Granular Synthesis

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13 replies on “Granular Synthesis”

I can’t wait to start using grain cloud more for bass! I’ve only used it for pad sounds and atmosphere so far but seeing how you where automating the perimeters to give the bass movement gave me some cool ideas

If I took a loop that was not labeled with any key and processed with a ganular synth changing a lot of the original sound…
How can I know in wich key is the sound?

That’s kind of difficult to find out. There are tools that analyze that key of a sound, like for example the Mixed in Key Studio Edition, which works pretty well for melodic stuff. Otherwise you’ll have to guess if the sample wasn’t labelled with the key… It works sometimes if you do it by ear and try to find what notes are harmonically compatible

In this Granular synthesis class you said that all granular synthesizers have their own strengths and weaknesses, which is logical because nothing is perfect.

Can you share your opinion on what are the pros and cons of those synthesizers that you mentioned in this lesson? 🙂


So Granulator II is a really good one to start with because it’s free if you have Ableton Live Suite, but it can’t do as much as some of the others, for example the pitch feature feels a bit “quirky” and overall it just doesn’t look as good.

Form by NI sounds amazing and has great features, but it kind of just has its own sound and you can’t really set the grain size like you can with other granular synths.

Grain Scanner has a clean UI, but it sometimes sounds a bit inconsistent, so whenever I use it, I would resample the result into audio to make sure it sounds the same every time.

Padshop 2 looks great and has a lot of features, it’s just a huge pain to install because they have such a complex install process. Once you install it though, I don’t have any complaints with it.

Grip Grain Cloud is suuper complex and you can do a ton of stuff with it, but the complexity also makes it a bit overwhelming, because you have to do a lot of setup to get a good sound.

Grain Sample Manipulator in Reason is one of my favorites because it’s very versatile and has 4 different modes to work, but it’s tied to Reason, and Reason is kind of expensive. Now that they have a subscription service it’s definitely more accessible, but of course not everyone can afford $20 a month.

My favorites overall are probably Form because I’ve gotten some really really good sounds with it and because it’s so unique, Padshop because it’s an overall great granular synth and Grain Sample Manipulator because it’s so versatile.

Hope that helps you make a decision! In either case, I would recommend you to try out the demo versions before you get one.

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