Reinventing a Classic
Beads is a reinvention of Mutable Instruments’ Clouds. The concept is the same, live granular processing of an incoming audio signal, and the labels on the panel remain familiar. The similarities stop here. The hardware and software have been redesigned from the ground up, with several goals in mind: a crisper and broader sound palette, more control, better playability, and direct access to exciting new features.
Dotting the I's & Crossing the T's
Beads’ vastly improved specifications allow a higher audio quality, a longer buffer, the use of better interpolation and anti-aliasing algorithms, and key DSP blocks to run at a faster rate. Granulation can now get into new territories, such as formants, wavetables, hard-sync-like sounds, or crispy noise. The range of parameters, their response to knob turns or modulations have all been refined, for new possibilities such as reverse playback or percussive envelopes.
Control, Chaos & Character
- Control. To trigger or schedule grains, Beads provides new features to divide or randomize an external clock or trigger stream, spray bursts of grains in response to a gate, or get the grain rate to track a V/O CV or the frequency of an external oscillator.
- Chaos. Each key parameter of a grain comes with its own attenurandomizer. They allow direct CV control of a parameter, CV control of the random spread of this parameter, or internal randomization using some of Marbles’ algorithms.
- Character. Beads provides four audio quality settings, which go well beyond buffer sample rate and bit-depth: they affect the clock of the converters, the amplitude limiting and saturation of the signal path, the tone of the reverb, and additional media-emulation effects. From a pristine digital device to a dirty cassette, through a mode reproducing some of Clouds’ characteristics.
- Beads can operate as a delay without the need to switch to a different mode: just ask it to play a never-ending grain.
- Its DENSITY, TIME and SEED controls are repurposed to allow various features such as tap-tempo, beat slicing, time-stretching, or comb-filtering at rates tracking V/O.
- Without any audio input, Beads will granularize 8 internal banks of wavetables.
- All parameters have a dedicated knob.
- Stereo I/O with automatic level detection.
- Manual override of the level detection.
- Automatic mono/stereo switching through patch cable detection.
- Recording time: 4s (48kHz 16-bit, stereo) to 32s (24kHz µ-law, mono).
- Four quality modes, with different tone and reverb characters:
- 48kHz 16-bit
- 32kHz 12-bit with Clouds emulation
- 24kHz 12-bit with a hi-fi dry signal path
- 24kHz µ-law with cassette emulation
- The FREEZE button and the gate input freezes the content of the recording buffer, allowing you to dive into its sonic details.
- Auto-saving of the FREEZE buffer.
- Latched (continuous), with a periodic or randomized rate, tracking V/O.
- Gated, with bursts of grains triggered by the press of the SEED button or an external gate.
- Clocked, with randomization or division of an external clock or trigger signal.
Four grain parameters
- TIME. Temporal position within the buffer.
- SIZE. Grain duration from 0.03 to 4 seconds, forward or backward playback.
- SHAPE. Morphing between four key shapes of the grain envelope: solid rectangular, snappy decay, smooth bell, or reversed.
- PITCH. With V/O tracking.
In the Box
• The module itself
• Eurorack Power Cable