Dirty Electronics Mute Synth II

Mute and Dirty Electronics have released the Dirty Electronics Mute Synth II (MSII), a hand-held synth and sequencer, created in collaboration with designer Adrian Shaughnessy.

Here’s a video intro:


  • Designer circuit board
  • Noise generator
  • Feedback
  • Oscillator
  • Wave-shaping
  • Buffered output
  • Sequencer
  • Touch and pot control
  • Mini patchbay
  • Headphone/line output

Mute Synth II comes with a selection of works using the synth, by artists associated with Dirty Electronics and Mute. The CD features Chris Carter (Throbbing Gristle / Carter Tutti Void), Simon Fisher TurnerDominic Butler (Bronze Teeth / Factory Floor), KidanevilDirty Electronics and more.

Listen to a sampler below:

The Mute Synth II is available to pre-order now for £89.99.

57 thoughts on “Dirty Electronics Mute Synth II

  1. Never understood the appeal of these ‘dirty’ sounds. People spend thousands on electronic instruments, and then do nothing but make fart sounds with them.

  2. I can go out in public and hear all the noise i want for free…why would i waste good money on noisemakers ???? Not happening here.

  3. Huh… Where do you live? I never hear this kind of noise when I go out & if I did I’d move :-d

    Sounds like a crazy place to visit though!

    This is purely subjective of course but I like it – that’s a lot of different noises for a mere £89!

    1. ok i see the schematics are in the manual … so in terms of synthesis it’s pretty much half a step up from a 70s “my first synth” 555 radio shack electronics kit … you’re paying for the liner notes and the “design” pcb and owning something associated with TG. fine

  4. Throbing Gristle should say it all folks… If you don’t understand industrial music or electro(aka the humble beginnings of techno) then you should not be playing with synths, period. You’re probably too young to understand what true artistic free form in music is all about. Secondly, there is no better or more pleasing type of sound generation than random noise. Sampling the output of such devices and chopping up sounds for everything from drums to blips, basses and squelchy harsh tones. To gritty sweeps and silky leads… It’s all in how you work the sample. And if you don’t understand any of that then, you’ve no business touching anything techno related.

    1. first : Sytnhs are no specifically designed to make noise….many synths don’t even have a noise generator
      second : free form of music can be found in Jazz improvisation…..and many other styles….

      1. Please reread my comment….you clearly missed my point…..I never said Synths were intended to make noise. I said, “there is no better or more pleasing type of sound generation than random noise. Sampling the output of such devices and chopping up sounds for everything from drums to blips, basses and squelchy harsh tones. To gritty sweeps and silky leads… It’s all in how you work the sample.” Secondly, I never said Artistic free form didn’t take place in other types of music….. You’re just reading what you want and taking everything out of context because you don’t like my opinion. That’s fine, but, when you do that, be clear on the other persons view before you comment.

        1. I agree with your opinion…. Sometimes, especially today, folks jump to conclusions or are just not in the know of all the options in the art form.

    2. Anything chris carter is happy to put his name to I’m sure I’ll dig even if blippy noise stuff isn’t my thing!! He’ll just read some of his sound on sound articles an listen to 20 jazz funk greats.

    3. What bunk. I wont tell you not to play a synth if you aren’t into Zawinul, and you don’t tell me I have to be into industrial to play a synth. Ok, pal?

      1. Another person who completely missed the point…. I am into all types of electronic music, especially the controversial stuff. Industrial music and electro were the beginnings of modern day dance music and if you don’t understand where it came from then you should have no business touching a synth to make any type of electronic music let alone tell people how much a POS a synth is just because you don’t like its sounds it makes. I never said you had to like Industrial.

        1. You said

          If you don’t understand industrial music or electro(aka the humble beginnings of techno) then you should not be playing with synths, period.

          If you realize that was a stupid statement, good.


  5. What an utter idiotic video. Doesnt show anything. At least we got to hear the sounds. And they sounds exiting. Good short bursts, white/pink noise mixed in, hard and sharp….. perfect for further modelling either through, as YourOpinionisStupid said, sampling and modeling, or modelling with effectboxes. This is something I definitely will check out. But first; make a proper demo video so I can _see_ the potencial as well as hear it.

    1. I kinda liked it, there’s some nice glitchiness going on; but on watching it again after reading the manual I relies there isn’t a battery attached – so yeah – pretty silly!

  6. The website says “Mute Synth II is a statement against MPEG culture”
    Hoorah! It’s about time someone spoke up against MPEG culture.

  7. Its about time these cheesy synths were given a rest and a government-enforced music concrete music making spree was put into action. Bring back-reel-to-reel and tape splicing

  8. The ongoing conservative assault on anything of an abstract or more human nature like foolish ol’ Art helps to insure that kids won’t start playing music based on ANY tradition, just sales gimmicks, lighted buttons and Promotions masquerading as Music. If you want to break the rules creatively, you have to know what they ARE first. Anyone who starts with an Electribe and a MiniBrute is sidestepping a vital experience, namely, laying your actual hands to things and sweating for the results. I have a rig and I like portions of many things, but I also wince at the simplistic boop-beep of “IDM” in general. Its too easy to “create” and it sounds like it. If you start on a ‘real’ instrument like piano or guitar, you’re miles ahead of someone who doesn’t. The ANGLE of your approach makes a huge difference in keeping some humanity in the results. Its not that the Dirty Synth has a bad design at all; its that its locked into a very narrow musical range. THAT is where the arguments begin over “Music vs. Noise.” I’ve heard a bit of Aphex Twin that I liked, but most of it sounds like one or two tracks Soloed in a mix made up of 12. Now, “Anyone can make music.” The problem is, everyone does. If I wanna hear grinding noises, I’ll turn on FOX News. 😛

    1. Hear, hear. I still laugh when my friends show this “amazing bass sound” they created, but the bass line is either: 1. just a single held out note, or 2. a cheesy half-funky line that sounds like they don’t understand the musical role of a bass instrument.

      I’ve also had other friends who pained for literally days over making a simple sine wave bass. But at least when they do finally get it “just right,” they can actually play a number of varying, quality bass lines with it.

      Guess which one invariably sounds more pleasing and stimulating? The simple sine wave. Being a good sound designer does not a good song make. I would consider sound designers “musicians” (that is, if they design instrument sounds). But I wouldn’t say that a good-sounding song is a good song. I feel that many in the EDM crowd don’t know the difference anymore.

      I began my musical life as a bassist, then moved to drums (in order to get my bass rhythm tighter) and then got bored not playing more chords and almost never playing melodies, so I became a pianist. After tickling the ivories for long enough, I wanted more sonic options, and that when I fell in love with synthesis. And let me tell you: In the past 5 years, I have met more “keyboardists” than any other instrumentalist… and when I play something for them they all say, “Oh well I can’t play the keys like THAT.” They play mostly mono parts or hold a single note for 8 measures while tweaking filters and lfo’s, which is fine. But I have to think to myself, “you’re a sound designer, not a key player.”

      1. Some people can’t play keys in a traditional sense. But that does not mean a synth isn’t their axe.

        Classic rockers might fly up and down the fretboard, doing blues-based soloing, technically great, through a smooth tube amp. Punk is a form that strips off those curliques down to hard-strummed power chords through a busted-speaker cone – virtuoso “talent” isn’t necessary for that form. The form itself is a statement. The Ramones don’t sound like Led Zepplin, not because they tried and failed, they were trying something else.

        So to approach noise gadgets or monosynth texturists from a cape-and-a-prog-rockin’ electric-piano point of view is going to make you look like you don’t get it.

        Noisy EDM bass tones, sequenced acid cutoff tweaking, digital drone textures for experimental electronic music versus pure showoff keybed acrobatics is not even apples to oranges. Apples to neon bananas?

        1. Well, I didn’t mean Jordan Rudess on steroids. I was using bass lines as an example specifically because I believe they are best left relatively simple. It doesn’t require shredding. But the point is: the musicality is not there.

          I am a big fan of ambient music and sound experimentation. Berkowitz, Lake and Dahmer… John Cage… BlindOldFreak… Kitaro…Krzysztof Pendrecki… and so on…

          I don’t have anything against noise experimentation, ambient music, simple songs, etc. However, it is evidently clear when someone knows music composition techniques, especially when they are breaking the rules of music composition. You can tell when someone is knowingly breaking the rules, and someone who just doesn’t know them.

          1. And I would like to point to my last sentence:

            ‘They play mostly mono parts or hold a single note for 8 measures while tweaking filters and lfo’s, **which is fine.** But I have to think to myself, “you’re a sound designer, not a key player.”’

              1. I was going to make a different philosophical comment, but it came across like a truck bed full of bulldog crap, so I deleted it. You’re welcome. Filters of all kinds are so cool.

    2. I have to defend the non-trained musician too;

      No one is saying that the traditional form is bad or not cool, correct or whatever, it’s served us very well for a very long time and continues to do so, good luck to everyone who follows this path – it’s a very beautiful path!

      However, unless music is democratised, in the truest sense of the word (which I actually believe it is anyway) where will the innovation come from? Certainly not from your well learned scales, maybe from breaking the rules having learned them; but I dunno, folks who learn these things tend to get stuck in a rut and think things are right or wrong and laugh at other people who are at a different stage on their journey.

      That’s not what this music thing is about. At least not in my opinion anyway, there’s no telling where their path may eventually lead 🙂

      1. I hate drawing this thread even further OT, but I totally see your point. I don’t mean to completely rail on people who haven’t spent time learning music theory. I don’t believe that it is a requirement to write beautiful music.

        My main point was that calling yourself a “keyboardist” because you use keys as an input device is like calling yourself a “typist” because you typed in your comment instead of using a speech-to-text program.

        If your talent is crafting intricate, weird, awesome experimental sounds, you should call yourself a sound designer, even if you primarily use hardware synthesizer with keyboards. Both are musicians, but being a keyboardist (to me) implies many days practicing scales and chords, struggling with difficult stretches, and worrying about the condition and safety of your fingers.

        Also, I don’t think it hurts someone’s ability to write a unique song by having knowledge of music theory. At one time, I did. I thought music theory buffs had no creativity. This is a sham. For me, it was a lie I told myself because I was intimidated by music theory. Once I really got a hold on it, I realized it only opened up many more possibilities. I knew why things worked, why other things didn’t work, and I started to see how I morph the latter into the former, if that makes sense.

        1. OK I see, both sides. As I say, nothing wrong with either 🙂

          Speaking personally; I’m definitely not a keyboard player. I’ve tried. But not my thing at all!

          I learned music stuff as a guitar player when I was a kid. So I can work the music stuff out if I have to, but I generally don’t.

          I much prefer programming/sampling/etc… and seeing what happens and either liking it or not.

          OK, I’ll put my neck out a bit, if you look on SoundCloud for Baddcr and a track called To the four winds – Last Farewell – that was done in an hour or so. (There’s a link to a free bank of sounds for Animoog fromZen Lizard that I used exclusively there too)

          Criticism welcome 🙂

          1. Ooops, sorry, the point of that and the reason I chose that track, was that I neither designed the sounds (Zen did!) and I didn’t play them on a keyboard either. I just played them live on the Animoog controller thing on the glass, recorded them in a loops in Loopy, then mixed them again live. It’s a ridiculously fast process.

            Anyway, what does that make me? Certainly not a keyboardist, nor a sound designer 🙂

            1. I think you’re a musician and an artist, sanple manipulator, many other things. Not that the label REALLY matters, but if you’re gonna use’em, might as well use them appropriately.

              Being a musician is what ties it all together. Sound designers are musicians, keyboardists, arrangers, composers, singers, songwriters, and DJs are all musicians. Among many others.

              1. Cool – agreed! …and thanks 🙂

                To bring it back on topic, my challenge to the original post by Fungo, is really down to the nature of this instrument and my answer and my understanding of what music is about, is;

                if it engages people, forms part of their journey – even if it’s just to get them thinking about making music, then it’s a win. If it generates a sound that is then taken and used as a waveform in a wavetable synth, like Nave for example (have you heard what that can do with waveforms??), then it’s win! If it generates a noise that just happens to sit perfectly on top of a snare drum as part of a deeper drum synth process, it’s win! Etc… Who’s to say what folks will do with this? Or an Electribe or Minibrute. Who can tell if being able to quickly create something fun and beep boop IDM like on an EMX won’t be the start of a lifetime of synthesis for someone?

                To take it to the ultimate statement: Everyone has the potential of musician and everything is potentially a musical instrument 😉

                Back to reality a bit, I think we fundamentally agree, always a bit tricky talking like this via text on a forum, but I’ve really enjoyed this chat – thank you!!

        2. It seems to you have a very traditional view on what music is and what isn’t.
          For many people composing music and composing sound is the exact thing.
          I understand it doesn’t fit your definition but suggesting what one should or shouldn’t call himself is a little bit like crossing a line.

          I could come up with a different definition, everything that does not succeed in ‘surprising’ my musical perception is not music at all.
          Within that scope a jazz standard, a pop song, a blues solo, etc etc stand in front me as not being music but more like the product of tradition and the result of mimicking.
          The absence of any information really.
          I could very well say that and dismiss anyone who can actually play an instrument, regardless of their level as long as they don’t bring forth something compositionally new.
          But then i would be wrong.

          1. Perhaps I have a traditional view of music. I fancy poetry and like to consider everything “music” but at the same time Music does have a generally-accepted definition which I will paraphrase and probably screw up a bit: a combination of tone, silence and rhythm across a definite span of time organized by an intelligent being with (relative) intent.

            I say relative intent because I believe hitting record and just winging it is an intent. So I don’t mean to imply that improvisational experimentation isn’t music.

            Despite this definition, in fact contrary to it, I’m of the ilk that very much believes that John cage’s 4’33” is very much music.

            I often spend hours looping mod sequences on my ms2k and crafting new timbres that don’t quite satisfy the generally accepted definition (or for pirposes I could say the academically accepted definition) but I still consider it music.

            I just think there’s a lot of crap out there. A subjective opinion to be sure. But as valid as any other opinion. Being of a negative perspective does not invalidate it, as so many in the internet age seem to think.

            “If you don’t have anything nice to say then don’t say anything at all” is a mantra for the meek and the sensitive and will lead to people who stand up against nothing, perhaps things far more significant than just some poorly constructed songs.

            That being said, i think bad music is still music. Still requires creativity and imagination. But I don’t agree that theory “stifles” creativity. As if you can’t make a mistake when you know theory. As if a happy accident is no longer possible.

            Creativity does not require ignorance, just as it does not require knowledge

    3. Because the greatest artists ALWAYS knew exactly what they were doing….(sarcasm, just in case it escapes you) The greatest artists knew nothing of “the rules” and even died with most thinking they were crazy or talentless yet today we revere them as the prime examples of artistic creativity. Keyword there, CREATIVITY! Which comes from the heart, Not from a ruel book. ;-P

  9. Sound is a valid plaything. Not every piece of music gear needs to be 100% practical and tailored to your exact preferences to justify its existence.

    Everyone is making music? Hardly. Most human beings don’t even actively consume music much less create it.

    Similarity is due to technology, dominant genre paradigms, and the simple laws of songs like scales and buildups/breakdowns. I don’t blame the Novation Launchpad’s popularity versus accordion lessons.

    If you start with an electribe and a minibrute or a soft synth-packed DAW, then you are lucky and more power to you – you’re still in a obscure hobby and event 20k Soundcloud plays is culturally invisible.

    Kids these days: Get ON my lawn with your glitch beat pocket calculators and your circuit bent toys and your $300 mono synths.

  10. OK I’ll bite… but just for fun and only to say that I hear more dynamics in this noise demo than in most pop songs I’ve heard in the last 10 years, or more. I wonder how far the naysayers got into the demo track; I’m guessing about 10 seconds, perhaps with a click or two further down the waveform for another 2 or 3? 😉

    Glitchy circuit bending kids making music are welcome on my lawn too!

  11. Why in the heck is ‘buffered output’ a selling point. Surely they can’t mean to say that I should buy this because they put a capacitor in the output circuit. What am I missing here?

    1. I can’t explain the electronics, but it’s about outputting a stable signal so you can route it to multiple destinations without losing anything – this is one of those good things you don’t really know is there but makes a big difference in usability!!

      I’m really impressed, very original and at the same time of excellent heritage and top rate design!

      1. Yep. That’s my understand too. But what I don’t get is why this is a ‘feature.’ It’s something that I take for granted when I’m purchasing an atomic piece of gear.

        Call me a skeptic, but I’m confused about the design of this ‘Designer Circuit Board’ too. I mean, there’s a reason that most manufactures hide away their ICs. ESD is a real and present danger. I looked at the schematics in the manuals, and they’re only $0.50 555s and OpAmps, but it would be a real SOB to have your gig interrupted by a shock from dry carpet — and I shudder to think how this thing would stand up to even the most minor of spills.

        All that aside, I still might consider picking one up… but I would put this thing into some kind of enclosure asap, and move out the important mod features.

  12. Guys, it´s pretty simple:
    A musician is an artist, who works with audio. Focus on the Artform itself.
    A sounddesigner is an artist, who creates sounds. Focus on the sonics.
    A keyboardist plays the keys. Focus on the composition.

    every keyboarder and sounddesigner are musicians, but they aren´t the same. But they´re both absolutely cool and talented people in their own field.

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