Émilie Gillet pops out of retirement to drop a huge update onto the Plaits algorithmic oscillator. The eight new synthesis models include a 2-voice, 6-operator DX7-compatible FM engine with the ability to load patches and wavetables.
Plaits firmware update
I don’t think anyone saw this coming. In April Émilie announced that there would be no more new modules or designs, and production was winding down as orders and obligations were fulfilled. Since then supplies have dried up and we’d resigned ourselves to the genius of Mutable Instruments falling into legend. Well, it’s not over yet.
In a post on the Mutable Instruments support forum Émilie, posting as “pichenettes”, says that it’s something she’s been working on over the last couple of years, and decided to keep under her hat so that certain clones or competitors didn’t get wind of it. The update hasn’t had a load of testing and is a “hodge-podge of code episodically written throughout 2021 and the beginning of 2022.” so you take it as you find it.
Models and Algorithms
There are eight new algorithms in total in a new bank that appears with an orange-coloured LED and these are all synthesis models for pitched sounds.
Firstly we have classic waveforms but with a built-in filter giving resonance and cutoff to HARMO and TIMBRE knobs. Then we have Phase Distortion and Modulation. Models 3, 4 and 5 are all concerned with the 6-operator FM algorithm. Each of the three models has 32 presets and you’re going to find basses, synths, keyboards, plucked strings, percussions, organs, pads, strings and brass. Number 6 is Wave Terrain Synthesis, 7 is a String Machine emulation and finally, number 8 is Four Variable Square Voice for chords and arpeggios.
All of the models employ the knobs and patch sockets in appropriate ways to manipulate the parameters. But of course, it’s the DX mode that’s the star of the show. It allows for 2 voices which are triggered alternately and it can also drone when nothing is patched where the MORPH knob moves it through the envelope. The LEVEL input becomes a useful velocity control.
If that wasn’t enough, the TIMBRE input has been repurposed to accept audio data streams to load custom data. This means that you can load DX7 SysEx patches in banks of 32 – that’s amazing. You can also load Wave Terrains and wavetables.
The update also fixes a whole bunch of bugs and adds little improvements to all sorts of areas, and there’s a web editor for some of the new features. It’s all in the detail on the forum post here.
This is an extraordinary update to one of the finest modular sound sources ever devised, and it’s completely free to existing owners and downloadable from the forum thread. And Thomann still has some left in stock here (affiliate link). Thank you, Émilie.
And one further updates to acknowledge that Mutable Instruments has now officially closed with the following note on the website.
- Read the whole post and discussion on the forum here.
- Mutable Instruments website.
- More from Mutable Instruments.
Mutable Instruments Plaits
- Mutable Instruments Plaits: Mutable Instruments
- Mutable Instruments: Mutable Instruments