Hey everyone. My name is Dave Parker with Breaking Audio. Today we’re going to talk a bit about granular synthesis, what it is and some things you can do with it.

hey everyone my name is dave parker withbreaking audiouh today we’re going to talk a bit aboutgranular synthesis what it is and somethings you can do with itif you like videos with production tipson pro tools ableton and moredefinitely subscribe to our channel andyou won’t miss a video so let’s check itoutso i have a few examples here of somework i’ve done recently using granularsynthesisbut let’s first talk about what granularsynthesis isuh it’s a little debatable whether it’sreally synthesis or noti prefer to think a bit about it more asmaybe a sampler you know uhre-synthesizing an existing sound rightbecause usually a synth is going to becreatinga sound from an oscillator or somethinglike that so it’s not actuallygenerating soundit’s kind of re-mangling sound soi have here ableton’s granulator 2 it’spart of uh it’s a macmax for live device it’s a free one ifyou getableton suite i believe and umthis one’s rather simple there’s otherthere’s other plug-ins out therei also have arturia’s pigments that hasa granular engine in it as well which isreally interesting becauseyou can also use it alongside a regularsynth engine and uhand do a lot more with it but this onei’m going to use because it’s it’s veryfast it’s because it’s drag and dropand i don’t have to have another plug-inwindow open it’s justdrop stuff and go so um we’re going tohave a look at this real quick not afull walk-through of what it can do buti’m just going to kind of cover granularsynthesis in generalhere i’ve got a folder actually multiplefolders hereof sounds i thought would be cool to putin uhyou know the granulator or or pigmentsand i collected a bunch of sounds thatmight be interesting toyou know re-synthesize or mangle here solet’s have a look at a particularlystrange onebecause why not go ahead and drag thatbizarre thing intothe granulator umdifferent granular synths may havedifferentum features but most of them will haveuh the ability all of them will have theability topick a position as you can see herehighlighteda position in the wave file and the sizeof that positionand basically what this is going to dois this is going to play back similar tolike a tape loop except there’s like abunch of differentuh tapes playing back right so let’slet’s have a listen to thatand we can scan throughtotally weird it’s greatwe can play a big chunk of this if wewantmultiple tape loops playing back at onceright uh we can also hone in on aparticular section and go really reallysmall with it or really granular with itis another way toput thatso now we’re super tinyand we’ve made a playable synth soundout of our totally bizarre soundplay chords and everything you can putan arpeggiator in front of it why notwhateverbut i can also mess with it while i’mplaying right soin this case it gets super weirdyeah we’re getting super weird we cantry it like way low in octavesnow one thing to point out with thisthough is because you’re re-synthesizinguh anything like whatever audio file youwant to throw in thereit’s not necessarily in tune right sowhen i’m on the keyboard and i’m playinga ci mean there’s no way that’s a c i’msure unless it’s purely coincidentalso this can be the tricky part you wantto tune these you’re going to have totune this almost all the timeso uh i’m going to grab ableton’s tunerhere and this can be rather trickyokay right see so sometimes it doesn’tnecessarily like what you’re giving itright so in this case it’s not reallyliking it so what you might want to dois you might want to actually throwanother synth alongsideof this and that was a pretty bizarresound but throw another synth alongsideof itand try to tune it to the other synth totry to get a usable noteyou could also try to maybe find abetter spotall right we’ve managed to find a spotthat works so sometimes that can berather difficultand um you know it’s worth pointing outthat i’m using a particularly bizarresoundi went for the hardest thing i couldpossibly try to tune but uh you knowbasicallyyeah whatever you know i mean it soundspretty mangled it sounds pretty digitallow-fiand that’s what it kind of is going tosound likei mean that’s granular for you really soum some some things that are you knowgood to try to use on this uh you knowfiltering out a little bit maybe umyou know filtering out some highsbecause that might sound particularlyfake or whatnotum you can also of course play with umamp envelopes you knowuh this one will actually allow you tointroduce some fmfrequency modulation which can be funand bizarre sounding and dirtyso you know even more crazy i tend touse this for really abstract stuffum and not so much trying to create anew keyboard sound because i meanhonestly if i wanted to straight upkeyboard sound there’s plenty of ways ofgetting way better keyboard sounds butlet’s pop over to another example herethis is something more along the linesof what i would dotypically um let’s have a listen to thesourcefile that would be this oneso just a loop that i got from somewherei have no idea where it was in my samplelibrary i would not normally use such athing because i just write my own partbut uh i thought it might be interestingto try ina granular synth so i dropped it into mymy folder here of stuff that’s typicallypretty mangled this is my mangled folderbut umuh yeah i was able to get some kind ofcool atmosphericum stuff i tuned it and here’s thehere’s thesoundit’s close to being tunedwe’re gonna call that good enoughso i’ve got something i can kind of messwith here but i’m not really going toplay a part with this because it’s alittle bit too granular sounding rightsoi can get a better keyboard sound thanthat from somewhere else so what makesthis interestingand creative is the fact that i canmove the file position while i hold thenote down so maybe what i want to dois play it very differently than i wouldnormally play a synth right soi’m just going to hold a note down andi’m going to move around through thenotes thatare here in the fileokay so now we’re in the realm of likestuff i can’t easily do with a regularsynth right sothis is the stuff that i mostly use thisfor because it’s just the coolestso i gave it a little bit of help withsome echo and let’s just kind of have alistenso that’s really cool that stuff i cando all day i can throw stuff in hereeither go for really nice atmosphericstuff like thatum or go for just totally mangledbizarre stuff because that’s so easy toachieve you know just dial in some fmreally inharmonic weirdness um so uhlet’s have a look at a couple examplesof some of uhsome things i’ve made recently umi have a video clip hereright so this is part of a largerproject i just took the slices outto use as examples so um as you can seehere you know there’s lots of likelines and stuff and i thought maybestrings and i was thinking maybe oh ican make something likethe string tension sound you could kindof hear a little bit of that in the lastsample thatthat i played there um when i hit thetransient of the note it kind of gotlike a littlethat kind of stuff i thought that’d bekind of cool to put in here so i youknow i went through i dug around throughmy sounds and iput something in here i put a high passon it anduh yeah let’s check it outright so you know you can hear now thati’ve kind of showed you how it wouldcome to that result i probably don’teven really need to go over how i did itbut um a second example would beum i was kind of going for somethingmore computer soundinggarbled you know staticky umalmost like internet like dial-up typeof thingand i found a an audio file with somesome of those types of manglings and ijust kind of remangled itand got thiskind of a little bit of a sonar kind ofblip in there as wellso you can get pretty creative with it ii find i kind of always seem to finduses for this thingum you know sometimes especially in therealm of sound designspecifically sometimes in musicbut like my my example earlierum with the atmospheric kind of partwhere i was kind of scanning through itthat’s the type of thing i might do inmusicum uh and it really works for sounddesign tooand you know pitching stuff way low youknow i would try stuff like pitch stuffway low you get some really interestingbass sounds by the way stuff that soundssimilar to like maybe likea wave table synth where you’re scanningthe wave file so you’re making the basskind ofwow do something really weird like thatyou can get some really interestingsounds like thishowever also back to the tuning thing itcan be a little bitdifficult to wrestle in the tune but youknow if you work at it now if you canget itand uh and have everything make sense uma good way to manage this when recordinguh strategies for that um i would recordon a midi track with the automation onand kind of record all my automationmovementswhere i can go back and edit but it’sagain it’s a little bitweirder than a regular synth situationbecause in a normal synth situationyou’d havea midi note on the midi you know pianorollrepresenting each note with thegranulate with the granulator you mightyou know only be pressing and holding anote and sweeping with a knob toselect your different notes so it canget a little bit strange to go back andedit it and you’re trying you can honeinon some very particular you know placesif you’d likebut it definitely makes editinginteresting and a lot of times when i’mdonewhat i’ll do is i’ll kind of save andyou know save that track the way it isrecord it into an actual audio file andthen maybe further edit there for liketiming reasons and stuff because it’sthis is kind of an unruly beast you canget some really really cool results outof itbut between the tuning and the timingyou’re probably going to want to end upburning it to an audio track to furtheredit it and and get the desired resultsand just kind of instead of just likeletting it flyyou know some other uses that are reallycool you can takeuh let’s say you developed like a drumloop or somethingrender that to an audio file drag itstraight in and thenyou’re mangling you’re doing likeglitchy beat stuff thatagain you would want to render to a realaudio file cut up and then drag you knowdrop into your projectyou know as needed but but it’s a reallycool way to get atmospheres and all thatkind of stuffum yeah if you have any more questionsabout granular synth you know let meknow in the comments and whatnotum i didn’t go deep on this on thegranulator itself i’m just trying tocoverbroad uh terms you know broad conceptsreally and uses for itum but it’s a fun one so definitelycheck it outand uh you know have fun i’ll see younext time peace