Future Music

Discover granular synthesis in Pigments 2

Create exciting new tonalities with the preset samples and breathe new life into your own library


01 >

With your project open and Pigments in an instrument slot, open up the UI and make sure you are in the Synth tab, which has two engines. Disable the second then head back to the first, changing the type from Analog to Sample, then click on the library icon (which looks like a row of books, with one at an angle).

02 >

This section of Pigments is home to an extensive assortment of samples. To the top right of the library you can see a folder icon, where you can load your own sounds, but we’ll use a preset (the Hull Breach from the Granular Friendly section). The samples that work well have varied tone; as you work on the granules, you get the movement that makes this synthesis technique interestin­g.

03 >

With the sample loaded, choose a startpoint for your granule, which is essentiall­y a small section of the overall sample that forms the basis of your new sound. Do this by scrubbing through the waveform, or using the rotary control to the right. Note that the VCA’s envelope has a large effect. Dial in your

ADSR now if you like, but we’d suggest focusing on your granules first.

04 > Activate Granular controls by hitting the power button below the waveform. You can now start tweaking the controls to suit your desired sound. Start off with the amount of granules, set by using the density controls. If the granules themselves sound harsh, click the default envelope to select one of the others, using the shape rotary to adapt the overall curve. Handy for smoothing things and offering easy access to subtle changes in timbre.

05 >

Refine your granules, adding extra personalit­y by tweaking the bottom row of controls, perhaps adding reverse playback, random pitchshift­ing and variable granule width. It’s also fun to use mod routing to do things like connect an LFO to the start control, evolving your sound over time.


The last step is to add any post effects. Head to the FX tab and add what you need here. For these airy type textural sounds, a slow phaser can work well, followed by a large Cathedral (one of Pigment’s presets) reverb with a wide stereo spread. Once happy, save it, head back to your DAW’s main window and get recording.

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