Best Hardware Granular Samplers & Synthesizers!

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4. Monome Norns

One of the most exciting instruments that is not described as granular synth but as a complex sound computer is the Norns by Monome, developers of the Grid sequencer. Norns is a small, portable sound computer that dynamically runs own written scrips and DSP codes. Scrips are written here in a simple programming language called Lua.

The interface of Norns is very straightforward designed: 128×64 OLED, 3 rotary encoders and 3 keys. On the backside, the device features 2 line level 1/4″ inputs /outputs and a 1/4″ headphone output with gain control. Additional 4 USB ports for device and serial tty via USB-midi gives you a lot of options to connect external hardware to it.

The powerful part of this device is that you can develop your own engines with the help of the Lua language. From the factory, the device features already a good selection of different sound engines: Granulator, sample-cutter, poly-synth, algorithmic drum machine, drone box, asynchronous looper and polyphasic sequencer. These are just a few examples scripts that can be created and modified and the developer will maintain a growing repository of other scripts.

For a price of $800 USD Norn is one of the high-priced granular Synthesizer on the market. But you have to take into account that you get a very complex sound computer with which you can design countless instruments and effect processors yourself. I think the mentioned granulator is one of the simplest granular scripts here and more advanced granular instruments are for sure possible. All depends on your Lua programming skills. A very exciting product in my opinion but just a bit to pricey.

More information here: Monome 


    • Yes! A pacarana or paca are still the most powerful granular synthesizers on this planet. And the symbolic sound implementation of granular synthesis sounds very good because of the technical background they have and how the algorithms are implemented on a real DSP plattform.

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