This is the latest demo video of a new DIY synth project currently in development, Mutable Instruments’ Shruti-1.
The Shruti-1 runs on a modest AVR microcontroller (of Arduino fame), clocked at 16 MHz and providing a whopping 2kb of RAM.
You’re more likely to find this 8-bit wonder in vending machines than in synths… Yet, the Shruti-1’s firmware squeezes the most out of this tight processor to render classic waveforms, but also FM or weird digital sounds – all of them in their full 8-bit quirkiness.
Today’s synths use DSPs or general purpose CPUs to emulate classic analog filters. To color and warm up your sounds, the Shruti-1 directly uses the real thing: a CEM3379 VCF/VCA, belonging to a lineage of chips found in the Prophet VS, Ensoniq ESQ-1 or the Waldorf Microwave.
Mutable says that “There are many cheap DIY noise-makers out there… but how many of them can you really compose melodies on, or use on stage to play sequences with? The Shruti-1 is by contrast a complete MIDI instrument.”