Mo­tion-fu­elled gran­u­lar sound­scapes with Quanta


Au­dio Dam­age’s new gran­u­lar synth pack­ages com­plex tech­nol­ogy be­hind fa­mil­iar sub­trac­tive-style con­trols. Let’s get those grains moving Many mod­ern soft­synths dis­guise com­plex syn­the­sis be­hind fa­mil­iar con­trols, and for good rea­son – we’re mu­si­cians, not sci­en­tists, after all. Au­dio Dam­age’s Quanta is a per­fect ex­am­ple of such an in­stru­ment, boil­ing down gran­u­lar syn­the­sis into some­thing any elec­tronic mu­si­cian can pick up and use straight away.

Load a WAV, AIFF, MP3, OGG or FLAC file into Quanta, and the synth nor­malises the au­dio ready for play­back. The ver­ti­cal play­head line (rep­re­sent­ing play­back po­si­tion) is laid over the wave­form dis­play, and its place­ment can be ad­justed via the Grains >> Po­si­tion knob.

We’ve loaded a siren sam­ple into Quanta. Sweep­ing the sam­ple Po­si­tion around a par­tic­u­lar sec­tion cre­ates a rave-es­que stab. Luck­ily, it’s al­ready tuned a fifth above Quanta’s sin­gle syn­thetic sub Os­cil­la­tor, which we set to Square and Tune down by -24st for weight.

A Ran­dom knob flanks many of Quanta’s main pa­ram­e­ters. By ran­domis­ing sam­ple Po­si­tion and grain Length by a small amount, a ‘shim­mer­ing’ synth ef­fect is cre­ated. It’s a bit like de­tun­ing, but a lit­tle more ‘puffy’ and dis­tinc­tive.

Quanta sports two mul­ti­mode fil­ters. Us­ing the mod Ma­trix, we as­sign one of the two FEGs to rhyth­mi­cally mod­u­late Fil­ter 1 Fre­quency. This tone shap­ing, with the ran­dom tim­bral shim­mer­ing, cre­ates a bub­bling cin­e­matic tim­bre or rave riff de­pend­ing on the MIDI notes.

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