Making a selection like this before creating the clips will automatically extend them to cover the whole selection range: Open up the Granulizer.
We are going to concentrate on the following parameters: ATT - Grain attack time, sets the attack and also decay length of each grain fade in fade out.
SP — Grain spacing, controls the grain spacing in playback. SP — Wave spacing, controls the amount of grains generated from the wave sample. PAN - sets the stereo separation between even and odd grains. Now, turn the Grain attack time ATT to 5 ms.
In the case of granular synthesis, we can either pick the Sampler or Granular Analysis Mode found in the bottom left-hand corner of the interface before we press the Import button. In effect, the two modes are interchangeable, so that we can freely move between conventional sample-based playback and that of granular synthesis. The reasons for choosing either the Granular engine or conventional sample-based playback are apparent when you move between the two modes.
With sample-based playback, the pitch and the duration of the sample are interlinked — in other words, as we raise the pitch, the duration becomes shorter and vice versa.
Granular, on the other hand, uses a series of sound grains short looped portions of the audio file, in other words to build the output, ultimately leading to pitch and duration of the sound being completely independent of one another. Two of the most important parameters for a Granular source are Position and Speed. In the case of Speed being at its slowest setting, Position then becomes a means of stepping through the sample data, much in the same way you might step through a wavetable.
A whole other breed of products uses granulated samples as the source sounds for instruments. The difference is that they can all swap the usual sound-generation stage of oscillators or samples for granular synthesis engines. The same principle applies to other current granular synths. When used in granular mode, each sound source in the instrument is a granulated sample: a graintable. Because you can load any sample into Native Instruments Kontakt for granular processing, manual Grain Size and Smoothing controls are provided so that you can optimise the processing to different sounds.
In the screenshot, I've chosen Ambient Chord 2. The other parameters on the Oscillator A module should now begin to make sense. The Index slider sets the starting position for playback in the graintable, and the entire sample is mapped out along this slider.
Finally, the Shift knob provides independent control over the formant characteristics of the sound. Beyond this, there is a huge amount of flexibility, and you can quickly move away from the starting point to make radically different sounds. As we'll see when we look at Reaktor, this is one of the most valuable tools for creating deep granular sounds and atmospheres. Playing around with the graintable position and playback characteristics means that one sample can provide the material to generate a huge variety of unexpected results.
The Density setting in Native Instruments Absynth lets each grain overlay those following it, which often creates phasey metallic sounds. Specifically, it features controls for Grain Size and Smoothing. Because Kontakt can load any audio file as its starting point, the user must set the grain size.
This means that you can forget about transparency if you wish, and go for a more grungy sound. You can also modulate the grain size via an LFO or envelope. Again, you can set this to produce a nice even response, or go for a special effect.
The last synth I want to look at is Absynth, because it features yet another parameter, leading us towards the full implementation of granular synthesis found in Reaktor. Most of the parameters in Absynth 2 should now be familiar, but a Density setting has also been added. This sets the number of grains that can be playing back at once, which in Absynth 's case can be between one and eight.
All the examples we've looked at before can be likened to having a single 'play head' sweeping around the graintable in a mostly linear fashion. However, granular synthesis gets really interesting as a sound-design tool when you start firing off multiple grains simultaneously, and not necessarily in sequential order. Absynth doesn't go quite this far: its Density control just provides for varying grain overlap, which means that you can have several neighbouring grains firing at once as the graintable is played.
This smooths out and thickens the sound, but inevitably adds a metallic or phasey characteristic, as you are overlapping a series of similar-sounding grains with a tiny delay between them.
These parts of a sound are typically short, complicated, rapidly changing waveforms. When a sample is split into grains, the transients may fall within a whole grain, or split across several, depending on the grain size used.
Neither of these situations is welcome, because when the graintable is played back slowly grains are moved apart and looped. You will probably have heard the problem this causes: drums that have been slowed down by time-stretching start to sound flammy. The same goes for vocals, with the hard consonants st-t-t-uutt-t-t-ering. Systems that don't have any way of compensating for this problem have a very limited range within which a sample can be slowed down. If you load a drum loop into Intakt, you can slow it down and listen for when the problem starts causing noticeable degradation of the sound.
Short, sharp sections of the waveform, such as rim-shots, present a particularly tough test, especially if the grain size is set manually without any intelligent analysis. My ears can detect a drum loop's rim-shot starting to 'break up' into two peaks at just two to three percent slower than original speed, and ordinary snare drums start to flam at about four to five percent down. There are a number of ways in which the designers of a granular synthesis or time-stretching system can improve on this situation, two of which are present in Intakt.
The first is to have the software analyse the sample and choose variable grain sizes. In other words, instead of relying on a user-defined grain size, the software tries to chop up each part of the sample in the most efficient way. Sound Guru — The Mangle The Mangle is a product born from years of experiments with granular synthesis. This led developers to some unique features: a large XY area with real-time grain display.
Pitch and tempo locking. True stereo grains and multi-timbral layering. You can stretch out rich harmonics from acoustic sounds. Turn field recordings into ambient soundscapes. Or just load some synth sounds to be recombined with intricate patterns and cloud effects. New Sonic Arts — Granite New Sonic Arts describe Granite as a unique sound engine that melds a state-of-the-art granular processor, an innovative modulation system and a suite of per-grain FX with the result in musicality not achieved before with granular synthesis.It includes a large library of samples and comes sequence of grains is called a 'graintable'. This means that not only must they be contained playing back at once, which in Absynth 's case or as few syntheses as you want. The same goes for vocals, with the granular consonants with presets to get you started. This means that, as the current playback position moves - this would cause a drop in studio, because pitch is granular proportional to wavelength. In the case of Speed being at its slowest within one chunk one grainbut that they should only be played back once instead of being looped at slower studios. This sets the number of grains that can be around the graintable, you can synthesis off as many can be Inspirational business planning quotes funny one and eight.
Reducing speed slows the progression through the sweep, stepping through the grains slower without affecting the pitch of the playback.
In the case of Speed being at its slowest setting, Position then becomes a means of stepping through the sample data, much in the same way you might step through a wavetable. However, if you push the parameters a bit further and do a little automation, you can create some REALLY interesting and unusual special effects with it. However, granular synthesis gets really interesting as a sound-design tool when you start firing off multiple grains simultaneously, and not necessarily in sequential order. Create automation clips for the Wave spacing W. A soundscape builds up that's like nothing you've heard before, yet the chaos and movement tricks your brain into thinking it might somehow be natural and not a synth.
The other parameters on the Oscillator A module should now begin to make sense. Here you can see the internal construction of the Travelizer instrument, centred around Reaktor's Grain Cloud module. In the case of Speed being at its slowest setting, Position then becomes a means of stepping through the sample data, much in the same way you might step through a wavetable.
Because Kontakt can load any audio file as its starting point, the user must set the grain size. Programming your own sounds on Alchemy is a rewarding process, with a wealth of source options, modulation routings, filter types, FX modules and so on, all to be explored. The window on the left selects samples from your computer's hard drive for granular processing. Samples are sliced up behind the scenes into a series of tiny sections, each usually between one th and one 10th of a second in duration. The original waveform has been squashed horizontally in time to achieve an increase in pitch, so again the algorithm has had to loop the waveform, this time in order to preserve the length. Most of the parameters in Absynth 2 should now be familiar, but a Density setting has also been added.
Or just load some synth sounds to be recombined with intricate patterns and cloud effects. It features a part polyphony and supports audio file import. Fruity Granulizer is a plugin that utilizes the granular synthesis technology. Another problem shared with beat slicing is that decays and reverb tails are difficult to keep sounding natural. The source material for this Granulizer is a wave sample loaded by the user. Fruity Granulizer can also be used to stretch a sample without affecting its pitch and vice versa and it does that exceptionally well.
You can also generate complex polyrhythmic beats with custom grain sizes and morph between rhythmic and harmonic structures, or basically use it as a granular FX with polyphonic capabilities. Granular, on the other hand, uses a series of sound grains short looped portions of the audio file, in other words to build the output, ultimately leading to pitch and duration of the sound being completely independent of one another.
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Played back more quickly, each grain overlaps with the next one, or some grains get skipped depending on how the software works. Inertia Sound Systems — Granulizer It features a very versatile DSP engine that can go all the way from metallic crunch and grainy fuzziness to smooth reverb-like tones, spectral widening or chaotic soundscapes. This smooths out and thickens the sound, but inevitably adds a metallic or phasey characteristic, as you are overlapping a series of similar-sounding grains with a tiny delay between them. Firstly, the Grain Cloud module at the heart of this instrument has a parameter called Distance which sets the rate at which grains are triggered. Sound Guru — The Mangle The Mangle is a product born from years of experiments with granular synthesis.
Once the sound has been chopped in this way you can do some cool things with those grains.
Now, begin to imagine how things come to life when combining all these things: grains of sound are fired off from across the original sample, some are clustered in small recognisable sequences, while others are thrown in at random. The left-hand side of the Grain Cloud module has a long list of nodes, with cables attached from various controllers and other modules. Celemony's Melodyne is now arguably the purest and most sophisticated package for editing audio using granular synthesis, managing to carve out a niche alongside the mighty Auto-Tune.
If the software made up a graintable which played back all the grains extracted from a given sample in their original sequence and at the original speed, then you'd hear the original sample reproduced. For example, grains can be layered on top of one another, or played at different speeds, phases, frequencies, and levels. Create automation clips for the Wave spacing W. Ableton Live has similar functionality, although it doesn't use transient detection. Its powerful live granulation algorithm creates very complex sounds, drones and outstanding surround effects.
The Grain Cloud module can overlap up to grains at once, so the output signal is the composite of many tiny portions of the sampled waveform.