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Mutable Instruments released the much anticipated Warps module last week. The module is the latest from the popular French maker Olivier Gillet, whose recent Clouds and Elements modules have been gobbled up by eager fans. Mutable Instruments also support their modules (which are all Open Source) with updated and alternative firmware from time to time, adding value and new functionality to existing gear.

Warps is a multi-purpose waveshaper and “cross-modulator” incorporating Cross Fading, Wave Folding, Ring Modulation and much more, behind an elegant glowing knob that smoothly shifts between the many different modulation types. The digital module also features an optional internal Oscillator and three different Vocoder settings.



Vocoders have been a popular (if not controversial) element in 21st century music. From Rap and R&B to experimental electronic music, Vocoders are everywhere now. Three years ago, I wrote a blog post about Vocoders and Talk Boxes explaining how they operate… “The frequencies of an incoming sound are broken up into a number of different frequency bands and then this frequency profile is combined with another sound to filter out only certain sections of the frequency range.” Depending on the settings in the Vocoder, this can result in some recognizable robotic sounds.

Warps takes the idea of the Vocoder in a few directions including a Freeze function which takes over at the fully clockwise knob position. While Warps other Vocoder settings dynamically analyze 20 frequency bands of the incoming modulator signal, the Freeze function halts that analysis and holds the frequency shape of the modulator while the carrier continues to filter through. This results in some dramatic and thick tones, which can be especially useful for drones and slowly evolving sounds.

Mutable Instruments has gained their reputation with their esoteric takes on certain synthesis functions. Warps seems to be in keeping with this tradition, offering a fresh take on some classic synthesis techniques packaged behind a very attractive interface.

What do you think of Warps? Let us know in the comments!

Want to know more about modulation and effects? Check out our Modular 101 Course starting this week!


Mutable Warps and the Vocoder

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