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Mutable Instruments Stages Eurorack Module Revealed
Rounik Sethi on Sun, April 15th 0 comments
Stages is the latest super modulation synth module from Mutable Instruments. There's tons you can do with this eurorack module, so check out the brief details and the in-depth demo video here.

Mutable Instruments just unveiled a brand new eurorack module, following on from their recent Marbles module. This one is called a "segment generator" but you can think of it as a complex programmable modulation monster module.

You can find out more from the Mutable Instruments website or from one of the man dealers like Elevator Sounds, both of whom help explain what it does below:

(Scroll down for a video by DivKid too...)

Mutable Instruments Stages

"Stages is a universal, patch-programmable complex modulation source that can deliver a lot. Many simple modulations (up to 6 LFOs or D envelopes) or a single complex one (6-segment looping envelope), or anything in-between.

"ASR envelope, complex 6-stage envelope, LFO, 4-step sequence or switched LFO: Stages can be any kind of modulation. Not because all these behaviors have been pre-programmed in the module, but because it allows you to describe your own modulations in terms of basic operations: ramp from one voltage to another, hold a voltage at a set level, wait for a trigger and slew. With or without looping.

"Whether you need one complex envelope, or several simpler modulations, Stages reconfigures itself according to which of its gate inputs are patched. There is always a role for it in your patch.

"Really, there isn’t more to the story. Self-generating chiptunes? Very weird LFO shapes? Random gate delay? Stages probably does strange and wonderful things when patched in a certain way."

Here's a super informative 1-hour video explanation and demo of Mutable Instruments Stages:

  • 00:00:03 Hello! 
  • 00:00:17 Video Preview
  • What’s to come patch edits/previews. 
  • 00:01:49 What is Stages?
  • Feature rundown, manual snippets, walkthrough, linking multiple modules, grouping, patches
  • 00:06:41 2 stage AD envelopes
  • Creating 1-3 AD envelopes, Feedback patching modulating modulators
  • 00:11:08 4 stage GATED ADSR envelopes
  • Creating the classic ADSR CV & shape control over each stage. 
  • 00:13:14 4 stage TRIGGERED ADHR envelopes
  • Gate length not needed! Using hold with level and time controls instead of an incoming gate length to determine sustain. 
  • 00:14:37 5 stage AHDSR envelopes
  • Adding a hold stage between the attack and decay. 
  • 00:16:59 5 stage DADSR envelopes
  • Adding delay to the start of an ADSR for a 5 stage envelopes for a delayed start. 
  • 00:18:43 6 stage DAHDSR envelopes
  • Delayed, attack, hold, decay, sustain, release envelopes! 
  • 00:20:43 6 stage DAHDHR envelopes
  • Loosing the sustain for a hold on stage 5 gives us a 6 stage triggered envelope that doesn’t rely on incoming gate length. 
  • 00:21:41 6 stage DASDHR envelopes
  • This is getting silly! :D where have you ever seen a delayed attack sustain decay hold release envelope!
  • 00:22:31 5 stage ADSRH envelopes
  • Adding a hold stage at the end of an ADSR to give us an end of cycle trigger and also a non-zero rest level. 
  • 00:24:33 Patching feedback to trigger extra sounds
  • This is the same patch as above but taking the end of cycle trigger to trigger another single segment and sound
  • 00:26:01 6 Single Segment Decay envelopes
  • 6 decay envelopes all independent but then with feedback patching for interactive modulated modulation
  • 00:28:28 Why you need multiple decay envelopes for percussion synthesis
  • Using 3 decay envelopes for amplitude, pitch FM and noise level
  • 00:31:07 Single looping Segments - LFOs
  • Green ramp mode looping gives us LFOs that can be manually controlled, shapes crossfaded and CV control over rate or clocked LFOs going from x4 to /4 of the incoming clock and they can still be CV modulated
  • 00:33:55 Chaining multiple looping segments
  • Looping ADs, Looping AHRs, function generator looping action! Each stage has it’s own shape control. This also covers using a hold stage with zero hold time to control output level with can be CV modulated like putting an envelope through a VCA and using another voltage to control it’s depth. 
  • 00:37:30 Trapezoid Generators
  • Creating a looping Trap. as found on the EMS VCS3. Attack into a hold, into a release that then has a resting level. This will rise, hold, fall then hold. With control over the shapes peak (mid hold) and it’s resting bottom voltage (end hold). 
  • 00:39:57 S&H - orange step mode
  • Using a single orange step mode to create a sample and hold. Using the gate input to “sample” CV input as the input for “what to sample” and the output gives us the stepped sampled version of our CV input. You also get a glide control on the pot at the top.
  • 00:43:36 Step sequencing
  • Linking multiple orange segments will step through linked segments and the sliders will set the CV output for each step. We also get glide on the mini pots up top.
  • 00:47:50 Sequential Switch - CV
  • This builds on the patch above by using the CV inputs to add varying CV to each stage we can then step through the orange step mode on the segments to create a sequential switch. You can still glide between stages here too. 
  • 00:51:06 Sequential Switch - Audio
  • Audio is degraded and crunchy through Stages (which can be a nice sound of it’s own) but we can also sequential switch through audio sources by patching audio into the CV inputs on each segment rather than the CV (as we did in the example above). 
  • 00:53:02 Gated VCA
  • With the red mode looping (hold to make it flash) we can input CV or audio into the CV input and use a gate to turn that signal on and off. Again with audio we get a degraded crunchy sound. 
  • 00:53:56 Gated VCA with rising “sidechain”
  • This is the patch above with a gated VCA style function on one segment. But linking that to a green ‘ramp’ section before it we can gate the group to create a swell or rise into the CV or audio input.
  • 00:55:33 Gate to trigger or trigger to gate - get length adjuster! 
  • A single red segment (non looping) will take a gate input and the mini pot up top will adjust the output time regardless of incoming gate length. So patch any gate or trigger into the gate and use the mini pot to adjust it from a tight short trigger to a long held gate.
  • 00:58:00 CV Delay / Gate Delay
  • A single segment red mode while looping (hold the button to flash) will act as a CV / Gate delay over what you play live on the slider or over what comes into the CV input on that segment. Here I use a gate into the CV input and set the delay time with the mini pot. 
  • 00:59:44 Breakpoint envelopes - multiple rising of falling stages
  • Here I make a 5 stage and a 6 stage multi-breakpoint envelope. The first example is a A D1 D2 S R then an A D1 D2 S R1 R2. 
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