Mutable Instruments Retiring Braids Macro-Oscillator

Mutable Instruments has announced that it is retiring Braids, its popular and influential digital macro-oscillator.

In five years, Braids has become nearly ubiquitous among modular synthesists, appearing in Eurorack, 5U, software and even Buchla formats.

Here’s what Mutable has to say about retiring Braids:

Time to say goodbye to another module, Braids.

When I originally designed Braids in 2012, from the ashes of a never released factory-made Ambika, I naively thought that it would be the monster oscillator to end all oscillators. It did everything, what could go wrong?

Five years later, I realize that I completely missed the mark, and that I created instead a very different kind of beast. Deeper, bigger oscillators have been made. Yet, Mutable Instruments’ best-selling sound generator ended up in musicians’ racks for all kinds of other reasons: quickly getting the sauce going, layering or doubling “better” oscillators, that extra part in a multi-timbral patch or this short percussive plink triggered by the fourth or fifth channel of your Circadian Rhythms, the glorious “channel surfing” sound of the META mode,… or anything that needed to be rapidly reconfigured between tracks in a live performance.

What bothers me is that Braids’ user interface is not really adequate for these tasks (something that is meant to be shallow doesn’t deserve a menu system!); that its rather large size is out of sync with its role as a little sound generation satellite; and that there’s too much fragmentation in this big list of models. Not to mention that over the past few years I’ve written cleaner, more sophisticated and better sounding algorithms for most of the things Braids does.

I’m going to fix this. Don’t expect a “Braids mkII” with an OLED display, a SD card reader and gazillion models. Other brands and some hot newcomers are getting very good at this game. For me it is time to make some room for something leaner and more fun to play with!

PS: more announcements to come… it looks like 2017 will be a year with a negative number of module releases.

While Mutable Instruments is retiring Braids, it’s likely to be available in some form via other vendors, since it is based on an open source design.


8 thoughts on “Mutable Instruments Retiring Braids Macro-Oscillator

  1. great work horse in the euro format. but yeah since its open source if seem quite a few builders offering this. cheers to MI and excited to see what they’re cooking up.

  2. I’m simultaneously saddened and elated by this. The Braids is a wonderful beast but also a bit of a UI PITA. I’m not selling mine. But at the same time I can’t wait for what comes next.

  3. I understand that products have a lifecycle and technologies evolve and improve.

    What frustrated me was that for this “popular and influential” product, that it is difficult to obtain and quite expensive. Most vendors say it’s “unavailable”, “out of stock” !!

  4. I don’t own anything from Mutable (or anything modular in general) but I have a huge amount of respect and admiration for Mutable Instruments and Olivier Gillet as engineers and as a brand.

    The openness and hackability of their products are awesome, but beyond that the constant self-improvement and reflection inspires a great deal of confidence in them to continue to make interesting products.

    All this puts Mutable along with a couple others on my very, very short list of manufacturers that tempt me to dive into the money pit of modular.

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