17 Best Granular VST Plugins 2024

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What if you could manipulate any sound and turn it into something completely different? It’s like the very epitome of modern electronic music, and even film scores, right?

But futuristic sound design no longer requires layers and layers of overdubs from different sources using different mics, complex processing chains, reversed found sound samples, re-amping, and other sophisticated techniques and methodologies to achieve.

Granular synthesis and granular effects in general make this all possible by splitting up a sample into tiny grains before it’s rearranged and further manipulated.

For all types of textures and soundscapes, check out the best granular VST plugins found below.

Portal by Output – Best Overall

Portal by Output – Best Overall

Output’s Portal is a granular FX plugin that resythesizes your sounds. Instead of churning out an abstract, mangled mess, however, it will provide an output that closely resembles the original audio. This, they say, should produce a more musical result overall.

It’s an Output plugin, so of course it comes loaded with powerful features too – grain controls, modulation, FX, time stretch, humanize, and even pitch shift.

Altogether, you should expect to find over 250 presets, a circular visualizer (linked to granular parameters), time manipulation engine, tempo synced grain delay, scale-based pitch modulation, seven FX with a master compressor and filter, value readout panel, presets and “favoriting” feature, as well as built-in tool tips.

All in all, Portal is delightful. It’s great for adding atmosphere, rhythmic movement, and various textures to your tracks.

There were plenty of plugins competing for our best overall selection, so just know that we pored over this one. You will find many competitive plugins throughout this guide, but we settled on Portal as our best overall pick.

Learn more: Plugin Boutique

Novum by Tracktion – Best Premium Option

Novum by Tracktion – Best Premium Option

Known primarily for their Waveform DAW, Tracktion does occasionally come up with brilliant synth, sampler, and effects plugin ideas as well (more than most people might assume).

Novum is a cool piece of kit. This creative sampler combines several powerful features that let you create instruments that will turn heads.

It all begins with turning your audio file into six independent layers. This makes it possible to play with the tonal characteristics and temporal dynamics of each.

Next up is the cross-synthesis functionality, which lets you derive, for instance, the tone of a flute from a piano.

Finally, the advanced granular synthesis engine lets you add all manner of sound particles to your sounds, and you can fine tune using speed, pitch, tempo sync, and HOMOGENIZE.

Overall, Novum offers up to six-layer granular synthesis, disentangled editing, timbre follower, cross synthesis with drag and drop, advanced subtractive using SYNTIFY, analog and comb filter, modulation system, MPE support, and over 300 factory presets.

The big idea here is to let you create any type of instrument out of the sounds you have available. Of course, you can do a lot more using the built-in features. And that makes Novum great for sound design, composition, scoring, and a variety of other applications.

More than a mere granular VST, Novum offers multiple possibilities, all from a single interface. That makes it our best premium selection.

Learn more: Plugin Boutique

MGranularMB by MeldaProduction – Best Budget Option

MGranularMB by MeldaProduction – Best Budget Option

MGranularMB is MeldaProduction’s own granular resynthesizer that takes your sounds, splits them up into small pieces and turns them into something entirely new.

MGranularMB comes with a dual user interface, one to six configurable independent bands with three transparent crossover algorithms, continuously adjustable oscillator shape, four global modulators, M/S, single channel, up to eight-channel surround processing, and smart randomization.

You’ll also find Melda plugins standards like automatic gain compensation (AGC), adjustable upsampling from 1x to 16x, MIDI controllers with MIDI learn, global preset management, and a fully automatable design.

MGranularMB is a little older, but it is surprisingly powerful, almost universally loved, and quite affordable. Have a listen for yourself and see how you like it. This is our best budget selection.

Learn more: Plugin Boutique

FRMS – Granular Synthesizer by Imaginando

FRMS – Granular Synthesizer by Imaginando

Imaginando’s FRMS – Granular Synthesizer is a hybrid synth that lets you combine multiple modes of synthesis, including addictive, subtractive, FM, and of course, granular methods.

FRMS puts a lot of power at your fingertips, empowering you to granulate anything and everything – live input, included samples, or even your own samples!

Take advantage of the four simultaneous layers, which can be set to granulator or oscillator. Layers come with independent controls (split to each corner of the screen), making fine-tuning a breeze.

Also discover 150+ presets, four synth engines and four layers per voice, up to 20 grains per layer, one modulation matrix per layer, two EGs per layer, four voice polyphony, four LFOs with five modes, one filter per layer, master filter, arpeggiator, delay, reverb, sample bank, audio recorder, and more.

From the conventional and ordinary to the otherworldly and obscure, FRMS is not limited by conventional synthesizer boundaries. There are plenty of other options in terms of granular effects, but if a hybrid granular synthesizer is what you need, don’t overlook this one!

Learn more: Plugin Boutique

Concept 2 by Krotos

Concept 2 by Krotos

Krotos’ Concept 2 is a modern soft synth with a ton of great features that allow for the fast creation of unique sounds.

You’ll find a ton of great presets in the categories of cinematic, basses, pads, FX, leads, keys, ambiences, plucks, and more, created by the likes of Kayla Painter, Roni Size, Richard Devine, and others.

Routing options is another area where Concept 2 shines. This means you can take advantage of multiple sound sources or even load your own samples into the granular engine and mix it all together with more conventional oscillators.

New features include a granular oscillator, advanced shape modulator, over 700 presets, new and improved impulse responses, and workflow improvements.

Concept still comes with all the things that made it so great in the first place too – XY capture, audio input, drag and drop modulation routing, and three effects slots with 10 effects (convolution reverb, delay, flanger / chorus, EQ, filter, ring mod, limiter, compressors, and transient shaper).

Additionally, you’ll find multiple filter types (formant, high pass, low pass, and bandpass) MIDI learn, light and dark mode, and more.

With a new granular oscillator, Concept 2 is a step beyond the original concept that captured the attention of many.

Learn more: Plugin Boutique

Density by Sound Particles

Density by Sound Particles

Feed a single track through Sound Particles’ Density. Just try it. And what will happen is that the magical VST will take your sound and add all kinds of layers to it by taking advantage of granular methods. The result? A more complex, dense sounding track, of course!

Whether for songwriting, composition, or sound design, Density is usable in a variety of situations.

Density consists of three primary modes – basic, detune, and pitch mode, each with their own distinct parameters.

To top it all off, Density comes with XY pad, all possible formats (stereo, Ambisonics, binaural, 5.1, 7.1, Dolby Atmos, and more), movement patterns, a circular visualization of your layers, layering, and randomization.

Density primarily takes advantage of pitch, panning, and delay algorithms to transform your sounds. This makes it a great effect for chorusing vocals, adding dimension to percussion, turning a violin into a trippy, stuttering kaleidoscope of layered notes, and more.

Learn more: Plugin Boutique

Efx FRAGMENTS by Arturia

Efx FRAGMENTS by Arturia

Take any sound and turn it into something entirely new with Arturia’s Efx FRAGMENTS, a granular processing effect. From ambiences and textures to stutters and more, experimental, ambient, and sound-designed soundscapes are but a mere effect away.

Efx FRAGMENTS comes with an array of tools like glitch and stutter, rhythmic variations, and textural enhancement for creating both the musical and experimental.

Take advantage of the easy-to-use buffer, grain capture, grain release, pan and effects, and advanced controls to process and fine-tune your sounds however you see fit.

Does it sound complicated? Well, Arturia breaks it all down into three basic processes so it’s easy for anyone to granulate their audio material – classic, rhythm, and texture.

With Efx FRAGMENTS, you can animate your sounds, pitch shift, freeze, add rhythmic movement, distort and mangle, and play with the stereo field for maximum fun.

Altogether, Efx FRAGMENTS offers three modes (classic, texture, rhythmic), pitch quantization with 15 scales, grain quantization with transient direction and snap-to-grid modes, spatializer section with nine trajectory presets, two FX slots with various routing options, advanced modulation section (with envelope follower, step sequencer, and three function generators), and a 60 preset library.

From the glitchy and fantastical to the immersive and expansive, Efx FRAGMENTS is a versatile tool for adding interest to your sounds.

Learn more: Plugin Boutique

Graindad by Sugar Bytes

Graindad by Sugar Bytes

For manipulating audio in real time, there’s Sugar Bytes’ Graindad. This powerhouse features 64 grains, 12 main parameters, two modulation systems, randomization, and more.

From a bird’s eye view, Graindad is made up of a grain engine, modulation engine, effects, and The Harvester, which lets you modulate all 12 parameters simultaneously.

At a more granular level (ha), you’ll find a grain engine with up to 64 grains, 12 parameters, Harvester, freeze, stutter, glitch, texturize, multiband transient detector, host sync, transient clock, 16-step trigger sequence, filters (LP, BP, HP, and band reject), reverb, delay, flanger, chorus, dry / wet envelope, modulation system with randomization, and Harvester and modulation morphing.

For creating all kinds of atmospheres and textures out of ordinary tracks, Graindad is sure to become one of your go-to effects.

Learn more: Plugin Boutique

Delta-V SpaceCraft by Tracktion

Delta-V SpaceCraft by Tracktion

Originally an iOS app, Tracktion brought Delta-V’s SpaceCraft to the realm of Digital Audio Workstations (which is a weird sounding sentence, but we should be grateful that Tracktion took the time to make something great more widely available).

SpaceCraft features two parallel granular engines along with sample position LFO, frequency / length control, filter and pitch, stereo reverb, and ring modulation.

SpaceCraft takes advantage of an arpeggiated note / grain sequencer grid to control the grain pitch. With 24 built-in scales, you can easily create melodic sounding textures, and there’s an XY pad for morphing between granular chords, drones, and arpeggiated sequences.

To keep things simple and manageable, SpaceCraft comes with a single-page layout. Sound design is mere clicks away.

All samples within SpaceCraft instantly become playable MIDI or MPE instruments.

All this and more make SpaceCraft a great choice for newbies and beginners.

Learn more: Plugin Boutique

Palindrome by Glitchmachines

Palindrome by Glitchmachines

When it comes to granular or glitchy anything, Glitchmachines is a wellspring of inventions that turn heads, and you will find several of their creations in this guide.

Their Palindrome is granular morph plotting sampler, complete with four granular sampler modules, eight multi-breakpoint envelopes, a morph plotting system, comprehensive randomizer, two insert FX per sampler, over 70 presets, and 1.5 GB of sample content.

If there’s one thing I can say about Palindrome, it’s that it’s weird. It produces glitchy, video game like sounds with ease. This, of course, makes it a useful entry for sound designing, composing, electronic music, and more.

Learn more: Plugin Boutique

Polygon 2 by Glitchmachines

Polygon 2 by Glitchmachines

Glitchmachines’ Polygon 2 is a hybrid sampler featuring a multitude of tools and features for creating sound effect composites and one-of-a-kind instruments.

The second iteration of Polygon was practically built from the ground up, along with a new granular mode, added modulation options, a new dual oscillator, and more.

All in all, Polygon 2 comes with four granular samplers, eight LFOs, four modulation sequences, modulation utilities, dual oscillator with FM, global filter, dual global effects, dual insert effects per sampler, randomizer, variable polyphony, 100 presets, and a curated factory sample bank.

Polygon 2 can be weird, outlandish, Alien like, Sci-Fi inspired, video game like, and a great deal more, depending on what you need it to be.

Learn more: Plugin Boutique

Grainstates by Rigid Audio

Grainstates by Rigid Audio

Rigid Audios’ Grainstates is a granular morphing Kontakt instrument. It features two sequencers, 4×64 source waveforms, effects (flanger, phaser, flair), three snapshots per preset, and more. You can even import WAV and AIF files into the Grainstates layers (drag and drop) to take advantage of your own favorite sounds.

Overall, Grainstates comes with 128 presets, three states within each preset, 4×64 (256) source WAVs, four engines (two grains, wavetable, and time stretching), 2×64-step modulation tables, grain flux, speed, detuning, length, sample offset, and state sequencer with eight steps and morphing.

You also get preset and sound randomization, random source sound selection, reverb, flanger, phaser, and flair, and audio import.

From the creepy and eerie to dramatic and atmospheric, Graintstates can help you achieve many textures and effects.

Learn more: Plugin Boutique

Albedo by Sinevibes

Albedo by Sinevibes

Sinevibes dubs their own Albedo a “granular cloud reverb” effect. As it records incoming audio into a buffer, it also runs up to 64 looping playheads, or grains, with their own random position and size. When the two are overlaid, you get the resulting atmospheric clouding effect.

Playback speed has continuous adjustment thanks to the dual envelope generators per grain. This means forwards and backwards directions feature smooth transitions. This makes mincemeat of live audio manipulation.

There’s also a multimode filter before the buffer, synchronous gain speed, size modulation, pitch shifts, delays, chorus, dissonance, freeze, and more.

In summary, you get a sound engine with a real time circular recording buffer with freeze and stereo link, multi-mode state-variable filter, granular playback with up to 64 grains, randomized position, size, bi-directional speed, variable detune, and selectable grain playback interpolation.

You’re also getting a sine wave LFO, lag filters on all continuous parameters, multiple channel configurations (mono, mono / mono, stereo / stereo, and stereo), built-in preset management functions, window scaling up to 200%, and more.

This reverb will add some complex textures to your tracks, making it a handy tool for a variety of applications.

Learn more: Plugin Boutique

Synths 2 Abyss by Karanyi Sounds

Synths 2 Abyss by Karanyi Sounds

If you’re looking for more bass and low end oriented synthesizers with granularized samples, then Karanyi Sounds’ Synths 2 Abyss should be right down your alley.

Samples were taken from legendary analog synths like the Moog Subsequent 37, Moog Minitaur, Oberheim Matrix-6, and Oberheim Matrix 1000. And you won’t just find granularized samples either. The 190 presets included glitched, distorted, resampled, reverbed, stretched, and atonal variations too.

If you’re looking for bigger sounds, there are even 40 multis you can take advantage of.

With over 2,600 samples, also included are over 230 Kontakt presets, enveloper selector (with three attack and three releases stages), six effects (80s flanger, phaser, Leslie, reverb, delay, ladder filter), two SSL style EQs, pole wheel, and more.

Synths 2 Abyss requires the full version of Kontakt 5.8.1 or higher.

Learn more: Plugin Boutique

GrainSpace by Audiority

GrainSpace by Audiority

Audiority’s GrainSpace granular processor offers real time reverberation and granulation with dynamic grain generation (up to 32 per channel), seven grain parameters, four grain modulators (two 11 waveforms LFO), smearing, chord resonator, and reverb.

GrainSpace also features a recording buffer of 10 seconds, stereo, mono, and side playback modes, two stretch modes, grain pitch quantizer, and a multi-mode filter.

Learn more: Plugin Boutique

Facture XT by Glitchmachines

Facture XT by Glitchmachines

Glitchmachines’ Fracture XT is a granular glitch processor based on the free and popular Fracture. The main difference is that Fracture XT comes with a new granular processor, revised buffer effects processor, a reworked delay effects processor, and multi-mode filters.

Fracture XT also features four LFOs (with sync to host, slow rates, waveshapes), which can feed multiple modulation targets at the same time. You’ll also find six randomizers, over 100 presets, a scalable UI, and more.

Learn more: Plugin Boutique

Venom by W.A. Production

Venom by W.A. Production

Taking you beyond the essential but predictable realms of reverb and delay, W.A. Prodcution’s Venom is a spectral processing effect that will take your audio and transmute it into something completely new. Whether you’re a musician, EDM producer, or composer, Venom could help you create the types of soundscapes you’ve been dreaming about.

Venom features two-stage processing with a freeze stage and spectral operation stage, seven effects (with a modular approach – change the order of the effects chain as you wish), bypass, and an array of factory presets.

Venom is effective in the studio and on the stage.

Learn more: Plugin Boutique

What Should I Look For In A Granular VST Plugin?

Granular VST plugins are increasing in popularity, and it’s not hard to see why. They can easily add complexity and dimension to your tracks, even transform them if you so wish. Hollow sounding mixes can be filled out with ease using the right granular VST.

No longer should you have to suffer through mixes with a lack of body or depth. This is a very solvable problem.

Of course, there are more choices for granular VST plugins than ever, and that doesn’t necessarily make shopping for a granular VST plugin any easier. That’s why we created this section of the guide, where we answer your questions and help you find the right plugin quickly.

There are a few factors worth considering when hunting down the right granular plugin. They are as follows:

  • Sound quality
  • Features
  • Budget

Here’s a look at each.

Sound Quality

In my personal estimation, the sound quality of a granular VST plugin is a little harder to judge. No doubt, each of them use different methodologies and techniques to achieve the desired result, but exactly what “quality” are we trying to evaluate when granular VSTs have the potential to mangle and transform tracks completely?

One question you can ask yourself is whether you want musical, abstract, or chaotic results. Some plugins can do it all, or at least come close, but some are closer to one trick ponies in terms of the types of textures they can deliver.

Granulation may be a similar process in principle, but in practice, each plugin seems to have a distinct sound to it.

Since there is an abundance of sound clips and videos covering each plugin, you can hear all of them in action and make note of any qualities you enjoy. If you find an effect usable, not only are you more likely to use it, but you are also more likely to integrate it into your workflow moving forward.

Beyond that, it’s probably going to come down to personal preference. What do you like about the sound each plugin produces? Once you have a good idea what you like, you can explore sound alongside other key criteria, like features, and budget, laid out below.

Key point – choose a plugin that works for you. Its sound, its functionality, and its workflow should ideally suit the types of projects you’re working on.

Features

It would be one thing if we were just talking about granular synthesizer VSTs or granular effects VSTs. But since the term “granular VST plugin” is all encompassing, we’re talking about a broader range of plugin and product types – synths, samplers, resynthesizers, reverbs, effects, multi-effects, and more.

Because of that, feature set isn’t going to be uniform across the board. No two plugins were created equal.

But some of the more common features of a granular VST include multiple layers (if it’s a synthesizer), presets, modulation, LFO, filters, arpeggiator, effects, and XY pad. This list should not be considered comprehensive, and you should not expect all plugins to come with all features. But it’s worth noting.

Identifying what you need in terms of features is always a good place to start. But if you aren’t sure, then a more in-depth look at each feature can help you understand what you’re buying as well as what’s important to you.

What matters most with any granular VST plugin is that it can create textures and soundscapes. Beyond that, it’s about the parameters and effects available. In other words, can you do additional sound shaping after the fact? That’s something to look at as well.

In case it sounds like I’m talking around the issue, you should know that there’s no one right answer here – only a right answer for you. So, think about the types of projects you’re working on and how a granular VST plugin is going to complement your workflow.

Buying plugins can be a strategic process where you identify a need and fill that need.

Budget

When it comes to the best of anything, money is always a factor. We’ve found that granular VST plugins cost anywhere from about $27 to $180, which is not bad, all things considered. There are some plugin categories where the best options can run you $500+.

And yet, plugins are still much more affordable than studio hardware, regardless of category, which is a thing of wonder.

Anyway, we encourage you to consider your budget an important part of the buying equation. First and foremost, you can use it to filter out plugins that are a little outside your available resources right now. That can help you narrow in on a specific selection.

Secondly, we do not recommend going into debt for any plugin related purchases. So, if there’s a plugin you must have, but can’t afford right now, be sure to save up for it!

Top Granular VST Plugins, Final Thoughts

From granular synths and synthesizers with granular patches to granular multi-effects and granular reverbs, you’ve got many choices when it comes to granular VST plugins. That’s great news, because if you want to create lush, glitchy, otherworldly soundscapes, there isn’t a shortage of viable options.

Having made it this far into this guide, you should be equipped with everything you need to know to select a plugin that will meet your needs. Once you get ahold of that plugin, be sure to spend some time with it, and let us know how it goes. Happy recording!

P.S. Remember though, none of what you've learned will matter if you don't know how to get your music out there and earn from it. Want to learn how to do that? Then get our free ‘5 Steps To Profitable Youtube Music Career' ebook emailed directly to you!

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