Mutable Instruments - Ears
Ears is an amplifier with built-in contact microphone. The user can generate noises and percussion sounds simply by scratching, rubbing or tapping the surface of the module. In addition to audio material, the circuit also emits Gate and CV signals. Therefore, Ears can be used as an analog controller as well. Thanks to its Hi-Z input, it is also possible to employ the module as an amplifier for external microphones, guitars or line equipment. The amp provides up to 40 dB of gain.
Ears is Mutable’s take on Tom Whitwell’s Mikrophonie module. Compared to the Original, this circuit offers a better signal-to-noise ratio and less distortion. The built-in microphone is located behind the front panel. A golden touch plate shows the exact position. Besides tapping, a lot of other hand movements result in exciting sounds as well. Furthermore, it is possible to use items like a piece of paper to create sound. A little hint: The throughout noisy results are perfect raw material for physical modeling components such as Rings.
The level of the amplifier can be adjusted using the module’s potentiometer, up to 40 dB of gain are available. Thanks to the Hi-Z audio input, Ears can also be used for external microphones, instruments and even guitars. After a signal has been leveled, it can be tapped off the out socket. Another connector transmits gate voltages (+8 V), which are generated as soon as the audio level reaches a certain threshold. It can be edited via jumper on the circuit board. The threshold options are 1 V, 2 V or 4 V. Beyond that, there’s an envelope follower generating control voltages depending on the audio level. Using a second jumper, it is possible to choose between three response times.
Audio input and output
Gate and CV outputs
3U Eurorack module, 4 HP wide
current draw: 5 mA at +12 V and 5 mA at -12 V