Let’s get straight to it: granular synthesis, and the various processes based on the principle, is one of the coolest things about making music with computers. With the ability to take sounds and stretch, mangle, and reshape them into new textures, it’s one of the fundamental techniques allowing sound software and lots of terrific timbral techniques to work.

Of course, explaining it to lay people is a bit of a trick. So that’s why, even before we get into talking about Steinberg’s upcoming Padshop synth, it’s worth watching the first few minutes. Sound designer Matthias Klag explains that coolness really succinctly (and, I think, accurately).

I’m excited to try Padshop. Now, on its surface, I can’t yet see anything radically new in how it works relative to what you get from some of the better Reaktor patches out there. On the other hand, a lot of people aren’t willing to go buy Reaktor just to use those tools. And it seems Steinberg has built something that brings together a traditional synth’s playability with some of the better tools for dialing in far-out granular textures. We’ll get to see it later this month, and then see if this is as big a breakthrough for granular sounds as Steinberg says. But I think it’s worth an early look, nonetheless – if for no other reason than hearing this nice explanation.

And if I get one great pad for a track out of this, count me in. Time to stock up on some Fritz-Kola, in Hamburg’s honor.

  • Armando C

    Wow Peter, this looks amazing and the video did a great job explanaing how this thing is going to work and sound. 

  • ALTZ

    I think Granular synthesis is one of the most difficult synthesis technique to be commercialized. It is here for quite a long period of time but, as you mentioned, only exist in Reaktor or Max/msp which non-programmer musicians hardly or rarely dig deep into.

  • Grumpy

    ALTZ – I know there is granular synthesis in Absynth and AudioMulch. I have heard there are quite a few other products that implement the technique

  • Similar Granular-Synth approaches have been made with Ableton-Racks I think… though while they were good and certainly up to the task of delivering some sort of grain-synth feeling, I wouldnt trade them in over a few of my favourite Reaktor patches anyway.

    But as you said, this one looks interesting cause it takes more of the synth-aspects/features into the equation.

  • secret weapon… getting less secret all the time

  • New Sonic Arts Granite. 

    Excellent little granular tool that seems to go un-noticed.