Granular synthesis: theory and practice

I’m curious what kind of things? I never really dug into hourglass, but others have spoken highly of it. Does it have some specific capability?

Well for me it was the ability to have looped envelopes for some automations and at the same time MIDI control for improvising with other parameters, it helped create variations of the same mouvements, with one impro you could make quite a few one shot sounds that would feel like they belong together and still have some differences, like words from the same foreign language…
And I like how you could synchronise stuff easily too, and the global sound it had. Oh And you could use VSTs inside it and control their parameters the same way…

1 Like

theres been lots of talk around granular modules in euro lately, but im wondering how ppl have been getting on w their arbhar? mine is the heart of my setup… could not imagine life w/o it.

one of my fav things to do woth it is record 3-4 layers onto w/tape at different speeds, then play that layered tape into an arbhar bufffer & improvise around the buffer.

its also a generative dream tbh. my other fav patch is playing a series of like 6 notes & 3 chords into a buffer, then feed all the parameters varying amounts of random so its basically playing itself.

i love using it as a voice in these ways but do often wish i had it paired w another granular engine. i often wish arbhar was “snappier” & ngl am in the camp that finds the wavetable mode obtrusive. but i love it so much for everything else it does that i kinda dont want to change those things abt it lol… i am sooooo curious to see more of this miso cornflakes tho :eyes:

so ya, arbhar lovers, do yall still love it?? how r yall using it?? do u pair it w other granular engines in ur system, what role does it play among those if so??


some beautiful stuff going on here. makes me wonder why there hasn’t been an alternative panel made for arbhar? personally not a fan of the granular galaxy aesthetic. sonically yes, visually no.

also patiently waiting to hear more info about the release of miso cornflakes…seems promising!

granular process
feels like a small metaphor
trying to stretch time


a new pulsar synth loosely based around curtis road’s pulsar generator and the ideas expounded on in Microsound. i know of few of you would definitely be interested in this. also, its free!

also, heres a video demo:


I just saw your previous post about the Fracture (which I just bought on a whim and about which I was searching around here), and since you brought up the Miso Modular Cornflakes, I thought I’d share this which is somewhat related to your Fracture question:

If you compare this to the previous video I posted (right before that one), where I’m using Clouds, I think the Cornflakes is far closer to what Fracture does with the samples. On the video I’m using a bell model from Braids to create a chime-like sound. I haven’t tried this with Beads yet, but maybe I should.


I have a beta unit, yes, it’s a dual looper. It’s pretty fun actually!


Is there anything M4L as good as Grain Scanner but with a recording buffer to catch snippets on the fly?
I’ve tried things like Smasara but I don’t think it sounds as good

1 Like

Robert Henke’s Granulator device has a live-input buffer module. Have you tried that? I’ve used it only with sample playback, but it remains one of my favourite granulators.

1 Like

I totally agree. It’s excellent, and then you can use it polyphonically.

Ah yes, I think I’ve overlooked that I’ll give it another look. I’d just settled on Grain Scanner because it sounded so good.

1 Like

I’ve been on the hunt for a plugin (either granular effect or synth) that does glisson (or similar). The only widely-available tool that did it was iPulsaret on iOS, but it would be muuch nicer to just have it in the box.

All it does (understanding it may be difficult technically) is to allow a pitch slide on individual grains - where the slide, slide curve, and deviation are settable. This can produce some really nice textures that are hard to achieve in other ways.

1 Like

There’s an m4l of iPulsaret. I havent tried it — don’t have ableton —, so can’t vouch for it.


Oh that’s interesting… I’ve been implementing that in some of my granular patches without knowing it was a thing with a name!

Are you able to run Max patches?

Hi Mark! I can run M4L patches :sweat_smile:

Glisson is described in Roads’ “Microsound” if interested in reading more. Mind-blowing book anyway (as many others here have said) so worth the time :slight_smile:


just a simple supercollider demonstration.


This is awesome. Thank you so much for sharing.

1 Like

I looked in this thread before posting this, so forgive me if it is posted elsewhere.

Does anyone have a good resource for learning about different window types?

I just got a Nebulae2 but the manual could be clearer as to what the various shapes are and how they impact the sound.


Generally speaking, they are the same as any envelope: varying length of attack and decay, varying curves, varying amplitude, potential for odd shaped variations.

This is a pretty good intro guide: Sound In A Nutshell: Granular Synthesis