The Basics of Granular Synthesis
Standard synthesis methods (subtractive, FM, etc.) mostly require the user to manipulate oscillating waves, a technique that has been used for decades. These methods are familiar and easy to work with, making them the main focus for synthesists and sound designers. Because it doesn’t exclusively function on oscillating waves, granular synthesis doesn’t get nearly the attention it deserves. However, it can use any sound to create a totally new one.
The timbres and articulation possible through granular synthesis make it an important technique for any sound designer to investigate. Additionally, the concepts behind granular synthesis allow for crucial functions in manipulating audio, and because of this are already found in many software synthesizers and DAW functions. In this article, we’ll cover what granular synthesis actually is, how it’s probably already used in your software, how it can be best used in a sound design context, and some audio examples of granular synthesis in action.