Basic utility modules

As a follow-up on the discussion about complete Mutable Instruments systems… and in parallel to efforts with my CM to make the manufacturing of simpler modules more cost-effective (We’ve learnt so much when I brought the production of Branches and Shades back in France!)

It looks like it is now possible for Mutable Instruments, from a costs perspective, to manufacture “simpler” modules. I don’t intend to create a revolution here - just to fulfil the needs of people who want a uniform rack. So I thought about giving it a go and fill a couple of gaps in my line, and spend one or two months on these “easy” things to get more relaxed before attacking another rather ambitious project.

These utilities would probably not be standalone modules, but more something 6 or 8-HP-ish providing a bunch of utility functions (Pittsburgh Toolbox style or “Links with knobs”).

Thoughts? Which of these functions are the most important to you?

  • 1-pole LP/LP+VCA/VCA (continuously variable).
  • Non-VC lag-processor.
  • VC lag-processor (MakeNoise Function-style).
  • Sample & Hold.
  • Logic ops.
  • Noise source.
  • Plain VCA.

Vote for VCA or logic ops !

@pichenettes: those are all essential - and they all already exist in several incarnations. i’d say why not keep m.i. focussed on the kind of exciting brilliant innovative stuff you’ve come up with so far and leave the boring basics to the well-established manufacturers of affordable boring basics? [shrug emoticon]

I’d like a sample & hold, albeit low-cost digital/hybrid if possible, so that it would have infinite freeze, or handle down to DC duties. You could do things like the Serge SSG (Smooth and Stepped Generator), classic S&H, lag processing and slewing of incoming signals.

However, classic S&H, VC lag and Logic ops plus noise (preferably with lotsa colors, white, pink, red, blue…) are all nice. I’d take any of the above modules, it would just take a bit longer to get to the plain VCA or the Non-VC lag processor unless they were decently cheap.

Something that does what the MN Function does is always nice. They’re like toolboxes, you could always use more.

I’d get all of them just for a uniform row or five in my racks! Some manufacturers of “basic” stuff or even odd stuff could take a hint or two about aestethics from MI… No names, but I can think of a few whom Grayscale and the likes sometimes re-skin. Then again, they also re-panelize MI, shrug :slight_smile:

It’s like the Synchrodyne fer instance. Great stuff, but very crammed.

+1 for a CV-controlled lag module, as long as it had a trigger/gate input to turn lag on/off. Honestly, though, I’d probay buy all of the above, if they were competitively-priced.


+1 for mic.w

Its all about the quality of the brand and the associations people have with it.

I’d get a non-VC lag generator if it had a gate I out to turn lag on/off, actually. The trig input is key to me, then you can use it to selectively trigger glide effects in sequences.


Plain (double) VCA, please!

How about multiple combined envelopes and VCAs in the same module. something like a super-simplified Galilean Moons, but with, say, 4 AD/AR envelopes feeding VCAs, with trig/gate and audio input and attenuated audio and env CV output for each? I think quite a lot of people would find that pretty handy.


Also, I don’t think anything quite like than currently exists, so there may be a gap in the market.


Definitely logic ops, including clock dividers. And VC lag processors. But 1-pole filters plus VCA make sense with digital signal sources which use non-subtractive timbral modulation, or have built-in filters.

Just want to put in a good word for the existing MI utility modules: I’ve just bought a 2nd Happy Ending Kit, and made my most complex patch yet, and my Links and Shades modules make the whole thing work.


Well…id go for a double 1Pole LP VCA…. and for everything else.
A Digital 16 Bit S/(T)H which holds the sampled value exactly forever is another thing I’ve been thinking about myself for quite some time - hating that my A-148 fades the value so pitch drops slowly.
In fact the basic functionality Modules are vastly underrated - theres so much room for improvement besides repeating the same ole functionality (and possible internal circuitry) and who else than MI could take a better try on this?

I’d say a combined AD/AR and VCA would be more useful than a filter/VCA, but others might disagree.

Another thing might be useful: CV to MIDI converter, like an inverse CVPal, with similar modes for working with different types of input signals.

Miniature audio mixer, similar to Malekko’s Mix 4 or Unity modules?

Combined mixer/CV-controlled VCA like Barton mixer, but more inputs?


SH sans voltage droop yay! There hasta be some dirt-cheap 16 bit CODEC that could be connected to a low-cost MCU that could do this.

Of course, that leads to questions/feature creep like envelope detection, lag processing, slewing yada yada. It could certainly bear some thinking about, it could easily outshine lots of gear.

I’m with @toneburst - a mini Galilean Moons would be nice. +1000 for a Barton mixer of sorts.

Barton Mixer/VCA is amazingly valuable in my setup…
^more inputs

It’s always nice to have a VCA and mixer combined in one module. The Barton and L-1 are what I use, but a separate small HP VCA and small HP mixer is just as good, right? Just a few extra patches.

Personally, I’d love to see something like the Expert Sleeper Disting, but properly open-sourced and more easily hackable, in fact, designed for that from the outset. Maybe 8HP, not 4HP like the Disting. Maybe with 8 or 16 software slots for plug-in modules, and perhaps a very well defined API or abstraction layer to the hardware, possibly even wrapped in a DSL (domain specific language) which generates C++ code and compiles it for uploading. Maybe just some Python classes to do that? OK, that’s not a small relaxing project, but it would be Disting, which seems to be the ultimate utility module at the moment, taken to its logical conclusion. It would need to be STM32-based, maybe STM32F4, to give it enough power for audio DSP (like the Disting), not just Modulation CV and trigger generation (there are already lots of Atmel AVR modules that do that). Various pre-written classes could package the tricky DSP stuff so that hackers could just string them together or fiddle around the edges with the way they are modulated etc ( much as I have done with Bees-in-the-Trees for Braids).

> I’d say a combined AD/AR and VCA

Like this?

> possibly even wrapped in a DSL (domain specific language) which generates C++ code

Like the way the OWL module supports Faust?

I don’t see a very big gap between getting someone to learn Faust and getting someone to learn C/C++.

If I wanted to make something user programmable by non-specialists, the only logical choice for me would be Max/MSP or pd.