MATRIXSYNTH: The Mutronics Mutator


Friday, January 06, 2006

The Mutronics Mutator

Niall on AH put up a shot of the inside of his Mutronics Mutator. I realized I haven't put up a post on the Mutator, so why not. Title link takes you to the Mutator site with samples and more.


"The Mutator is a stereo analogue filter and envelope follower with full control facilities. It contains two independent voltage controlled filters similar to those found in analogue synthesizers, which can be used to treat any external sound source. Each filter can be controlled from its own associated low frequency oscillator (LFO) and/or its own envelope follower section, which extracts the envelope contour of an input signal and applies it to control the cut-off frequency of the filter."

Note that chip in the middle is an SSM2045. I checked Synthech and Sequencer.de to see what other synths might have used the chip. I only found it on Sequencer.de for the Solton SM100 used as a VCA/VCF. If you know what else the chip was used on, feel free to comment. Click here for a full shot of the above.

Update via the comments:
"Someone who was there at the time said...

Little-known fact:
Contrary to the information given by the Mutronics website, the Mutator was conceived, designed, and the first production runs hand-built and tested by a British guy called Nigel Bradbury who started Mutronics with London-based studio-owner Mark Lusardi in the mid 1990s.

With his partner and their new-born daughter remaining in their home-town of Oxford, Nigel worked on the Mutator in London for £50 a week, almost all of which was taken up by the rent for his grimy week-day accommodation and bus transport back home at the weekends. Eventually it became uneconomic and uncomfortable for him to continue spending so much time away from his family, and Nigel parted company with Mutronics with nothing but a second-hand Mutator (previously owned by Duran Duran, no less) to show for his hard work and creativity.

His part in conceiving and creating what is probably the best analog filter unit available remains unmentioned on the Mutronics website and promotional materials, and some people feel he was unfairly treated by his business partners. To this day he refuses to discuss this period of his life.

Nigel currently designs medical electronic equipment in Oxfordshire."

Update: more updates in the comments.

11 comments:

  1. korg polysix uses SSM 2044

    i think the prophet 5 might use 2045

    ReplyDelete
  2. okay Emulator II used 2045

    ReplyDelete
  3. no the P5 rev 1 used the SSM2040

    ReplyDelete
  4. look at those cheap pots. I'd expect better ones for that price.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I own one. The pots are awesome. Very well made, very smooth.

      Delete
  5. Little-known fact:
    Contrary to the information given by the Mutronics website, the Mutator was conceived, designed, and the first production runs hand-built and tested by a British guy called Nigel Bradbury who started Mutronics with London-based studio-owner Mark Lusardi in the mid 1990s.

    With his partner and their new-born daughter remaining in their home-town of Oxford, Nigel worked on the Mutator in London for £50 a week, almost all of which was taken up by the rent for his grimy week-day accommodation and bus transport back home at the weekends. Eventually it became uneconomic and uncomfortable for him to continue spending so much time away from his family, and Nigel parted company with Mutronics with nothing but a second-hand Mutator (previously owned by Duran Duran, no less) to show for his hard work and creativity.

    His part in conceiving and creating what is probably the best analog filter unit available remains unmentioned on the Mutronics website and promotional materials, and some people feel he was unfairly treated by his business partners. To this day he refuses to discuss this period of his life.

    Nigel currently designs medical electronic equipment in Oxfordshire.

    ReplyDelete
  6. yes, what 'someone who was there' said is absolutely true.
    I don't know much about these things, but there was NOTHING like this at the time (1993)- and as for 'cheap pots', the originals are still going strong, i have no idea what they are like now.
    what i find scary is the outright lies in the mutator manual/website etc. Mark Lusadi just provided the money, a long while after it had been designed and built. MORAL- never do business with friends.
    I WAS THERE FROM JAN 1993- it was already built then, so how can mark have thought of it in '95/6 like he says? bollocks.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I was very close to the mutator myself having built the first production model and many of the first runs with Nigel (glad to hear he is doing well). The fact that he came away with nothing but a Mutator IS NOT TRUE! And a bit unfair on the guys at Mutronics. There was a deal done of which I do not know full details and if I did it would not be for me to discuss. But I do know both parties came away happy at the time (Although I'm sure Nigel could have probably pushed for more). I'm not suprised Nigel is not up for a chat about it now, there were times when the whole thing looked like a bad idea and it was a stressfull time for everybody. I can understand Nigel with new family not wanting to take any risks at the time.

    @Someone who was there at the time said...

    We must have met back then, from what I've said you must know who I am ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  8. Ok enough of this rubbish! If you go to Mark Angelo Lusardi's Face book page you will see that he mentions Nigel Bradbury, by name, as co-inventor of the Mutator. The action of someone trying to take credit for somebody else's work work?? ( Just paste this " Mark Angelo Lusardi " in to google. Its top of the list!

    Before the mutator was born some other devices where created Kris Weston ( from the ORB ) had a device called the "Tweeter Eater" it did what it said on the tin. Kris was Marks tape op at the time and mark paid for the replacement of the tweeters but not for the development of the Mutator. That was paid for by James and his father David Dunbar. (The Chairman of The Mutronics Grp.) Another mono device that was knocking about had the working title of the Quatertron I seem to remember. So the people that have written about this above have clearly got their facts all wrong. [Isn't it sad the way people always want to attack those they perceive as more successful than themselves?]
    I knew Nigel very well at the time and he was a sort of crazy electronics wizard but definitely not on the same plane of existence as the rest of us, a sort of Sid Barrat of the electronics world. Anyway after some, shall we say, unfortunate events, Nigel, who was a partner in the company, decided / was persuaded, to leave the company with a large wedge of cash. (What he would be doing with Duran Durans Mutator I can't imagine) I mean wouldn't they want that back?
    Another important fact to be aware of here is the fact that the manufacture and sale of Mutators was never a financial success and never turned a profit at any time so Nigel is probably the only living person to have ever made any money out of the mutator. LOL
    Anyway if you read this Nigel, I would love to hear from you again. You know who I am because I really was there at the time. I also think that if you feel you where cheated in any way you should say so, but also, in light of the nature of what others have written above, if you feel you where not cheated then you should also say so.

    Ps: Still think it should have called it the Quaterton

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hi Glassman, yes, I'm still 'out there'(!), and I think I know who you are (all those hours of soldering!). For the record, I didn't get any payout, just a Mutator (which I still ocasionally use for mad mixes) and I don't feel at all cheated - that whole era was a mad rollercoster of learning experience and I got to meet some of the most delightfully eccentric people on the planet (you know who you are!). Shame to hear about Mark Angelos closing, but glad that Mutronics is still going. Check me on FB. Laters.

    ReplyDelete

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