Granular synthesis is an awesome way to twist any audio file into out-of-this world atmospheric textures, soundscapes and weird sound fx’s. In the plugin markets, there are already synths which can do granular synthesis, but one that you should really check out is Granite by New Sonic Arts.
Granite is a granular texture generator and I would say it’s a powerhouse of granular synthesis. It offers a handful of unique features that separates it from other similar synths.
So how does Granite work?
Like granular synthesis in general, you first load an audio file into it (WAV or AIFF). Next, you select a portion of the audio using two Loop Markers. Granite then slices this portion into smaller pieces called grains and plays them back.
The playback of the grains can be controlled with various different parameters – such as Pitch, Space, Speed, Density and Attack.
For further processing, there’s effects like compression, distortion, resampling, filter (lowpass, bandpass and highpass) and reverb.
The master output is either a continuous stream of audio or it can be gated using Attack and Release envelopes.
What’s really cool in Granite is it’s innovative modulation options. It has it’s own, internal automation recording system called ‘Motion Recorder’ which allows you to very easily record the movements of any playback and effect controller knob simply by clicking and dragging their outer ring areas with your mouse. Once you release the mouse button, the recorded knob movements will be played back immediately. By right-clicking the outer ring area, you can clear the modulation and record a new one if you wish. You can even modulate the length and position of the Loop Markers. The system works really well and allows you to easily create super complex, ever evolving sounds!
For further variation, you can also use ‘Cycle Modulators’ which lets you to modulate most of the parameters via pre-defined LFO style shapes. These are applied to each new grain so it kind of works in steps. This is a nice option to complexify the audio even more.
Of course, you can automate the parameters in a ‘traditional’ way using the automation options provided by your DAW. You can also assign any parameter to those knobs and sliders in your MIDI controller for live tweaking.
Granite comes bundled with 38 factory presets and 20 WAV files to get you started right out of the box.
Verdict: Whether you’re a sound designer or composer looking for really unique and organic sounds, textures and sound fx’s, Granite should be in your toolbox. It’s fantastic!
NOTE that there’s a special discount going on for all of you, HTMEM readers: you’ll get 10% off the price if you buy it using any of the links to New Sonic Arts website provided in this article.
For demo version and audio examples, check out New Sonic Arts website.
Check the video below to see me creating something weird with the Granite:
There’s also Granite Aura to expand the Granite preset collection even more. Read below.
Granite Aura Soundpack
I had an opportunity to test the patches and in my opinion they sound awesome! From dark, gloomy and obscure textures to very musical and etheric atmospheres. Each patch is like from a soundtrack of a movie. I would say Granite Aura is a sound designer’s dream and utilizes the special features of Granite very well. Also, the patches offer a very good foundation for your own tweaks so the sonic possibilities are endless.
The Granite Aura is available at New Sonic Arts webshop.