midimutant is an open-source synth patch editor, made by foam in collaboration with Aphex Twin, that’s designed to learn how to program your DX7 synth, ‘so you don’t have to’.
Equipped only with a microphone input and midi output, the midimutant runs on a Raspberry Pi and uses artificial evolution to ‘grow’ new sounds on hardware synthesizers that mimic an example sound you provide.
How midimutant Works
Every sound in a population of initially random patches is sent and auditioned via sysex midi messages, sampled and checked for similarity using MFCC (Mel-frequency cepstral coefficients) analysis. The best patches are chosen to form the next generation using the sysex patch data as genetic material, converging (most of the time) on similar sounds.
Unlike a neural network or machine learning algorithms, the artificial evolution does not need to model the underlying parameter space – i.e. how the synth internally functions to create sound. Midimutant can therefore be used on any synthesizer with a documented sysex dump format.
Here’s an example of midimutant in action, ‘evolving’ a sound:
Evolving a Kick Drum Sound:
Pricing and Availability
Source code and instructions on how to build your own are ‘coming soon’. See the foam site for details.