Free Update For Mutable Instruments Plaits Adds DX7-Compatible 6-Operator FM Synth & More


Mutable Instruments has released a free firmware update for the Plaits that adds a DX7-compatible 6-Operator FM synth and 7 more synthesis models.

Here’s what’s new in the updated Plaits firmware:

  • Fixed a spurious retriggering of the internal envelope when entering/leaving the speech synthesis model.
  • Reduced the amount of software filtering on the TIMBRE and MORPH knobs, to increase their responsiveness.
  • Reduced the amount of hysteresis in the quantizer responsible for converting a voltage into discrete settings (for example, for model selection with the MODEL CV input, or chord selection with the HARMONICS knob and CV input). This makes the relationship between a voltage and a specific setting more consistent when controlled by a sequencer.
  • The filters used for band-limited wavetable synthesis have been improved, eliminating the amplitude drop observed for the highest notes.
  • The frequency range selector has a new mode: octaves. In this mode, the right button and FREQUENCY knob combo adjusts the root note, then the FREQUENCY knob transposes this root note up or down.
  • Pressing both buttons simultaneously for a short time enables or disables an alternative way of selecting a synthesis model: the first button selects the previous model, the second button the next one.

This new -/+ control scheme gives access to an orange bank of synthesis models for pitched sounds:

  • 1) Classic waveshapes with filter (HARMO: resonance and filter character – gentle 24dB/octave CCW, harsh 12dB/octave CW, TIMBRE: filter cutoff, MORPH: waveform and sub level, OUT: LP output, AUX: 12dB/octave HP output)
  • 2) Phase distortion and modulation (HARMO: distortion frequency, TIMBRE: distortion amount, MORPH: distortion asymmetry, OUT: carrier is sync’ed (phase distortion), AUX: carrier is free-running (phase modulation)).
  • 3, 4, 5) 2-voice, 6-operator FM synth with 32 presets (HARMO: preset selection, TIMBRE: modulator(s) level, MORPH: envelope and modulation stretching/time-travel). The two voices are alternatively triggered whenever a trigger is received on the TRIG input. When the TRIG input is not patched, a single voice plays as a drone, and the MORPH knob allows time-travel along the envelopes and modulations. The LEVEL input is repurposed as a velocity control – controlling loudness or timbre depending on how each preset is programmed. Each model corresponds to a different bank of 32 presets among basses/synths, keyboards/plucked strings/percussions, organs/pads/strings/brass.
  • 6) Wave terrain synthesis with continuous interpolation between eight 2D terrains (HARMO: terrain, TIMBRE: path radius, MORPH: path offset, OUT: Direct terrain height (z), AUX: Terrain height interpreted as phase distortion (sin(y+z)).
  • 7) String machine emulation with stereo filter and chorus (HARMO: chord, TIMBRE: chorus/filter amount, MORPH: waveform, OUT: voices 1&3 predominantly, AUX: voices 2&4 predominantly).
  • 8) Four variable square voices for chords or arpeggios (HARMO: chord, TIMBRE: arpeggio type or chord inversion, MORPH: PW/Sync, OUT: square wave voices, AUX: NES triangle voice, TIMBRE attenuverter: envelope shape). Plug a trigger input to clock the arpeggiator.

The module can also now receive audio data on its TIMBRE input to load custom data into a synthesis model (only one synthesis model can be altered at a time). This new feature is available for the following models:

  • 6-operator FM: transfer of 32 custom patches in DX7 SysEx format. They will replace one of the built-in banks.
  • Wave terrain synthesis: transfer of a custom wave terrain.
  • Wavetable synthesis: transfer of 15 custom waveforms and customization of bank 4’s wave map.

The update is available now at the MI site.


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