Aphex Twin’s Patch Editor Uses Artificial Intelligence To ‘Evolve’ Synth Patches

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.

20 thoughts on “Aphex Twin’s Patch Editor Uses Artificial Intelligence To ‘Evolve’ Synth Patches

  1. So, a system which attempts to iteratively create patches which ultimately sound slightly less good than desired? … wait, that’s my job!
    Damn robots.

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  2. Nice evolution from what you could do with MidiQuest.
    Patch morphing functions were pretty awesome for FM synths.

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    1. that’s one thing I love about the DX200, it has multiple ways to morph and recall settings in the patch which is super fun live, especially when doing soundscapy stuff.

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      1. Morphing between patches is something I really like about the AN200 as well. Brilliantly creative machine.

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  3. I can also do that with SoundTower, at least with my Toraiz-AS1 editor.

    Still, if I get a DX7 I’m trying this!

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  4. I wonder if this is how AFX got that vocoder-ish lead sound on minipops 67 [120.2][source field mix] ?

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