This week at Mutable Instruments

  • Continued writing and experimenting with new module 1 DSP code.
  • Worked with Hannes on panel revisions for new module 1 and new module 2.
  • Planned & ordered parts for a new run of Anushri kits + end of the year Ambika kits.
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This week at Mutable Instruments

  • Identified and salvaged the good bits from new module 1’s DSP code.
  • Found a coherent theme/UI under which the good bits from new module 1 could be combined with other stuff some of you will love playing with.
  • Wrote a lot of code, almost done on the new firmware for new module 1. That was an intense coding marathon, and I’m continuing over the week-end.
  • Built my RYO optodist.
  • “This is April to… boobelyboo. This is err, misc… And this is… other.” Gathered and sorted all Q2 documents for the accountant.
  • Validated production docs for new module 3 and 4.
  • Prepared a last list of quality checks for the production batch of Peaks – SMT assembly launched!
  • Wrote user manual for new module 4.

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This week at Mutable Instruments

  • Built a couple of module 3 & module 4 protos for early testers.
  • Found that one of the module 3 I’ve built behaved a bit differently from its siblings. Added a software calibration routine so that the odd ducks can be identified and fixed during factory testing.
  • Cleared on the breadboard some last doubts about new module 3′s analog circuitry.
  • Tweaked levels/response curves/parameter ranges in new module 3′s code.
  • Did a bunch of last sanity checks on new modules 3 and 4 (output and power supply protection, noise and bleed measurements, current consumption check).
  • Received a batch of 25 Peaks. Tested tested tested, packed packed packed, shipped shipped shipped.
  • Received the hardware and knobs for the Anushri rack-mounting kits. Back on the shop, more shipping!
  • Refactored most of new module 1′s code to make room for new parameters and treatments, and added plenty of optimizations.
  • Sent production order for new modules 3 and 4 (25+225 each). Prepared production documents.
  • Wrote new module 3′s quick start guide.
  • Got slowed down by a few repairs.
  • Finished all optimisations in new module 1, everything I wanted in there now runs in realtime, on the real hardware. Put it in the case for hours of fun and… I am not happy – some things are great, some others don’t feel right. And the things that are great could fit in a less expensive 10-HP module… I will try to see if the same feature space can be achieved using other DSP techniques over the week-end. If so, it’ll become a different beast running on the same hardware. If not, I’ll move on and keep the good bits for a simpler module.
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This week at Mutable Instruments

  • Finished the DSP code for the second half of new module 2, including obsessive fine-tuning of all parameters ranges and control curves.
  • Wrote all the glue / meta-parameters code that wraps together the two halves of new module 2 in an interface ready to be grafted onto the hardware – the main class that needs to be fed a stream of trigger input, codec and ADC values!
  • Did most of the overall tuning/sound balancing of new module 2. Very happy with the results, but I want it badly to work with at least 2-3 voices of polyphony so optimizations will be necessary.
  • Built and tested latest iteration of new module 3. Circuit performs well. There are a few 3D glitches that needs to be solved (parts very close to each other with risks of assembly problems), but I am not reordering a PCB for this – so this one finally goes into production!
  • Implemented a “snap” feature for locking the potentiometers when Peaks is used in Expert mode. Added state saving code so that the state of the 4 “hidden” potentiometers in Expert mode are saved when the module is powered off.
  • Received a batch of pre-production Branches. Gross assembly mistake, sent back to the assembly house for repair :-/
  • Experimented with a nice stereo/spatial/verb output mode for new module 2.
  • Experimented with approximations in various areas of new module 2′s code. They are actually not a bad thing at all and add a little flavor of analog detuning/instrument stretch-tuning.
  • Fixed a last set of minor annoyances in new module 3′s firmware.
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This week at Mutable Instruments

  • Assembled 20 MIDIpals (the last ones before the end of june), shipped 80.
  • Continued the bug hunt for the upcoming MIDIpal firmware update, finally wrapping up the work on the “Note clock” feature.
  • Spent a lot of time troubleshooting modules, kits, boards which actually had no problem at all
  • Implemented Yarns’ CC control feature. Two hours trying all CCs one by one!
  • Implemented some improvements to Yarns’ built-in LFO, including the ability to output it unscaled by the modulation wheel, a finer resolution (from 8-bit to 15-bit), and tempo-synchronization (with multipliers).
  • Did some noise & signal level measurements for new module 4.
  • Started DSP coding for the second half of new module 2.

(Hardcore patchers club photo by Frank Daniels)

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Recently at Mutable Instruments

  • Finished the DSP code for the first half of new module 2. This is a totally self-contained module with two major digital building blocks. One of them done!
  • Spent 10 days with the mrs, away from code, oscilloscopes and circuit boards.
  • Started sorting, annotating, and collecting data for the second DSP half of new module 2.
  • Received CVpal aluminium faceplates. Finished packing kits. Caught up with orders.
  • Received Grids, Braids and a handful of Frames modules. Dispatched to dealers.
  • Investigated on a batch of pre-production Peaks modules that failed to power on. Identified the problem as a bad reel of op-amps – the marking on the op-amp was rotated 180° compared to the actual pinout.
  • Received the first prototype board of new module 4. Quickly finished the assembly, powered it on and… it works! Now it needs to be played with, and will probably need some polishing and adjustments…
  • Assembled 90 MIDIpals. I’ll build 20 more and list them on the shop on monday or tuesday. A new batch of approximately 130 will be available at the end of the month.
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This week at Mutable Instruments

  • Fixed a bug occurring on Yarns when both portamento and transposition are enabled.
  • Ordered a new iteration of prototypes for new module 3.
  • Prepared a shipment of parts for next production runs of Frames, Yarns, Edges, Ripples.
  • Worked on DSP code for new module 2 (including the Pointless Denormals Hunt).
  • Received more Grids, tested some, shipped orders to dealers.
  • Repaired one of the module testers used at the factory.
  • Released a firmware upgrade for Yarns.
  • Published Yarns, Frames and Tides’ source code.
  • Sorted 100 CVpal kits – now waiting for the faceplates.
  • Got 150 MIDIpal enclosures ready for assembly. ETA for MIDIpal: june 6th.
  • Investigated on a test problem on a pre-run of 25 Branches modules.
  • Migrated mutable-instruments.net to a new server (DNS change still propagating…)
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Yarns firmware upgrade

Just a few bug fixes and minor tweaks…

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This week at Mutable Instruments

  • Improved the implementation of the experimental “note clock” feature of the MIDIpal.
  • Troubleshooted a hairy aliasing problem in new module 1 – occurring at some sample rates.
  • Wrote most of UI logic for new module 1.
  • Filled some gaps in new module 1′s DSP code. The DSP code is now done and runs perfectly… on my development machine.
  • Finished building prototype of new module 3.
  • Worked on some hardware changes for the next iteration of Yarns.
  • Improved Yarns’ segments display driver code.
  • Took a day off. Still battling with the zombie flu.
  • Troubleshooted (down to the bottom of the problem) an annoying CV inaccuracy problem which popped up in new module 3. Four solutions have been found, which I am currently comparing: using an expensive op-amp, having a stash of 50k pots specially done for this project, adding an extra software calibration procedure, or drastically changing the circuit and go through another iteration of prototypes & tests.
  • Added a few tricks to new module 3 to allow it to sense the width, height and slew-rate of the pulses sent to one of its inputs – and react accordingly.
  • Evaluated a few parts samples (pots, connectors) for new module 3.
  • Finished building prototype of new module 2. Wrote drivers for all peripherals and tested them. Successful board bring-up! Now I have to clean up and endlessly polish what is just for now proof of concept code.
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This week at Mutable Instruments

  • Designed – simulation lies, breadboard truth – one last bit of analog stuff for new module 4.
  • Routed new module 4 PCB.
  • Prepared BOM and draft of production documents for new module 4.
  • Ordered prototype of new module 4.
  • Tweaked new module 3′s algorithms, and finished its user manual.
  • Tried to reproduce some bugs reported by a few people – but even with the best intentions in the world could not reproduce them.
  • Worked on a minor, but bitchy to test, MIDIpal feature.
  • Zombie disease kicked back, things are going to be very slow next week…
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