Grain Science has many features, but here we’ll take a look at the two headliners — the ones that really make Grain Science shine!
Grain Science is based on the principles of granular synthesis: taking audio (a waveform/sample), tearing it into tiny pieces (the “grains”), and then putting them back together.
You can use it like a traditional sampler, by telling it to put the pieces back together exactly how it found them. You can use it like a traditional analogue synthesiser, by using sawtooth, sine or other basic waveforms as the source material — after the grain synthesis is done, you still have a variety of sophisticated tools to pass your sound through, before it hits the speakers or recording.
Of course, you can also go to places that neither a sampler nor an analogue synth can dream of going! With grain synthesis, the sound can be exactly as it started, or completely unrecognisable, or anywhere in between. The ability to create entirely new sounds that still, somehow, retain some of the essential qualities of the original, is one of the things that makes granular synthesis so interesting.
Not only that, but Grain Science offers two grain units per voice. Because you can control the mix between them — either manually, or programmed to change over time according to your needs — you can create layered, morphing or rich, complex modulated sounds (as you can also use the second grain unit to amplitude-modulate the first). You can also get direct control of the grain unit scrubbing, allowing you to “grainbend” live to create truly wild audio!
Grain Science’s blend of power and simplicity is achieved because much of the power is tucked away into its “programmable dials”. Let’s take a simple example: the gain control. Just place your finger on it and slide to turn the volume up or down. Obvious, right?
But as you’ll discover, you can also “unfold” a sophisticated programming panel from each dial. With this, you can program the gain control to turn itself up and down automatically, with a range of flexible tools for setting how and when this happens. It’s like having a Low Frequency Oscillator (and more) tucked inside most of the dials in the system. Whether you want to give your audio a subtle pulsing quality, or turn it into throbbing dubstep bass, or whether you want to crank the frequency right up and squeeze amplitude modulation effects out of it, all of that is possible… and that’s just one dial.
All the power — but kept out of sight when you don’t need it. A crisp, clear graph showing you exactly the program you’re creating. And no complex tangles of patch cables, even when you’re pushing it to the limit.
Dials can be programmed to fade themselves from one position to another, or LFO with a variety of shapes, or both together. Fades can stop when they reach the end, bounce, or loop, giving you (in effect) a second oscillator.
LFO amplitude can be faded too, and by combining these elements you can sculpt a fantastic variety of envelopes to control the parameters of the grain synthesis, FX units, and other components. And all of this can be synchronised to notes, or note sequences, or left free-running.
Check out some of the behaviours you can program: