Mutable Instruments Beads is the successor to the most successful Eurorack module of all time, and the first firmware update makes it even better.
The time had come on February 16. Mutable Instruments showed the official successor to the almost legendary Clouds granular processor module. However, Beads does not want to be Clouds 2.0, but rather an independent granular module. The first sound demos showed that. It can sound like Clouds but also completely different.
That’s a great move. With this Emilie shows that the concept is brand new, built from group-up, and not a repacking of the existing Clouds code. Beads is very inspiring, but during testing, I noticed that there were still small issues or bugs and unwanted clicks in the audio quality. But I have good news, there is a big firmware update out now.
Mutable Instruments Beats Firmware Update
The new Beads firmware adds many new features to the module and improves it in my sections. One of the highlights are 4 new FM wavetables with modulator/carrier ratios 1:2, 1/2:1, 3:1, and 8:1. This can be used when using Beads without audio input. In delay mode (SIZE knob turned fully CW), the SIZE attenu-randomizer operates as a delay bandwidth control. It makes the sound more dank, full, or thin. This parameter can also be further modulated by the SIZE CV input. Nice additional sound design functionality.
Then, the manual input gain comes now with different clipping favors according to the quality setting. The two digital modes incur no distortion when the signal is within limits, but past that threshold, hard-clipping is applied. The two tape modes apply soft-clipping, which may gently add harmonics to the signal even when it is within limits.
New Features For the Interface
- Assign + FREEZE now enables or disables the auto-saving of the buffer. The current setting is indicated for a short amount of time by the brightness of the FREEZE button (bright = on, dark = off).
- The visual indication that the frozen buffer is being backed up (fast blinking of the FREEZE button) has been made more subtle: instead, the FREEZE button is only dimmed while this process takes place.
- The audio quality LED fades out every time the recording head crosses over the last point at which FREEZE has been disabled. This gives a visual representation of how much material fits in the buffer.
- The audio quality LED temporarily changes color when the input gain is being manually adjusted.
Emilie Gillet, the developer of Mutable Instruments has also improved the audio quality in many areas, making the delay and granular effects much smoother. For example, she fixed CPU overload issues causing crackles on the left channel in 48kHz/ stereo mode with some specific combinations of size and density.
The numerous improvements in the algorithms ensure that there are fewer clicks, glitches … in the effects. This includes a fade-out/in applied during the transition between the granular and delay mode, new smooth transition zones in the delay between each of the multiplication factors, and more. Check out the full audio quality improvements in the MI forum.
The same applies to the controls. Also here, Emilie improves Beads in my areas. The response curve of the attenu-randomizers has been slightly adjusted, with a smaller virtual notch at 12 o’clock, and a more progressive transition between small and extreme values.
The built-in reverb got a little handy tweak. The reverb amount knob (turned CCW) no longer eliminates the wet signal. It now stops sending any signal to the reverbs. This allows the tail of the reverb to fade out more gracefully when the knob is turned towards its minimum position. Also, the range of the feedback control has been increased by 30% making it more versatile. The full changelog is available here.
A nice, free firmware update for the Beads module. I also noticed the mentioned problems with my first jams, good that these have now been fixed.
Mutable Instruments Beads firmware update is available now as a free download on the official MI forum. The module is available now for 289€.
More information here: Mutable Instruments
Available for pre-order at our partner