Discover the Art of Sound

Mutable Instruments Marbles Review – A Controlled Random Source to Refine Characters for Eurorack




Mutable instruments Marbles hero

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Mutable Instruments Marbles Review

Did you ever wonder or have been irritated by Modular that sound like beep, plink, bling, blong and repeat themselves. Do you want to change that sounds only interesting for a sound hunter? Several random modules create melodies or rhythms on the market. Let’s find out in today if Marbles by Mutable Instruments is different. The Mutable Instruments Marbles connects random trigger with a progression/shaping section all in controlled musical chaos. Marbles inject interesting variations when producing sounds.

Mutable Instruments LOGO e1557736151799

Mutable Instruments

Mutable Instruments is one of the most recognized and leading Eurorack boutique manufacturer. The company is known for innovative eurorack modules. The modules extend your rack with a capacious variety of functions at a fair price.


Mutable Instruments Marbles is a comprehensive eurorack module for random generative patterns. Injecting randomization through Marbles to sequences or sounds makes them energetic. With the modules Marbles, you change sequences created by machines and improve the performance to be more human-like. When a human performs, there is always a bit of chaos when playing music. Look for the Jitter control to inject incredible humanness. Resulting human-like beats performing lightly leading or after. All resulting in the ear more pleasing tones, character, and themes.

Mutable instruments Marbles alone
Mutable Instruments Marbles

For any composer who works in the box know the issue of sample libraries that shown the machine gun effect. Which merely is speaking based on round robins, repetitions, and not smartly blending samples. In the modular world, you do not use Kontakt and samples. With machine-generated sounds, the human brain recognizes the pattern (repetitions), and we get bored. When generating sounds flawlessly performed sounds and tones that are not shaped do sound wrong to us. One of the reasons vintage analog synthesizer sound so different and exceptional good is their inconsistencies when performed.

Mutable instruments Marbles front
Mutable instruments Marbles front

Eurorack CV to Manage Marbles

Marbles offer two main sections that split the module into two halves and different modes that the unit can operate in. On the left side of the module, you have clock and trigger actions. This section concentrates on the beat, different clocks. It is perfect for drums and percussive sounds. On the right side, you can use a random voltage. Both sides of the module are influenced by the mode you are in and signals (CV) you can send into the module. Left and right section have three output ports, for each threesome you can set a chance order to prefer the left or right port more. If this is going over your head, you can see these features as an additional tool to generate musical performances.

The unit creates melodies and rhythms via random sequences. CV controls all parameters of the knobs.

Mutable instruments Marbles distributions
Mutable Instruments Marbles distributions

According to Mutable Instruments: “The pink histogram represents the distribution of possible output voltages: the tallest bar corresponds to the most likely outcome. The teal oscillogram is an example of an output voltage sequence.”

Deja Vu

Marbles Deja Vu retrieve the history clock difference or generate a rhythm or voltage. You manage with the DEJA VU knob the likelihood of reusing earlier generated signal instead of creating new random data.

Quantizer in Marbles

The Marbles module serves also as a quantizer. It offers different scales that are controlled via CV and a knob. For more advanced scale control, you need to use a sequencer like a Metropolis or a dedicated quantizer module.

Mutable instruments Marbles scale
Mutable Instruments Marbles Scale

Interface and Experience

First I was a bit overwhelmed by the Interface and thought it would be complicated to use. After working with Marbles for a short time, I found astonishing sequencing and modulation opportunities. I use Marbles in combination with Tides (2018 version), Stages, Maths, Pamela’s New Workout, a sequencer, and other modules. Some see Marbles an alternative or replacement for Music Things Turing Machine. The module creates similar drum performances as you can get with Grids. Would I get rid of Grids when I have Marbles? No, I just added two TOPOGRAF (AE modular version of the Grids). Therefore, I see Marbles not a Grids replacement as I can use both or rather have Grids focus on percussive sounds. The module can quickly drive three different drums and also separate the drums performed to compose a better and more interesting sounding track.

Marbles Tides Stages
Stages, Marbles, and Tides

There is a micro and DIY version of Marbles available. Keep in mind that using Marbles is a lot of fun. Micro Mutable Instruments Marbles comes with rather small knobs and a compressed layout and restrict playability. Keep in mind that size can matter and the user experience for you might be fine with a smaller model. At the end, it is up to personal taste.

How to Use Randomization

There are very advanced ways of how you can blend in randomization. Put a small quantity of randomizing to shape components in your modular patch to effect resonance, scale, key, melody, or just the vibe.

Many Composer and Sound Designer obtain Mutable Instrument Marbles for generative compositions, pads, textures, and ambiances. A random module like Marbles is essential for those sounds. I generate sounds through many modules or in the box using Plaits, Mutable Instruments Rings, Black VCO V2 by Erica Synths, Moog Mother-32, Moog DFAM, and other sources. With Marbles I manipulate the sound to add randomize or a humanize playstyle before sending it to effect modules like Rainmaker by Intellijel and Cylonix, Mutable Instruments Clouds or effect plugins in your DAW like TRIAD, ValhallaDelay, BYOME and more.

When I look at Marbles as a composing module I love the musicality of the module and that Mutable Instruments Marbles help to turn my eurorack meditation into animated performances with progression and movement.

Rating:  Five Out of Five Stars

Mutable Instruments Marbles is for any composer and sound designer a generative envolving and most flexible module. Marbles by Mutable Instruments is remarkably powerful for sequencing, randomization, and intonation. A first module to quickly generate anomalous patterns. It also works exceptional as a performance instrument.  Any composer and sound designer should consider this module. For the eurorack expert, it is a module to shaped control voltage in a new way reducing the need to use many other modules.

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