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Mutable Instruments Ambika User Manual

Multi-voice hybrid synthesizer
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Mutable Instruments | Ambika - User manual
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 history of
editing operations for undo/redo.
The following connectors are available on the rear panel:
1: SD-card slot. Insert here a SD-card (SDHC supported), FAT16 or FAT32 formatted. At the exception of
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  Summary of Contents for Mutable Instruments Ambika

  • Page 1 Mutable Instruments | Ambika - User manual 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.
  • Page 2 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 3 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 4 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 the...
  • Page 5 Note that you can assign to a part only voices which are not currently in use by another part. For example, when Ambika boots, voices 1, 3 and 5 are assigned to part 1 ; and voices 2, 4, 6 are assigned to part 2.
  • Page 6 Mutable Instruments | Ambika - User manual 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. The sub-oscillator (whose pitch is linked to oscillator 1’s) is added.
  • Page 7 Mutable Instruments | Ambika - User manual 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”. para (parameter): Morphing parameter. This morphs the selected waveform into many variations.
  • Page 8 Mutable Instruments | Ambika - User manual A pure and chaste sine wave lost her virginity. At some point she started listening to Nine Inch Nails. This waveform uses phase distortion to recreate a low-pass filtered sawtooth by progressively “pinching”...
  • Page 9 Mutable Instruments | Ambika - User 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 10 Mutable Instruments | Ambika - User manual square, this waveform stinks aliasing - but for notes below C2 it is not a real problem: it becomes much more aggressive and “in your face” than square. The parameter controls the frequency of a simple 1-pole low-pass/high-pass filter in which is sent white noise.
  • Page 11 Mutable Instruments | Ambika - User 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 12 Mutable Instruments | Ambika - User 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 13 Mutable Instruments | Ambika - User manual mode (mode): Filter mode (low-pass / band-pass / high-pass). Note that this setting takes effect only if the SVF filter board is installed. With the standard SMR-4 filter board, the filter is always a low-pass no matter the...
  • Page 14 Mutable Instruments | Ambika - User manual Here is a list of LFO waveforms: tri: Triangle. sqr: Square. s&h: Sample & hold (random value). ramp: Ascending ramp (use a negative modulation amount in the modulation matrix to get a descending ramp modulation).
  • Page 15 Mutable Instruments | Ambika - User manual nois: White noise sampled at 1kHz. random: Random value, updated every time a note is retriggered. [256]{style=“text-align:center;“} to [4]{style=“text-align:center;“}: Boring constant values. The modulation destinations are the following: prm1, prm2: Oscillator 1&2 parameters.
  • Page 16 Mutable Instruments | Ambika - User manual always attenuated by the modulation wheel. Let us say that you have connected patch 14 from LFO 4 to the oscillators fine pitch (actually this is done by default in the init patch!):...
  • Page 17 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 18 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 19 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 20 Remember that you can hold while turning the encoder to change the active part. Ambika can store 3328 (26 banks of 128) patches/sequences/programs/multis. Turn the encoder to move to the previous/next program. Remember that you can hold while turning the encoder to scroll faster in the list.
  • Page 21 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). Press S5 (versions command) to bring the version manager.
  • Page 22 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!
  • Page 23 (upgrade command) will load it to upgrade the voicecard processor. 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 24 0 (bank select) with a value of 3, and a program change 120. Keep in mind that the tempo must be set to to receive an external MIDI clock! Otherwise Ambika continues running with its own internal clock.
  • Page 25 Mutable Instruments | Ambika - User manual Ambika can receive and transmit settings in system exclusive format. The messages all share the same format: Command indicates what the receiver should do with the data in the payload block, and argument is a byte that might contain an additional piece of information about what to do with the data.
  • Page 26 .. 0x3b0, the sysex string would be: 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 27 Mutable Instruments | Ambika - User manual For programs and sequences, the directories are , and the file extensions are All files are stored in RIFF format. The first 4 bytes of the file is the ‘RIFF’ string. The next 4 bytes are the total size of the file in bytes, little endian format.
  • Page 28 The 16th byte must be a null character ; and the name must be padded with spaces. 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: PartData).