General
Info
Modes
Pair of classic waveforms
Waveshaping oscillator
Two operator FM
Granular formant oscillator
Harmonic oscillator
Wavetable oscillator
Chords
Vowel and speech synthesis
Granular cloud
Filtered noise
Particle noise
String modeling / Modal resonator
Analog bass drum model
Analog snare drum model
Analog hi-hat model

General

Info

Plaits

Plaits is the spiritual successor of Mutable Instruments’ best-selling voltage-controlled sound source, Braids. Not just a mkII version: its hardware and software have been redesigned from scratch.

Just like its predecessor, it offers direct access to a large palette of easily tweakable raw sonic material, covering the whole gamut of synthesis techniques.

Links

Plaits Home
Plaits Manual

Text and diagrams by Mutable Instruments and is Licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0



Modes

Pair of classic waveforms

Description

Virtual-analog synthesis of classic waveforms.

Controls

detuning
variable square
variable saw

Aux Out

Sum of two hardsync’ed waveforms, the shape of which is controlled by MORPH and detuning by HARMONICS.

Notes

A narrow pulse or wide notch results in silence! Use this trick if you want to silence one of the two oscillators, to get just a variable square or variable saw.



Waveshaping oscillator

Description

An asymmetric triangle processed by a waveshaper and a wavefolder. i.e. Tides at audio rate.

Controls

waveshaper waveform
wavefolder amount
waveform asymmetry

Aux Out

variant employing another wavefolder curve, as available in Warps.



Two operator FM

Description

Two sine-wave oscillators modulating each other’s phase.

Controls

ratio
mod index
feedback

Aux Out

sub osc

Notes

turn MORPH fully CCW to get the same range of sounds as Braids’ WTFM. Turn MORPH fully CW to recreate the same sounds as Braids’ FBFM. A gentler palette equivalent to Braids’ FM is found with MORPH at 12 o’clock.



Granular formant oscillator

Description

Simulation of formants and filtered waveforms through the multiplication, addition and synchronization of segments of sine waves.

Controls

ratio
formant frequency
width / shape

Aux Out

simulation of filtered waveforms by windowed sine waves – a recreation of Braids’ Z*** models. HARMONICS controls the filter type (peaking, LP, BP, HP), with smooth variation from one response to another.



Harmonic oscillator

Description

An additive mixture of harmonically-related sine waves

Controls

# of bumps
index
bump shape

Aux Out

variant including only the subset of harmonics present in the drawbars of a Hammond organ (frequency ratios of 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, 10 and 12).



Wavetable oscillator

Description

Four banks of 8x8 waveforms, accessed by row and column, with or without interpolation.

Controls

bank selection
row
column

Aux Out

low-fi (5-bit) output.

Notes

Bank A: harmonically poor waveforms obtained by additive synthesis (sine harmonics, drawbar organ waveforms).

Bank B: harmonically rich waveforms obtained by formant synthesis or waveshaping.

Bank C: wavetables from the Shruthi-1 / Ambika, sampled from classic wavetable or ROM playback synths.

Bank D: a joyous semi-random permutation of waveforms from the other 3 banks.



Chords

Description

Four-note chords, played by virtual analogue or wavetable oscillators. The virtual analogue oscillators emulate the stack of harmonically-related square or sawtooth waveforms generated by vintage string&organ machines.

Controls

chord shape
inversion
waveform

Aux Out

Root note of the chord.

Notes

The first half of the knob goes through a selection of string-machine like raw waveforms (different combinations of the organ and string “drawbars”), the second half of the knob scans a small wavetable containing 16 waveforms.



Vowel and speech synthesis

Description

A collection of speech synthesis algorithms.

Controls

formants / SAM / LPC
species
phoneme / word segment

Aux Out

Unfiltered vocal cords’ signal.



Granular cloud

Description

A swarm of 8 enveloped sawtooth waves.

Controls

pitch randomization
density
duration / overlap

Aux Out

Variant with sine wave oscillators.

Notes

To get a nice “supersaw” waveform, try a moderate amount of pitch randomization and grain density, with full grain overlap.



Filtered noise

Description

Variable-clock white noise processed by a resonant filter. The cutoff frequency of the filter is controlled by the FREQUENCY knob and the V/OCT CV input. This allows proper tracking!

Controls

LP / BP / HP
clock frequency
resonance

Aux Out

Variant employing two band-pass filters, with their separation controlled by HARMONICS.



Particle noise

Description

Dust noise processed by networks of all-pass or band-pass filters.

Controls

frequency randomization
particle density
filter type

Aux Out

Raw dust noise.



String modeling / Modal resonator

Description

Modulated/inharmonic string synthesis, and modal resonators. A mini-rings.

Controls

inharmonicity / material selection
brightness / density
decay

Aux Out

Raw exciter signal.

Notes

Plaits uses a less powerful processor than Rings, and is thus limited to 3 voices of polyphony in inharmonic string modeling mode, and 1 voice of polyphony with 24 partials in modal resonator mode. Plaits does not allow you to control the position of the excitation, which is set to 25% of the length of the string/bar/tube.

When the TRIG input is not patched, the string/resonator is excited by dust (particle) noise. Otherwise, the string is excited by a short burst of filtered white noise, or by a low-pass filtered click.



Analog bass drum model

Description

Simulation of circuits from classic drum machines. The drum machine emulated on OUT employs a bridged T-network excited by a nicely shaped pulse.

Controls

attack / drive
brightness
decay

Aux Out

Frequency-modulated triangle VCO, turned into a sine with a pair of diodes, and shaped by a dirty VCA.

Notes

Without any signal patched to the TRIG input, a continuous tone is produced. Not particularly useful, but its amplitude can still be modulated by the MORPH knob and CV input!



Analog snare drum model

Description

The drum machine emulated on OUT employs a bunch of bridged T-networks, one for each mode of the shell, excited by a nicely shaped pulse; plus some band-pass filtered noise.

Controls

tone / noise
modes
decay

Aux Out

Based on a pair of frequency-modulated sine VCO, mixed with high-pass filtered noise.



Analog hi-hat model

Description

6 square Square oscillators generate a harsh, metallic tone. The resulting signal is mixed with clocked noise, sent to a HPF, then to a dirty transitor VCA.

Controls

metal / noise
high pass
decay

Aux Out

three pairs of square oscillators ring-modulating each other, and a clean, linear VCA.