Alessandro Petrolati (Ape) has released Density, a new interactive real-time program for asynchronous granular synthesis sound file granulation. Density generates a wide range of effects: time/pitch shifting, pitch disintegration, time jittering, sound pulverizer, scrub pad exploration, dynamic envelope drawing and more. Interpolation transitions and Hyper Vectorials pads provide a powerful way to generate incredible sound objects. All parameters are controllable via MIDI learning/rescale.

The groundwork for Density, which dates back to 2001, was developed using the Csound programming language. It was based on GSC4 (Granular Synthesis for Csound) by Eugenio Giordani, which was the first patch for granular synthesis on Csound to implement the model proposed by Barry Truax. The current Density implementation based on Max/Msp allows a dynamic generation of the grains, rather than a fixed number of “voices” (static). The maximum density achievable depends only on available CPU power.

Density features

  • Eight simultaneous granular streams
  • Load up to 12 sound-files (aiff or wav) for each stream (96 total)
  • Dynamic wave-pad scrub, wrap-around selection, crop, normalize draw, etc.
  • Grid quantize: Zero-crossing, bpm, phase and samples
  • Multiple resizable window buffers for fine scanning exploration
  • Quick sndfiles exchange, mouse jumping on the windows (buffers)
  • Envelope/windowing management of up to 12 pre-generated shapes (prototypes)
  • Envelope/windowing load and manage up to 12 sound-files (aiff or wav)
  • Dynamic envelope buffer load/save, normalize, crop, resize length, etc.
  • Main mixer 8 channels + 1 master, solo/mute, VST support
  • Quick-record export master channel, progressive file auto-name, select directory and re-sampling/quantize outfile
  • Trigger mode granular streams: Foreground, sync, all
  • DSP settings and status bar information
  • Snapshots (presets) memory: Up to 24 for each stream and 24 for the main mixer
  • Fast buttons snapshots store/recall
  • Simultaneously (streams and main) transition (interpolation) between snapshots (in a given time)
  • Client management: Include/exclude widgets from transitions
  • Four drawing tables for transitions curves
  • Micro-pad interpolating between four snapshots
  • HV_pad (i.e. hyper vectorial pad), 9 snapshots pad (4 pad near), and auto-explorer (spiral, dunk, reflects) engine
  • MIDI Input mapping: Learn/manual, rescale range and exponential curve
  • MIDI Output sync: Enable/disable, continuously or mouse up send
  • Voice selection shortcut key
  • Windows float/no float mode
  • Fully management of the project (as a folder), Save/Save As… and Load, ask when exiting
  • Drag and drop support: Streams/windowing wave-pads (audio files) and project folder (main mixer)
  • Oscilloscope, spectralscope, sonogram viewers

On the Mac, Density requires OS X 10.4 or later. A G5 or Intel processor is recommended. Density is available directly from Ape via Kagi online store for $30. A time-limited demo is available for download.

Discuss Density in our Instruments forum.