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Elements - Modal synthesizer

Mutable Instruments

  • $ 53900


Elements is a full-blown synthesis voice based on modal synthesis ヨ an 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ナ or bursts of synthetic impulsions). These sources, or external audio signals, are processed by a modal filter bank ヨ an ensemble of 64 tuned band-pass filters simulating the response of various resonant structures (plates, strings, tubesナ) 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 has been taken in selecting parameter ranges and control curves, producing a large palette of sounds ヨ often beyond physical realism ヨ but always well controlled and stable. The モdark spotsヤ of noise and feedback are reached gradually, and they do still react to controls. The module is deliberately menu- and switch-free ヨ what you dial/patch is what you hear!

Modal synthesis voice comprising a noisy and impulsive excitation signal generator, and a 64-partial modal resonator.

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 colors.
  • Percussive impulse generator: interpolates through a collection of impulsive excitations ヨ including sampled sticks, brushes and hammers, and models of damped mallets, plectrums, or bouncy particles. 2-pole low-pass filter and pitch control.
Modal resonator
  • 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, bowls.
  • Brightness. Specifies the character of the material the resonating structure is made of ヨ from wood to glass, from nylon to steel.
  • Damping. Adds damping to the sound ヨ simulates a モwetヤ material or 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, and then adds more space through algorithmic reverberation.
Inputs & Outputs
  • All exciter and resonator parameters have a dedicated CV input with attenuverter.
  • 1V/Oct input for controlling main resonator frequency.
  • FM input.
  • Gate input.
  • Strength input, for amplitude control of the exciter section.
  • Pre- and post- exciter envelope external audio inputs.
  • 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.
Technical characteristics
  • Input impedances: 100k.
  • CV range: +/- 8V. CVs outside of this range are simply clipped.
  • Audio acquisition and restitution: 16-bit, 32kHz (Kindly note that Elementsメ synthesis method is inherently band-limited; and that the module synthesizes モfull-bodiedヤ sounds ヨ the choice of 32kHz is deliberate and should not be seen as a limitation).
  • Internal computations on 32-bit floating point numbers.
  • Open-source hardware and firmware.
  • Easy firmware updates through an audio interface.
  • Cortex-M4 ARM processor.
  • 34-HP.
  • Current consumption: +12V: 130mA ; -12V: 10mA.

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