Ableton releases Grain Scanner polyphonic granular synth and re-synthesizer

Last Updated on November 13, 2019 by

While it is certainly difficult to impress anyone with new plugins these days, we were pleasantly surprised with Ableton’s release of their new product.

Earlier this month, the company launched its brand new synth, named Grain Scanner.

Developed by an independent contractor Amazing Noises, this is a sound design tool and a granular synthesizer designed for Ableton Live and Max for Live DAWs. The price of the plugin is 49 euros, which is around $54 or £42.

Along with this news came an explanation of how the plugin works. According to the official statement released on Ableton’s website, it “chops” down individual samples into small pieces and then re-arranges them and plays them back in numerous different custom ways.

The intention was to take the best of two worlds: “organic” and “synthetic” and deliver some previously unheard of sonic territories. As they explain, it is a “10-voice polyphonic granular synth” and a “re-synthesizer” that creates new textures in “unpredictable ways.”

The Grain Scanner is able to take up to 1,000 slices of one sample and play them simultaneously.

For some very detailed tone shaping, there is a dedicated modulation page with four individual LFOs.

What’s more, each of the 10 voices can not only be modulated individually through these LFOs, but you also have an option to play around with global parameters.

In addition, there is also a step sequencer which allows even more tone-shaping possibilities.

The synth comes with basic 118 presets, along with a database full of numerous source sounds all set for your own experimentation.

What’s more, there’s also an option to import your own samples and then twist them and dissect them in order to create fully customized tone presets.

Of course, it goes without saying that Grain Scanner is designed to work with Push or any standard MIDI controllers.

This way, you’ll be able to create your own melodies or beats with your own original samples dissected into small pieces and then re-arranged and tweaked through the plugin’s very detailed parameter controls.

If all this works as well as it’s described in the official statement, then the price of $54 is definitely well worth it.

Looking at screenshots, it seems that the controls are very detailed and that it would take some time and patience in creating these synth tones. With these features, it’s pretty safe to say that this new synth is intended for full-blown experienced professionals.

However, the said presets might be a great place for amateurs to start tweaking and creating their own tones.

Ableton also shared some of the examples of Grain Scanner working in action. You can check them out on the official website at this location.

Although sold under the Ableton label, Amazing Noises are the ones responsible for the Grain Scanner’s creation.

So far, we’ve got the chance to try out some other of their products, including Dirty Tricks, Granular Lab, and Outer Spaces. Since these seemed pretty innovative and exciting, we’re in no doubt that Grain Scanner will be fun to work with.

Taking a brief listen to the demo on Ableton’s website, we can’t wait to get our hands on this new synth.