The Mutable Instruments Elements is a full-blown synthesis voice based on modal synthesis – a under-appreciated flavour of physical modelling synthesis with a strange and abstract feel.
Elements combines an exciter synthesis section generating raw, noisy sounds characteristic of bowing (filtered friction noise), blowing (pitch-controlled granular noise), or striking (stick, mallet, hammer or brush sample playback… or bursts of synthetic impulsions). These sources, or external audio signals, are processed by a modal filter bank – an ensemble or 64 tuned band-pass filters simulating the response or various resonant structures (plates, strings, tubes….) with adjustable brightness and damping. A stereo ambience reverberator adds depth and presence to the sound.
All parameters have a very meaningful and well-delimited impact on the sound. When designing Elements, great care was taken in selecting parameter ranges and control curves, producing a large palette of sounds – often beyond physical realism – but always well controlled and stable. The “dark spots” or noise and feedback are reached gradually, and they do still react to controls The module has been deliberately made menu and switch-free – what you dial / patch is what you hear!
Excitation signal generator
• Three generators with mixer: bowing noise, blowing noise, percussive impulses.
• Envelope contour for bowing and blowing.
• Bowing noise generator: particle-like scratching noise with 2-pole low-pass filter.
• Blowing noise generator: granular pitched noise with wavetable-like scanning between various tone colours.
• Percussive impulse generator: interpolates through a collection of impulsive excitations – including sampled sticks, brushes and hammers, and models of damped mallets, plectrums, or bouncy particles. 2-pole low-pass filter and pitch control.
• Internally uses 64 zero-delay feedback state variable filters.
• Coarse, fine and FM frequency controls.
• Geometry: interpolates through a collection of structures, including plates, strings, tubes and bowls.
• Brightness: specifies the character of the material the resonating structure is made of – from wood to glass, nylon to steel.
• Damping: adds damping to the sound – simulates a wet material of the muting of the vibrations.
• Position: specifies at which point the structure is excited.
• Space: creates an increasingly rich stereo output by capturing the sound at two different points of the structure, then adds more space through algorithmic reverberation.
Designed for Eurorack
• All exciter and resonator parameters have a dedicated CV input and attenuverter.
• Strength input, for amplitude control o the exciter section.
• Frequency control through a V/O input controlling the main resonator frequency, and an FM input
• Two audio inputs: one pre-envelope and diffuser, the other patched straight into the resonator
• Stereo audio output, with adjustable width / reverberation. It is also possible to output the raw exciter signal on one channel, and the raw resonator signal on the other.
• Input impedances: 100k.
• CV range: +/- 8V. CVs outside of this range are simply clipped.
• Audio input level: calibrated for modular (10Vpp).
• Audio acquisition and restitution: 16-bit, 32kHz.
• Internal computations on 32-bit floating point numbers
• Open-source hardware and firmware