Supercell: expanded version of Clouds + Superparasites firmware

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sempervirent
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Supercell: expanded version of Clouds + Superparasites firmware

Post by sempervirent » Fri Mar 16, 2018 12:31 am

More information:
https://grayscale.info/supercell/

Image

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Over the past year or so I've been developing some Buchla-format adaptations of certain Mutable modules. One of these (Stereo Microsound Processor) is a maximal take on Clouds with additional controls and features that make the core functionality somewhat easier to use. As work on the SMP progressed, Clouds itself was actually discontinued, and bringing this "expanded Clouds" concept back into Eurorack format seemed like an interesting proposition. So after some discussion with Olivier, prototyping of this expanded Eurorack version of Clouds is underway.

Most open source adaptations of Mutable modules are focused on extreme spatial efficiency, often at the expense of usability, so I thought it would be interesting to go in the opposite direction. At 34hp, it's almost twice the size of Clouds. But if you want to go deeper with the concept, it might be worth it. Here's what Supercell adds to the original:
  • Each of the Blend parameters have been separated into individual controls with their own CV inputs and inverting attenuators.
  • 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 inputs and outputs now include stereo VCAs and separate VU meters. The knobs act as offset controls when their respective VCA inputs are patched.
  • The complex process of changing the quality settings and managing presets has been simplified with dedicated switches and status LEDs.
  • A manual Trig switch (for capturing individual grains) has been added.
  • An internal noise source is normalized to all unpatched modulation parameters.
  • An AUX CV input routes a single external modulation source to all unpatched modulation parameters.
It's a little too early to answer the critical questions of "when?" and "how much?" but I wanted to share some info, get some feedback, and see if this project has a chance of making it out of the lab. Also worth mentioning: the original alternate modes (i.e. Spectral Madness) will remain accessible, and third-party firmware such as Parasites and Beat Repeat will be modified to work with Supercell.

If you're interested, please comment with your panel preference or add the module to your ModularGrid rack (aluminum or black matte panel). If you're really interested and want to put down a small deposit to get on the waiting list, visit http://grayscale.info/supercell/ to preorder (fully refundable if you change your mind).
Last edited by sempervirent on Wed Apr 08, 2020 3:32 pm, edited 16 times in total.

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Post by DSC » Fri Mar 16, 2018 12:39 am

...
Last edited by DSC on Thu Nov 26, 2020 4:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.

mattcolville
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Post by mattcolville » Fri Mar 16, 2018 12:45 am

How will you be able to tell which mode you're in? I get a little exasperated with some modules; they have many modes, some hidden, and you can't tell which mode you're in without pressing buttons and in some cases chording buttons or menu diving.

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Post by moremagic » Fri Mar 16, 2018 12:46 am

this looks way more playable, good job imprving upon a good idea :tu:

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Post by ignatius » Fri Mar 16, 2018 12:58 am

i like the idea of this. it may be a hard sell though once whatever mutable has cooking is fully baked.

but overall.. i always thought clouds would be more fun if it was bigger w/more dedicated controls. i've been thinking that more and more lately about a lot of modules.

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Timmy
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Post by Timmy » Fri Mar 16, 2018 2:07 am

Looking forward to the Magpie Modular alternative panel for this...

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xenosapien
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Post by xenosapien » Fri Mar 16, 2018 2:28 am

those in/out VCAs... :hail:

are they "stereo" VCAs, then?
may you live in interesting times.

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sempervirent
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Post by sempervirent » Fri Mar 16, 2018 3:07 am

mattcolville wrote:How will you be able to tell which mode you're in? I get a little exasperated with some modules; they have many modes, some hidden, and you can't tell which mode you're in without pressing buttons and in some cases chording buttons or menu diving.
On the original Clouds, you hold the button to the right of the LEDs for 5 seconds to change modes. The mode is indicated on the LEDs: the first LED indicates the first mode, etc. The current implementation on the Buchla-format SMP module, which will be carried over to Supercell, is similar (though a different switch is used).

I considered adding a new switch with LEDs and panel labels to indicate which mode is active, but that would only apply to the original alternate modes. If you installed an alternate firmware like Parasites, whatever labels are on the panel would no longer apply. The only way to really solve this is to have different front panels for each mode, which is obviously impractical. Having dedicated controls for each parameter does remove the extra layer of abstraction created by the original Blend function, so this approach is less "stateful" than the original.
ignatius wrote:i like the idea of this. it may be a hard sell though once whatever mutable has cooking is fully baked.
My guess – based on the approach taken with Plaits, and various hints that Olivier has dropped – is that the "New Clouds" will be smaller and simpler. So in theory this concept goes in the opposite direction. Also, the alternate modes offered by Parasites and Beat Repeat are useful, but unlikely to be replicated on a module with fewer controls. Not to mention new alternate firmware that could be developed to take advantage of all the new controls, hmmm...
Timmy wrote:Looking forward to the Magpie Modular alternative panel for this...
Ha... well played. I see more mandalas in your future.
xenosapien wrote:those in/out VCAs... :hail:

are they "stereo" VCAs, then?
Right, one common VCA input for each of the left/right pairs.

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Post by 2disbetter » Fri Mar 16, 2018 3:19 am

sempervirent wrote: Not to mention new alternate firmware that could be developed to take advantage of all the new controls, hmmm...
As someone who has replaced Clouds in their rack, I clicked on this thread just because I love your face panel designs, and wanted to see what you'd cooked up. I read through the post and thought it is a well thought out improvement on the controls and adds some interesting functionality as well. BUT, at the cost of the size, I just stopped right about there.

This comment though has peaked my interests again, because the increased controls also make additional functionality and firmwares possible and the import of this cannot be understated.

Are we limited to the same processor and memory limitations of the original?

2d

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Chopper
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Post by Chopper » Fri Mar 16, 2018 3:47 am

WANT.

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cackland
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Post by cackland » Fri Mar 16, 2018 3:53 am

You have my attention indeed!!

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Post by forestcaver » Fri Mar 16, 2018 3:56 am

Silver panel. I’m definitely interested to build one. I love Clouds but find it too small for its functions - so this would be a dream....

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Southfork
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Post by Southfork » Fri Mar 16, 2018 4:17 am

I’ll keep my powder dry for now. I’m sure Olivier has something up his sleeve as a clouds replacement. Looks like he upped the arm chip on plaits and will do so on other modules in the future. Love clouds for what it is but just wasn’t enough under the hood to process all those grains.

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Post by arcanius » Fri Mar 16, 2018 5:18 am

this sounds very interesting, would love to have more control over my clouds :bananaguitar: :cloud:
its all a party !

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nectarios
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Post by nectarios » Fri Mar 16, 2018 5:25 am

Just added a uClouds to my factory Clouds but I am interested to know the price for this. Couldn't find anything other than the 100bucks, pre order thingy.

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Post by flts » Fri Mar 16, 2018 6:01 am

nectarios wrote:Just added a uClouds to my factory Clouds but I am interested to know the price for this. Couldn't find anything other than the 100bucks, pre order thingy.
From the first post:

"It's too early to answer the critical questions of "when?" and "how much?" but I wanted to share some info, get some feedback, and see if this project has a chance of making it out of the lab."
Warm thank you to everyone for the past 10 years. I'm not active here anymore for personal reasons, so for those I've had the pleasure of dealing with please send an e-mail instead of PM if you wish to get in touch.

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Post by tbecker » Fri Mar 16, 2018 6:51 am

This interface is very nice and has several performance updates such as the blend breakouts which will be great. Two not so easy things I would consider would be (1) the possibilty of some internal random/control cvs normalled to the top row, maybe with a global level over how much is fed into each main parameter (would require updating the code) (2) faster cpu and more ram so you can get more grains than the original at higher sample rates. This might justify the space for me and could provide a longer life for the unit.

Nice work as always!

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Post by nectarios » Fri Mar 16, 2018 7:23 am

flts wrote:
nectarios wrote:Just added a uClouds to my factory Clouds but I am interested to know the price for this. Couldn't find anything other than the 100bucks, pre order thingy.
From the first post:

"It's too early to answer the critical questions of "when?" and "how much?" but I wanted to share some info, get some feedback, and see if this project has a chance of making it out of the lab."
My excitement got the better of my reading skills, thanks!

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Post by Johnnyfive » Fri Mar 16, 2018 7:39 am

This is seriously cool. Since you’re asking for feedback, my preference would be to lose the attenuators and make the whole thing smaller. The main problem with original clouds is lack of simultaneous control of different parameters - when I want to attenuate signals, I patch in an attenuator (that’s the good thing about modular, right?!) However, I am more space conscious than most as I’m limting myself to 7u 104hp. Regardless, this is a great project, and the panel design is beautiful (if a little large for my needs).

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Kroaton
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Post by Kroaton » Fri Mar 16, 2018 8:06 am

I might come across like a bit of an asshole for asking this but here but I see no mention anywhere about this also being open source. How does that work exactly?

It seems like something that you should address clearly, considering the fact that you are using Olivier's work as a basis for your own redesigned/reimagined module (which no doubt also took a substantial amount of time on your part to make and for which you should obviously be remunerated properly for your hard work).

Is it just an oversight or am I missing something?

That being said, this is a very neat adaptation and a welcomed one at that.

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Post by hermbot » Fri Mar 16, 2018 8:26 am

Most open source adaptations of Mutable modules are focused on extreme spatial efficiency, often at the expense of usability, so I thought it would be interesting to go in the opposite direction.
Kudos, I wish more manufacturers did this. If a module needs to be wide, make it W I D E.

What is this, a modular for ants?

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Post by Southfork » Fri Mar 16, 2018 8:57 am

Kroaton wrote:I might come across like a bit of an asshole for asking this but here but I see no mention anywhere about this also being open source. How does that work exactly?

It seems like something that you should address clearly, considering the fact that you are using Olivier's work as a basis for your own redesigned/reimagined module (which no doubt also took a substantial amount of time on your part to make and for which you should obviously be remunerated properly for your hard work).

Is it just an oversight or am I missing something?

That being said, this is a very neat adaptation and a welcomed one at that.
I would have thought an oversight. I don’t think Olivier would consult on anything unless the project was completely open source. Looks like it’s still in the planning stage but I’m sure the hardware/software files would be readily available at some point.

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Post by dooj88 » Fri Mar 16, 2018 9:23 am

great name, great concept! i unlike seemingly most people don't mind the button presses for adjusting other parameters or getting to other modes. it's not really that hard. this functionality breakout would be really valuable to me with other settings, as with the default mode i only find myself occasionally wishing i could modulate mix and reverb, when i'm mostly fine with one or the other. but not so much feedback or spread. though having access would open more ease to experimentation..

i'm not all that familiar with the looping delay or pitch shifting, so i don't know what the other pages of parameters do there. but the resonator mode gets used frequently and having access to all pages would be amazing as they all have significant impact on the sound. can't say i want to commit right now, but if i were to i'd prefer gray.

such a functionally dense module deserves a layout with more room to breathe to get the most out of wiggling possibilities. i think this does olivier's work justice.
Last edited by dooj88 on Fri Mar 16, 2018 10:23 am, edited 3 times in total.

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Post by glennfin » Fri Mar 16, 2018 9:39 am

I'd like to place a deposit but not without knowing what the final price will be.

I'll wait. 8-)

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Post by Nino » Fri Mar 16, 2018 9:40 am

Johnnyfive wrote: when I want to attenuate signals, I patch in an attenuator (that’s the good thing about modular, right?!)
I'd like to disagree on that one. Attenuverters on modules are the best thing.
They help a lot to keep your workflow and your visual response straight. I even appreciate them more than the single knobs for each blend mode in this case.

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