I’ve been rather taken by using granular effects the past couple of weeks. Sure I should courriel that to Circa 2000 Twerk/Kit Clayton/Taylor Dupree, but whatever. I find things at my own pace. In particular, I like the idea of playing with a harmonically useful subset of the granular effect domain — In particular sending pad sounds through granular effects with pitch shifts like an octave or a major fifth.
Argotlunar has the advantage of being free. Beyond that it does have it’s own distinctive sound — it has a large number of parameters, all of which can be varied randomly. The best effects to my mind require limiting the number and range of random variations, since you can only control their depth, not their speed.
Discord3 is only partially a granular delay, being pitched more as a pitch shifter. It has 3 modes — the ‘vintage’ mode based on AudioDamage’s earlier version Discord2 (and the oldest and crustiest of the Eventide pitch effects), a ‘modern’ mode, and a grain mode. Their grain mode seems to produce more sustained output from sustained input, and at least for harmonic material, its ‘chaos’ control quickly makes a mess of its input. Not that it’s a bad thing.
Granular-To-Go is part of the discontinued Pluggo plug-in suite by Cycling74. Presumably it lives on in Max For Live, but I’ve resisted the siren call of Max thus far. The range of sounds possible are similar to ArgotLunar, but the grain length range and offset are specified in samples, which isn’t a useful rhythmic value. The sound possibilities are quite nice, ranging from clattery washes to completely mental screeching.
Which Is Better?
As Ali G once said, “which is betteh? in da sense dat one fing is better den anutha?”
Not straightforward. Getting ArgotLunar is a no-brainer because it’s free and it works great. Discord 3 is really a pitch shift effect with a granular mode thrown in. It has a lot of deep programmability and could be used for anything from a ping pong delay to a sonic mutilator. Granular-To-Go — if you can get it — shows its age, both in the ‘dot matrix printer paper’ user interface, and relative unfriendliness of its controls. But it can do it’s own brand of shimmery craziness.
First Harmless by itself, then ArgotLunar, then Discord3, then Granular-to-Go, then various combinations of the three in different orders.