Review: Seurat by AudioReward
Advanced granular synth
Complex control over the grains of the samples
2 complimentary voices to work with
Good selection of pads, and soundscape presets
Full Version of Kontakt Required.
Some parameters operate slightly different than you would expect, like the Mix and Octave dials.
Seurat is an instrument that uses an advanced granular system to produce some unique atmospheric sounds, that work very well for soundscapes, and creating emotion and tension. The degree of control that you have over editing the grains allows you to really get in deep with this granular synth instrument.
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Review: Seurat by AudioReward
Seurat by AudioReward sells for £37.50 from KontaktHub
This is a great instrument for pad sounds like atmospheric pads, and soundscapes with a melodic overtone. The unique granular engine on the instrument lets you manipulate the grains of the samples, plus modify them through the UI parameters of the instrument.
The instrument uses the new AGRA engine, which stands for Advanced Grain Recombination Architecture. What this means is that you have micro control over the grains in the samples that are being used by the instrument. It has two complimentary voices which you can assign the samples to be granulated and then this passes through a few parameters to create its sound.
The snapshot presets are categorized into moods, so you can quite easily get an idea on what type of presest is within each sub category of the presets.
With the sound sources there are 81 you can choose from, and you have two voices where you can load these up..
A neat trick is if you select the main category under these sound sources it randomly chooses one form the section. The guitars and violins have the most voices. So, if you didn’t know which one to choose, you can just select the category name and it will make a random choice for you.
Also, under the voices section it has an interesting Mix feature where you can assign different parameters to three different point on the mix dial. So for example all the way on the left of the Mix dial you can choose the pitch to be lowered, and then with the Mix all the way to right the pitch can be at its max. So, it’s definitely a different way of thinking about the mix dial, instead of what I thought was just a Mix between the two voices. So it acts more like morph state, than a mix dial, but still super powerful to use. And the octave dial also works a bit different as well. This combines the initial sound with a sound an octave up. So, its not shifting the sound source, but instead adding another grain sample from the sound source an octave higher depending on the setting.
In the middle section you are dealing with the granular editing of the samples. So the attack is the setting for the attack of each grain, not the overall attack of the sound source. These parameters work on a granular level, and you can edit the grain size (volume), grain position variation (movement), the space between grains and the symmetry of the grain position in the audio signal flow. And this will give you a range of different outcomes, depending on how you tweak these.
The symmetry control works much like a step sequencer, so this helps with giving a single note some rhythm. And on the patterns for each voice you can draw in the Grain or Positions steps. Tweaking these have quite big effects on the sound that is produced going through the parameters and step sequencer. You also have a Drift dial, that slightly detunes how the notes play when you increase this parameter. Much like the drift on old school hardware synth instruments. These slight imperfections add to the delivery of the sound.
The one thing that’s confusing on the User Interface is that there are the 4 Sends, and then under this the name of the reverb types that can be applied. And its easy to think that these are the names of the sends, when actually when you switch over to the effects section, there you can see the sends that they are being sent to, and not the reverb types. So these are emulated convolution reverb types. To give the sound source a space they belong in. So just make sure you know the difference between these and the effects. And with the effects section you have a choice of Reverb, Delay, Chorus, Flanger and Phaser.
The last section on the interface is the Gate Sequencer and this can contain a selection of parameters. This is an extra way to add unique rhythms to the sound. For example, gating the BP filter on the one voice and gating the volume n the other voice.. This topped with the granular editing and effects can really produce some interesting results. You can get those slow, rhythmic atmospheric pads sounds, which are awesome.
This synth instrument has a very unique niche sound if you’re looking for a lush synthetic pad instrument with extra control to add in some step sequence and gated patterns. It’s very easy to navigate around the controls, plus comes bundled with an extensive collection of snapshots you can jump through to find different synths sounds for the instrument. And even editing and drawing your own patterns on the Gain and Position Sequences. This instrument will work wonders if you need something to create rich and lush synthetic soundscapes for your compositions.
This is a 1.2 GB size library Kontakt Synth Sampler instrument with an Advanced Grain Recombination Engine with 175 Snapshot presets. The instrument is a highly customizable granular synth. The synth uses two complementary voices, and you manipulate the granular controls on the instrument. Plus, you can apply gate and send effects to enhance the instrument further. It requires the full version of Kontakt 5.7 or later.
Seurat by AudioReward sells for 37.50 from KontaktHub