The Best Granular Synth VST Plugins

Best Granular Synth VST Plugins

Let’s say that you have tried everything already to make that perfect song, and the result doesn’t exactly make you happy as it should. You feel that something is not right, as you miss one tiny thing that will make your mix shine and sparkle, or smooth and gentle. We are here to help you find this missing part as you are about to know more about the best granular synth vst.

Top 5 Best Granular Synth VST

  1. Native Instruments Form
  2. Spectrasonics Omnisphere
  3. Glitchmachines Palindrome
  4. Glitchmachines Polygon
  5. MeldaProduction MGranularMB

Granular Synth VST Buying Guide

What is Granular Synth?

Granular synthesis is a hybrid of sampling and conventional synthesis. Basically, granular synth uses audio samples instead of generated soundwaves as conventional synthesizers do. Instead of usual sampling techniques, granular synths divide the sample into two tiny pieces of around a couple of milliseconds. Those pieces are called grains, thus the name of the technique.

The power of the best granular synthesis vst lies within the speed of the playback. Slower playback can give you a sustained and moving pad, which is perfect for ambient soundscapes. Faster speeds result in pumping and dynamic sound, which is highly suitable for more aggressive electronic styles. Of course, you have all the options in between, making this form of synthesis highly regarded. It is widely used in electronic ambient music and film score composing.

Apart from it, quite unusual sound-generated technique granular synthesizers are basically the same as any other synthesizers. The granular synth has the usual envelopes and filters, as well as quite a few alternatives on how to manipulate the sound source. As for digital implications, sound quality and options are highly dependent on how any particular synth is programmed. So, here are the best granular synth vst.

Best Granular Synth VST Reviews

Native Instruments Form

Native Instruments Form

Pros
  • Intuitive interface
  • Relatively low price
  • 30-day free demo
  • Works in free REAKTOR player
  • More than 200 sounds
Cons
  • The demo shuts down after 30 minutes.
  • Only one sound source
See price @ Native Instruments
Best features and specs

Native Instruments Form is a mighty sample-based synthesizer made for NI REAKTOR. But don’t let it discourage you because it works in a free REAKTOR player as well. Although it allows you to use only one sample source at a time, it has a very friendly GUI and powerful morphing capabilities. With NI Form’s drag and drop capabilities, you can create a magnificent patch easily and in no time.

If there is an opportunity that you like to tweak things endlessly, NI Form can give you precisely this opportunity as well. There is an enormous variety of different specs hidden under the “hood.” You can create any sort of artificial movement using different presets of amplitude curves or even make your custom ones.

NI Form also has additive synthesizer capabilities, which lets you enhance your samples’ sonic contents or even change them completely. It has independent pitch and formants controls and quite an impressive amount of FX parameters, which gives you almost endless possibilities in sculpting the sound. You can always save whatever modulations you’ve made and recall them with another sound source. As well as you can save your own presets.

In case you prefer to work faster, there are a lot of factory presets to choose from and a factory library with more than 200 customizable sounds. Pretty impressive despite its 300 MB size.

User impressions

Users report that NI Form has a friendly design and therefore is easy to use. They like the presets and the possibility to create unique soundscapes. Users note that the interface is well-designed and clean; moreover, it is sensibly priced.

What we think

As you would expect with any Native Instruments product, it has a very crisp and natural sound. All of the envelopes and effects being applied sound very organic, almost analog-like. It has pretty capable factory presets that are good on their own and make a good starting point for further experimentation. It is quite good and quite essential in producing modern electronic organic music. That being said, it all depends on the initial sound source.

Bottomline

It is reasonably priced, and with the addition of a free REAKTOR player, it is worth the money spent. If still in doubt, NI offers you a free 30-day trial with no limitations, except it will work only 30 minutes at a time.

Spectrasonics Omnisphere

Spectrasonics Omnisphere 2

Pros
  • A powerful workstation
  • A wide variety of sounds
  • 58 FX units
  • Enormous sound library
Cons
  • Pricey
  • Not just a granular synth
  • Takes a lot of HDD space
See price @ Sweetwater
Best features and specs

Spectrasonics Omnisphere doesn’t really need any introduction as it is a well-known and widely-used digital hybrid synth. Even if there is a slight chance that you are not familiar with it, you might at least hear it on a score of quite a few big-budget blockbusters and AAA video games. It is overall a very powerful and versatile workstation. The possibilities are truly endless, including, of course, granular synthesis.

It has an enormous factory sound library, and in an unlikely case, if you find it lacking, there are a lot of additions made by third-party developers. For quite some time, it was in the arsenal of many professional media composers. In addition to its factory library, Omnisphere gives you a lot of customization possibilities with its powerful synth engine and a collection of built-in effects.

One of them being, of course, a granular synth; it has drag-and-drop capabilities that can make your workflow faster. Omnisphere 2.0 actually has a new granular algorithm compared to the previous version; using the LEGACY option gives you an opportunity to use the previous option with larger grains, which means that you actually have two granular synths in one package.

Considering that the granular engine of Spectrasonic Omnisphere wasn’t designed to be a stand-alone application but rather a useful feature of a powerful synth, it doesn’t have as many capabilities as others on this list. The upside of that would be that all granular processing is hidden under quite a few simple knobs. For example, the “intensify” knob lets you control glitches and the grittiness of the sound source. Although you can’t quite control the morphing process, automated effects are quite convenient to use if you prefer a faster workflow.

User impressions

Users note that Omnisphere is one of the best things that they used, due to the enormous list of high-quality patches, over 14000 different sounds, and easy editing.

What we think

If you don’t have an Omnisphere and you are a media composer, you definitely at least should give it a try. As being said earlier, it is a very powerful digital workstation with a big sound library and lots of customization options. That being said, if the only thing you are looking for is a granular synth, you probably should look elsewhere.

Bottomline

Definitely try it out for the whole package, but if you are looking for a granular synth only, the one in the Omnisphere is quite lacking compared to the other ones on the list. Additionally, if you aren’t interested in the rich capabilities that Omnisphere can offer you, apart from granular synthesis, it is rather on the pricey side of things.

Glitchmachines Palindrome

Glitchmachines Palindrome

Pros
  • Powerful synth engine
  • 4 sound sources
  • 100 factory presets
  • Simple GUI
Cons
  • Doesn’t sound vintage
See price @ Plugin Boutique
Best features and specs

The Glitchmachines names should give you a hint of what the Palindrome is about. This company is quite famous for making experimental VST plugins and virtual instruments. So obviously, they couldn’t walk past the granular synthesis.

The Palindrome is based on the idea of taking four different audio samples and morphing them together. It features a very intuitive interface that lets you visualize the synthesis instead of tweaking the knobs. Although shall we say it has a few knobs as well despite the fact that relatively simple GUI customization capabilities are truly enormous.

Actually, this hybrid sampler is all about customization. It is incomprehensibly easy to make new granular sounds due to a very intuitive visualization. It also has 8 LFOs and 4 mod sequencers, as well as the FM possibilities. In case you didn’t find this synth crazy enough, it has a randomizer.

It is a good fit for electronic effects and transitions, but if you want to make gentle cinematic pads, you might find its sound too modern and quite aggressive. But if modern and aggressive is what you are looking for, this is definitely your pick. In case you don’t like a lot of customization, it has 100 factory presets with a 1.3 GB sample bank.

User impressions

Users say that Palindrome is easy to start using with a possibility to apply great sounds straightway. With time it helps you to learn new options and techniques. Also, one more thing to like is the included sound library that has a range of excellent quality sounds.

What we think

If you are a modern-day electronic composer, then you might have found the synth for your needs as it is unbelievably good for transitions and electronic effects. We found that it is tough to make it sound more vintage and analog, but since it clearly wasn’t made for that, this shouldn’t be an issue. Don’t get us wrong, pads and cinematic transitions sound truly amazing, but they always have some kind of very modern quality to them, which is not necessarily what you might need for a specific project.

Bottomline

Glitchmachines Palindrome is a reasonably cheap and affordable enough granular synth with an expansive sound library and lots of customization options, a user-friendly interface, and 4 simultaneous sound sources.

Glitchmachines Polygon

Glitchmachines Polygon

Pros
  • Powerful synth engine
  • 4 sound sources
  • 100 factory presets
Cons
  • Not a simple GUI
See price @ Plugin Boutique
Best features and specs

Another one entry from the Glitchmachines on this list. It seems that Polygon is quite similar to Palindrome, but only at the surface. The granular engine might be the same, but totally different approaches were taken into consideration while making these two hybrid synthesizers. If Palindrome was more about visualization, this one is all about function.

It seems like every possible feature or modulation parameter is controlled by its separate knob. Apparently, guys from Glitchmachines knew that this might cause some complications and made the interface to be scalable, so it would be easier to figure out the functionality of the knobs. At the default scale, the interface is pretty small, and it is quite hard to control the parameters.

The Polygon has the same four sound sources as the Palindrome, as well as the FM capabilities and drag and drops functionality.  But instead of customization with a visual interface, you control each parameter by a simple controller knob. Otherwise, those are basically the same hybrid synthesizers.

So if you would have to choose between Polygon and Palindrome, you’d have to ask yourself what you prefer more. The simplicity of visual editing of the Palindrome of the deep precision of conventional controls that Polygon offers you. Since they both are at the same price, this pretty much is the only question that you should ask yourself.

User impressions

Users note that Polygon is a perfect choice for making the audio material for the film industry as it has a lot of weird and wonderful sounds in spades. Also, it has a vast number of supplied effects and modulation options that you ever might need.

What we think

It is remarkable how far from the starting point you can get while customizing the sound. But, that being said, you can quickly and with ease make an evolving effect or a transition with hundreds of included factory presets.  Polygon sounds as modern and gritty as the Palindrome does, which makes it cut through even a dense and busy mix.

Bottomline

Reasonably priced and possibly the most customizable granular synth on this list. It still doesn’t sound vintage, though.

MeldaProduction MGranularMB

MeldaProduction MGranularMB

Pros
  • Complete MIDI automation
  • Online presets database
  • User-friendly interface
  • Low price
Cons
  • None that we know of
See price @ Plugin Boutique
Best features and specs

MGranularMB from MeldaProduction is a quite flexible granular synth. Following the main principle, this synth divides the sound source into small grains and creates new sounds from them. The plugin has a dual user interface, one of which lets you start quickly to create new audio patches and adjust it to your needs. Another one has a bunch of advanced settings that let you dive into a variety of features.

In case you need to modulate the sound and make it more engaging, MGranularMB has a set of 4 modulators that can change any parameters, including other modulators. Additionally, if you are a  film composer or game audio designer, this synth would be a top choice for you as it can process simultaneously up to 8 channels. Mono, stereo, mid, side – you name it.

Nobody can be astonished nowadays with the granular synth’s randomized ability, but it is surprising that MGranularMB can, with one click, generate new settings that would be a perfect match for your project. Moreover, you can choose the quantity of randomization that you need.

The best thing about MGranularMB is that it has MIDI learning capabilities. In fact, each and every parameter could be assigned to your MIDI controller and, therefore, automated, which opens a whole landscape of creative possibilities. Because not only you can create moving soundscapes, but change the effect along with the composition. 

Despite this being an exclusively digital granular synth, it actually sounds pretty analog. Almost vintage at times. Quite subjectively, it has some 80’s vibes to it. MGranularMB can offer you another pretty interesting feature – MeldaProduction stores user presets on its server. This means that in addition to a factory presets library; you also have an online collection of presets created by other users. And, of course, you can share yours.

User impressions

Users say that MeldaProduction MGranularMB has an easy mode and fine sets of presets for fast results, as well it has many modulation options and advanced editing mode for more complex work. Users like this plugin for the sound quality and its value for money.

What we think

Being the cheapest one on the list, MGranularMB is really a no-brainer. Automation features alone make this granular synth a worthy competitor. It is quite versatile, considering that it offers you both a simplified interface and the complicated one with lots of adjustments.

Bottomline

In case you are still in doubt, MeldaProduction offers a free trial version of this plugin. It will work without any limitations whatsoever for 15 days. When the trial period is over, it will start to emit some random noise. So try it for yourself and gain your own impressions. Our impression is that it will be totally worth your while.

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