microcell: micro Supercell / expanded Clouds in 14hp

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sempervirent
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microcell: micro Supercell / expanded Clouds in 14hp

Post by sempervirent » Sun Jul 28, 2019 1:35 pm

This module probably deserves its own thread rather than being buried in the Supercell thread...

Image

microcell is a compact version of Supercell (which is a supersized version of the now discontinued Clouds from Mutable Instruments). Apart from the lack of built-in attenuators, microcell is functionally identical to Supercell. And at 14hp microcell is also 20hp narrower than Supercell, so if you can't make space for Supercell in your system then microcell might work for you (it's also 2hp narrower than Clouds).

microcell (and Supercell) provide built-in stereo VCAs, separate I/O metering, dedicated controls for all parameters, clickless performance mutes, and less UI abstraction than the original Clouds interface. With an upgraded microcontroller on board, both modules run the "SuperParasites" firmware (compiled by Patrick Dowling of the Ornament & Crime team) which combines the Parasites and Beat Repeat alternate firmwares into one. This provides access to all eight DSP modes without the need to reinstall the firmware or recalibrate the module. microcell ships with Superparasites installed by default.

microcell is only available from microcell.cc and it's now shipping worldwide. Assembled units and DIY kits are available with your choice of gray or black matte front panel. (And yes, I'm aware that the production panels label bank C as D, this will be sorted eventually. I am also working on some overlays that will properly label the knobs and I/O for each of the firmware modes.)


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Last edited by sempervirent on Tue Dec 03, 2019 4:54 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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Post by 2disbetter » Sun Jul 28, 2019 3:27 pm

As was to be expected, very nice front panel design and layout. I've already moved my granular needs to a more DSP capable module, but these look so great, I might just pick one up anyway!

Kudos!

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Post by cackland » Sun Jul 28, 2019 6:00 pm

2disbetter wrote:As was to be expected, very nice front panel design and layout. I've already moved my granular needs to a more DSP capable module, but these look so great, I might just pick one up anyway!

Kudos!
Microcell ‘clouds’ is a dsp module.

Assuming you’re referring to the Percussa

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Post by 2disbetter » Mon Jul 29, 2019 1:31 am

cackland wrote:
2disbetter wrote:As was to be expected, very nice front panel design and layout. I've already moved my granular needs to a more DSP capable module, but these look so great, I might just pick one up anyway!

Kudos!
Microcell ‘clouds’ is a dsp module.

Assuming you’re referring to the Percussa
I'm not sure at what you are getting at. I'm aware that microcell, like supercell, and like clouds are dsp based.

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Post by cackland » Mon Jul 29, 2019 1:38 am

Not getting at anything. Just trying to decipher which module you are referring to?

I'm tossing up between getting a microcell or supercell, although the size of Supercell is a factor and the lack of full size knobs of the Microcell is a another factor.

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Post by 2disbetter » Mon Jul 29, 2019 1:55 am

cackland wrote:Not getting at anything. Just trying to decipher which module you are referring to?

I'm tossing up between getting a microcell or supercell, although the size of Supercell is a factor and the lack of full size knobs of the Microcell is a another factor.
Ahh, sorry. Hahaha.

My plan is to port a few of the MI modules to be used as a VST plugins with the SSP. Time will prove if this is successful. (The platform is MORE than capable. I could run 20 instances of clouds on the platform. If it fails it will be because of my porting efforts.)

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Post by cackland » Mon Jul 29, 2019 2:46 am

I'm eager to see anyone who has purchased the Microcell, a video of their workflow with this ui config.

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Post by sempervirent » Mon Jul 29, 2019 11:55 am

2disbetter wrote:As was to be expected, very nice front panel design and layout. I've already moved my granular needs to a more DSP capable module, but these look so great, I might just pick one up anyway!
Thanks, appreciate the positive feedback.
2disbetter wrote:[My plan is to port a few of the MI modules to be used as a VST plugins with the SSP. Time will prove if this is successful. (The platform is MORE than capable. I could run 20 instances of clouds on the platform. If it fails it will be because of my porting efforts.)
That's pretty meta, haha. SSP is missing a few knobs though, if you want to recreate more than just the DSP code itself.
cackland wrote:I'm eager to see anyone who has purchased the Microcell, a video of their workflow with this ui config.
Sure, they've only been shipping for a couple of weeks. I have no time for extensive video production right now but I'm sure people will start posting clips soon.

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Post by pugix » Mon Jul 29, 2019 1:45 pm

I received my microcell DIY kit today. Couple of questions. Though it looks straightforward enough, is there a build guide available yet?

Second, I'm wondering if or when there is a software update to superparasites where to get it? Will there be announcements on this thread?

Looking forward to the build. I'll be documenting it on my blog.

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Post by sempervirent » Mon Jul 29, 2019 3:21 pm

Thanks for getting a kit. No build guide yet but that's on my list of loose ends to tie up. Until then, fit all the parts with the panel on for alignment, check to make sure the LED colors are correct, and take care when aligning the board-to-board headers. There is one silkscreen omission regarding the orientation of the LED switch. The + side goes towards the top edge of the PCB. Indication will be added on the next PCB revision.

Most units were shipped with Superparasites installed, but if you need to upgrade at some point you can get the WAV files here or compile from source here.

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Post by Phitar » Mon Jul 29, 2019 3:39 pm

pugix wrote:Looking forward to the build. I'll be documenting it on my blog.
Looking forward to following your build on your blog!
I'm very interested in this one. :goo:
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Post by pugix » Mon Jul 29, 2019 6:28 pm

sempervirent wrote: Most units were shipped with Superparasites installed, but if you need to upgrade at some point you can get the WAV files here.
Thanks. What is the difference between the core and superparasites files? I presume only one is to be used.
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Post by sempervirent » Mon Jul 29, 2019 9:08 pm

Core is only the original four modes from Clouds.

Superparasites is Parasites + Beat Repeat combined into one (8 modes).

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Post by anosou » Tue Jul 30, 2019 5:18 am

Something I don't quite understand... How does the internal random CV work on Microcell?

The website states all features, including the "internal CV randomization" is included from Supercell. However, without built-in attenuverters how does that even work? Does it always modulate all parameters with the random signal at max until you plug something else in? Or do you have to activate it somehow? Or is it not included? :hmm:
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Post by sempervirent » Tue Jul 30, 2019 10:09 am

It's just "ON" and modulating everything wildly. To be clear, the randomization can easily be turned on/off (hold both Mute switches for two seconds) and by default the module ships with the randomization turned off because otherwise most people would probably think something was not working properly.

Having fine control over the CV levels is one reason why I think most people who really understand "Clouds" can justify the larger size of Supercell. However there are 7 other modes that are (IMO) just as compelling as the granular mode.

It would not really make sense to remove a feature and I also wanted to maintain code parity with Supercell for various reasons. So the feature is there if you want to use it, if not, just leave it switched off.

The AUX input is the same, it's distributed to all channels, overridden by patching into any individual CV input, of course unlike the random internal CV you can attenuate this externally.

Someone else had proposed tweaking the code so that one could (for example) hold a switch and set the attenuation level of each CV input by turning the associated pot (and by design this would affect the randomization as well). That is not something I plan to implement, I think it pushes the UI beyond a certain threshold of abstraction, but the code is out there if someone wants to give it a try.

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Post by bc3 » Tue Jul 30, 2019 10:13 am

sempervirent wrote:Thanks for getting a kit. No build guide yet but that's on my list of loose ends to tie up. Until then, fit all the parts with the panel on for alignment, check to make sure the LED colors are correct, and take care when aligning the board-to-board headers. There is one silkscreen omission regarding the orientation of the LED switch. The + side goes towards the top edge of the PCB. Indication will be added on the next PCB revision.

Most units were shipped with Superparasites installed, but if you need to upgrade at some point you can get the WAV files here or compile from source here.
Hey on a few of the 3.5mm jacks it appears that the third "leg" does not line up with the holes on the PCB like the others. Are these simply offset a little on the PCB?

Is it recommended to solder the board-to-board headers first so they are easier to solder without the jacks in the way?

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Post by sempervirent » Tue Jul 30, 2019 10:29 am

Yes, the ground pins of a few jacks are shifted slightly to accommodate the location of the nearby header. And yes, soldering the headers first will be much easier.

Thanks for asking, these are good things to include in a build guide.

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Post by Synthient Sound » Tue Jul 30, 2019 10:45 am

Is there any way to tell a DIY version from factory (for Microcell and Supercell) when buying used?

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Post by bc3 » Tue Jul 30, 2019 11:00 am

sempervirent wrote:Yes, the ground pins of a few jacks are shifted slightly to accommodate the location of the nearby header. And yes, soldering the headers first will be much easier.

Thanks for asking, these are good things to include in a build guide.
Awesome, thanks for the quick reply!

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Post by gringostar » Tue Jul 30, 2019 11:10 am

sempervirent wrote: Someone else had proposed tweaking the code so that one could (for example) hold a switch and set the attenuation level of each CV input by turning the associated pot (and by design this would affect the randomization as well). That is not something I plan to implement, I think it pushes the UI beyond a certain threshold of abstraction, but the code is out there if someone wants to give it a try.
Pretty sure that was me that made that suggestion, but the workaround I found was to just pick up a Felix to pair with it so I can modulate up to 6 parameters at a time which I figured was good enough, especially for only adding 6HP.

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Post by sempervirent » Tue Jul 30, 2019 11:58 am

Synthient Sound wrote:Is there any way to tell a DIY version from factory (for Microcell and Supercell) when buying used?
For microcell, not really. Just check with the seller. For Supercell, there is no DIY option (other than a truly "do it yourself" project based on deconstructing the source files).
gringostar wrote:Pretty sure that was me that made that suggestion, but the workaround I found was to just pick up a Felix to pair with it so I can modulate up to 6 parameters at a time which I figured was good enough, especially for only adding 6HP.
Yeah, the comment was in the Supercell thread. It wasn't a bad idea, quite clever actually, but having 6 attenuators in 6hp is surely easier.

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Post by Funky40 » Tue Jul 30, 2019 12:11 pm

sempervirent wrote: Someone else had proposed tweaking the code so that one could (for example) hold a switch and set the attenuation level of each CV input by turning the associated pot (and by design this would affect the randomization as well). That is not something I plan to implement, I think it pushes the UI beyond a certain threshold of abstraction, but the code is out there if someone wants to give it a try.
reading right now again about the random CV difference, ï in fact just came up with quasi the same idea while reading.
Hold a button/or button combo and ajdust the random CV index with the pot of same parameter.
Personally i think, if this was doable from the coding side ( which seems it is), would it be nice to get this feature.
I don´t think it would overload the UI as long you just can "reset" all random CVs with the "random-on/off" button combo.
Means: one could set his ramdom Cv indexes,......and if in need to have overview, just switch off ( while this then has to clear all random CV settings at the same time) and on again.
My thoughts on "This". ( while i totally can live without "that stretch" )




the TL;........version: (@ sempervirent )
i finally ordered my microcell yesterday ;)
i thought about that whole random thing........
Having a original Clouds ( with the kammerl/parasites FX loaded incl. Kammerl faceplate) , and kind of using it in any patch, AND again using it quasi exclusively in the original granular mode ( well: the parasites version) can i say that random has never been something for me.
i just made a few testpatches in this direction, but must say:
what i do with Clouds is allways entirely based on jamming the knobs manually.
( but then, i was short on adequate CVs back then when i checked )

So i personally could not afford for myself to go for the supercell as much i would have liked to take the Big one. The space in the main rack is too short. anyway where my Clouds resides.
I can live well with microcell as is, but if you would do implement some further code for the random CV would it be very welcome though.
just: i see the problem when dealing with two codes, one per module vs. dealing with one code.
So: very understandable if you stick to what you just have stated ! ;)


Very cool that you managed ( with help of other hands) to incorporate all the necessary modes into one FW ! absolutely awesome :sb:
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Post by bc3 » Tue Jul 30, 2019 12:32 pm

Last question I think about the DIY kit, but what is the deal with the (3) large holes on the PCB? They look like they are there to serve as stand offs for structural support for all of the pots?

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Post by sempervirent » Tue Jul 30, 2019 1:03 pm

Funky40 wrote:Very cool that you managed ( with help of other hands) to incorporate all the necessary modes into one FW ! absolutely awesome
Thanks! Patrick Dowling (@pld on MW) deserves all the credit for handling the Superparasites side of things.
bc3 wrote:Last question I think about the DIY kit, but what is the deal with the (3) large holes on the PCB? They look like they are there to serve as stand offs for structural support for all of the pots?
Exactly, in the end I did not feel that it was necessary to have standoffs, so the panels don't have holes for them. Standoffs aren't included in the kits and aren't needed.

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Post by autopoiesis » Tue Jul 30, 2019 1:13 pm

while we're on the subject of firmware tweaks, I think it would be quite a nice and simple idea to apply a tanh function to the inputs and to the internal feedback path.

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