Granular synthesis?

Is there any way to do granular synthesis/sampling in FMOD Studio? Apparently it was possible in FMOD Designer, but I can’t find any way of doing it. If it’s not a thing in FMOD Studio anymore, is there any free instrument plugins that can do granular sampling?

A limited form of granular synthesis was possible in FMOD Designer by using spawning behavior. In FMOD Studio, this behavior is a feature of scatterer instruments.

A simple granulator can be built with a loop in the timeline. Put a Multi-Sound to play a sample (or a random set of samples) in Async mode. Automate the Master Pitch (from event macros) with a parameter, then automate the Pitch of the Multi-Sound with an opposite curve. This way you can get a sound that repeats at an interval that can be sped up and down, but the pitch remains the same.

Then automate the Seek Offset of the Multi-Sound with another parameter (plus a bit of random modulation if you so desire), and there you have it, a granulator that plays short bits of a sample from a selected offset position at a variable rate.

Set a polyphony limit to the Multi-Sound to keep the polyphony under control at high rates.

I had to do this arrangement instead of using a Scatterer in an earlier version of Studio because I couldn’t get the nested event’s parameters get automation passed to them from the Scatterer parent. But with later versions of Studio it should work easier with a Scatterer too. You just need to nest an event in the playlist to make the sample start offset automatable and randomizable.

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A very simple (and computationally cheap) way to use granular sampling for infinite variety, is to take a loop that has a fairly transient, dry sound (like a campfire / torch crackling), and slice it into very short bits (about 50 ms or so) at the transients. Reaper can do this kind of auto-slicing quite easily.

Then add these samples to a multi-sound and make the playlist loop and randomized. You will then get an endless daisy chain of random short samples one after another, a continuous sound that doesn’t repeat nearly as much as a single loop of equivalent total length would. It uses only 1 polyphony while it’s playing, as the sounds are appended one after another without overlap.

I use this approach for rattling and rustling sounds, like handling rattle of weapons, or a campfire crackling. It needs to be quite transient in nature. Chopping up a tonal sound with long soft reverb tails doesn’t work well with slicing like this.