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Ambika User manual

Getting started

Overview
You have successfully built Ambika, Congratulations!
Ambika is a multi-voice hybrid synthesizer. You can play it as a 6-voice polysynth, an ensemble of 6
monosynths, or anything inbetween due to its easily configurable voicing architecture.
The sound generation is hybrid, combining the warmth and sonic character of a true 4-pole analog
filter, with the large array of waveforms offered by digital wavetables, fm and phase modulation. The
digital control of the analogue filter and VCA also means a very large palette of modulation
possibilities.
Some of the key features of Ambika include:
6 voices with individual outputs.
2 digital oscillators per voice, with 36 oscillator algorithms/wavetables.
1 sub-oscillator, also configurable as a transient generator.
Pre-filter overdrive and bit-crushing effect.
Analog 4-pole filter (or 2-pole multimode filter depending on the type of voicecard used) and VCA.
3 ADSR envelopes, 3 patch-level LFOs, 1 voice-level LFO.
Modulation matrix with 14 slots and 4 modulation modifiers.
1 arpeggiator, 1 note sequencer and 2 step sequencers per part.
Flexible mapping of the 6 voices. A single patch with 6 voice-polyphony, 6 independent mono parts, 2
layered patches with 3-voices polyphony, a 3-voice unison bass line on the lower half of the keyboard
with a 3-voice unison lead on the upper half... all are possible!
SD-card storage allows the storing of a life-long of patches, programs and multis, along with the
http://mutable-instruments.net/ambika/manual
2/17/17 4:58 PM

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  • Page 1: Getting Started

    Getting started Overview You have successfully built Ambika, Congratulations! Ambika is a multi-voice hybrid synthesizer. You can play it as a 6-voice polysynth, an ensemble of 6 monosynths, or anything inbetween due to its easily configurable voicing architecture. Home The sound generation is hybrid, combining the warmth and sonic character of a true 4-pole analog filter, with the large array of waveforms offered by digital wavetables, fm and phase modulation.
  • Page 2 Ambika contains 6 voices, each of them being a physically different circuit board. A part is one or many voices sharing the same synthesis settings. Ambika can manage up to 6 parts. Each part stores its own synthesis, arpeggiator and sequencer settings. Each part listens to a MIDI...
  • Page 3: Controls And Navigation

    Each of the 6 voices in Ambika needs to be linked to (assigned to) a part. This is a bit like showing each musician (voice) in an orchestra which staff they must play on a musical score! If you assign the 6 voices to the same part, Ambika will behave like a classic monotimbral polysynth.
  • Page 4 Ambika – User manual | Mutable Instruments http://mutable-instruments.net/ambika/manual The 2x40 characters LCD display D displays, most of the time, the name and values of the 8 synthesis parameters accessible by the 8 potentiometers P. The parameters are organized as two rows of 4 parameters.
  • Page 5: Editing Parameters

    Controls Editing parameters The Ambika parameters are organized in pages. To jump to a page, press one of the 7 switches S1...S7. Some pages share the same switch ; and you will need to repeatedly press a switch to cycle between those pages.
  • Page 6 Press S1 again to get back to the oscillators page. Using the encoder When Ambika displays a parameters page, the rotary encoder can be used to scroll through the parameters. The name of the active parameter is capitalized. For example, oscillator 1 range is here...
  • Page 7: Voice Allocation

    Ambika – User manual | Mutable Instruments http://mutable-instruments.net/ambika/manual of 1. Reference This section describes in details each page and parameter of Ambika. Voice allocation This page, accessible by the S6 switch, serves two purposes: Selecting the current part. Assigning voices to a part.
  • Page 8 Ambika boots, voices 1, 3 and 5 are assigned to part 1 ; and voices 2, 4, 6 are assigned to part 2. You will notice that it is not possible to assign voices 2, 4, 6 to part 1 before having de-assigned them from part 2.
  • Page 9 Ambika – User manual | Mutable Instruments http://mutable-instruments.net/ambika/manual Here is a day (or rather a millisecond) in the life of a voice’s signal: The oscillators 1 and 2 generate digital waveforms, which are digitally combined together using one of the following operations: mix, sync and mix, multiply (ring-modulation), xor, mix and fold, mix and bit-reduce.
  • Page 10 Ambika – User manual | Mutable Instruments http://mutable-instruments.net/ambika/manual The resulting signal is sample-reduced by a controllable amount. The resulting signal is converted to the analog domain by a 12-bit DAC and fed into an analog VCF and VCA. Each of these sound generation and modification modules have parameters which can be controlled by any of the modulation sources listed below.
  • Page 11 (waveform): Oscillator waveform family. Contrary to most synthesizers in which waveforms are static, the Ambika waveforms are dynamic and can be continously morphed — this is why it is more correct to refer to “waveform families” instead of “waveforms”.
  • Page 12 Ambika – User manual | Mutable Instruments http://mutable-instruments.net/ambika/manual This waveform is perfect for basses and brass sounds. The parameter controls the waveshapping – when its value is increased, an increasingly large section of the waveform is shifted up. This waveform is band-limited. Thus, only a limited amount of aliasing artifacts will be heard when playing high-pitched notes.
  • Page 13 Ambika – User manual | Mutable Instruments http://mutable-instruments.net/ambika/manual A pure and chaste sine wave lost her virginity. At some point she started listening to Nine Inch Nails. zsaw: phase-distortion sawtooth with filter sweep This waveform uses phase distortion to recreate a low-pass filtered sawtooth by progressively “pinching”...
  • Page 14 Ambika – User manual | Mutable Instruments http://mutable-instruments.net/ambika/manual This waveform family simulates the sound of a trapezoidal pulse wave processed by a low-pass, peaking, band-pass, or high-pass resonant filter. The parameter controls the cutoff frequency of the filter. pkzpulse is particularly good at recreating the dirty, saturated sound, of a sawtooth filtered by the least academic of the 2-pole analog filters.
  • Page 15 Ambika – User manual | Mutable Instruments http://mutable-instruments.net/ambika/manual fm: minimal 2-operators FM The parameter controls the modulation strength. This oscillator provides the base material for metallic sounds, bells, metallophones, or the next 386 DX hit. When the fm oscillator is selected, the range parameter plays a...
  • Page 16 Ambika – User manual | Mutable Instruments http://mutable-instruments.net/ambika/manual The parameter controls the frequency of a simple 1-pole low-pass/high-pass filter in which is sent white noise. From 0 to 63, high-frequency content is progressively added. From 63 to 127, low-frequency content is progressively removed. Perfect as a raw material for percussions or sound effects.
  • Page 17 Ambika – User manual | Mutable Instruments http://mutable-instruments.net/ambika/manual 17 of 44 2/17/17 4:58 PM...
  • Page 18 Ambika – User manual | Mutable Instruments http://mutable-instruments.net/ambika/manual Wavetable name Description male Vocal formants, best played in the lowest octaves female Vocal formants, best played in the medium octaves choir Depeche mode-like vocal sound tampura Single cycle waveforms from an indian tampura note...
  • Page 19 Ambika – User manual | Mutable Instruments http://mutable-instruments.net/ambika/manual mix (osc mix): Balance between oscillator 1 and 2. nois (noise): Noise level. sub (sub osc): Sub oscillator/transient generator level. wave (waveform): Sub oscillator/transient generator waveform (see below). xmod (crossmod): Cross-modulation method used to combine the sound of oscillators 1 and 2.
  • Page 20 LFO 2 to the VCF in the modulations section and ignore this parameter. Envelopes and LFOs (S3) Ambika has three ADSR envelopes, three part LFOs and one voice LFO. A part LFO is shared among all voices assigned to a part and is used for creating global sweeps, 20 of 44...
  • Page 21 Ambika – User manual | Mutable Instruments http://mutable-instruments.net/ambika/manual tremolo effects, etc. A voice LFO is specific to each voice, and there will actually be a small amount of detuning/dephasing between them, for a richer sound. Consider the example of a guitarist playing a guitar through a tremolo pedal, and applying a vibrato on a particular note.
  • Page 22 Ambika – User manual | Mutable Instruments http://mutable-instruments.net/ambika/manual trig (trigger): LFO/envelope synchronization mode. free leaves the LFO free-running. env->lfo resets the phase of the LFO everytime a new note is played. lfo->env retriggers the corresponding envelope generator everytime the LFO completes a cycle.
  • Page 23 Ambika – User manual | Mutable Instruments http://mutable-instruments.net/ambika/manual modif. 1|in1 lfo1|in2 lfo2|oper The upper part of this page allows the routing of up to 14 modulation sources to synthesis parameters. The first knob is used to select one of the 14 virtual “modulation patchcords”, while the other knobs on the first row are respectively used to edit its source (*srce*), destination (*dest*), and...
  • Page 24 Ambika – User manual | Mutable Instruments http://mutable-instruments.net/ambika/manual The modulation destinations are the following: prm1, prm2: Oscillator 1&2 parameters. osc1, osc2: Oscillator 1&2 pitch. ~1+2: Oscillator 1&2 coarse pitch. vibr: Oscillator 1&2 fine pitch. mix: Oscillator balance. xmod: Oscillators cross-modulation amount. This has no effect when the off or sync mixing modes are selected.
  • Page 25 Ambika – User manual | Mutable Instruments http://mutable-instruments.net/ambika/manual LFOs, pitch-bend and MIDI note number modulations are bipolar. If you are used to electronics/Modular speak, it is equivalent to say that the LFOs are always “AC-coupled” instead of “DC-coupled”. Another thing worth noting is that the modulation amount of the last patch in the modulation matrix is always attenuated by the modulation wheel.
  • Page 26 Ambika – User manual | Mutable Instruments http://mutable-instruments.net/ambika/manual modif. 1|in1 lfo1|in2 lfo2|oper prod In the example above, the modulation source mod 1 is defined as the product of lfo1 and lfo2. The following operations are available: off no operation. add adds the values of the two modulation sources.
  • Page 27 Ambika – User manual | Mutable Instruments http://mutable-instruments.net/ambika/manual polyphony is limited by the number of voices assigned to the edited part! Finally, 2x unison works like the polyphony mode except that every time you play a note, it is played by 2 voices – this effectively divides the polyphony by two.
  • Page 28 Ambika – User manual | Mutable Instruments http://mutable-instruments.net/ambika/manual Each part of Ambika has a sequencer / arpeggiator. The sequencer consists of: 2 step-sequences, up to 32-step long, which can be freely routed to any modulation source in the modulation matrix.
  • Page 29 Let us now discuss the most devilish, confusing thing about Ambika sequencer: sequencer memory sharing. Ambika only has memory for 16-steps long patterns. Yet, the len1, len2, lenp lengths can go up to 32. How is it possible? Simply by reusing steps from one pattern into the other! For example, if you set the step sequence 1 length to 18, the last 2 steps of step sequence 1 and the first 2 steps of step sequence 2 will store the same value.
  • Page 30: Multi Settings

    6, 11 and 15 to remind you that the step sequence 1 “cycles” over 5 steps only. Trivia: the longest non-repeating pattern you can build with Ambika is 20677 steps long (set sequence 1 to 23 steps ; sequence 2 to 29 steps ; and the note sequence to 31 steps). With a clock speed of...
  • Page 31 C4 note to all parts. Press it again to send a note off message to all parts. This allows Ambika to be used without a MIDI keyboard. While a note is being played through this mean, you can turn the encoder to transpose all parts up and down.
  • Page 32: Selecting An Object

    Remember that you can hold S1 while turning the encoder to change the active part. Ambika can store 3328 (26 banks of 128) patches/sequences/programs/multis. Loading programs/multis/sequences/patches Turn the encoder to move to the previous/next program. Remember that you can hold S8 while turning the encoder to scroll faster in the list.
  • Page 33 Ambika – User manual | Mutable Instruments http://mutable-instruments.net/ambika/manual Turn the encoder to select a bank. Click the encoder when you are done. Reinitializing programs/multis/sequences/patches Press S2 (*init* command) to reinitialize or randomize the select object. This brings the following confirmation page:...
  • Page 34: System Preferences

    Note that when a patch is overwritten, a backup copy of the previous version is kept. You can use a SD-card reader on your personal computer to remove the latest version of the patch and restore the backup copy (Sorry… Ambika does not come with its own version of Norton Commander). Clipboard and version manager.
  • Page 35 The following system preferences can be edited: inpt (inpt filtr): Input filter. By default, all MIDI messages are accepted by Ambika (..). Any combination of SysEx (...s), Program changes (..p.), NRPN (.n..) or Patch editing control changes (c…) can be disabled. With all filters active (cnps) Ambika only responds to basic MIDI messages.
  • Page 36: Firmware Update

    Disabling it will make saving faster. It is also possible to save the current multi so that it is reloaded every time Ambika starts up. This is very useful for saving your MIDI settings and favorite split/voice allocation parameters! pt 1 program .A000 junon...
  • Page 37: Emergency Firmware Update

    Emergency firmware update If for some reason Ambika is “bricked” — this can happen if the SD card is damaged, if the firmware update file has been incorrectly copied to the card, or if the power has been disconnected during the firmware upgrade procedure —...
  • Page 38: Midi Implementation

    D bank, send a control change 0 (bank select) with a value of 3, and a program change 120. External clock reception Keep in mind that the tempo must be set to ext to receive an external MIDI clock! Otherwise Ambika continues running with its own internal clock.
  • Page 39 Ambika – User manual | Mutable Instruments http://mutable-instruments.net/ambika/manual you want these sources to control the intensity of a LFO, it is recommended to do it through a modifier. Here is an example of patching: Modul. 8|srce mod1|dest mix|amnt modif. 1|in1...
  • Page 40 Ambika – User manual | Mutable Instruments http://mutable-instruments.net/ambika/manual SysEx Ambika can receive and transmit settings in system exclusive format. The messages all share the same format: 0xf0 (SysEx) 0x00 0x21 0x02 (Mutable Instruments Manufaturer ID) 0x00 0x04 (Product ID for Ambika)
  • Page 41 0x1f 04 0a 0c 00 03 0a 0f f7@ Random memory write (POKE) Use this command to transfer arbitrary data into Ambika’s RAM. Command is equal to 0x0f (15). Argument is equal to the size of the block to transfer. The two first bytes of payload indicate the address to write to (16-bit, little endian address).
  • Page 42: Memory Card Storage

    Memory card storage Filesystem layout The Ambika firmware supports both SD and SDHC memory cards, formatted with FAT16 and FAT32 filesystems. Memory cards with long file names are not supported. Congrats to ChaN for his amazing FAT library! Firmware update files AMBIKA.BIN...
  • Page 43 Ambika – User manual | Mutable Instruments http://mutable-instruments.net/ambika/manual /CLIPBRD /CLIPBRD.PAT Contents of patch clipboard /CLIPBRD.PA~ Previous contents of patch clipboard /HISTORY /000.PAT Undo/redo sequence of part 1's patch /001.PAT Undo/redo sequence of part 1's patch /000.PAT Undo/redo sequence of part 6's patch For programs and sequences, the directories are PROGRAM and SEQUENCE, and the file extensions...
  • Page 44 file. The 16th byte must be a null character ; and the name must be padded with spaces. The obj chunk contains data that will be copied into one of Ambika’s internal data structures. It consists of: A byte indicating the data structure (1: Patch, 2: PartData.sequence_data, 4: MultiData, 5:...