Review: Quanta by Audio Damage


Quanta by Audio Damage is a deep granular synthesizer that looks great, sounds great, and contains a world of sound design possibilities.

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Review: Quanta by Audio Damage

Quanta by Audio Damage opens a world of deep granular synthesis to anyone willing to dive in. Audio Damage has managed to make the world of granular synthesis accessible to beginners while providing depth and flexibility for the advanced user.

Quanta sells for $99.00 from Audio Damage


I’ll admit it. I’ve always been intimidated by all the knobs, buttons, and sliders found in both hardware and soft synths. Oscillators, filters, LFOs, envelopes, and the like have long caused my eyes to glaze over and have been pretty mystifying to me.

Don’t get me wrong, I love and regularly use synthesizers in my own music. I would probably be lost without them. There is a shine and a richness to so many synth sounds that just cannot be achieved with regular sample libraries.

However, I have always relied on the hard work of others to provide me with the sounds in my synthesizer toolkit. I’ve long been a “preset guy”; either relying on the stock presets that are found within each synthesizer, or purchasing sound sets from sound designers who have actually taken the time to put in the hard work and get their hands dirty. With Quanta, I might have finally begun to cure my phobia of these synthetic and enigmatic beasts.

There are all sorts of different synthesizers out there; from analog to digital, physical modelling to sample-based and even more. To the uninitiated, the world of synthesis can be a very confusing landscape.

So where does Quanta fit in?

So where does Quanta fit in? Quanta is a sample-based synthesizer that plants its flag in granular synthesis. Granular synthesis is the process of breaking up a sound into tiny grains which are then reconfigured and reorganized into a brand new sound altogether. This means your simple recording of the kitchen sink can be broken into thousands of different little pieces and reassembled into an entirely new sound that can be stretched across your keyboard. That sound can then be combined with a wave form, LFOs, filters, and all sorts of other goodies to create something musical, rhythmic, weird, or just plain wild. This is the world of granular synthesis, and Quanta seems to have harnessed this power and presented it in the simplest form I have seen so far.

Quanta’s interface is brilliant. It is easy to look at (a huge plus that I feel many other companies could learn from) and can even be resized by dragging the bottom right-hand corner to take up as much or as little of the screen as you desire. The main controls for the oscillator, noise, grains, filters, and output are always present as you click through the four left-side tabs for “Sample”, “FEG” (Flexible Envelope Generator), “FLFO” (Flexible Low-Frequency Oscillator), and “Matrix.”


Another great feature that Audio Damage built in an automatic normalizing feature

The sample view displays the sample that you currently have loaded into Quanta. You can simply drag and drop your own sample or select one of the factory presets to begin building on a pre-existent sample within Quanta. The great part is that if you have tweaked and crafted a great sound in Quanta but would like to try all the same parameters with another sample, you can! Just drag and drop another sample and all the parameters will remain intact. Another great feature here is that Audio Damage have built in an automatic normalizing feature that ensures your sample is normalized upon import.

Under the “FEG” (Flexible Envelope Generator) tab you will find four separate envelope generators. The envelopes here can be crafted and designed in just about any way imaginable to stretch the sound, adjust your attack and release, and more. One of the features that I really like here is the sync button, allowing you to synchronize the envelope to your host DAW’s tempo. This is great for creating pulsing sounds in line with the track you’re working on. You can select three different looping modes for the FEGs: one-shot (no looping), forward looping, and bidirectional looping. This helps you further craft exactly the sound you want. The four FEGs allow you to craft a sound into a pad, loop, or about anything else you can imagine.

Next is the FLFO (Flexible Low-Frequency Oscillator) tab. Within the FLFO you will find two identical but separate LFOs. Why “FLFO” instead of just calling it an LFO?

Because they are very flexible, thus “Flexible Low-Frequency Oscillators.” Again, the sync button comes to the rescue to ensure you can synchronize each LFO to your host DAW’s tempo, or simply shape the LFO using different frequencies; from one cycle every 10 seconds (or 0.1 cycles per second, abbreviated 0.01 Hz) to 10 cycles every second (10 Hz).

The “Matrix” tab is where the real magic happens. This is Quanta’s “mission control” panel – the place where you control how every single function within Quanta is manipulated to shape your sound. This is a brilliant modulation matrix. The controls here are very intuitive and you can easily see how every possible function is contributing to the finished product.

There are just too many sound-shaping controls and functions to go into real depth here but rest assured that Audio Damage has you covered with an excellently written manual. I would suggest opening Quanta and the manual side-by-side if possible to walk through each function as it is laid out by Audio Damage. This will help you get up and running more quickly and with the knowledge you need to get the most out of this powerful synthesizer. Quanta represents my first attempt at sound-shaping via granular synthesis all on my own. Thanks to Audio Damage, I’m not quite as scared of this huge universe of possibility as I once was.


Quanta comes in VST, VST3, AAX, and AudioUnit formats and can be used with either Windows 8.1+, Mac 10.9 Mavericks or newer, or iOS 11 or newer (via separate purchase in the iOS App Store).
Quanta retails for $99 and is available from Audio Damage.

Quanta sells for $99.00 from Audio Damage



Demos of Quanta by Audio Damage

Listen to the album “Quanta – Audio Demos” by Audio Damage.

Videos of Quanta by Audio Damage