Mutable InstrumentsBeads Texture Synthesizer
Mutable Instruments Beads
The Clouds clear, and a new day is upon us: Mutable Instruments is back with the successor to their highly sought-after Clouds texture synthesizer, Beads. Beads's theoretical approach remains the same—it is a real-time granular processor, but the improvements over the original module are vast. Higher audio quality, improved interpolation and anti-aliasing, longer buffer, and a faster DSP sampling rate make this a worthy successor.
Mutable Instruments did away with the onboard menu system, bringing all controls directly to the faceplate, letting you focus on the module and not on the menu. The recording time ranges from 4 seconds at 48kHz/16-bit stereo to 32 seconds (24kHz µ-law, mono). The recording rate features a corresponding button that sets the quality. These include the Sunny Tape mode that runs cleanly at 48kHz, Scorched Cassette mode that emulates wow and flutter, or a Cold Digital mode that accurately recreates Clouds' character.
Beads features four primary grain parameters. These are time (the position within the buffer), size (the grain size from .03–4 seconds, plus direction—forward or backward), pitch (with 1V/oct tracking), and shape (the grain envelope shape, which morphs between rectangular, snappy decay, smooth bell, or reversed envelope). Density sets the grain density, rate of generation, and repetition rate, depending on the mode. Freeze locks the audio currently in the buffer and loops it, allowing you to get down and dirty with the sonic details of your sound.
The four granular parameters include CV inputs that feature attenurandomizers. Attenurandomizers add internal gaussian randomization without the need for additional modules. The module reads the state of the parameters and respective modulation once per grain, meaning any changes that occur during a grain's playback will affect the next grain generated.
Beads functions in three granular modes. The latched mode provides real-time and continuous granularization of incoming audio with a periodic or random rate that tracks incoming 1V/oct signals. Gated mode fires off a burst of grains when the seed button is pressed or with an external gate signal. Clocked mode tracks in an incoming clock signal and runs at a division or randomization of that clock speed. Without an audio input, Beads will granularize the internal eight banks of wavetables. Beads also operates as a delay or beat slicer when set to an infinite grain length. In delay mode, density controls the base delay clock rate while time controls the multiplication with optional random delay taps. The tempo features tap tempo from either the seed button or external gate signal.
Beads represents a new shift in audio processing. The character, texture, and behavior are all magnificent. The internal random brings much-needed movement to the module that animates your sounds, bringing new life and depth to even the most static of input sources. Beads builds upon Clouds's legacy, updating the architecture with new technology and experience.
- Texture synthesizer
- Offers real-time granular processing
- Attenurandomizers add internal gaussian random modulation
- Audio codec up to 48kHz/24-bit with four sets of sampling rates
- Functions as a delay and beat slicer
- All parameters features dedicate knob
- Stereo input and output with automatic level detection
- Latched, gated, or clocked grain generation
- Grain shaping with morphing between four waveforms
- Up to 32 seconds of grain recording
- Freeze audio in the buffer
- 1V/oct tracking for pitch
- Eurorack module
- Width: 14hp
- Depth: 25mm
- Current draw: 100mA @ +12V, 10mA @ -12V
In part one of this series we asked the crew in the office what they were most excited to see arrive in 2021 in the category of synthesizers and modules!