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Switched On - Mutable Instruments Plaits

Mutable Instruments Plaits


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Plaits is the spiritual successor of Mutable Instruments’ best-selling voltage-controlled sound source, Braids. Not just a mkII version: its hardware and software have been redesigned from scratch.

Just like its predecessor, it offers direct access to a large palette of easily tweakable sounds, covering the whole gamut of synthesis techniques. What has changed is the interface: gone are the screen, menu system, hidden settings, and the long list of somewhat redundant synthesis models.

Thanks to additional CV inputs, and to the use of 3 timbre-shaping parameters per model, Plaits is straightforward to use, and much closer to the ideal of one synthesis technique = one model. What were fragmented islands of sound in Braids are now part of a continuum of sounds.

The module is very easy to use as a stand-alone voice or percussive source: its built-in low-pass gate allows the module to be operated without a VCF or VCA, and an internal decay envelope is normalled to some of the CV inputs.

Great care has been taken regarding audio quality, anti-aliasing, and CV interpolation, resulting in a richer, cleaner sound.

All this for less HP, mA, and €/$ than the original!

=== Specifications ===

8 synthesis models for pitched sounds:

* Pair of continuously variable waveforms (virtual analog).

* Variable slope triangle oscillator processed by a waveshaper and wavefolder.

* 2-operator FM with continuously variable feedback path.

* Two independently controllable formants modulated by a variable shape window (VOSIM, Pulsar, Grainlet, Casio CZ-style filter sweeps).

* 24-harmonic additive oscillator.

* Wavetable oscillator with four banks of 8x8 waves, with or without interpolation.

* Chord generator, with divide down string/organ emulation or wavetables.

* A collection of speech synthesis algorithms (formant filter, SAM, LPC), with phoneme control and formant shifting. Several banks of phonemes or segments of words are available.

8 synthesis models for noise and percussions

* Granular sawtooth or sine oscillator, with variable grain density, duration and frequency randomization.

* Clocked noise processed by a variable shape resonant filter.

* 8 layers of dust/particle noise processed by resonators or all-pass filters.

* Extended Karplus-Strong (aka Rings’ red mode), with white or dust noise excitation.

* Modal resonator (aka Rings’ green mode), with mallet or dust noise excitation.

* Analog kick drum emulation (two flavors).

* Analog snare drum emulation (two flavors).

* Analog high-hat emulation (two flavors).

I/O and controls:

* 2 model selection buttons, with 8 bicolor LEDs displaying the active model.

* Main frequency control, 8 octaves.

* Three dimensions of timbre control: harmonics, timbre, morph.

* Attenuverters for the timbre, morph, and frequency modulation CV inputs. These CV inputs are normalized to the internal envelope generator.

* Model selection, harmonics, timbre, morph, FM CV inputs.

* Main V/O CV input, with a large input range (-3V to +7V).

* Trigger input, triggering an internal D envelope, or the exciter for the physical/drum models.

* Level CV input, controlling the internal digital low-pass gate, or acting as an accent control for the physical/drum models.

Technical characteristics:

* CV inputs: 100k input impedance, 4kHz, 16-bit.

* Audio outputs: 48kHz, 16-bit, DC-coupled.

* Cortex-M4 ARM processor.

* 12-HP.

* Current consumption: +12V: 50mA ; -12V: 5mA.

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