If you are still a beginner or a more seasoned veteran in music production, Granular Synthesis is definitely a technique worth investing some serious time into !
It is a method that operates on the micro-sound time scale often based on the same principles as sampling. The samples however are not used directly but rather split into small pieces of around 1 – 50 miliseconds in length. The sounds are called grain. Multiple grains can then be layered on top of each other all playing at different speeds, volumes, phase and pitch.
The result is no single tone, but a soundscape that is subject to manipulation in a way unlike any natural sound and also unlike the sounds produced by most other synthesis techniques. By varying the waveform, envelope, duration, spatial position, and density of the grains many different sounds can be produced. The result is usable as music, sound effects or as raw material for further processing by other synthesis or digital signal processing effects. The range of effects that can be produced include amplitude modulation, time stretching, stereo or multichannel scattering, random reordering, disintegration and morphing.
Notable contemporary artists who use this technique are, Autechre, Squarepusher, Aphex Twin, Venetian Snares to name a few…
Check out the fascinating short film about Granular Synthesis by the first personto implement granular sound processing in the digital domain, Curtis Roads, by clicking on the image above!
Dont forget just type in the keywords “granular” or “granular synthesis” on our search page and we have many different sample packs available with ready made loops waiting to tech up your mixes !