Let’s get straight to it: granular synthesis, and the various processes based on the principle, is one of the coolest things about making music with computers. With the ability to take sounds and stretch, mangle, and reshape them into new textures, it’s one of the fundamental techniques allowing sound software and lots of terrific timbral techniques to work.
Of course, explaining it to lay people is a bit of a trick. So that’s why, even before we get into talking about Steinberg’s upcoming Padshop synth, it’s worth watching the first few minutes. Sound designer Matthias Klag explains that coolness really succinctly (and, I think, accurately).
I’m excited to try Padshop. Now, on its surface, I can’t yet see anything radically new in how it works relative to what you get from some of the better Reaktor patches out there. On the other hand, a lot of people aren’t willing to go buy Reaktor just to use those tools. And it seems Steinberg has built something that brings together a traditional synth’s playability with some of the better tools for dialing in far-out granular textures. We’ll get to see it later this month, and then see if this is as big a breakthrough for granular sounds as Steinberg says. But I think it’s worth an early look, nonetheless – if for no other reason than hearing this nice explanation.
And if I get one great pad for a track out of this, count me in. Time to stock up on some Fritz-Kola, in Hamburg’s honor.