Kits for Mutable modulars?

The Mutable instruments modulars are so awesome. Are there any plans for selling DIY kits or circuit boards?

There’s only a finite amount of toxic stress caused by failed builds that I can handle; and the existing DIY line (Shruthi, Anushri) is already filling up this quota. This is also why I don’t want to do more Ambika kits at the moment.

Sorry, it will never happen. But of course you’re free to grab the board files on github, have someone make a board for you, and stuff them by hand… as long as you don’t ask me for help if this doesn’t work for you…

Also, the modules would have certainly been less awesome if I had to design them with the goal of making them available as DIY kits…

OK. Point taken. Are the parts very unusual or hard to find?

hard to find when it falls to the floor :wink:


pichenettes: Does this mean you won’t be restocking Ambika motherboards?

Several people on this forum have successfully built DIY versions of MI modules, and several more are preparing to do so (including me). In some cases I think the motivation was an abundance of skills but a shortage of funds (worsened by poor foreign exchange rates), in other cases because a non-Eurorack format was desired, and in a few cases, there were rather more Quixotic reasons, such as “just because you can”, or some bizarre adherence to monkish synth DIY vows (“I must build it myself”). So far, the few discussions I have had with others on this forum about DIY MI modules have been via private messages, to avoid cluttering up the forum and to avoid annoying Olivier (not because he objects to people attempting DIY versions - otherwise he wouldn’t have open-sourced all aspects of the designs, including the PCB files - but simply because it is annoying to see such questions - I know it would annoy the hell out of me if I were in his position). My suggestion is to ask questions of people who have attempted MI module builds, via direct PMs. A bit of googling on this site will quickly identify the relevant people. Don’t be offended if they don’t respond or don’t wish to help, though. That said, none of the components that Olivier has selected are exotic or terribly difficult to source, although as schrab points out, those 0603 resistors and caps really are tiny, and unless you have exceptional eyesight, you really do need a reasonable head magnifier or set of loupes, or an operating microscope, to inspect your soldering. You also need to be able to set up the build environment and compile the code from source - you won’t find any handy binaries to flash. None of it rocket science, but some research is required unless you’re quite familiar with building embedded software devices, which is what the MI modules are (except perhaps Ripples).

Well spoken BennelongBicyclist :slight_smile:

It is also important to know that you aren’t saving a lot of money. Maybe 20-30%. For this saving you will need to source the parts from different places and need to solder smd. You also wont have any warranty and also not such a high quality product. Seriously, I love the original knobs, potis and front plates :D. And you wont support Olivier.

But if you still like to built them on your own, I’m happy to help. :slight_smile: Just contact me via pm.

Just regarding support for the MI business: although DIY versions of the modules don’t (or shouldn’t) incur any costs for MI in terms of material resources or support, they don’t contribute to R&D either, unless the builder of the DIY module is able to make contributions to the firmware or similar. However, open source licensing doesn’t preclude charges or royalties, it is just that paying them is inevitably optional due to the freedoms provided by the licensing. Thus, Olivier could request a (reasonable) royalty payment or donations for each DIY instance of an MI module built. I would happily pay such a royalty or make such a donation, as a contribution to ongoing MI R&D efforts. Um, maybe for each successful DIY instance of an MI module… I am quite prepared to fail miserably in my DIY MI module efforts (and I promise not to complain about it, not here, nor anywhere else).

If you’ve not built an SMD kit like MIDIPal then you probably don’t know what you’re letting yourself in for.

Correct me if i am wrong but almost all of the problems in Shruthi/Anushri/Ambika builds are due to imperfect assembly, we often have to deal with problems who’s cause has no experience in DIY whatsoever, didn’t read or follow the building instructions, doesn’t speak our language so we have to guess, must be teached the very basic technics, has no testing equipment whatsoever, doesn’t do as requested or has no understanding at all of what to do and frequently does more harm by repairing around - all of this even with detailed instructions. I very rarely have seen a defective part (at least a defective one that has not been destroyed by the builder).

This may be very erosive.

An all this trouble with thru hole parts with 1,27mm spacing at worst that even my old eyes can well see and my geriatric, by Parkinson and alcohol withdrawal shaken hands can solder.

Now imagine what happens if there would be kits with parts 1/6th of the size, the gaps between the parts 1/4 of the size and the people mentioned above.


So the entry barrier is sourcing your Parts and PCB yourselves, if you are able and willing to do so theres a good chance you get it working. If this already is to complicated your chances to succeed are most likely the same like the chance of a Vanilla Brioche in a Supernova.

> Does this mean you won’t be restocking Ambika motherboards?

I will. But no complete kits before a while.

If you want the modules to use as an instrument, then just buy the modules and use them as an instrument.

If you want to learn SMD soldering as a hobby, then by all means go right ahead. Just don’t expect to save money on the MI modules that way. :slight_smile:

> Are the parts very unusual or hard to find?

Some, yes:

  • Pots - equivalents are available, but with different mechanical specs (threading size, shaft length).
  • SPDT Switches with long actuators used on Edges, Frames.
  • Knobs, faceplates.

I think if you have to ask the question then you’re “not ready” :slight_smile:

i would very much agree that a diy approach to the complex MI modules makes absolutely no sense, unless one looks for a very specific personal challenge. The little money that might be saved is in no reasonable relation to the difficulty, hassle and and chance of total failure. Best is to go and buy them and then DIY something else instead (there are so many option, why chose something to DIY that can be readily ordered at a very reasonable price, with added benefit to support further developments by MI). Also, i would rather like to see those that have the skills to do an MI module all by themselves (me not!), to do something other and unique instead, and then make it available (in whatever form).

But not good to hear about the “finite quota of toxic stress” that is already filled up Shruthi and Anushri. :frowning:
I would certainly hope to see more DIY from MI, either as kits or just PCBs/BOMs. Preferably also simpler stuff (i guess an Anushri is already on the edge what can reasonably be done as a kit, and Ambika probably already a bit beyond).

I can only imagine what kind of questions occur outside of this forum (because troubleshooting questions within the forum itself seem mostly rather reasonable and there are often several people what are willing to help). As the build descriptions are already better than for almost any other DIY projects i know of, restricting support, possibly only via forum questions, seems fair enough. But I really really hope there is still some little quota left after Shruthi and Anushri … :wink:

Perhaps. Honestly, hand-soldering of SMD is no problem but sourcing the circuit board is something I’ve never done before so I would need to do a lot of research. Most likely I would just buy the completed units from Oliver when I’m ready. Thanks all.

The kits are not to “difficult” (in fact its only the size that changes…) more and more totally unskilled people are trying the Shruthi as their first soldering project, ever (ever, ever!). If i look at last weeks troubleshooting there were 5 or 6 incidents of “resolder these joints” - “hey it works” cases that could be avoided if people only had a brief glimpse of what they are doing. DIY seems more and more to turn into AIY where a is for “assemble”. Not necessarily a bad thing at all, but i notice a drop in qualification somehow.

fcd-good point, the AIY is actually a bit sad. I don’t mind soldering 100 components to get something to work. Assuming the components are all good, it should work - if you can solder. I had done some soldering before MI stuff, but really cut my teeth and improved my skills on a couple of these. It really is great when things work.

That said, it is understandable giving the volume of ‘help’ (I need to reflow solder) posts that would raise the stress ceiling too high for any more DIY projects. If I could better afford MI modular I would. If I had a good option for sourcing one-offs of the pcbs and self-sourcing, I probably would. SMD is not nearly as easy as through hole, but doable.

As time goes, the DIY projects attract a larger audience (good!) which is less and less technically-minded (bad!) and expects an Ikea-style experience.