Sound Synthesis & SFX

Asynchron. Granular Sampler

max patch


This is a 3 voice polyphonic asynchronous granular sampler and resonator with 32 grains and 32 resonant filters per voice. Grain clouds can be shaped in various harmonic or disharmonic ways by adjustable filters…


When Audio is turned on you will hear a female voice frozen at the begining of the sample. If you want to record the sound into buffer, press “Record On/Off” and if you want to store it to your hard drive, press “Save to disk” (After recording it into buffer).


This section is like a mixing board. You can set the volumes of dry mix (audio straight from sampler), volumes of all 3 filter outputs and the stereo width. When stereo width is set to 0 the sound is mono, when set to 1, the grains are scattered across the whole stereo picture.


These are the grain volume envelopes. You can choose between Hanning curve, Quasi-Gauss, Cosine and 6 versions of Triangle/Trapez. The length of the grain is set by the size of the volume envelope. It is generated randomly in the range set by the “Window size”. The default interval is from 80ms to 100ms.


There are two types of granular synthesis available in Snowfake, Cloud and Linear. When in the Cloud mode, you can set the start and

end point of the cloud. Cloud represents the area in the sample where grains are taken from. The positions of the individual grains in the cloud are random. You can choose the cloud position and length either from the number boxes or from the Sample window.

In linear mode only the sample start matters, the width of the cloud is ignored. Every grain starts one millisecond after the previous one, which means that grain’s sample positions are one millisecond apart. You can change that by changing the Phase. If Phase is set to 3 for instance and sample position to 0, that means that sample is read in the interval between 0ms and 96ms (“32 grains or voices” * 3 = 96ms). If we add to this a window size, which is for instance 100ms, we got the range of 196ms. In technical sense this is also a cloud, but is linearly organized. For adding some randomness, to get the results between linear and cloud mode, you can increase the random factor. Phase with the value of 0 provides an interesting distorted sounds, especially if sample speed is not set to 0.

You can change the speed by clicking on buttons or manual by changing the values in the number box. Sample can be read in both directions

and if the LOOP is turned on, it can loop as well. Since this is mainly a drone instrument, the loop is set to read a sample back and forth. While the LOOP is on, you can not change the speed “manually” by scrolling up and down on the number box, but you can still change it by pressing the blue buttons around it.

Another option is “Dual Granular”. When turned on, the sample reads two samples from two different buffers. The first grain in the sound represents the

first sample, the second grain represents the second sample and so on. The sample length of the second sample is ignored since it is completely subordinated to the first sample. Loop and speed positions are the same as in sample one.


Volume envelopes work for filtered sounds only. When enabled (On), you need an external MIDI keyboard to trigger the envelopes. When turned Off, the resonant filters are in the drone mode.

The sliders have exponent response.


You can set the root note of the sample and play it. In MIDI sense, this sampler has only 3 voices, which means you can play only 3 tones at the same time. Since there is no volume envelopes for the unfiltered sounds, you can play only drones. If playing a 3 tone chord with your keyboard, the upper 2 tones will probably be turned off when releasing the keys (one voice/tone is always active when audio is on). If you want to hear the chord drone constantly you can manually set the number of voices to 2 or 3 so you don’t have to hold down the keys on you keyboard.

You can set as well the portamento.

If you want to move a whole chord up and down in pitch, change the “root key” after playing a chord.

“Midi pitch sampler on/off” enables or blocks the external MIDI keyboard. If off, you can play with your keyboard resonant sounds (tones and “bells”) on the top of the drones (dry mix), static in pitch.


These 3 filters are the same and they are made from 64 (2*32) band pass filters. Every voice and channel has its own filter therefore it is 3*32*2=192

bandpass filters in the patch. They form resonators. There are two types of resonance available: Harmonic and Disharmnic. Harmonic filters are filtering

only harmonic frequencies (fundamental_frequency * voice_nr). Disharmonic mode chooses the frequency on the basis of the expression “voice number on the power of the exponent” (exponent ranges from 2 to 2.8).

“Midi pitch filters on/off” enables or blocks the external MIDI keyboard for filtered sound only. When Off, you can set a resonant drones on the top of which you can play chords or tones with sampler or just tweak them manually. You can tweak them even if “Midi pitch filters on/off” is set to On. When On, the filters receive MIDI data from keyboard and that sets their fundamental frequency to the note just received (If A2 is pressed the fundamental freq. of the filter will be 220Hz). You can enter the notes as well with key sliders. Try preset

“Mix 3” and tweak slightly the frequencies up and down.


When in “harmonic mode”, the “portamento”, “filter frequency”, “filter gain”, “filter Q” and “multiply factor” are active.

Filter Q is by default set to 10.000. You can get very interesting results by decreasing the Q slowly to 0: this is a way of morphing from a highly filtered/resonant sound to dry granular sound.

BE CAREFUL WHEN DECREASING THE Q – VOLUME CAN GET VERY HIGH. PAY ATTENTION WHEN DECREASING THE Q UNDER 100 AND ESPECIALY WHEN MAKING A TRANSITION FROM 1 TO 0. This is as well a reason why this large scale parameter lacks an (exponential) slider. It is just a safety valve to prevent huge jumps in volume level. Beside that the number box turns to yellow when working with numbers lower than 10 and to red with numbers are lower than 1.

“Multiply factor” changes the fundamental frequency of filtering. Try playing some notes and set the “Multiply factor” to 0.25. That means that the

filtered sound will be two octaves lower than the dry sound.


When in “disharmonic mode”, the  “filter frequency”, “filter gain” and the “exponent” are active.

For some technical detalils unlock the patcher and check the comments.





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