Modal Synthesis Voice Brings Mutable Instruments Elements To Buchla Format

Buchla guru Todd Barton shared this look at the Modal Synthesis Voice from 1979 Modular, a Buchla 4U version of the Mutable Instruments Elements.

Like the original Elements module, the Modal Synthesis Voice is a complete synth voice based on modal synthesis. The modiule simulates a physical object that can be treated like a percussive, bowed, and wind instrument simultaneously. The three outputs of this process are mixed together and routed through a resonant filter bank that simulates various physical phenomena, such as vibrating metal plates, strings, and membranes.

The module features Buchla-compatible audio and CV levels, and external audio inputs for both the exciter and resonator sections.

Pricing and Availability

The MSV is available now for $750 USD.

17 thoughts on “Modal Synthesis Voice Brings Mutable Instruments Elements To Buchla Format

    1. Surely with your vast knowledge of manufacturing, electronics, and design you could have created the same thing and sold it for zero profits your nonprofit synthesizer charity? Won’t someone think of the children.

  1. Don’t want to rant about the product but can anyone please explain it to me why this one is almost twice as expensive as the eurorack-version that is based on an open source philosophy?

    1. It’s probably because they expect to sell only very a small number of units. For a Buchla format module with this many features. . . it seems kinda cheap actually.

      1. Lots of small, independent manufacturers make Elements clones and sell them new for around $300. They aren’t selling that many, but are able to keep it at that price. Most of them are “hobbyists” more than business owners, so I’m sure they’re fine taking a small margin. It’s understandable 1979 would want to sell for a higher price, and I suppose they’re the only ones doing this in this format, (which means they have to be less competitive), but $750 is going to seem too high to most consumers.

        1. you’re missing the beat here Frank. nobody is selling Buchla format Elements for $300. to redesign circuits for CV voltage conversion between formats is a significant cost. $750 is not going to seem expensive for a Buchla owner, it’s an easy tax write off.

      2. The features don’t cost anything, unless they’re making a donation to mutable. I guess the main cost is the knobs and assembly.

        1. There is definitely a significant cost in terms of R&D to move a module over from Eurorack to Buchla. Cost of voltage conversion for a start, plus a pcb redesign. Then there’s those big blue knobs which are probably $10/each. Seems more like a labour of love to me than a quick way to profit off of someone else’s efforts.

          1. “Seems more like a labour of love to me than a quick way to profit off of someone else’s efforts.”

            I’d expect sales of something like this would be in the dozens. MI sells their modules in the hundreds or even thousands.

            Griping about prices on modular synth gear is asinine. VCV Rack is free, if cost is an issue. By comparison, ANY hardware modular is expensive, and it’s not because anybody is getting rich making modules.

            1. Agreed. SuperCollider is free too, and it can do a hell of a lot more than grandpas Buchla. It’s a great time to be alive.

  2. I agree.

    I get that the hardware is more expensive than equivalent Eurorack, and there is also the effort involved in designing a PCB/panel/whatever else. They will also sell fewer units and therefore can’t buy at the same scale as Mutable. Still, it does seem awfully high given that the actual meat of the thing – the circuit design, the functionality – is completely open source and there was no cost associated with that to the manufacturer.

  3. At one point I was considering cashing in all my Eurorack gear and other synths so to buy Buchla gear….then I bought the Mutable
    Instruments ‘Elements’….I went back to the drawing board now I have a stellar configuration made up of
    Mutable Instruments modules as well as other MFG modules….

    This module in the article is interesting n will sell well….

  4. buchla models have a history of being expensive, and anything less would doubtless be considered “non-canon” or whatever

    and then there are the decrepit philosophies held by dying minds on their last legs

  5. I have a better idea: look at what it really does. Its a hardware physical modeling synth. The price is somewhat dear, yeah, but IMO, if I was a modular type, I’d see this as a serious power tool.

    You have to mentally pro-rate what you pay for a synth vs. what you get, for how many years. I have a couple of 10-15 year-old instruments that still play well with others. Its easy to see this one being part of a core system. Besides, once you go modular, you know what you’re in for, so price isn’t the first concern. Its high-tech heroin.

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