Mutable Instruments modules: design, usability, theory, philosophy, etc


On that first one, the knobs either need some spacing or background shading to group them logically. The little hexagons are just cluttering it up too. That’s not even getting into the knob size/spacing issue for finger use. But at least it’s not ugly.

As for the second one, I thought that font stopped being cool in 1986 (or alternately, when I was 14). It took a while to figure out that the middle jacks were min, max and mix and not some kind of abstract diagram. I feel like changing the font and aligning the jacks less haphazardly could move it a lot closer to acceptable.


I guess these are uh neat design “problems” (dual tides is actually a pretty good idea!) but I don’t have to look long to say “some things are best left to the professionals”


Worth mentioning in this thread: we have a first beta version of a “colour-blind” mode for Plaits, read more about it here:


The low range update is really cool! Just got to jam a little bit with it last night. Thought I’d use it like a triggered tides in lfo range, turn out the percussive modes sound really nice and glitchy underclocked and output as audio. Bass frequencies drop below audio rate and the transients come down into a nicely popped mid range.

The harmonic oscillator and chord settings can give some interesting bursts to ping a reverb/resonator with too!

I really appreciate that the mode is accessible through the same parameter adjustment as the extant frequency range adjustment. No new button combo, easy to remember, quick in and out.


A quick and perhaps overly vague question for the room - if I wanted a flexible modulation section of a rack in <30hp, I’m guessing Tides + Stages would be fun without too much redundancy? I have a Doepfer A-171-2 on the way but currently that would be my only envelope source. Looking for wonky envelopes and LFOs that I can change on a dime.


I think it’d work well. You’d probably also want a Shades or Blinds for offset and attenuation, if you don’t have that covered.


I’d +1 @Starthief’s rec for something like Shades. Tides is fantastic at wonky LFO shapes (self patching via Shades is how I did it - you can definitely get some woozy modulation in a tangle with Stages) and at modulation rates the hi/lo outs can push things in Stages.


About Stages, is there internal amplitude control or is an attenuverter necessary for that?


also check the Stages thread here there are a good grip of ideas posted pretty clearly. the Shift Register thread just “made me” rip up my patch and make Stages the mid-point in a 13-stage shift register. lots to do.


Don’t sleep on this


There’s no amplitude control on Stages, so you’ll need attenuation.


Wouldn’t a Hold segment between let’s say two ramps determine the function’s amplitude via the slider?!


Yes, if you use a 3-stage gated envelope. Not if you use a 4-stage ADSR, 1-stage LFO, etc.


I think it’s the same for both looping and not looping Hold segment, otherwise yeah you’re correct, i only had AD/AR in mind.


New Tides! Intriguing


There’s a new, 2018 version of Tides just announced.

– More power, 16-bit 7.8khz inputs, internal floats.
– Attenuverters for everything.
– Clock input doesn’t require a separate PLL mode, it just works.
– No Freeze.
– The main waveform is unipolar for AD/AR, bipolar for cycling.
– 4 outputs, 4 output modes:
---- Shape, similar to the original Tides but with an asymmetrical triangle output.
---- Amplitude, which crossfades the waveform smoothly across the four outputs.
---- Time, which phase-shifts cycling mode and applies differing slopes to AD/AR modes.
---- Frequency, which outputs different frequencies (for polyrhythmic LFOs or just-intonation chords)

I gave up my Tides after I had Plaits, but ̶I̶ ̶a̶m̶ ̶s̶e̶r̶i̶o̶u̶s̶l̶y̶ ̶t̶h̶i̶n̶k̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶a̶b̶o̶u̶t̶ ̶m̶a̶k̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶s̶p̶a̶c̶e̶ ̶f̶o̶r̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶ ̶n̶e̶w̶ ̶o̶n̶e̶ just preordered the 2018 version and now I have to make some space

Edit: I see I wasn’t first with this :smiley:


Huh. I was just talking about how much Tides v1 didn’t click for me. :laughing:

The output modes seem like a nice addition, though now it overlaps even more with Just Friends. Some really good additions though!

I am now disappointed that I held onto my V1 for so long trying to like it. :money_with_wings:

I hope Frames and Grids get an update eventually. A smaller Frames would be very welcome, and I love my Grids but it feels like a much earlier module. I’m sure a newer cpu could unlock some new tricks as well.


I thought Marbles was the Grids update, what other things would they add?


Marbles has a little overlap with Grids, but I’ve had both simulatenously, and I didn’t feel owning one had any bearing on my owning the other. Similar to how owning Plaits isn’t a substitute for owning a Rings or Tides, and how Rings isn’t a substitute for Elements. The X section can do some Grids-like stuff, but has nowhere near the same rhythmic versistility.

As far as improvements, the external clocking for Grids could be better. The panel layout could use a makeover, and I’m also sure Olivier would have some new insights of how to get more out of it. Front panel mode control would be nice. A third mode inaddition to Euclidean would be neat. I can imagine lots of things.


Marbles is not an upgrade of anything. Grids is still in production, but I agree that in terms of design it’s getting a bit dated. I have more urgent things to do, though :slight_smile: