Mutable Instruments Clouds Review
One of the most anticipated new Eurorack module releases in 2019 is “Clouds 2”. In today’s review, we are looking at the popular Clouds module developed by Mutable Instruments. The module Clouds is a granular audio effect unit unmatched in the market.
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 an extensive variety of functions at a fair price. Many Clouds versions are available as DIY modules. For some of the most famous ones like original Cloud the used market is the only way to get one. All will change when “Clouds v2” launches in the future. Clouds as a Mutable Instrument module were terminated in 2017. Today it is still one of the most successful modules in Eurorack, original version or DIY based on Open Hardware. After the end of the sale of Clouds the used market stayed at relatively high prices for the original module. DIY models have come down to a still medium to high price level Further developments like Grayscale Supercell are sold at a premium price. Émilie Gillet is Mutable Instruments’ product designer, hardware/software engineer, salesperson, and customer support representative in person – she is a genius.
Mutable Instruments Clouds is a granular texture synthesizer supporting plenty of different modes. Clouds produce an instant granularization of the audio signal. The module transforms sound into shapeless textures. The created Grains are adjustable in size, pitch, and envelope. Grains are extracted at controllable time offsets from the input signal.
The module works excellent with many sound sources, I do regularly feeding Rings, Black VCO, Rainmaker, and many distinct modules into Clouds. Even in my hybrid setup using AE Modular, Semi-Modular, and sound from the BOX (DAW) travels into Clouds. When feeding a sound from Black VCO/Rings through my Rainmaker into Clouds combination, I get a perfect foundation for ambiance and pads sounds.
Clouds Alternative Firmware
Besides the original Clouds firmware, you can also install Parasites and Kammerl. The new firmware adds new features to the module. Some cases of bricking have been reported. Mutable Instruments will not support unbricking. A helpful Clouds Parasite V2.0 cheat sheet is also available. Supercell and similar modules like 1979’s (1979 is a brand/company name) version called Stereo Microsound Processor (Buchla Granular synthesis for 4U systems) are available at a premium price (1979 sells the unit for $850).
Clouds is already a processing module of a unique character. It receives the incoming signal and uses granular technology to produce new origins. Granular means breaking up sound into small tiny mini grains that are repeated. In Clouds, you force the grains into new time slots and you halt the sample to obtain new sounds from the grains. Composer and professional sound designer create astonishing sounds with the module. To truly unlock the magic of this module you need to work with CV modulation—it’s a Eurorack module after all.
Rating: Five Out of Five Stars
Mutable Instruments Clouds is a modern classic eurorack effect module that sounds like no other. Clouds is excellent for drones and textures. Many performers have an unabashed love for Clouds and it is an integral part of their musical performance setup.
I use two Cloud modules as my personal creativity booster. One full size and one with a smaller HP footprint.