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Digital Subscriptions > MusicTech > Mar-16 > Granular synthesis with Alchemy

Granular synthesis with Alchemy

Delving deep into Alchemy’s granular synthesis engine can yield some unique-sounding textures. Mark Cousins unlocks the power of the grain.

Technique Logic in depth – Part 6

Programming your own sounds on Alchemy is a rewarding process, with a wealth of source options, modulation routings, filter types, FX modules and so on, all to be explored. Some of Alchemy’s more unique sonic traits are born from its ability to work with sample-based sources, using tools like additive, spectral and granular synthesis. For those that haven’t explored these sound design techniques, it can be little overwhelming to know where to begin, both from a creative standpoint, but also in relation to the range of new parameters – like Grain Density, RTime and so on – that you’ll start to encounter.

In this workshop we’ll take a look at one of Alchemy’s advanced sound design engines – the Granular module. As well as understanding the basics of granular synthesis, we’ll also explore some applications of the technology, as well as how it integrates with Alchemy’s more traditional synthesis tools, like filters, step sequencers and LFOs.

As with the Additive, Spectral and Formant modules, Alchemy’s Granular engine is designed to work with sample-based sources. To begin a granular patch in Alchemy, therefore, you’ll need to import an audio file into the corresponding Source (A, B, C or D). You can access the browser via the drop-down menu under the Source selection, either loading WAV files from Alchemy’s own sound library (many of which are designed to suit granular applications) or from a source of your own choosing, simply by dragging-and-dropping audio fi les into the Drop Zone.

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About MusicTech

The new issue of MusicTech is on sale Thursday February 18th and this month we’re bringing you the ultimate modular synth masterclass! We explain (in detail) how to build your own system. Also this month we’ve got a preview of Yamaha’s Montage synth, a look back at NAMM 2016 and brand new reviews and tutorials.