The Next Clouds

I’m in the process of selling a bunch of stuff and I’m considering selling my Clouds but only because I think a new version is coming out this year. At this stage, is it a guaranteed thing that there will be a new Clouds coming? I’m pretty sure Olivier confirmed it on Why We Bleep but I’d be curious what others know about this right now.

Check out this thread from the Mutable forum: https://forum.mutable-instruments.net/t/clouds-successor/13541

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I’m contemplating the same, but regardless of what the Next Thing is there will always be a need for Clouds because it will be much more of a multi-function Swiss Army Knife than the New Thing, at least if I’ve read the Creator’s messages correctly. I say all that by means of inviting board members who want a Clouds to get in touch, as I need to maximize space in the only 126HP I am ever going to have.

PS I’ve got a Peaks with someone’s name on it too :wink:

This also a useful thread for speculation (and information directly from Olivier) about the upcoming MI modules:

I don’t need newclouds but it’s interesting me based on the awesome job Olivier has done with Plaits/Stages/Marbles.

sidenote I also really loved hearing his take on business in the why we bleep podcast.

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I was reading the Nebulae v2 manual today and from my understanding it’s base program/instrument implements both phase vocoding and a host of grain manipulation functions. Is that somehow different from what you’re referring to as lacking in the euro world? This is an earnest question as I’m curious to understand you’re view point and I don’t have an expansive technical understanding of these synthesis techniques.

Olivier also confirmed the new clouds will be 14hp on the Mutable forum. Very interested to see how everything will be parameterized in that space compared to it’s larger 20hp “competitors.”

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I had the same though, but Olivier kind of shut me down here: :smile:

Would love a paulstretch module. Nebulae V2 can stretch but not to that degree

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The mungo g0 can do a lot of this stuff and still has the best/no pitch shifting on samples Ive heard

I was excited when I found out there was a Paulstretch plugin but a eurorack module would be insane.

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I would be shocked if MI doesn’t release the “new Clouds”. I can’t part with my Clouds, but really look forward to the new module, which I am sure to pick up. I have a small system, so I really like the multifunction modules they have previously released. That said, I expect the new module will be streamlined in some ways and distinct as well.

HUGE bonus points for Hannes, who has been putting a ton of thought on making MI’s UI work for those of us who are “colorblind”. His level of interest and concern about this single issue just underscores for me why most of my system is Mutable.

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I use a few MI modules
the yarns, the RIngs and the Peaks
I had a clouds and sold it pretty immediately – i did not dig the clouds it gave
the Nebulae2 which i am partial in mentioning as i am making pd patches for it —
Blow it out of the water – to me it’s closer to the sounds that i heard from barry truax 20 years ago

A few things about current model Clouds:

-Have you tried the different audio quality parameters? From the manual: “Note that Clouds’ 8-bit is a lovely flavour of 8-bit: µ-law companding. It sounds like a Cassette, or a Fairlight - less hiss, more distortion.” Personally I’m not crazy about the 16-bit 32khz settings, but the 8-bit µ-law 16khz flavors are gorgeous and musical and I’ll never switch away from them. This might be counterintuitive!

-Have you tried the alternate modes? There’s a pitch-shifter / time stretcher, looping delay, and spectral processor that are all worthwhile spending time in.

-Have you tried the alternate firmware? Parasites has Oliverb, Resonester for Karplus-Strong synthesis, and various enhancements - people really like the reverse grains on it; Kammerl has an amazing and deep CV-controlled beat repeat mode, a Spectral Clouds mode that is dense and beautiful, and the latest experimental build has a Wavepicker mode (“a wavetable-based two-voice oscillator that picks wave forms directly from Clouds recording buffer”). Someone has also made a build that combines Parasites and Kammerl to some degree.

With all this going on, Clouds is an embarrassment of riches I could explore for years. I have no doubt that the new Clouds will be amazing and take the concept to new places, but if the new philosophy is to pare down complexity and menu diving and remove alternate modes and density of features in favor of streamlined improvements and thoughtful UX, then I don’t plan to part with my current Clouds anytime soon… I just don’t mind fussing around with a busy and overfeatured module, I prefer it in fact.

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I just noticed that I don’t have pressing engagements for the 4HP the new clouds would save me, and you make some very good arguments for sticking with it, which I may…

Personally my main hopes for the Clouds followup are

  • Attenuverters. With my little 1-skiff-forever system I do have attenuverters on Maths and some floating RYO ones, but having them taken care of would free those up for other purposes.
  • Better built-in modulation capabilities à la Plaits’s LPG and Decay envelope. Since most of the inputs on Clouds are extremely thirsty for attenuated random modulation, I think it’s reasonable to expect that some option like this will be present, which again would help people like me with very small systems.
  • A more mature take on the core engine. I don’t even really have hopes or desires for what direction this will take beyond “Xenakis-style granular synthesis”. My impression, especially after Stages, is that Olivier really has found a unique perspective with his designs. I don’t mean that in, like, a fangirly way, although I can’t really find a way to express it without treading that territory. Just that, as an instrument designer, he’s grown, and I’m excited to see his newer thoughts
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yeah for everyone hoping for a “paulstretch” mode - have you tried the timestretch mode in OG Clouds? it’s superb.

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There will be a new module from Mutable Instruments to explore the territory of audio manipulations that can be described as multi-head replay of material recorded live in a buffer. Time-domain only. Paulstretch / spectral stuff is off-topic - I’m not happy with the latency it introduces, and the fact that when you process FFT slices, all CV modulations become inherently limited to the FFT frame rate (which is fairly low if you want that nice paulstretchy smudge).

The feature set is frozen, the firmware is written, the hardware is currently being revised. The module uses an STM32H7 MCU which is for now only available in “preview” quantities.

Morphagene, Nebulae v2 and g0 are focused on a “single-stream” vision - which is not my approach for Clouds (original or revised). The concept of spreading/randomizing grain parameters to create a mass of sound will become more obvious (and no, it’s not just a matter of sending white noise to unpatched attenuverters).

The overall vibe is Rings-like; Very usable as a standalone thing but then it’ll sound like itself and the way I like things to sound. Use more external modules and CVs to “appropriate it”. I expect it to look deceptively empty and dumb - I expect some reactions similar to what I read when Plaits was released (vs Braids).

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400Mhz and 1MB of RAM. Tasty.

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Exactly. I will place an order for it at my friendly neighborhood modular store. Respect to you for remaining clear to pursue your creative vision, in your preferred manner!

Thank you for sharing this. I’m looking forward to hearing it in action.