granular toolkit v1.49

March 19th, 2007

By far the most popular download on this website.  This set of externals and abstractions developed using several granular synthesis concepts. Effects available in this download include pitch shifting, spatializing, “clouds”, chord production and looping.

A paper about this software that was presented at the SEAMUS 2002 National Conference at the University of Iowa.  Later, an article version was published in Journal SEAMUS.  It is available in this separate post and a recommended read for those using the GTK.

The Mac version is Universal Binary.  Mac and Windows versions should work for Max/MSP 4.6 and 5.

Special thanks to Tim Place of Electrotap for the windows port of the externals.

13 Responses to “granular toolkit v1.49”

  1. Nathan,

    Couldn’t find an email address, so figrued I’d try to reach you here.

    I really like the GTK. It’s high level enough to allow me to implement many of the techniques I read about in Curtis Roads’ book without delving into something like FTM/Gabor.

    One thing I’m having trouble with is there doesn’t seem to be an object or abstraction that lets me specify both frequency and grain size to create overlapping grains. I realize I can do this with the grain %, but wanted my level of control to be a bit more “granular.”


  2. Zach:
    Thanks for the message. Glad to hear you like the toolkit.

    Frequency and length are independent controls in the [*] abstractions. If you wanted to produce your own patch for this, you could easily unlock the patch and look at the way it is constructed.

    You could also take advantage of the “pulse overflow” outlet on the [grain.pulse~] external. It will pass on the control signal if the external is busy producing a grain. With it you can easily produce something like this:


    Hope that gives you some direction. Take care.

  3. Nathan Wolek’s download page added to
    Categorized under: Max Msp. Tagged with: Clouds, Granular, Granular Toolkit, GTK, Looping, Max

  4. hello.
    i just posted an article about granular effect on cycling74.
    some guys suggested me this website where a great object is shared.

    so, what i want to do with granular effect is to attempt to create the particular synth by aoki takamasa.
    im just wondering how aoki takamasa can create his synth and manage sounds controlling, see the movie;

    what i have to have several questions,

    1, what kind of synth is he using? such as am synth, fm synth, granular synth so on?
    2, how can synth pulse sounds (you can listen to them at the beginning of the youtube) be managed? it’s like pulse sound generated by step-sequencer or by LFO or any other ways?
    3, please tell me all of the info about his sound technically if you are a max genius.

    I read the article about him on some magazine that his performance actually played by max/msp.
    he created his own synth, sampler, effect by max for performance act.

    i have been trying to create also mine for 2 months.
    i actually face with an issue of polyfm how to create.

    it would be great helpful if you give me an example patch about like-aoki’s patch and any good polyphony synth.

    thanks for taking your time.

  5. Manabu:
    Thanks for commenting. Sorry for the delay in replying.

    I do not claim to know the specifics of Takamasa‘s setup, but it some things sure sound granular. But if I were to attempt to build something that would make similar throbbing sounds, I would start with the [grain.pulse~] object that is part of this GTK package. You can easily chain multiple instances together to make it polyphonic.

    To drive it with specific cyclical rhythms, I would use another patch that is available as part of the MPG carepackage called [riddumbank]. I’ll be presenting on this package again at the upcoming SEAMUS conference, so I will actually be cleaning up this download in the next few weeks. The abstraction patch outputs pulse control signals based on the patterns you input to the step sequencer-like interface. It has a few other nice feature as well, if I do say so myself.

    The last bit would be making modulators to slowly alter the various granular control parameters (particularly the sample offset) in interesting ways. For this, I would point you to Gregory Taylor’s LFO tutorials on the Cycling74 web site.

    So, it’s not a patch but more of a roadmap. These three things working together should get you in the ballpark. Whatever tweaks you make along the way will be what distinguishes your sound from Takamasa. I hope that helps!

  6. Hello Nathan:

    thank you very much for your advance pinpoint advices that i really appreciate again.
    i will try to make myself due to your following helps.
    i really wanna be tough about max/msp programming from you one day if i have a chance.

    could please i ask you again if i face a issue of any music concern.
    if so, that would be so much help.

    manabu shimada from london

  7. Hi Nathan – I’ve heard this toolkit allows live granular processing, is this true?

    I’ve been looking and looking for a granular effect for live performance similar to Reaktors Grain Delay..

    Does the toolkit provide externals to do this and if so, do you know of any completed example patches out there that use them to look at further?


  8. Hi Nathan – just wondering if there are any example patches you could point me in the direction of that use the toolkit? Particularly for live processing…

    I’ve just downloaded the kit but am having trouble getting started..


  9. Paul:
    Start with any of the help files for the items starting with “gran” instead of “grain”. These are the high-level effects that I have pre-built. The ones for live processing end in “live”. So the one you’ll find most interesting is likely [].

    If you want to read more about the toolkit, I have a paper that I wrote available here. It gives you more than enough to get started.

    When you start to wish the “gran” abstractions did something the new and more interesting, the “grain” objects are there for you to design your own effects. I hope that helps.


  10. Thanks Nathan – that paper is really great!

    - Paul

  11. [...] the quickest way to remedy this is to grab Nathan Wolek’s Granular Toolkit – a set of external objects designed to enable various types of granular synthesis. The [...]

  12. [...] a synthesis engine in Max/MSP.  It combines two sets of tools for granular synthesis (the Granular Toolkit 1.49X and Smooth Overlap Granular Synthesis or sogs~), in addition to a groove~ playback generator.  [...]

  13. [...] you want the cpPan~ object, the best way to get it is to download the Granular Tool Kit, developed by Nathan Wolek. The cpPan~ object comes with the tool kit. It’s free, and [...]

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