Mutable Instruments Clouds (Pre-Owned)

Mutable Instruments Clouds (Pre-Owned)

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Texture synthesizer

Clouds is a granular audio processor - with a couple of twists.

Unlike granular sample players, Clouds is focused on the realtime granularization of incoming audio signals, and the acquisition of textures from them.

Classic controls such as grain position, size, and pitch are provided. Clouds can superimpose up to 16 grains simultaneously and thus create thick textures. Control over texture density, independently of grain size, is thus provided. An external trigger input allows grains to be seeded in sync with LFOs or rhythmic generators.

To provide a richer variety of timbres, Clouds allows the shape of the grain's envelope to be morphed - from sharp rectangular edges to a smooth bell curve. In addition, a diffusion network can further dissolves the edges of grains into blurry textures.

"Grain mesh" modes automatically adjust grain density, size, and the offset between successive grains in order to generate a continuous stream of audio that can be pitch-shifted / time-stretched in the manner of old-school samplers (or time-domain pitch/time processors).

Finally, to cover various applications of granular synthesis without the need for additional modules, Clouds' comes with four voltage-controlled "blend modes" for mixing and re-routing its output signal: VC dry/wet balance, VC channel crossfade, VC feedback, and VC reverberation.

Clouds' delay memory ranges from 1s to 8s depending on audio quality settings.


Audio buffer acquisition

  • Stereo I/O. Even with a mono recording buffer, a wide stereo output can still be simulated by randomly panning grains or through the stereo reverberator.
  • Stereo pre-amp with a gain range covering modular and line levels.
  • Recording buffer size: 1s (32kHz, stereo) to 8s (16kHz, Āµ-law, mono).
  • The FREEZE button and the corresponding gate input freezes the content of the recording buffer, allowing you to dive into its sonic details.
  • 4 memory slots for storing and recalling buffers.

Granular synthesis

  • Grain generation time base: periodical, randomized, or externally clocked.
  • The POSITION knob selects from which part of the recording buffer the grains are extracted.
  • Grain size from 16ms to 1s.
  • Up to 40 to 60 concurrent grains (depending on recording buffer resolution).
  • Transposition from -2 octaves to +2 octaves, with V/O tracking.
  • Grain envelope continuously variable between boxcar, triangle and Hann functions.
  • CV inputs for all grain parameters, individually sampled and held by each grain. For stochastic, Xenakis-style explorations, try feeding random voltages to those!
  • Diffusion network with 4 All-pass filters to post process the granularized signals.

Post-processing ("blending") settings

4 post-processing parameters are controlled by the BLEND knob and CV input:

  • Dry/wet balance.
  • Random panning amount.
  • Feedback amount.
  • Reverb amount.


  • Input impedances: 100k.
  • Audio input gain range: line level to modular level.
  • CV range: +/- 5V. CVs outside of this range are simply clipped.
  • Internal processing: 32kHz, 32-bit floating point. RAM Recording buffer uses 16-bit (high quality) or 8-bit Āµ-law (low quality) resolution.

Revisions and variants


Hardware revision labelled "v3" with the following differences:

  • Metal-shaft IN GAIN potentiometer (originally, plastic shaft, with a wobbly feel since it was not fastened to the panel). This potentiometer is hand-soldered, since it can become very scratchy when exposed to the heat of a regular wave-soldering process.
  • TL072 op-amp for the audio input and output (originally LME49720, a large stock of which had been bought for other projects).
  • External 12.288 MHz crystal for clocking the codec (originally: the MCU generates the codec's master clock).

Condition: Excellent, Pre-Owned

Info from Mutable InstrumentsĀ