“I Made My Dream Synth”: Hainbach’s Fluss, a new app, is an experimental granular playground

 

While you are waiting for all the hundreds of hardware synths that have been introduced over the last couple of years to actually ship, it’s worth remembering that your iOS device can be an innovative platform for synthesis.

YouTuber/producer Hainbach and developer Bram Bos have announced the release of Fluss, a granular synthesizer and effects processor for iOS that’s said to be inspired by experimental composer Iannis Xenakis. And they say that “There was never a better reason for using a touchscreen for music.”

Fluss features a 3-voice grain engine, which is capable of processing three sound sources independently. Each grain engine can be controlled via its own playhead in the centre of the app’s interface, while two XY pads give users control over scan speed, panning, pitch, glide, and more.

The XY pads and the three central sliders are powered by a physics model that enables the user to flick and throw them around using the touchscreen. The dots in the XY pads will bounce around like balls, reacting to a degree of virtual friction that the user can dial in themselves. This is a unique alternative to the traditional LFO that opens up some interesting modulation possibilities.

The app, which runs standalone on iOS or as an AUv3 plugin, enables the user to manipulate tiny grains of audio in a variety of complex ways, using a “kinetic” control interface that’s geared towards live performance and realtime sonic manipulation.

As for sound sources, the app enables you import your own WAVs. User can just drag and drop WAV files into Fluss, record audio directly, or process incoming input live. There’s an extensive preset library featuring recordings of some rare and unusual instruments from Hainbach’s collection.

Fluss is equipped with a unique multi-mode filter that’s been inspired by the Oberheim Xpander, and a Shimmer feedback effect that feeds processed audio back into the grain engine to produce a shimmering reverb-like sound that can be applied with subtlety or pushed into experimental territory to create endless loops.

Fluss is also capable of some advanced pitch quantization, a feature not includes from many popular granular synth plugins. Fluss pitch-shifts its output by default, according to a variety of scales and modes determined by the user, making it easier to integrate the results into a song or composition harmonically.

 

Features:

  • 3 Voice grain engine, each with an independent playhead
  • Filter inspired by the Oberheim Xpander, including its resonant Phase filter
  • Kinetic sliders and pads for playful interaction with the sound
  • Universal design (iPhone and iPad; iPad Air 2 or higher recommended)
  • Custom scales, unquantised mode and even Scala-import for microtonal experiments
  • Use WAVs, record audio or load the app as a live-processing audio effect
  • Real world tested in live performances by Hainbach

Fluss costs €16.99/$13.99 and is available now in the App Store.

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