Ready for the wildest sonic experimentations, this version of the Shruthi features two multimode filters, which can be combined in serial or parallel, and whose cutoff frequencies can be independent or linked (with a “spacing” control). This provides 36 filter configurations, each of them with 2 pairs of cutoff/resonance parameters, all under control of the modulation matrix!
For this release, we revisited our original dual SVF circuit and brought several improvements, putting it on par with the multimode filter used in Anushri. In particular, signal levels have been carefully optimized to provide a low noise-floor, and still keep the circuit away from clipping even in the most extreme high-resonance configurations.
The translucent blue plexiglas case is illuminated from the inside by the LEDs, the blue backlight LCD, and the eyes of a mischievous ghost. We have carefully selected low-intensity, diffused blue LEDs which are very easy on the eyes – not the bright retina-burners that gave blue LEDs such a bad reputation for music gear!
Availability: now, on the Mutable Instruments online shop.
Price: 199€ (VAT included, for EU residents); 166.39€ (outside EU). All parts included, with plexiglas case.
But there’s more behind this release… Since its birth, the Shruthi carried the ideal of a multiple-personalities synth. An ideal that was difficult to execute: making a product available as a kit is a delicate balancing act. Kit preparation is long and tedious; and keeping an inventory of many variants is risky. As a result, all our “exotic” filter board designs were so far available only as bare boards – which made them inaccessible to the less experienced or patient DIYers. Today, we think we have reached a point when all the logistic issues are sorted to release special editions as full kits. Releasing one special edition per quarter, as a full kit, is one of our goals for 2014.
- Pushed Branches in the production pipeline: finalized the BOM and assembly document, requested quotes, ordered the alu panels. This baby is going to be made!
- Fixed a few things in the Ambika and Shruthi-XT firmware.
- Got the zombie bug!
- Zombie-me stamped 1000 boxes in preparation of the “small” modules (peaks/shades/branches).
- Zombie-me prepared 1000 bags of screws.
- Zombie-me flashed Ambika MCUs, Shruthi eeproms and MCUs, CVpal MCUs.
- Zombie-me ordered parts for the Shruthi-XT and dispatched them to the kitting shop.
- Got rid of the zombie bug!
- Solved minor production issues with Yarns, and the final batch of 150 Grids.
- Met Mr Accountant for a bunch of administrative and tax duties, and some useful discussions regarding our 2014 plans.
- Went on a shopping spree for 2014′s modules – pots, jacks, knobs, ribbon cables…
- Built and tested Shruthi XT board.
- Started dispatching the freshly received Braids/Grids modules.
As you’ve guessed, there won’t be much R&D / product action in the next 3 weeks – a bunch of different items related to the DIY scene (Shruthi metal cases, Anushri panels, CVpal… later Shruthi-XT, maybe a special (re-)edition Shruthi…) will appear on the shop and we’ll be busy shipping them. Oh, and build those MIDIpals too!
I’ve been thinking about designing a ridiculously simple DIY kit for almost 2 years. Many people ask me whether building a Shruthi is feasible for a complete beginner, and the answer is not clear – so I thought of developing something simpler that would be a better gateway to the world of DIY than the Shruthi. My target part count was 25, with a BOM cost under 10€. I tried many things – like a little MIDI phase distortion bass synth, but it always got too complicated or too limited.
Back in april 2013, I started playing with the V-USB library, which brings USB connectivity to the lowliest through-hole AVR chips (used in the rest of the Mutable Instruments kits). It didn’t take me long to build a little product out of it, which originally looked like that:
A few iterations later, I gave up on the “Dongle” form factor, and it turned into the full-featured USB MIDI to CV/Gate interface that is the CVpal. The trajectory is interesting, because the product I ended up with satisfies both the “super easy DIY kit” and “much more useful than a buffer pedal or a LED blinker” criteria, but only caters to a small niche of modularists/analog-heads rather than the large crowd I dreamt of getting addicted to DIY… No worries, I am sure there are many modular users who would like to give a shot at building kits (and discover that there are hundreds of treasure to be built in the world of modular DIY).
I might later come up with a new beginner friendly product aimed at a larger audience anyway!
You can grab the CVpal kit here (41€ excl. VAT).
The latest version (v1.4) can be found here (Right click and use “save as” to prevent the file to be played right in the browser).
Please read this section of the user manual to learn more about the upgrade procedure.
Here is the list of changes compared to v1.2 (which was programmed on the modules from august’s batch):
- Fixed a bug that prevented the system settings to be written in memory in some situations.
- Added a new setting to the RANG menu that locks the output frequency to 440 Hz (useful as a reference for tuning other modules).
- Altered the phase and amplitude of some waveforms in the WTBL and WMAP modes to make the interpolation/scanning smoother.
- Added a new wavetable mode, WLIN, which allows the wavetable data to be scanned linearly by the TIMBRE control; while COLOR morphs between various interpolation methods and resolutions (between waveforms or within waveform sample data).
- Added a new wavetable mode, WTx4, generating four voices of wavetable synthesis. TIMBRE morphs through a representative selection of the waveforms; while COLOR selects various intervals between the four voices (unison with detuning, octaves, chords…)
- Added two new synthesis modes, /| x3 and |_| x3, with 3 voices of anti-aliased sawtooth or square waves. TIMBRE and COLOR control the interval/detuning of the second and third voices.
- Added a new synthesis mode, DRUM, which is a variant of BELL generating an additive timpani-like sound. TIMBRE controls its decay, while COLOR the tone brightness.
- Reworked the FOLD mode to provide more destructive wavefolding on its triangle/sine internal inputs. The amount of wavefolding decreases when note frequency is increased to prevent aliasing.
- Reworked the FBFM mode. The range of the FM index control (TIMBRE) is dynamically adjusted as a function of the COLOR and main frequency settings. This allows a greater amount of destructive FM in the low and mid ranges, while keeping aliasing under control when the frequency reaches the higher octaves.
- Prepared a new linux laptop for factory testing. udev rules syntax changes O_o.
- Wrote a bunch of python code for remote-controlling the factory’s fancy DMM from the serial port.
- Played with pyGTK and pyportmidi.
- Added a factory testing backdoor to Yarns’ firmware.
- Worked on Yarns’ magic “root solving” DAC calibration routine.
- More bells and whistles for Yarns’ calibration: for each unit we’ll generate a .syx to allow you to reset the DACs to their original calibration settings. And maybe a .pdf with some pretty graphs.
- Reviewed and signed the production documents for Frames and Yarns sent back to me from the factory. At this point, Yarns and Frames are entirely in their hands – I’ll spend a day there in november to make sure that the testing and calibration goes well.
- Gathered all the september documents for the accountant.
- Validated some substitution op-amps for Anushri.
- Purchased parts for Q1 2014 (DIY and modules).
- Tweaked the Shruthi-XT PCB, preparing the terrain for the case and panel design!
- Worked on the new Shruthi firmware: fixed some bugs, did a lot of testing of the MIDI handling (especially the new CC handling), added new modulation destinations.
- Got quote and ordered proto for the Anushri alu panel (more or less compliant with the design language of the modules).
- Polished some bits in the Braids firmware – trying to save a bit on code size for future improvements, and trying to backport Tides’ anti-aliasing stuff.
That was a dense ‘testing and maintenance’ week, I hope I’ll have more time next week for new things, new sounds!