Grain Science

You may have heard we have a new project under way! We’d like to tell you a bit about it, and answer a few questions you may have.

It’s a new granular synthesiser for iPad, and it’s codenamed Grain Science. We haven’t decided if that will be the final name or not — we like it, but might be confusing for people expecting corn- or wheat-based foodstuffs :)

You may be thinking, “Wait, doesn’t Wooji Juice already have a granular synth, called Sylo Synthesiser?” And you’d be right.

However, we decided it was worth making two, and if you’ll bear with us, we’ll explain why.

Why Make A New Synth?

The short version is, because there are a bunch of features we want to do, and for one reason or another, we can’t add them to Sylo Synthesiser without causing problems either for us, or our customers, or both. So we’re creating a fresh app.

What Kinds Of Problems?

Grain Science is not a simple enhancement to Sylo Synth. Although it uses the same broad principles, it’s completely rewritten, starting with the granular synthesis engine. The engine is much faster now, allowing us to give you more voices and more features per voice. But of course we made some changes along the way — and this means that Sylo Synth presets wouldn’t be compatible with it. We didn’t want to break everybody’s saved presets!

Another big factor is that Sylo Synthesiser came out not long after the original iPad, which was running iOS 3.2. The iPad is now on iOS 5.0.1. That’s two major OS revisions, and with those revisions have come a number of changes and new facilities.

Not everyone is ready to upgrade to iOS 5, and we didn’t want to leave existing customers out in the cold. For now, Sylo Synth will be remaining compatible with older versions of the OS.

On the other hand, Grain Science is designed from the ground up to take advantage of iOS 5. Everything from the synthesis engine itself, to the user interface, to the sharing facilities, to the way your instrument presets are managed, almost every part of Grain Science relies on facilities that are only available in iOS 5.

Does This Mean You’re Abandoning Sylo Synth?

No! In fact, we have more updates scheduled for Sylo Synth. We see the two synths as complementary: Sylo Synth will continue to be our “entry level” synth, it’s very simple and straightforward to use, all the controls for your instrument are visible on a single screen, and it’s cheap too — the basic version is free with ads, or you can pay about the price of a cup of coffee to remove the ads and get some additional features.

Grain Science, on the other hand, has lots more features, but of course that means instead of one screen of controls, there are many, most of which have additional panels that unfold to reveal even more controls. It’s “deep” and exploring everything it has to offer will take a while. We hope Grain Science will be the synth people move on up to once they’re comfortable with granular synthesis and need more power!

So, I have Sylo Synth. Why Do I Need Grain Science?

The short answer is that pretty much every single aspect has been upgraded: the grain synthesis, the FX chain, the user-interface, the MIDI support, the sound quality, the sharing facilities, the keyboard — all have been rewritten and improved, along with some completely new facilities such as the arpeggiator. We’ll be explaining more on this, over on the Grain Science page, as we get closer to launch.