Mutable Instruments Ambika – A Translucent Polyphonic DIY Synthesizer (Sneak Preview)

mutable instruments ambika

Mutable Instruments has announced the Ambika – a new DIY polyphonic synthesizer.

Translucent, polyphonic, DIY and even a bit sexy – the Ambika will allow for six voices. It can be configured so that all of the voices have the same synth design or with unique synth designs on a per-channel basis.

“It’s huge,” they note, “And it draws a lot of power!”

Here are the details….

Mutable Instruments Ambika Features:

  • Up to 6 voices, each with an individual output — in addition to a global mix output.
  • MIDI channels/patches/voices are distinct entities, allowing many different flexible configurations, from 6 independent monophonic parts each on a different MIDI channel, to 1 polysynth, with everything in-between (unison, keyboard split, layering, voice doubling).
  • Connectors for up to 6 voicecards. In true Mutable Instruments spirit, you can mix and match voicecards with different filters, and in the future with different synthesis engines.
  • Easy to use sound programming interface with a large 2×40 LCD display, 8 knobs, 8 switches and 15 bicolor LEDs. Each module of the synthesis engine has a page, each page has a direct access button.
  • Massive patch memory, easy backup/data exchange, fast firmware upgrades with the integrated SD card reader. And there might be other things you’ll load from the SD card in the future…
  • Patch versioning and undo/compare/redo of editing operations.
  • Sequencer, arpeggiator and rhythmic chord generator available for each part. 2 step-sequences per part. Each part can be clocked at a different multiple of the MIDI clock.
  • And of course: DIY friendly, through-hole assembly.

Here are some audio demos for the Ambika:

Three varieties of voice cards will initially be available, based on a maxed-out Shruthi-1 monosynth:

Ambika Synthesizer Voice Card Features:

  • All the Shruthi-1 oscillators goodness – classic analog waveforms, FM, wavetables, vowel synthesis, low-fi tones.
  • More z-family oscillator waveshapes, with digital emulations of analog waveforms sent through resonant LP/BP/HP filters.
  • “Wavequence” mode for individually addressing the content of the wave memory (wavequence + step sequencer = wave sequencing).
  • New mixer with adjustable overdrive and bitcrusher effects, independent of the mixing mode.
  • 3 synchronized LFOs shared by all voices in a patch with new waveforms, and 1 desynchronized, per-voice LFO for subtle voice modulation effects.
  • 3 ADSR envelopes with times up to 60s.
  • Large modulation matrix (14 slots, 4 modifiers), with new modulation sources and destinations.
  • Improved sound richness/brightness and extended filter range.
  • 3 flavours of voicecards: Warm and classic 4-pole low-pass (OTA-C with Darlington buffers), sweet and liquid 4-pole low-pass (SSM2164), 2-pole multimode (SSM2164).

Future voicecard plans include a multi-channel drum samples ROMpler and an analog drum module (2 instruments per voicecard).

Pricing and availability for the Mutable Instruments Ambika are TBA.

21 thoughts on “Mutable Instruments Ambika – A Translucent Polyphonic DIY Synthesizer (Sneak Preview)

  1. They sure seem to make great products. And these demo tracks really do a good & thorough job of showing off the versatility of these beasts. Very desirable!!

    Even though I have an iPad through work and a laptop that can do TONS of things, something about this (knobs? analog? DIY) is very alluring.

    1. Except that Ambika can’t do (so far) all 4-pole missions filter modes. Whether it means that BP and HP filters are cut away or both those AND excellent resonance flavours as well, i don’t know.

      I really like 4-PM filters and those resonance modes which have feedback. They add huge variety to possible sound palette. <3

      I think that designer of this machines @ MI wrote that those 4-PM filter modes can not be added to the ambika board UNLESS there is SMD components used.
      And some DIY'ers do not like SMD components.. me personally have no problems with them. 🙂 I want full 4-PM filters to the Ambika!

  2. This looks fantastic. I like the idea that you can configure this however you like. I’d rather not have to solder 7 boards though – so I hope that you can buy the boards assembled.

  3. I am totally considering this over an OP-1 im just thinking this Ambika sounds sweet compared to the mini synths on the OP-1 which is a little on the harsh side (but still cool), Also the price difference should be more comforting and i get to mess with it!

    1. d4l3d –

      We looked this up at your suggestion:

      “Translucency (also called translucence or translucidity), is a super-set of transparency, allows light to pass through; but, does not necessarily (again, on the macroscopic scale) follow Snell’s law; the photons can be scattered at either of the two interfaces where there is a change in index of refraction, or internally.”

      The Mutable guys don’t include a bullet point on whether or not their case follows Snell’s law. But clearly, the entire case is translucent and most of it is, additionally, transparent.

      1. acryllic has an index of refraction of ~1.49.
        air has an index of refraction of ~1.00.
        weed smoke has an index of refraction of ~1.60.

        the case is therefore translucent regardless of whether you are dumb or high.

  4. I just finished my 3rd Shruthi-1 (a Polivoks) and I’m DEFINITELY getting one of these as soon as the boards are ready. There’s something fundamentally cool about playing something you built yourself. Of course the fact that they sound fantastic is important too.

  5. I’m glad I held off on the Shruthi-1, which I’d been watching over almost since the project started. I had a feeling they were gonna come up with something huge! Looks like it could compare to the DSI Tempest.

Leave a Reply