Ableton Introduces Grain Scanner, A 10-voice Polyphonic Granular Synth

Ableton today released Grain Scanner – a 10-voice polyphonic granular synth and re-synthesizer designed for experimental noises, glitchy effects, alien textures and thick clouds of ambience.

Grain Scanner is designed to let you you design ‘experimental noises, glitchy effects, alien textures and massive clouds of ambience’. Grain Scanner chops samples into small slices, then re-arranges and plays them back in a multitude of ways. The result is sound that lives somewhere between the organic and the synthetic.

The heart of Grain Scanner is an advanced granular engine that can play up to 128,000 microscopic slices of a sample per second. You can modulate each of the 10 voices individually, with up to four LFOs, or modulate the global parameters with all four modulation sources at once.

A built-in step sequencer and separate effects panel provide further ways to bend and twist the sound.

Audio Demo:

This Pack includes more than 100 presets, as well as a database of dozens of source sounds ready to be transformed. It’s also possible to import user samples.

Grain Scanner was also made with Push and other keyboard controllers in mind, so it’s easy to start making melodies and harmonies.


  • 10-voice polyphony with an advanced granular engine
  • Advanced 4x modulation system and step-sequencer
  • Dedicated effects page
  • Designed to be used with Push and other keyboard controllers
  • Key Follow adds depth and expression to your performances
  • 118 presets

Pricing and Availability

Grain Scanner is available now for USD 59/EUR 49/GBP 39.

10 thoughts on “Ableton Introduces Grain Scanner, A 10-voice Polyphonic Granular Synth

    1. Robert Henke’s Granulator II max4live device is completely free. Still one of the best granular plugins out there. Doesn’t look the prettiest but does everything a poly granular synth should plus a few of its own unique tricks. Like an FM mod

  1. Not for me… As much as I love Live + M4l powered by Push I’ve never been much of a fan of M4l instruments which I didn’t build myself. I’ve opened and studied one too many pre-made M4l device and noticed several aspects which – in my opinion – weren’t exactly very optimally build. Plenty of devices are plain out sluggish in comparison to VST counterparts. I’d rather see Ableton introduce a new – native – instrument for Live…

    1. The same here. The first time I opened up reaktor 6 it blows my mind… Max4live devices are cool but I think the always same gui is so boring, sorry I like to discover….

  2. The device is made by Amazing Noises.

    Amazing Noises are Maurizio Giri and Alessandro Petrolati (AFAIK).

    Both have been creating synths and effects, including granular, way before Bitwig even existed.

    Maurizio Giri’s book (with Alessandro Cipriani) “Electronic Music and Sound Design” dates from 2009.

    Alessandro Petrolati’s Density/Pulsaret granular synthesis MaxMSP/M4L devices date from at least 2010.

    About Ableton itself, both the monolake Ableton founders studied granular synthesis, Gerhard Behles worked on Reaktor’s granular synthesis back in the NINETIES (when Reaktor was still called Generator), and Henke created Live’s own Granulator, which dates to 2010.

    (Curtis Roads’ 2001 book Microsound mentions Gerhard Behles granular synthesis work back in the university.)

    Should be no suprise, as timestretching audio (aka “warping”, which made Live famous) uses granular techniques.

    And Grain Scanner is effing awesome, it sounds great with all samples I throw at it.

  3. Have been messing with this a bit tonite and it’s got a lot going for it. I’ll still use Granulator II, but this adds all kinds of niceties for creating new sounds, etc. Loving it!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *