Tempera Granular Synthesizer In-Depth Review

In his latest loopop video, host Ziv Eliraz takes an in-depth look at the BeetleCrab Tempera synthesizer, a new granular instrument by the makers of the Vector Synth.

Tempera is a tactile, cross-sample granular synthesizer and resampler with a unique interface and approach to sound manipulation. The developers describe it as “a novel instrument”, designed for live performance, sound design, sound recording and manipulation, soundscapes, looping, sample triggering and more.

As always, Eliraz offers a deep introduction to the instrument, shares a wide range of audio demos, and shares his throughts on the pros and cons of the instrument.

Topics covered:

0:00 Intro
1:55 Why it’s special
3:05 Emitter basics
4:15 Rhythmic trigs
4:50 Playing the grid
6:50 Track types
7:35 2-lane mode
8:10 Wavetables?
9:20 Multitimbrality
10:05 Hardware
12:35 I/O
13:20 Some specs
15:00 Track menu
16:00 Sampling
16:55 Editing samples
18:20 Emitter params
25:45 Overlay “keys”
26:55 Modulators
29:05 Effects
30:55 Settings
31:30 Load/save
32:30 Macros
34:00 Gallery & misc
34:30 Pros & cons
38:50 Factory sounds
51:35 More sounds!

Check out the video and share your thoughts on the Tempera in the comments!

51 thoughts on “Tempera Granular Synthesizer In-Depth Review

  1. Hi Synthtopia,

    My name is Jeremy. I have a YouTube channel called Red Means Recording.

    You have used an image taken from my video as the banner image for this article.

    This article does not credit me, instead it’s an article about Loopop’s video.

    You have two choices:

    Credit me in the article with a link to my video
    or
    Take my image down and use something else

    1. Jeremy

      Thanks for your feedback.

      Synthtopia generally does not include credits on content that is part of the official marketing materials of the manufacturer. So when Korg introduces a new product, we don’t include credits for Korg, their ad agency, their copywriter, the company that made their video, etc. This has been our practice for years, and seems to be pretty standard for the industry.

      In the case of your work for BeetleCrab/Tempera – it was presented to us as part of the manufacturer’s marketing, it’s positioned on the Tempera site as an official video (https://www.playtempera.com/) and your Youtube page states that “This video is sponsored by the makers of Tempera.” Based on this, we viewed your work as part of the manufacturer’s official marketing, and for that reason, did not include a credit.

      No slight was intended towards you, we just viewed your content as paid marketing, and that seems reasonable to us, since you labeled it as such.

      When we feature videos on the site that are not paid marketing, we try to always include an appropriate credit. For example, here are the credits included on a couple of your videos that we’ve previously featured on Synthtopia:

      “In his video, Jeremy Blake (Red Means Recording) shares his thoughts on making music with the Moog Subharmonicon.”

      https://www.synthtopia.com/content/2020/08/01/making-music-with-the-moog-subharmonicon/

      “Red Means Recording shared this video-song style synthwave track, featuring the Novation Bass Station 2 analog synthesizer.”

      https://www.synthtopia.com/content/2017/09/24/synthwave-video-song-with-a-novation-bass-station-2/

      Since you have concerns about our approach, we’ve removed the work that you did for BeetleCrab/Tempera from our site, and will avoid sharing your paid content in the future.

      If we missed anything, please let us know, and we will try to remove that also. Thanks for your understanding!

      1. Hello,

        This is Andre from Beetlecrab, the manufacturer.

        Just wanted to clear up a few things. While we did sponsor Jeremy’s video, it’s his video, not ours. It’s hosted on his YouTube channel, and we don’t have any control over it – if Jeremy decided to call me a donkey in it, there’d be nothing I could do. 🙂

        We’re not a big company like Korg with an ad agency or copywriters. We embed cool videos from creators because we love showcasing how people use Tempera, but they’re not made by us and aren’t our “official marketing materials” (unlike, for example, the product photos, or videos on our YouTube channel) so it’s good to be careful to not mix thumbnails like this.

        That being said, we love what you do here. Please don’t ban us or anyone else from your website.

    2. Jeremy, it appears you may need to contact the manufacturer about this, as Elisabeth mentioned it was part of their marketing materials. Alternatively, you could use the feedback or site tips to reach out to the site owner instead of using the comment section or Twitter. By the way, you’ve received some free advertising here; just something to keep in mind for next time before you react.

    3. Hi Jeremy, this is Sarah, you just lost a subscriber. You can credit me and my conscience and basic level of politeness. And I am generally pretty rude.

      You have two choices:

      Apologise
      or
      Apologise.

      Neither will result in me ever watching anything else you have done or will ever do.

      1. And by the way Jeremy, you and I are still BFF on our hate for Dump (Trump) and Muck (Musk).

        I really wish you had taken a deep breath before all of this mess.

          1. Oh, are b u t t hurt because I offended your idols? Maybe you should find better people to idolise. Real men would be a good start; better yet actual human beings is even better

  2. Hi Synthtopia, trying this again as I haven’t heard from you all day.

    You’re using an image from my Tempera video on a video that’s about a Loopop video with no attribution or credit to me.
    You have two choices:
    1) remove the image and use something else
    2) credit me and my video in the article

    My YouTube channel is Red Means Recording and this is my video: https://youtube.com/watch?v=50RjJZofUnY
    You have 24 hours to comply or I’ll file a DMCA.

    1. Jeremy – we’re sorry that we took a few hours to get back to you. As noted in Elisabeth’s earlier comment, we’ve addressed your concerns.

      For readers – Synthtopia generally does not include credits on content that is part of the official marketing materials of manufacturers. So when Korg introduces a new product, we don’t include content credits in our article for Korg, their ad agency, their copywriter, the company that made their video, etc.

      This approach seems to be standard in the industry.

      We viewed Jeremy’s work as part of the official marketing for the Tempera, since that’s how the manufacturer presents it, and because Jeremy disclosed on his video that his work is “sponsored by the makers of Tempera”.

      Since Jeremy took issue with our approach, we were happy to address his concerns.

    2. This is way over the top, and frankly makes me not want to watch any of your videos in future. Besides the rude tone, the issue was addressed in detail and mitigated hours earlier; since you had to come here to leave this comment, how did you fail to notice this? Issuing ultimata like this as if you were dealing with some huge faceless corporation is really inappropriate.

        1. Admin: Personal attack deleted.

          Alan – we appreciate the feedback, but it stepped into personal attack territory.

          We encourage readers to share any perspectives or criticisms you may have about THINGS (synths, a manufacturer, another reader’s comment). But personal attacks on individuals or groups of people will be deleted when we see them.

    1. DCJ – as noted above, we viewed Jeremy’s video as part of the official marketing for the Tempera, since that’s the way the manufacturer presents it, and since Jeremy said the video is “sponsored by the makers of Tempera”.

      We generally do not provide content credits for manufacturers marketing material. We had included the Tempera image in our library of marketing images, since we considered it marketing, and simply included it as a preview because it was a good image of the Tempera.

      We’ve swapped the image out to eliminate Jeremy’s concerns and any confusion .

  3. Really an interesting instrument. The XY surface and multiple overlapping audio grains is cool but the rest of the interface seems cluttered and confusing

    1. It’s not that bad.
      That was my biggest fear when I bought it. However, it’s quite intuitive.
      I’m not the best for reading manuals and often get put off by lots of menus or multi button press combos like I’m playing Mortal Kombat rather than trying to play a synth.
      The Tempera is quite easy to get your head around.
      The manual isn’t the best. In fact this Loopop video explains a lot of things much clearer.
      That being said, it’s so fun to play with and get lost in sounds for hours that you’ll soon figure everything out.

  4. Really unfortunate that how well it plays with other midi gear isn’t covered. I have heard some complaints about things not syncing to external midi that have kept me from ordering. I would love a video that really went into the details so I could see if it would be a dealbreaker. Sonic state tends to be better about hooking things together so here’s hoping.

      1. Can you be more specific about what was wrong and what got patched? I don’t see release notes anywhere for the firmware versions or anything in the manual. Thanks!

  5. Y’all should check your Twitter mentions for Jeremy Blake’s (a.k.a. Red Means Recording) message to you about this article.

  6. Sad to see one of my favourite YouTubers being so aggressive about competition from another favourite YouTuber. Surely this discussion should have been handled behind the scenes, not on a public forum. I’d seen Red Means Recording’s original video when the Termpera launched last year, I hadn’t appreciated that it was paid for by the manufacturer.

    1. Richard – thanks for the feedback, and yeah, we don’t love it when people go ‘straight to 11’ and start making legal threats.

      The Synthtopia team is low drama, though, and has no interest in having a beef with Jeremy or anybody else. We’ve tried to follow up in a professional way to Jeremy’s concerns here, on X/Twitter, and personally via email.

      Regarding Jeremy’s video being paid for by the manufacturer – based on what we’ve seen, Jeremy seems to be responsible and transparent when he does promo videos for manufacturers. He did put a statement on his Tempera intro video on Youtube, saying that the makers of Tempera paid for the video.

      The fact that the manufacturer paid for the video, though, and uses it in their marketing, does mean that Synthtopia should treat Jeremy’s work for Tempera as part of the company’s marketing, rather than treating it as an impartial third-party perspective on the product.

      This particular situation is the first time, in two decades, that Synthtopia has had someone doing marketing for a manufacturer demand that they be given a personal credit for their paid marketing work or that we remove their content from our site.

      While it may be inconvenient to readers and the manufacturers that sponsor Jeremy’s videos, Synthtopia’s safest response to Jeremy’s request is to remove his work, as he requested, and avoid featuring his sponsored content on our site in the future.

  7. Whoo hoo, this has turned spicy!
    Love the comments section here. It’s why I come.
    However, I would like to hear more discussion about the Tempera though. It’s a great little machine.
    It, along with the ELZ_1 Play by Sonicware, are the only pieces of hardware that I’ve pre-ordered as soon as I’ve seen them.

  8. to return th the subjet at hand, when this was first teased I thought yes-way, this is the granular for me – but watching Loop-pop’s video brought it all a bit more down to earth for me, and I now remain undecided. Not sure what exactly the downplaying effect was based on though, it still looks pretty cool.

  9. I just can’t call it “X.” That’s too generic. I think of it as Twidder, because most of the content has always been people twiddling their, um… “thumbs.” Musk is like an alternate ‘Iron Man’ who gets sued blind for repeatedly being drunk and crashing the armor into public spaces & buildings. :O

  10. I picked up one and am loving it. I am fortunate enough to also have an Iridium and can say that I much prefer the Tempera’s granular feature set for creating complex granular soundscapes. The Iridium gets a lot of love as well but I generally use its granular oscillators to add subtle texture as opposed to building up large granular explorations. Either instrument is a winner…just depends on what you want to create 🙂

    1. Man, that’s pretty harsh. Jeremy’s top notch. I’m sure he’s got his own legit reasons to respond the way he did.

    2. He is also a “musician” 🙂
      I just watched one of his videos about synths being political. It was everything I dislike about forcing unrelated messages into music under the guise of a history lesson. I only managed to endure the first seven minutes

  11. Seems the device is well capable of granularising the sound of someone shooting themselves in the foot, unintentionally .
    Called Tempera ( a form of painting) , not Temper Temper.
    Painting with egg yolk , seems some has backfired onto face .

  12. Wow. So many commenters here thinking it’s a cool thing to jump in and bash Jeremy for simply wanting to be credited for his work. He was not rude at all, unlike the commenters.

    1. He aint that rude after i meet him at Namm, just a bit of a snob. He even invited me out for wine and cheese as a true gentleman and republican

  13. As Jeremy is usually a fairly even keeled kind of guy (despite a couple “I am VERY frustrated” videos in the past couple years), I would chalk this up to just being frustrated by unexpectedly seeing the post. I get where he’s coming from, but I totally get Synthtopia’s reasoning as well. No reason tit-for-tat escalation. Leave that to idiotic world politics.

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