See adroitsynthesis.com/granular-synth for full details.
This bundle includes the Adroit Granular Synth and two supporting modules from LSSP XL that provide a means of generating chord and scale information for the synthesizer's quantization, arpeggiation and granular chord facilities.
The main module is a granular synthesizer that works on either pre-recorded audio files or input captured using an integrated recording facility.
A major component of the module is a buffer that holds a segment of audio. A waveform display shows a view of this buffer along with other information.
The waveform display shows a mono representation of the buffer content but the Granular Synth is otherwise fully stereo capable.
A grain is a (generally quite brief) sample of sound extracted from somewhere in the buffer. Individual grains can be manipulated in various ways – they might be shifted in pitch, have their level adjusted, optionally be played backwards, have an envelope shape applied, be assigned different stereo positions and amounts of reverb.
Many different grains may be layered on top of each other to create a complex texture called a cloud.
Clouds consisting of hundreds of simultaneous grains can be supported providing sufficient CPU power is available.
The generation of a grain is called seeding and this can be done at a regular rate, pseudo randomly or on receipt of an external trigger. Seeding rates can vary from perhaps just once or twice a second all the way up to audio-rates.
At a higher level of organization an envelope contour can be applied to the entire grain cloud. Filtering and compression are also built-in.
Regular one volt per octave control of pitch shifting is available along with quantization to scales and chords. In addition novel grain pitch sequencing features allow clouds to be easily organized to form granular chords.
Two modules from the Adroit LSSP system (Chord and Chord Memory) are included in the Granular Synth package. These enable you to select a wide range of preconfigured chords or program your own chords and scales using either virtual or physical keyboard input.
The Granular Synth also features something called ATQ (Automatic Transient Quantization) that enables you to automatically slice a rhythmical sample into pieces and reassemble it in new ways.
An important aspect of granular synthesis is the modulation of the various parameters. Internal random and periodic modulation is available but each parameter can also be individually controlled by an external CV signal.
Note that the parameters for a grain are sampled at the instance that it is seeded and remain fixed during its lifetime. So for example if the pitch parameter is being swept up and down then rather than the pitch of all active grains changing in tandem each grain keeps the pitch shift setting that was current at the point of its creation – producing a polyphonic arpeggio effect rather than a unison siren.
Quick Start Guide
Load the Granular Synth module into a new empty Voltage Modular patch.
Connect the module’s outputs to Voltage Modular’s MAIN OUTS by patching the Granular Synth’s L OUT socket to the 1L(M) socket and the R OUT socket to the 1R socket.
Click on the Granular Synth’s RECORD button. As nothing is currently connected to the module’s inputs a menu pops up that enables you to select one of several built-in test samples.
Select one of the samples from the menu. The module will then automatically switch to Synthesizer mode as indicated by a green waveform display and you should hear a very basic granular sound with grains being seeded halfway through the buffer. You should also see a small flashing circle on the waveform display.
Each grain is represented by a circle superimposed on the waveform display. The circle’s diameter represents the grain’s amplitude. The horizontal position indicates where in the buffer the grain’s audio is being extracted from.
Now click on the RANDOM button. Each click randomizes the grain parameters and after a few clicks you should hopefully find something interesting.
Slowly turn the RATE knob up and down. You’ll see and hear the seeding rate vary from very fast to very slow.
Experiment with different settings of the OMDU switch.
Try using the mouse on the waveform display. This enables you to adjust the OFFSET control and one other parameter at the same time. The default for this second parameter is pitch (as indicated by the highlighted PITCH label) but you can left click on any of the other parameters’ labels (except OFFSET) to select them.
The vertical position of a grain’s circle shows the grain’s value for the selected parameter.
A right click on the label beneath any of the main knobs randomizes the knob’s setting, the associated attenuvertor and the choice of internal modulation sources. This is a very convenient way to explore how each parameter affects the sound produced by the module.
When no external CV source is connected you can click on the + or - symbols of a parameter's attenuvertor to select an internal modulation source. Color coding is used to indicate which modulation source is assigned.
To reset all the knobs and buttons to their default setting right click on a blank part of the module and select Reset Controls from the menu.
The video below shows what your first ten minutes of experimenting with the Granular Synth might be like if you follow the Quick Start Guide above. It's not meant to be a polished demo nor is it intended to show off all of the features.
The Granular Synth’s forté is experimental sound production but naturally one will often want to use it just as a conventional mono-synth voice. To do this simply patch a standard one volt per octave pitch control voltage to the V/OCT socket, a standard gate signal to the GATE socket, disengage the LOOP button and set DEPTH to maximum.
We’ve only just scratched the surface of the Granular Synth. It’s a very deep module with much subtle complexity. However it’s been designed to be as easy to use as possible and experimentation will take you a long way. When curiosity finally gets the better of your intuition you will find a lot of detailed information on the Adroit Synthesis website that should help you to explore the depths.
Note that the info on the website is so comprehensive that it might take several hours to read but you can of course just dip into sections that are of immediate interest.
On using the included Chord and Chord Memory modules for the first time they will use the default "Classic" skin from LSSP. However you can easily make them look like the Granular Synth by simply right clicking on the ~Adroit~ logo at the bottom of each module. This only needs to be done once as the setting is remembered.
An optional add-on module called GS Breakout is available that expands the range of what you can do with the Granular Synth in a Voltage Modular patch. It is sold separately rather than included in the bundle in order to make the Granular Synth more affordable.