Microcell: a Compact Version of Supercell … and Clouds

  • By: Thorsten Meyer
  • Date: Wednesday, 27 April 2022
  • Time to read: 3 min.

microcell is a compact 14hp version of Supercell that retains all features of the original (except for the attenuators). In case you missed it, Supercell is an expanded version of Clouds, building on the open-source foundations of the classic (but now discontinued) granular synthesis module from Mutable Instruments. See also our Mutable Instruments Clouds Review – Master of Granular Texture Effects

microcell ships with the expanded Superparasites firmware, which combines the Parasites firmware by Matthias Puech with the Beat Repeat firmware by Julius Kammerl. This hybrid firmware offers eight separate DSP modes within one module. Supercell can be updated to use this firmware too. Download the update here and don’t forget to check the user manual for calibration instructions after updating.

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microcell is only available through its own dedicated website and it’s now shipping worldwide. Assembled units and DIY kits are available with your choice of gray or black matte front panel.

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What is Supercell?

Supercell is an expanded version of Clouds by Mutable Instruments

Clouds, the granular synthesis module from Mutable Instruments, was discontinued in 2017. Supercell brings back Clouds in a more accessible 34 hp form factor, offering an improved user interface and several additional features:

  • Each of the Blend parameters (Feedback, Panning, Mix, and Space) have dedicated knobs with their own CV inputs and inverting attenuators (attenuverters).
  • The inputs and outputs now have mute switches, stereo VCAs, and separate VU meters. The knobs act as offset controls when their respective VCA inputs are patched.
  • A stereo output gain control has been added, providing an additional +6 dB of gain to compensate for low output levels when using certain parameter combinations.
  • The complex process of changing the sampling time and managing presets has been simplified with dedicated switches and status LEDs.
  • Extensive modulation options for all parameters including direct patching of external CV, distribution of one CV to all parameters via the AUX input, or an internal smooth random CV that is normalized to any unpatched inputs when AUX is also unpatched. The attenuverters control the modulation depth in all three cases. With the latest firmware, the internal modulation rate can be adjusted within a range of 1 to 100 Hz.
  • The inputs and outputs now include stereo VCAs and separate VU meters. The knobs act as offset controls when their respective VCA inputs are patched.
  • Pitch is now controlled by two separate inputs: the V/Oct input is exponential and the Pitch input is linear. When both inputs are used, their voltages are summed.
  • A manual Trig switch (for capturing individual grains) has been added, in addition to the Trig input that was present on Clouds.

All other features of the original Clouds remain intact, including access to the alternate modes. Thanks to Mutable Instruments for making the original Clouds hardware and firmware available under open-source licenses.

The “Superparasites” alternate firmware is also available, which combines the code from Parasites (Matthias Puech) with Beat Repeat(Julius Kammerl) into one powerful expanded firmware with eight DSP modes available. See the Downloads section below for details or Github for source code.

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