EmissionControl2, Free Cross-Platform Application For Granular Synthesis

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EmissionControl2, a free cross-platform application for deep granular synthesis studies loved by worldwide sound artists is back. 

Hardware or software, a question that will never be fully debated. For certain applications, however, I think software is better suited, such as granular synthesis. Even though we have the beautiful GR-1 Granular Synth on the market, I prefer to chop up sounds in apps, plugins, etc.

EmissionControl2 by Dave Thall & Curtis Roads is one of the best granular applications among sound design specialists. However, since it only runs on old computer systems (Mac-PPC…), it has been forgotten. However, I have good news. The Center for Research in Electronic Art Technology (CREATE) at the University of California (Santa Barbara) has brought back this cross-platform application and re-releases as a free open-source project.



EmissionControl2 takes you on a journey of deep granular synthesis. It allows you to import your own sample content and to granulate multiple sound files simultaneously (up to 1GB of samples can be loaded). Thanks to up to 12-grain streams in parallel, and sync/async grain emission, you can develop very complex granular structures.

You can process signals per grains, which means you get for each grain an envelope, waveform, amplitude, frequency, spatial position, filter center frequency, and resonance.

6 LFOs with either bi- or unipolar waveforms lets you set all granular parameters in motion. The developers have updated the GUI with a new scalable interface. Real-Time displays for peak, amp, grain counter… gives you a complete overview of what is happening. Handy, it supports MIDI learn so you can control it from your favorite controller. Synthesis specialist Todd Barton shows an example in his video.

Further to know is that the new app was developed by a team consisting of Prof. Curtis Roads acting as a project manager, with software developers Jack Kilgore and Rodney Duplessis.

Prof. Roads and his team worked for 20 months on this outstanding project said Prof. JoAnn Kuchera-Morin, director of CREATE.

The app core is C++ and uses the Allolib multimedia software library available on GitHub. And it’s Richard Devine approved!

All in all, a fantastic free software tool with which you can easily learn granular synthesis but also discover new worlds of sound

EmissionControl2 is available now as a free download for Windows, macOS, and Linux.

More information here: Github

Free Software

Standalone Software

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