last fancy modulation modes…

In duophony mode, you can play two-note chords (or bass + melody). The first note of the chord will be assigned to oscillator 1, and the second note will be assigned to oscillator 2, like on the ARP Odyssey or the Polivoks. This works best when mix is set to 32 and when oscillator 1 and 2 are set to the same settings (otherwise small differences in timing can result in drastic changes as both notes of the chord will be assigned to different oscillators). If you play more than 2 notes, the least recently played note will be assigned to oscillator 2, the most recently played note to oscillator 1 ; and the other notes are ignored. The sub-oscillator follows the least recently played note. Note that the Shruthi is by design a monosynth, with one set of envelopes & LFOs, and one filter / VCA – both notes will go through the same filter and have the same envelope, resulting in a kind of weird paraphonic effect. Don’t be surprised if you encounter pitch jumps, envelope clicks, weird voicing, or if things do not sound and feel as good as on a polysynth – all these are due to stubbornly trying to fit duophony into an essentially monophonic design. Ironically, the duophony mode works best with the arpeggiator – it will move through the chord in pairs of notes. Try it!

In 2steps mode, oscillator 1 and oscillator 2 are alternatively on and off at each new note.

In 4steps mode, oscillator 1, oscillator 2, the sub oscillator and the noise source are alternatively on and off at each new note. The first note you play is played by the sub-oscillator ; the second note by oscillator 1 ; the third by the noise source ; the fourth by oscillator 2. Try this with the arpeggiator and you get a mini drum pattern! 8steps does the same thing, but with a more complex cha-cha rhythmic pattern.

Finally, in seqmix mode, the on/off status of the oscillators / sub / noise is controlled by the values in the step sequencer. 1 = osc 1 ; 2 = osc 2 ; 4 = sub ; 8 = noise ; and these values can be added up for combinations (osc 1 + noise = 1 + 8 = 9). The following table enumerates all combinations:

Step sequencer value Osc 1 Osc 2 Sub Noise
0  -  -  -  -
1  X  -  -  -
2  -  X  -  -
3  X  X  -  -
4  -  -  X  -
5  X  -  X  -
6  -  X  X  -
7  X  X  X  -
8  -  -  -  X
9  X  -  -  X
a  -  X  -  X
b  X  X  -  X
c  -  -  X  X
d  X  -  X  X
e  -  X  X  X
f  X  X  X  X

You can thus use this mode for programming simple drum patterns in the step sequencer – using the sub oscillator as a bass drum and the noise as a snare drum, and interweaving notes from the oscillators between the drum notes.

Filter

 Cut res env lfo
  66   0  16  37

  • cut (cutoff): Filter cutoff frequency.
  • res (resonance): Filter resonance.
  • env (env1->vcf): Modulation amount from envelope 1 to VCF. If you want to set a negative modulation amount, you can patch env1 to the VCF in the modulations section and ignore this parameter.
  • lfo (lfo2->vcf): Modulation amount from LFO 2 to VCF. Again, if you want to set a negative modulation amount, you can patch the LFO 2 to the VCF in the modulations section and ignore this parameter.

Envelope 1 / 2

 Atk dec sus rel
   0  44  20  60

  • atk (attack): Envelope attack time.
  • dec (decay): Envelope decay time.
  • sus (sustain): Envelope sustain level.
  • rel (release): Envelope release time.

The predecessor of the Shruthi used linear envelopes. The envelopes are now piecewise linear with a “knee”, to capture the feeling of exponential envelopes (the same trick was used on the SID).

LFO 1 / 2

 Sha rat atk mod
 tri  52   0 fre

  • sha (shape): LFO waveform. The available LFO waveforms are: triangle, square, sample&hold, ramp (sawtooth), step (cycles through the sequence of values programmed in the step sequencer). 16 additional waveforms named ~1 to ~16 are also available. They are directly taken from one of the wavetables, are intended to be used with slow frequencies, and are very good at mimicking the sounds of machines or… human organs.
  • rat (rate): LFO rate.
  • atk (attack): LFO rise time. When this setting is non-zero, the LFO will take some amount of time to reach its maximum amplitude
  • mod: LFO synchronization mode: when set to free, the LFO is free-running. When set to slave, the phase of the LFO is reset every time a new note is played. Finally, when set to master, the LFO will retrigger the envelope (LFO 1 retriggers envelope 1 and LFO 2 envelope 2).

Among the choices of LFO rates, the first values, which are prefixed by a “x”, are tempo-synchronized settings. The number following the X corresponds to the number of sequencer steps that will be used to set up the LFO period: x16 simply means that the LFO will go through one cycle over the duration of 16 sequencer steps (4 beats). For example, if you set the LFO to a ramp, with a rate of x4, and map it to the cutoff, the cutoff will raise over the duration of a beat and return to a low value at the beginning of each beat. With a x2 or x1 rate, square LFO mapped to the VCA, you can get old-school trancey gater effects. With a x2 rate, sample&hold LFO mapped to the cutoff and the basic arpeggiator pattern, with high resonance, you get a random bleeping at every note.

Modulation matrix

In this page, the routing between the modulation sources and destinations is configured. The first important thing about this page is that it works a bit differently from the others: the potentiometer P1 is used to select a patchcord, while P2, P3 and P4 are used to edit it.

Here is an example:

 Mod src dst amt
   1 lf1  ~1   0

This page means: “The patchcord #1 connects the LFO1 to the oscillator 1 pitch, and the corresponding modulation amount is set to 0”. By turning the first knob, you can scroll through the different connections in place, for example:

 mod src dst amt
   9 en2 vca  63

“The patchcord #9 connects the envelope 2 to the VCA gain, and the corresponding modulation amount is 63”.

Once a patchcord is selected with the first knob, the source/destination/amount are edited with the 3 other knobs. Note that you can see in details the source and destination when tweaking one of those parameters:

mod en2>vca
amount        62

When editing modulations, L6 blinks/is dimmed to reflect the value of the selected modulation source.

The modulation sources are, in modern lovers precise order:

  1. lfo1, lfo2: LFO output (centered).
  2. stpseq: Step sequencer output.
  3. stpsq1: Step sequencer’s little brother 1: it cycles on the first 8 steps of the sequence.
  4. stpsq2: Step sequencer’s little brother 2: it cycles on the last 8 steps of the sequence.
  5. arp: Rhythmic gate signal, which outputs a high value when the arpeggiator or sequencer contains a note at the current step, or 0 when there is no note.
  6. mwheel: Modulation wheel value read from the MIDI input.
  7. afttch: Aftertouch value read from the MIDI input.
  8. bender: Pitch-bend controller value read from the MIDI input (centered).
  9. offset: A boring constant value. This is useful if you want to output a fixed value to one of the CV outs.
  10. cv1, cv2, cv3, cv4: Control voltages read from the CV input pins. By default, the input pins are floating, so it’s likely that these modulation sources will sound just like noise.
  11. cc A, cc B, cc C, cc D: Value of the Control Change 16, 17, 18 and 19.
  12. noise: Another noise generator! Mapped to the VCA, makes for some super snares!
  13. env1, env2: Envelopes.
  14. velo: Note velocity.
  15. random: A random value updated every time a new note is played.
  16. note: Pitch of the currently played note (centered).
  17. gate: Keyboard gate signal, null when no key is currently pressed.
  18. audio: Digital audio signal produced by the mixer. Please note that since the modulation matrix is recomputed at 976Hz, some serious aliasing is happening here. You’re not going to do FM with this thing, most of the time it sounds like crap, but it’s something fun to experiment with!
  19. op. 1: Operator 1.
  20. op. 2: Operator 2.
  21. trg 1: Trigger 1.
  22. trg 2: Trigger 2.

The modulation destinations are, in modern lovers precise order:

  1. cutoff: Filter cutoff.
  2. vca: VCA gain.
  3. pwm1: Oscillator 1 parameter (can be pulse width, but also waveshapping, phoneme, etc. depending on the oscillator type).
  4. pwm2: Oscillator 2 parameter (can be pulse width, but also waveshapping, phoneme, etc. depending on the oscillator type).
  5. osc1: Coarse oscillator 1 pitch, in a -16 / 16 semitones range. Also affects the sub-oscillator’s pitch.
  6. osc2: Coarse oscillator 2 pitch, in a -16 / 16 semitones range..
  7. osc1+osc2: Coupled oscillator 1+2 pitch, in a -4 / 4 semitones range. Also affects the sub-oscillator’s pitch.
  8. fine: Fine oscillator 1+2 pitch, in a -1 / 1 semitones range. Also affects the sub-oscillator’s pitch.
  9. mix: Oscillator 1/2 balance (or whatever the modulator does with the balance parameter).
  10. noise: Noise volume.
  11. subosc: Sub-oscillator volume.
  12. reso: Filter resonance.
  13. cv1: Control signal for the CV output #1.
  14. cv2: Control signal for the CV output #2.
  15. attack: Envelope 1 and 2 attack speed. For example, map velocity to this modulation destination to have a faster attack time on notes played with a high velocity.
  16. lfo1, lfo2: Frequency modulation of the two LFOs.
  17. env1, env2: Envelope 1 and 2 triggers. Whenever the modulation source goes up, the envelope is retriggered.

One thing that requires a bit of clarification is the notion of “centered” modulation source. Let’s take an example. We have a triangle LFO mapped to the filter cutoff, with a modulation amount of 30. If the cutoff is set to 80, the actual value of the cutoff will oscillate between 50 (80-30) and 110 (80+30). On the other hand, if we have an envelope mapped to the cutoff with a modulation amount of 20, the cutoff will go from 80 to 120 (80 + 2 * 20), then down to 80 after the release. This is something to remember if you want to do PWM, for example. If you set the PWM modulation amount to 40, you also have to set the oscillator pulse width value to 40, so it will oscillates between 40-40 = 0 and 40+40=80. Otherwise, it will spend half of the time stuck at 0. But this makes things nicer for vibrato, tremolo, wah-wah or growl effects!

Quirk ahoy!

The modulation amount of the last patch cord is adjusted by the modwheel. Huh? Let’s say you set patch cord 12 to go from LFO 1 to the oscillators fine pitch with an amount of 16:

 Mod src dst amt
  12 lf1   ~  16

This modulation will be applied with an amount proportional to the modwheel position – by default it won’t be active until you start moving the modulation wheel, and to get it at full strength, you’ll have to push the modulation wheel to the max.

Operators

Press the modulation matrix button twice to bring the operators page. In this page, you can configure the two “operators”. An operator takes 2 modulation sources, applies a fancy (or not) mathematical operation on them, and the result is made available as a new modulation source in the modulation matrix.

 Op. in1 in2 out
   1 lf1 lf2 add

Use the first setting (*op.*) to select which operator to modify. The second and third options allows you to select which modulation destination you want to operate on. The last setting is the operation to apply:

  • add adds the values of two modulation sources.
  • prd computes the product of the two modulation sources.
  • max takes the maximum of the two sources.
  • min takes the minimum of the two sources.
  • xor totally messes up the two sources.
  • = outputs a large value if source 1 is above soure 2, 0 otherwise.
  • = outputs a large value if source 1 is below soure 2, 0 otherwise.
  • qtz source 1 is quantized into a number of values set up by source 2.
  • lag source 1 is low-pass filtered, with a cutoff frequency set up by source 2.

There are plenty of things to experiment with… Create a multi-stage envelope by taking the max of envelope 1 and 2 ; mask a LFO by the step sequencer ; build a chaotic LFO using feedback and xor modulation between the two LFOs ; Square the value of a LFO to change its shape…

Here is a more precise example showing how to low-pass filter a square LFO to create a “soft” modulation source routed to the filter. First, route the operator 1 output to the filter cutoff:

 Mod src dst amt
   1 op1 cut  63

Then, specify that operator 1 is LFO1 transformed by a “lag processor”.

 Op. in1 in2 out
   1 lf1  =4 lag

The in2 is the filtering cutoff frequency. You can try setting this to velocity too: the harder the note is pressed, the harder the edges of the LFO are!

Here is another example showing how to quantize an envelope to create a low-fi “steppy” modulation. First, route the operator 1 output to the filter cutoff:

 Mod src dst amt
   1 op1 cut  63

Then, specify that operator 1 is a quantized version of the envelope 1:

 Op. in1 in2 out
   1 en1  =4 qtz

Sequencer and arpeggiator

Before going further, let’s get things straight: the Shruthi sequencer has little in common with the sequencer of, say, a TB-303: it is not intended to be a “press play and let it do all the work” thing. Indeed, there’s no “play” button on the Shruthi! You have to think of it as an arpeggiator-like tool – something to help create complex riffs and patterns with limited keyboard action.

Sequencer mode and clock

 Mod bpm gro amt
 stp 120 swi   0

  • mod (mode): Sequencer/arpeggiator mode. This deserves some generous amount of explanations, please read further!
  • bpm (bpm): Arpeggiator/step sequencer/LFOs tempo in BPM. Note that there are 8 super fast values (270, 300, 330, 360, 420, 480, 600, 720) for sound effects. extern will sync the Shruthi clock to the ticks received from the MIDI input. x2 ext will sync to a clock twice faster than the external MIDI clock (double BPM). /2 ext, /4 ext and /8 ext will sync to divisors of the external MIDI clock.
  • gro (groove): groove template. The options are swing (uneven distribution of pairs of 1/8th notes), shuffle (uneven distribution of pairs of 1/16th notes), push (push the beat), lag (sloppy drummer!), human (humanization) and monkey (humanization + shuffle). This setting only has an effect when amt is set to a non-zero value.
  • amt (amount): amount of groove to apply.

Now let’s dig into the sequencer modes…

stp: step sequencer only

When stp is selected, the arpeggiator and pattern sequencer are disabled. The only pulsating, modulating things running are the LFOs and the step sequencer.

arp: arpeggiator

When arp is selected, the chords played on the keyboard are arpeggiated. Releasing the keys for a short amount of time stops the arpeggio but keeps the clock ticking. Releasing the keys for a duration greater than that of a bar stops the arpeggio and resets the clock — it will restart from the first beat once a chord will be played — this behavior is similar to the Shruti-1.

arp+lt: latched arpeggiator

This mode starts the arpeggiator in latched mode. Here is an example of how it works:

  1. Press C4 and keep it held: the arpeggiator starts and plays C4 on the programmed rhythmic/arpeggio pattern.
  2. Now, press E4 and keep it held: the arpeggiator now plays C4/E4 on the programmed rhythmic/arpeggio pattern.
  3. Press G4 and keep it held: the arpeggiator now plays C4/E4/G4 on the programmed rhythmic/arpeggio pattern.
  4. Release those 3 keys: the arpeggiator continues playing C4/E4/G4 on the programmed rhythmic/arpeggio pattern.
  5. Press F4: the arpeggiator now plays F4 on the programmed rhythmic/arpeggio pattern.

To summarize: as long as keys are held, new notes are added to the arpeggio. As soon as a key is released, the arpeggio will continue to loop the pattern but will “forget” whichever keys were being pressed when a new note is played.

Now, the $1M question: how to tell this crazy thing to shut up? There are two ways of stopping a latched arpeggio sequence, both of them kind of violent: kicking the hold pedal, or punching 8 notes at a time (use your knuckles, left hand on CDEF, right hand on GABC). Or you can just change the sequencer mode to another setting to leave the latched mode.

seq: pattern player

In this mode, the pattern programmed in the sequencer is triggered by playing a note on the keyboard (Roland calls this “RPS”). Depending on the note you play, the pattern is transposed: play C4 to play the pattern as recorded, C#4 to play it one semi-tone higher, B3 to play it one semi-tone lower, etc. The pattern will stop whenever the key is released — but the clock will continue ticking for the duration of a bar – and if a key is pressed during this interval, the pattern will resume in time. This mode is most useful for playing and transposing a bassline.

seq+lt: pattern player

This mode is similar to seq, with one exception: when you release a key, the pattern will continue playing. To make it stop, press again the note corresponding to the current transposition level. For example:

  1. You press C4: the sequence starts without transposition.
  2. You release C4: the sequence continues playing.
  3. You press and release G4: the sequence is now played one fifth higher.
  4. You press G4 again: the sequence stops.
rec: bar looper

In this mode, play any note to start playing the pattern programmed in the sequencer. This note will become a kind of “start/stop” button — it is thus recommended to pick a note unlikely to be played later in the sequence you’ll record (I usually use the first or last key of the keyboard to start the sequence).

Once this key is pressed, the pattern plays at its original pitch — there’s no transposition. Then, whenever a new key is pressed, the Shruthi jumps into recording mode and starts recording what is played on the keyboard for the duration of 1-bar. Beware: chords are not recorded, and quantization is severe! After a duration of 1 bar has elapsed, the Shruthi leaves the recording mode and continues looping what was just recorded.

How to stop? Once the pattern is playing, play again the “start/stop” note (the one you picked to start the sequence). Another option is simply to kick the hold pedal.

impro: pattern player with overrides

In this mode, the pattern programmed in the sequencer is started/transposed by playing and holding a note on the keyboard, just like in seq. While this note is held, any new note played on the keyboard will be played and override what was originally in the sequencer – allowing some variations to be played on top of the sequenced pattern. Release the first note to stop the pattern from playing, or play another root note to transpose the pattern.

Arpeggiator

 Dir rng pat wrp
   ?   1   0 gla

  • dir (direction): Arpeggiator direction. The options are up, down, up/down, and random.
  • rng (range): Arpeggiator range, in octaves, from 1 to 4.
  • pat (pattern): Arpeggiator rhythmic pattern. 15 patterns are available (see the chart below). The last option in the list, sequence uses the rhythmic pattern programmed in the sequencer.
  • wrp (warp): This option modifies in which order the steps of a sequence are played.
Arpeggiator patterns
 1: o o o o o o o o 
 2: ooo ooo ooo ooo 
 3: o o ooooo o oooo
 4: o o oo oo o oo o
 5: oooo oo oooo oo 
 6: o  o    o  o    
 7: o  o  o o  o  o 
 8: o  o  o  o  o o 
 9: o o  o  o  o  o 
10: oo oo oooo oo oo
11: ooooo oo oo ooo 
12: o   o   o  o o o
13: o  oo   o o o oo
14: o     oooooo oo 
15: o       o   o oo
Warp patterns

This table shows how a 8-steps sequence, 01234567, will be warped, for each of the available warp settings:

Name Description Result
-> Forward 01234567
<- Backwards 76543210
> – < Ping-pong 1 0123456776543210
> < Ping-pong 2 01234567654321
glass Philip glass augmentation, 1/16 0010120123012340123450123456 012345671234567234567345674567567677
krama Vedic recitation pattern 1, 1/16 01122334455667
jata Vedic recitation pattern 2, 1/16 011001122112233223344334455445566556677667
sikha Vedic recitation pattern 3, 1/16 012210012123321123234432234345543345456654456567765567
ghana Vedic recitation pattern 4, 1/16 0110012210012122112332112323322344322 34344334554334545544566544565665567765567
2glass Philip glass augmentation, 1/8 01012301234501234567234567456767
2krama Vedic recitation pattern 1, 1/8 012323454567
2jata Vedic recitation pattern 2, 1/8 012323010123234545232345456767454567
2sikha Vedic recitation pattern 3, 1/8 012345452301012345234567674523234567
2ghana Vedic recitation pattern 4, 1/8 01232301012345452301012345 23454523234567674523234567
4glass Philip glass augmentation, 1/4 0123012345674567
4krama Vedic recitation pattern 1, 1/4 01234567
4jata Vedic recitation pattern 2, 1/4 012301234567012345674567
4sikha Vedic recitation pattern 3, 1/4 012345674567012301234567
4ghana Vedic recitation pattern 4, 1/4 012345674567012301234567

Pattern editor

The pattern editor page is very different from the other pages. Here is how it looks like:

 |00| C3 - 7 0 |
>|01| C3 - 7 0 |

It contains 5 columns, showing, from left to right:

  1. The step number
  2. The note at this step
  3. The rhythmic event at this step: note (represented by a note icon), tie/slide (represented by a — sign), or rest (empty)
  4. The velocity (applies only to steps with a note)
  5. The step sequencer/controller value at this step, from 0 to 15 (values from 10 to 15 are represented by the letters a to f)

The pattern can be edited with the potentiometers. P1 scrolls through the steps, P2 changes the note at the current step. P3 changes the rhythmic event and velocity value at the current step. Finally, P4 modifies the controller value.

The encoder can be used to scroll through the steps. Clicking the encoder enters the edit mode: a blinking cursor is shown, and the encoder is now used to increase/decrease the note value. Clicking the encoder again leaves the edit mode.

While in edit mode, pressing a key on the MIDI keyboard will record the note number at the current step, and move to the next step. This can be seen as a naive “step by step recording” mode, which can be used while a sequence is playing.

Three important notes:

  • The pattern length is by default 16 steps, but this can be changed on the Rhythmic sequencer or Step sequencer pages.
  • The note sequence, rhythmic pattern, and controller (steps) sequence all have the same length.
  • The step sequence (controller values) have an effect only when the step sequencer is routed to a modulation destination in the modulation matrix!

Rhythmic sequencer

This page shows, on a single screen, the rhythmic content of the bar programmed in the pattern editor. It is particularly useful when programming a rhythmic pattern for the arpeggiator – a task for which the only information that really matter are the note velocities and rhythmic events.

The first line of the screen shows the rhythmic events, the second line the programmed velocities:

xxx x x x---x---
777 7 6 54443111

Use P2 to move the cursor, P3 to change the rhythmic event/velocity at the selected step, and P4 to adjust the pattern duration. The encoder can be used for editing too: select a step, click, edit the step value, and click again when done.

Step sequencer

This page shows a different view of the controller values programmed in the pattern editor.

step sequencer
0000ffffcccc4444

Use P2 to move the cursor, P3 to change the controller value at the selected step, and P4 to adjust the pattern duration. The encoder can be used for editing too: select a step, click, edit the step value, and click again when done.

P1 can also be used to shift and cycle the sequence.

Tuning settings

 Oct rag prt leg
   0 equ   0 off

  • oct (octave): Transpose every note by -2, -1, 0, 1 or 2 octaves.
  • rag (raga): Scale/keyboard mapping.
  • prt (portamento): Portamento time.
  • leg (legato): Legato on/off. This option specifies how the Shruthi will interpret overlapping notes. When legato is off, the envelope retriggers every time a new note is played, and the portamento is always applied. When legato is on, the envelope retriggers only when the new note does not overlap with the previous one, and the portamento triggers only on overlapping notes.

The different scales/keyboard mappings are:

Name Description
equal Equal temperament
just Just intonation (frequency ratios to C are rational numbers)
pythagorean Pythagorean scale
1/4 eb E and B are 1/4 tone lower
1/4 e E is 1/4 tone lower
1/4 ea E and A are 1/4 tone lower
bhaira ... rasia A bunch of ragas of the Maihar gharana . Note that it is not possible to play notes outside of the raga – if you attempt to do so, the previously played note will be retriggered. The suggested mode of operation is to find out which keys are active in the raga, and improvise with them!

Master tune and MIDI settings

 Tun chn mid spl
   0   1 ful  C4

  • tun (tune): Master tuning in the -1/+1 semitone range.
  • chn (midi chan): MIDI channel the Shruthi is tuned to. Use 0 to receive on all channels.
  • mid (midi out): Data sent to the MIDI out. Refer to this paragraph from the MIDI implementation section.
  • spl (split): Split point. Used in conjunction with the split midi out mode.

System settings

 Pau sna fil cv.
   8 off lpf 4cv

  • pau (pause): Duration (in increments of 0.128 seconds) during which the long parameter name and value is shown on screen when a potentiometer is adjusted. When set to 0, the screen always shows the four parameters summary.
  • sna (snap): Enables potentiometers’ “snap” mode. This mode makes it less likely to accidentally change a parameter value when switching pages. Suppose you’re tweaking the filter resonance with P2 — you rotate it all the way down to 0. Then you switch to the oscillator 1 page to adjust the oscillator 2 parameter. If the current value of the parameter is set to 64, you’ll hear a discontinuity, since the value of the parameter will instantly jump to 0 or 1 when you start touching the pot. When snap is on, things will happen differently: rotating the pot will have no effect until the position of the pot actually reflects the current value of the parameter. After that, the parameter value will track the potentiometer’s position. Another way to explain it: when snap is on you have to move the pot to “grab” the current parameter value before the parameter is modified.
  • fil (filter): Enables software extensions for a specific filter board. The default, lpf must be selected for the CEM3379, SMR4 and IR3109 filter boards. ssm must be selected for the SSM2044 filter board. What does it do? It enables a second filter page (press S2 twice to bring it) in which you can control the HPF frequency.
  • cv. (cv.mode): Enables software handling of specific input devices connected to the CV inputs. 4 cv in is the default: the 4 voltages at the 4 CV ins are read and made available in the modulation matrix. prgm must be selected to enable Frank Daniels’ programmer. pedals directly map CV1 and CV2 to oscillator 1 and 2’s parameter, and CV3 to the cutoff frequency. It has been used for a custom-built Shruthi with an expression pedal connector and a joystick…

Trigger events

 Ch1  n1 ch2  n2
   1  36   1 38

This page allows two notes to be defined as trigger events. In the example above, MIDI notes 36 and 38 on channel 1 are used as triggers. Any combination of note / MIDI channel can be used.

When a note on message matching the trigger definition is received, the Shruthi does not emit any sound. Instead, it sets to its maximum value the trg 1 or trg 2 modulation source.

When a note off message matching the trigger definition is received, the Shruthi does not interrupt any sound. Instead, it sets to its minimum value the trg 1 or trg 2 modulation source.

Depending on which destination the trg 1 and trg 2 sources are patched to, this can for example be used to:

  • Retrigger an envelope every time the trigger event note is played (destination = envelope)
  • Modify the rate of an LFO for dubsteppy effects (destination = lfo rate)
  • Simulate a snare drum hit by increase the volume of the noise source (destination = noise mix level)

As for the trigger event themselves, you can send them from a sequencer (probably from a channel different from the one the Shruthi is played), a MIDI foot controller, or just set them to be two keys of your keyboard (for example the lowest C and D).

In the example below, trigger events are used to retrigger a pitch envelope and increase the sub/noise level for very rhythmic effects:

The load/save page

The Shruthi can save in persistent memory the following information:

  1. Patches (16 in internal memory, 64 or more on the external eeprom)
  2. Sequences (16 in internal memory, 64 or more on the external eeprom)
  3. Global settings (in internal memory)

Use the last switch, S6, to enter the load/save page. If the current page is synthesis-related (*oscillator 1/2*, mix, filter, LFO, envelope, modulations), the patch load/save page will be displayed. If the current page is sequencer-related (*clock*, arpeggiator, pattern editors), the sequence load/save page will be displayed. Finally, if the current page was related to MIDI or system settings, the system settings load/save page is displayed.

Patch load/save page

This page looks like this:

browse :patch
 1 init

The first line shows the action being performed (load, save, or compare), and the item to be loaded/saved (here: a patch). The second line shows the program number and its name.

Browsing the patch library

Rotate the encoder to browse through the patches. Click the encoder to temporarily revert to the patch which was being edited before entering the load/save page: browse is replaced by compare on the screen. Click the encoder again to resume browsing patches.

You can use the four knobs to tweak the sound parameters while browsing through the patches. The mapping of parameters to the 4 knobs is that defined in the performance page.

The Shruthi sends a MIDI program change message whenever a new patch is loaded.

Saving

When the browse page is displayed, press S6 again to jump to the save page. A blinking cursor is shown in front of the patch number:

save   :patch
_1 init     ok 

  • Click and rotate the encoder to select the program number. Click again when done.
  • Rotate the encoder to move the cursor to a letter of the patch name you want to modify. Click and rotate the encoder to change the letter. Click again when done.
  • Once the patch number and patch name have been set, move the cursor to the ok button. When selected, it will appear in brackets [ok]. Click the encoder to confirm… The patch is saved!

To cancel and leave the save page, press any other switch.

Special functions

While the browse page is displayed, hold S6 and press:

  • S1 to revert the current patch to init.
  • S2 to program random values into all the parameters of the current patch.
  • S3 to dump the current patch to the MIDI output as a SysEx block.
  • S4 to bring up the global backup page.
  • S5 to enable/disable the “combo” feature. When “combo” is enabled, the loading and saving of sequences is paired. That is to say, whenever you load sequence 15, patch 15 will be loaded too… Whenever you save patch to location 33, the current sequence will be saved to location 33 too. This is for, among others, nostalgics of the first Shruti-1 in which sequence data was always saved along with the patch.

Sequence load/save page

This page looks like this:

browse :sequence
 1 x-x-x-x-

Loading and saving works just like for patches — the only exception is that instead of showing the patch name, the page shows the rhythmic content of the first two beats of the sequence. Reset/randomize/MIDI dump functions are also available on this page, and will operate on the sequence rather than on the patch.

Tip: if you want to quickly reach a patch or sequence at the end of the list without loading all the other patches on your way, click the encoder to enter the compare mode, rotate the encoder to the target program number, and click it again.

Global settings save page

The default values of global settings such as octave transposition, MIDI channel, MIDI out mode, etc. are read from internal memory every time the Shruthi boots up. To use the current settings as default settings, press S6 while one of the tuning, MIDI or system settings pages are displayed. The display will show the following confirmation message:

save midi/kbd
settings?     no

Leds L1, L3, L5 and L7 will be lit. Rotate the encoder until ok is displayed instead of no. Click the encoder to confirm.

Global backup by SysEx

The global backup function is accessible by holding S6 and S4 together from the sequence or patch load pages. A confirmation message is displayed:

start full midi
backup?       no

Leds L1, L3, L5 and L7 will be lit. Rotate the encoder until ok is displayed instead of no. Click the encoder to confirm. The entire content of the Shruthi patch and sequence memory will be sent as a sequence of SysEx messages. 80 SysEx blocks are sent, each of them containing 128 bytes of data. One LED is lit per block sent — the row of LEDs will thus appear like a progress bar filling itself 10 times.

Special functions

Some functions are available by pressing the switches for a longer period of time (greater than 1s).

Test note

Press S1 for a long period of time to trigger a C4 test note. Press and hold again to stop the test note. Coupled with the sequencer or arpeggiator, this allows the Shruthi to be used as a stand-alone instrument, without an external MIDI keyboard.

Performance page

The performance page allows you to gather 4 parameters from different pages and put them altogether in a single page – so you don’t have to jump continuously from one page to another while performing. To assign a parameter to one of the knobs in the performance page:

  1. Adjust the value of the parameter you want to “import” to the performance page, or use the encoder to scroll to its name. The selected parameter is capitalized.
  2. Hold S2 for one second and release.
  3. Turn the knob to which you want to assign the selected parameter.
  4. The Shruthi jumps into the performance page.

At step 2, the screen should display this:

touch a knob to
assign parameter

To jump to the performance page in which the 4 knobs control the user-defined parameters, hold S5 for more than 1s and release. While in the performance page, the LEDs indicate the current sequencer step, x0x style.

Knob assignments for the performance page are saved with the patch data.

MIDI

MIDI out modes

The Shruthi can be used in a variety of MIDI configurations. In particular, different functions can be assigned to the MIDI out port, through the midi out option of the midi settings page.

off

The MIDI out port is disabled. This settings brings a tiny, tiny improvement in responsivity to the MIDI input and to knob movements, since no MIDI out means less work for the CPU.

thru

The MIDI out port outputs verbatim what was received on the MIDI input (soft-thru). This setting is not very CPU intensive, since no reformatting of the MIDI stream is done.

seq

The MIDI out port outputs only the note on and note off events processed by the synthesizer — be they generated by the internal sequencer and arpeggiator, or received by MIDI.

ctrl

The MIDI out port outputs only NRPN messages capturing knobs tweaking. This mode is ideal for using the Shruthi with both its IN/OUT ports connected to the same device. The other modes are not suitable for operation in this configuration since they can cause unwanted MIDI loops.

split

The note messages below the split point defined by the split parameter are handled by the Shruthi ; while the other notes are forwarded to the MIDI out. All the other messages (including notes from channels the Shruthi is not listening to) are forwarded to the MIDI out.

full

In this mode, every incoming message is forwarded to the Midi output. In addition, NRPNs and Data entry messages capturing the knob movements are inserted into the MIDI stream and written to the MIDI out. These messages can be used to record knob movements in a sequencer, or to synchronize 2 Shruthi in Unison mode.

polychaining

In this mode, several Shruthi units chained together by MIDI can behave like a polysynth. Each unit will implement a “distributed voice-stealing” scheme, in which they will either play a note, or forward it to the chain. To this purpose, each unit must be aware of the number of units that will follow in the chain. This is done through one of the 8 polychaining settings: 1>| indicate that this unit is at the end of the chain, 2>1 indicates that this unit is followed by one unit, 3>2 indicates that this unit is followed by 2 units, etc.

Here’s an example of configuration to turn 3 Shruthi units into a triphonic synth:

The 3 units obviously have to be sent to a common audio mixer or sound card.

Some caveats regarding the polychaining mode:
  • The arpeggiator and sequencer do not work in polychaining mode ; and the LFOs of each unit won't be synchronized with each other.
  • There is a latency of up to 4ms between each unit. Thus, this feature works best on small chains.
  • Any parameter change done on the first unit in the chain is forwarded downstream, so tweaking is possible (and encouraged). Furthermore, when a patch is loaded on the master unit, it is dumped as a SysEx to each unit of the chain for synchronization purposes. However, this doesn't work the other way round: if you tweak a parameter or reload a new patch on the last unit in the chain, the other units upstream won't be aware of it!

Updating the Shruthi firmware by MIDI

To update the Shruthi firmware, hold the S6 switch while the synth is being powered on. Instead of being greeted by the splash screen or the filter page, the screen remains empty, and the LEDs L1, L3, L5 and L7 are lit. The Shruthi is now waiting for SysEx data containing firmware update commands.

This data is compiled into a MIDI file you can download on the Mutable Instruments website. During the firmware update procedure, the LEDs will light up one by one – the last LED being lit will also blink as the data is received. The update takes about 1 minute. If something goes wrong during the update procedure, the Shruthi is not bricked: it is possible to restart it with S6 held down, to retry the update procedure.

If you want to use a dedicated SysEx transfer tool, we recommend Elektron’s C6 tool available for both Windows and OS X, with the following timing settings:

MIDI implementation

A standard MIDI implementation chart can be viewed here.

Received messages

Note on/off (0x80 and 0x90), aftertouch (0xa0, 0xd0) and pitch-bend (0xe0)

Note that the aftertouch is always global, and that its effect depends on the patching of the afttch modulation source in the modulation matrix (by default, none).

Program change (0xc0)

This loads a patch from the internal or external memory. You can use the bank LSB CC (0x20, 32) to load patches above 127. Note that the patch numbers shown in the load/save page are numbered from 1, but the MIDI patch numbers are numbered from 0, so the first patch is loaded with program change 0 even if it appears to be #1 on the load/save page.

Control changes (0xb0)

The Shruthi responds to the following system control change messages:

  • All sound off (0x78)
  • Reset all controllers (0x79)
  • All notes off (0x7b)
  • Omni on/off (0x7c, 0x7d)
  • Hold pedal (0x40)

The following controllers are also received:

  • Modulation wheel
  • Portamento time
  • Attack and release time
  • Volume
  • Harmonic intensity (mapped to resonance)
  • Brightness (mapped to cutoff frequency)

Finally, many synthesis parameters are accessible by non-standard control changes or NRPNs. Please refer to the Parameters accessible by MIDI section.

Clock tick (0xf8)

This advances the system clock when the bpm setting is set to external or one of its multiples.

Play and stop (0xfa and 0xfc)

The Play message must be sent to activate the LFO, arpeggiator or sequencer when the bpm setting is set to external. The Stop message kills all notes and stops the sequencer or arpeggiator.

System exclusive messages (0xf0).

The Shruthi sends or receives System Exclusive messages for the following operations:

  • Patch data dump
  • Sequence data dump
  • Wavetable dump
  • Bulk memory dump
  • Firmware update
  • Post firmware-update reset

Please refer to the SysEx data format section for more information.

(Nerdy stuff) Synthesis parameters accessible by MIDI

Most of the synthesis parameters are accessible by NRPN or CC.

Editing a parameter by CC is fool-proof: send any value between 0 and 127, and it will mapped to the range of the parameter. For example, when adjusting the oscillator 1 range, the value 0 will be mapped to -24, and the value 127 will be mapped to +24. There is a bit of resolution loss for parameters with a large range (eg: tempo).

This is not the case when using NRPN: in this case, the value in the data entry message will need to be exactly the requested value (no scaling occurs). Since most parameters have their range in a subset of 0—127, only a data entry LSB message has to be sent. When the maximum value of the parameter exceeds 127, or when it accepts negative values, a data entry MSB will have to be sent. Negative values are represented using 2’s complement. For example, the MIDI messages to send to set the Oscillator 1 range to -12:

176 99 0 (NRPN MSB set to 0)
176 98 2 (NRPN LSB set to 2, from the table below: Oscillator 1 range)
176 6 1 (Data Entry MSB set to 1 -- value above 127 or negative)
176 38 116 (Data Entry LSB set to 116, because 116 - 128 = -12)

The following table summarizes all the synthesis parameters, with their NRPN and CC numbers:

Parameter Range NRPN number CC number
Oscillator 1 shape 0-33 0 20
Oscillator 1 parameter 0-127 1 21
Oscillator 1 range -24-24 2 22
Modulation operator 0-13 3 28
Oscillator 2 shape 0-33 4 24
Oscillator 2 parameter 0-127 5 25
Oscillator 2 range -24-24 6 26
Oscillator 2 detune 0-127 7 27
Oscillator balance 0-63 8 29
Sub oscillator volume 0-63 9 30
Noise volume 0-63 10 31
Sub oscillator/transient generator shape 0-10 11 23
Filter cutoff 0-127 12 14
Filter resonance 0-63 13 15
Envelope->cutoff modulation amount 0-63 14 102
Lfo->cutoff modulation amount 0-63 15 103
Envelope 1 attack 0-127 16 104
Envelope 1 decay 0-127 17 105
Envelope 1 sustain 0-127 18 106
Envelope 1 release 0-127 19 107
Envelope 2 attack 0-127 20 108
Envelope 2 decay 0-127 21 109
Envelope 2 sustain 0-127 22 110
Envelope 2 release 0-127 23 111
LFO 1 waveform 0-20 24 112
LFO 1 rate 0-143 25 113
LFO 1 rise time 0-127 26 114
LFO 1 master/slave 0-2 27 115
LFO 2 waveform 0-20 28 116
LFO 2 rate 0-143 29 117
LFO 2 rise time 0-127 30 118
LFO 2 master/slave 0-2 31 119
Modulation n source 0-29 32 + 3 * (n – 1) .
Modulation n destination 0-18 33 + 3 * (n – 1) .
Modulation n amount -63-63 34 + 3 * (n – 1) .
Sequencer mode 0-6 100 .
Tempo 35-248 101 .
Groove template 0-5 102 .
Groove amount 0-127 103 .
Arpeggiator direction 0-3 104 .
Arpeggiator range 1-4 105 .
Arpeggiator pattern 0-15 106 .
Time warp 0-18 107 .

Using NRPN values outside of this table might result in unexpected behavior.

In addition to the data entry LSB/MSB message described above, you can edit the value of a parameter by sending increment/decrement CC.

(Nerdy stuff) SysEx data format

SysEx messages all share the same format:

0xf0  (SysEx)
0x00 0x21 0x02  (Manufacturer ID for Mutable Instruments)
0x00 0x02  (Product ID for Shruthi)
Command
Argument
Payload
Checksum
0xf7  (End of SysEx)

Command indicates what the receiver should do with the data in the payload block, and argument is a byte that might contain an additional piece of information about what to do with the data.

Payload is a sequence of bytes in nibblized form. For example, the sequence 0x80 0x56 0x13 is transmitted as 0x08 0x00 0x05 0x06 0x01 0x03.

Checksum is equal to the nibblized-sum, modulo 256, of the bytes. In the example above, the checksum is equal to 0x80 + 0x56 + 0x13 = 0xe9 and is transmitted as 0x0e 0x09.

Patch transfer

For patch transfer, command is equal to 0x01 and argument is null. The payload is a 92 bytes (184 nibbles) data structure described here. Upon reception, the Shruthi checks the patch data, and loads it in memory, in place of the currently edited patch.

When receiving a patch by SysEx, the received patch is not written to persistent patch memory, it is only temporarily loaded in memory so you can edit it, and if you're happy with it, save it yourself. Since you don't risk overwriting stuff in memory when using SysEx patch transfer, use it and abuse it! For example, embed at the beginning of each of your tracks a dump of the patch, so your Shruthi will always recall the correct patch settings when you play the track back.

Sequence transfer

For sequence transfer, command is equal to 0x02 and argument is null. The payload is a 32 bytes (64 nibbles) data structure described here. Upon reception, the Shruthi loads the sequence data in memory, in place of the currently edited sequence.

Waveform transfer

For waveform transfer, command is equal to 0x03 and argument is null. The payload is a sequence of 8x129 bytes (2064 nibbles) describing 8 single cycle waveforms, each of them being 129 samples long. The period must be 128 samples – the 129th sample must be equal to the first one and is used for interpolation wrap-around. The waveform is described with 8 bits unsigned samples.

Storage memory dump

The storage memory of the Shruthi is 2 + 8n kb large: 2kb of internal eeprom and 8n kb of external eeprom. It is partitioned as follows:

Logical range Physical medium Physical range Content
0x0000 – 0x0010 Internal eeprom 0x0000 – 0x0010 System settings
0x0010 – 0x05d0 Internal eeprom 0x0010 – 0x05d0 16 internal patches
0x05d0 – 0x07d0 Internal eeprom 0x05d0 – 0x07d0 16 internal sequences
0x07d0 – 0x0800 Internal eeprom 0x07f0 – 0x0800 unused
0x0800 – 0x1f00 External eeprom 0x0000 – 0x1700 64 external patches
0x1f00 – 0x2700 External eeprom 0x1700 – 0x1f00 64 external sequences
0x2700 – 0x2800 External eeprom 0x1f00 – 0x2000 unused
0x2800 – 0x3f00 External eeprom 0x0000 – 0x1700 64 external patches
0x3f00 – 0x4700 External eeprom 0x1700 – 0x1f00 64 external sequences
0x4700 – 0x4800 External eeprom 0x1f00 – 0x2000 unused

And so on as the external eeprom size increases…

When doing a bulk backup, command is equal 0x40, argument is a block index, from 0 to 127, and payload is a 128 bytes (256 nibbles) memory block. Upon reception, the Shruthi copies the received 128 bytes block to the logical address argument x 128. Thus, the first 16384 bytes of memory are addressed by this scheme. The next 16384 bytes of memory are transmitted by using the 0x41 command, and so on.

Transfer request

For a patch transfer, command is equal to 0x11 and argument is null. The payload is empty. In other words, the full SysEx string is: 0xf0 0x00 0x20 0x77 0x00 0x02 0x11 0x00 0x00 0x00 0xf7 (the last pair of 0x00 being the checksum). Upon reception, the Shruthi dumps the current patch to the MIDI out. For a sequence transfer, command is equal to 0x12.

Write request

For a patch write request, command is equal to 0x21, argument is null, and the payload is a 14-bits integer indicating a memory slot number (0-based indexing). Upon reception, the Shruthi writes the current patch to the memory location designated by the number. For a sequence write request, command is equal to 0x22.

For example, to write the current patch to slot 303 (302 in 0-based indexing, 0x012e in hexadecimal), the message is:

0xf0  (SysEx)
0x00 0x20 0x77  (Mutable Instruments)
0x00 0x02  (Shruthi)
0x21  (Patch write command)
0x00  (No argument)
0x00 0x01 0x02 0x0e  (Patch number nibbles)
0x02 0x0f  (Checkum)
0xf7  (End of SysEx)

Firmware update

For firmware update, command is equal 0x7e, argument is null, and payload contains a 256 bytes (512 nibbles) block of code/data to be written to flash ROM. Upon reception of this message, the Shruthi writes the data block in flash ROM at the address pointer, and increments the address pointer by 256. The address pointer is initialized at 0x0000

At the end of the update procedure, a SysEx message with command = 0x7f, argument = 0x00 and no payload is sent. Upon reception, the Shruthi reboots into the newly updated firmware.

Credits

The following patches have been programmed by Florian Fourmy:

  • Flo bass
  • Follow!
  • ElectroB

The following patches have been programmed by stuartm:

  • woblbass
  • digobass
  • pythagor
  • noleleva
  • ahhparis
  • repliknt
  • pwmstrng
  • dahkand
  • deetoon
  • cowgirl
  • voxelito
  • woodtock

The following patches have been programmed by Trackdriver:

  • bitbass
  • shorty
  • VICdbass
  • sawwy
  • reason
  • puddle
  • blopbass
  • borg
  • fatbass
  • wowwy
  • pulsar
  • stringe
  • bigStrng
  • simplBra
  • pwmBrass
  • arpSynth
  • wasp
  • rendezVo
  • fullbell
  • loFiFlut
  • NESsie
  • noisBell
  • woice
  • wavesurf
  • lazrBird

The remaining patches have been programmed by Olivier Gillet

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.