Dilemma: four Shruthis in a polychain, or a four (or six) voice Ambika?

Opinions sought on whether, sonically or technically, there are advantages to four Shruthis in a polychain versus a four or more voice Ambika. I’m reasonably confident of my ability to complete either as self-builds (I have successfully built a complete 22 module analogue synth, albeit 30 years ago, and more recently various Arduinos and related stuff). Although I am keen to do the builds myself (I like soldering, it’s relaxing), ordering lots of parts from various suppliers, researching alternatives when things are out of stock, and waiting for them to arrive is not so much fun, and thus the ability to order complete Shruthi kits with all parts from a single source is quite an advantage. However, if the Ambika sounds a lot better, then I’m happy to go that route too. But on the other hand, four Shruthis might be a lot more flexible and offer a wider palette of sonic and modulation options. No (music) keyboards would be involved, everything played via MIDI from various custom Python and R scripts - I’m into aleatory, stochastic and/or generative music composition and performance, and cover versions of Phillip Glass and Terry Riley works, and more into “nice” sounds, not grungy ones - and/or Ableton Live (and Max for Live). I’ve listened to most of the online demos of both the Shruthi and the Ambika, BTW. Happy to listen to them all again - I really like everything about both these instruments.

If you want a Poly Synth to play Chords go for the Ambika.
Shruhti is designed to be a Monophonic Synth and polychaining is just an added Candy. You wont be able to Sync LFOs and have to live with some latency which might be critical to percussive Sounds.
If you need 4 monophonic voices 4 different Shruthis are a more usable because of the wider range of available filter boards. As a complete Kit you are limited to the SMR-4 Filter btw.
In the end - and we all know it - you will build some Shruthis and an Ambika anyways . . .

Yeah, OK. I’ll order a Shruthi now for my birthday (next month) and ask Santa for Ambika PCBs and case for Xmas (and then it would be a waste not to order all the parts and build it).

Sounds like a logical, reasonable plan…

I like your plan! They sort of have a different character…Ambika has a more powerful mod matrix/voice architecture, better interface and a more detailed sound but there’s something more in-your face about the Shruthi, plus it’s cuter :wink: . They’re not redundant next to each other…

BTW are you in Sydney?

Im a bit away from Sydney. Pretty much as far as the Planet allows

I use 5 Shruthis and a MIDIPal in Dispatcher mode to play them from a Roland A90. Currently, I’m using the A90 split, with a Shruthi Ladder filter for bass (which is being played by a MIDIAlf) and four different Shruthi filters for chords in the right hand.

I also have an extra two more or less complete Shruthi filter boards (ladder and 4PM) that I’m trying to figure out what to do with. Since I have three XT versions, I’m considering polychaining the Shruthis that do not have knobs to the Shruthis that do, and I should still be able to play chords via the MIDIPal. Could get confusing 'though.

I do not have an Ambika to compare but this setup is all sorts of fun. Each voice can sound completely different or just slightly different. If you are playing them via MIDI it might be better to have a bunch of Shruthis but impressions of Ambika are very positive. Tough choice.

I have a few videos on YouTube showing the multiple Shruthis, just in case you want to have a look. I’m also hoping to do a few more over the next couple of weeks.

Thanks everyone for the helpful and constructive comments. I’ve re-read this: http://mutable-instruments.net/ambika-story - and now better appreciate the evolution from the Shruthi to the Ambika, including the latter’s use of 12-bit DACs and SPI messaging internally. I’ve also started to read the Ambika source code - it’s kick-arse - very impressive, but also well-structured and quite hackable. (It could do with a suit of unit tests, but I digress.) I was delighted to find that the wavetables are all created with Python, in fact, with Numpy, with which I am very familiar (I’m an epidemiologist, and use Numpy quite often in my work). Custom wavetables, no problem! And LFO tables, ADSR envelopes etc too. And even the C++ code for the voice cards makes sense, and looks like it can ready be tweaked or new voice types added.

So, my plan is to build a Shruthi with a standard SMR2 filter, then build a Mission 4P and a TubeOhm diode or LED filter for it to see which is best, and then over the (Oz) summer, build an Ambika with a mix of the two filter cards that I like the best. Hmmm, and then two more Shruthis to use the spare filter cards. And then… OK, OK, but this looks like a lot of fun, and vastly more affordable than endless Eurorack module acquisition (I have a large analogue modular in any case, albeit now 32 years old).

Oh, and yes, Bennelong Bicyclist lives in Bennelong electorate, in Sydney. And he won’t be voting for any retired second-rate tennis players.

Solid plan, I keep forgetting that my Ambika needs 2 more cards!

And when you are done with the Ambika - Braids is all of these OSCs on steroid…

fcd72 Very true!!!!BennelongBicyclist Don’t discount the SVF cards, either in Ambika or Shruthi format. If you feel like taking the modular out to make new friends, bring it along to the next New Sound Waves meet at Redfern next month and I’ll bring my SVF Ambika for you to play with. Deal? :wink:

( stop with the Braids! aaeeiii!)

Mine has 4 SVFs and even 1 is awesome


Im in a similar position - I want an xpander but for many reasons dont want to drop the cash on a 30 digital/analog hybrid. I think considering the complexity of those synths that the chips might start going bye-bye in a few years. So Ive decided on 2 x Shruthi-4pm. Thats with my 2 x Shruthi SMR4’s. So I will be looking to do polychaining myself. Regarding Ambika do you guys think that a 4 x 4pm and a 2 x SVF would be a good combo? Im, not a KB player, more sequencing than live playing.

@gwaidan, belated reply: I didn’t make the first 3 NSWaves meets but will try to get to the next one, if I can persuade my son to come with me to help carry the modular to and from the car (and to try to get him interested in modular synths - argggh, what am I saying, I’ll have to pay for any such interest!). Would love to have a play with the Ambika.

Has anyone heard a cs80 sound to the SVF? A woodiness…