The final chapter of Mutable Instruments is a massive free Plaits firmware update giving it 8 new synth models incl. DX-7 FM synthesis.
It has been known for a few months that Emilie Gillet, the brains behind Mutable Instruments, will retire. Many modules have been taken off the market in recent months. If you look at the website, you can see that all modules are discontinued and that Mutable Instruments will permanently shut down in December 2022.
But Emilie Gillet doesn’t leave the Eurorack stage quietly. She has a big bang for the end. She has published a surprising new massive firmware for the Plaits, which gives the macro-oscillator even more features.
Mutable Instruments Plaits DX-7
According to Emilie, she had this update ready for release for a long time but was still waiting for a reason. She writes in the forum
I’m releasing this firmware update with a couple of things I kept under my hat throughout 2021 and 2022 just in case the clones/competition would start being a problem (as you can see, it wasn’t really necessary).
The big highlight of this new firmware update for the Plaits oscillator is an orange bank with eight all-new synthesis models for pitched sounds.
- (1) classic waveshape with built-in switchable 24dB or 12dB filter
- (2) phase distortion and modulation
- (3) (4) (5) 2-voice 6-operator DX-7 style FM synth voice with 32 presets. Fantastic, you can transfer 32 custom patches in DX-7 SysEx format into the module via the timbre input.
- (6) wave terrain synthesis with continuous interpolation between eight 2D terrains plus the option to import custom wave terrain via the timbre input.
- (7) string machine emulation with stereo filter and chorus
- (8) four variable square voices for chords or clockable arpeggios
Eight exciting new synth models for the Plaits, turning the module upside down. Especially the possibility of loading complete DX-7 patches in the Mutable Instruments Plaits sounds crazy, and the novel wave terrain synthesis sounds very intriguing.
With the new firmware update, Plaits can receive audio data on its timbre input to load custom data into the synthesis models. Including the 6-operator FM, wave terrain synthesis, and wavetable synthesis.
As a result, the wavetable engine is now open so that you can personalize it also with your own wavetables. You can transfer 15 custom waveforms and customization bank 4’s wave map inside the module.
Improvements and bug Fixes
In addition to these very exciting new features, there are also numerous improvements and bug fixes for the Plaits macro oscillator.
- reduced the amount of software filtering on the TIMBRE and MORPH knobs, to increase their responsiveness.
- reduced the amount of hysteresis in the quantizer responsible for converting a voltage into discrete settings (for example, for model selection with the MODEL CV input, or chord selection with the HARMONICS knob and CV input). This makes the relationship between a voltage and a specific setting more consistent when controlled by a sequencer.
- the filters used for band-limited wavetable synthesis have been improved, eliminating the amplitude drop observed for the highest notes.
- the frequency range selector has a new mode: octaves. In this mode, the right button and FREQUENCY knob combo adjusts the root note, then the FREQUENCY knob transposes this root note up or down.
- pressing both buttons simultaneously for a short time enables or disables an alternative way of selecting a synthesis model: the first button selects the previous model, the second button the next one.
- fixed a spurious retriggering of the internal envelope when entering/leaving the speech synthesis model.
Wow, just wow. I call that an update. It makes me happy but also sad at the same time. On the one hand, it is a fabulous update with many new features which massively upgrade the module. On the other hand, it is also the final chapter of the Mutable Instruments brand.
Thank you for everything, Emilie Gillet, for what you have done for the Eurorack world. You are a modern synthesizer pioneer. I wish you all the best for the future. Maybe there will be a reunion in the Synthesizer world in the future. You are always welcome.
The new Mutable Instruments Plaits firmware is now available as a free download from the MI forum. The final batch of the Plaits module is out now for 229/$259 USD.
More information here: Mutable Instruments
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