Mutator returns: Behringer brings back the legendary ‘90s analogue filter/envelope follower that is said to have been used by Daft Punk, Radiohead, Beck, The Chemical Brothers and Nine Inch Nails

Behringer Mutator
(Image credit: Behringer)

Back in the ‘90s, when it was released, the Mutronics Mutator was used across the music spectrum. Daft Punk, Radiohead, Beck, The Chemical Brothers, Nine Inch Nails and Massive Attack are all believed to have been fans of this analogue filter and envelope follower, and now Behringer - who else? - is looking to bring it back.

Released in 1996, the Mutator’s life was cut short when one of components required to build it went out of production. Presumably, Behringer has now found an alternative; what’s more, the company says that it’s “collaborating closely with the original designer to ensure its authenticity and quality”.

For fans of the original, that will be reassuring, and raises hopes that the Behringer clone will be able to recreate the Mutator’s warmth and capacity for sonic weirdness. Each of the two channels has a voltage-controlled filter that can be used to generate synth-style sweeps, and also comes with an LFO. Coupled with the envelope follower, this enables you to create some serious movement.

After some deliberation, Behringer has decided to create a desktop version of the Mutator that can also be rack-mounted, and it will also be Eurorack-ready.

This isn’t the first time the Mutator has been revived. Back in 2014, Mutronics’ James Dunbar and Steve Crow worked with Softube to create a plugin version that they said sounds “very very close” to the original. This is still available, priced at €49. 

We're led to believe that Steve Crow isn't involved in the Behringer reboot - MusicRadar has attempted to contact Behringer to clarify who from the original design team it is working with.

Neither a price or release date for the Behringer Mutator has so far been confirmed.

Softube Mutronics Mutator (short version) - YouTube Softube Mutronics Mutator (short version) - YouTube
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Ben Rogerson
Deputy Editor

I’m the Deputy Editor of MusicRadar, having worked on the site since its launch in 2007. I previously spent eight years working on our sister magazine, Computer Music. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 24 of which I’ve also spent writing about music and the ever-changing technology used to make it. 

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