SAE London Audio student creates granular synthesiser as part of Programming Environments module

09 Sep 2020

We spoke to SAE London Audio Production student Giordano Fiacchini about the granular synthesiser he created as part of his work during the Programming Environments module.

What have you been learning as part of the Programming Environments module?

Programming Environments was by far one of my favourite modules because it provided all the basics for being able to program sequencers, effects, synthesisers and everything in between. The knowledge shared by my lecture Simon Fay was extensive and I feel really grateful for this experience. This module also helped me a lot to further solidify my understanding of signal flow, a skill which can be applied to all sorts of scenarios including mixing on an SSL console.

How have you found the process of learning programming languages?

It can feel a bit challenging for someone with such little knowledge of coding like me, but the way the module is structured really helps diving in PureData in a logical way, step by step. I would definitely suggest this module to anyone who might be interested in learning about the intricacies behind our favourite plug-ins or even to better understand signal flow on analogue consoles and in the modular synth world.

Could you tell us a bit about the granular synthesiser that you’ve been working on - for a non-audio specialist, what does this involve?

My Granulator “The GrainCloud” is a digital instrument that creates interesting soundscapes and effects based around a sound source. So, you can use this synth to manipulate any chosen sound sample beyond recognition and what you’ll obtain is dependent from a host of controls and parameters which can be accessed by a laptop’s keyboard and mouse. The unique feature of this synthesiser is that all of the parameters follow 5 different LFO lines which add complexity and a level of unpredictability. On top of that, all of the parameters can also be randomised and the user can record the synthesiser’s output to export the sound explorations.

What have been some of the challenges you’ve experienced during the course of this project and how have you overcome them?

Being the first time I properly dived into programming I found some small issues in my code, but thanks to the feedback provided by the lecturer it wasn’t a major problem. Ultimately, I managed to complete the project successfully.

What are you enjoying about the Audio Production course?

The whole course has been extremely helpful in solidifying previous knowledge and provides a clear blueprint to utilize in the future for career developments. The most exciting part is obviously having access to amazing studio facilities and expert lecturers.

At this stage do you have any idea which area of the Audio industry you would like to work in?

Pre-Covid I used to work as a live sound engineer for the East London club 93 Feet East and as a radio producer for NTS Radio, but thanks to the skills provided by the course I’ve been able to expand my horizons and consider different paths.

I’m am confident that I’ll keep my personal music projects going and refine them with the new tools and skills learned at SAE and at the same time I will look into the opportunities offered by programming environments such as Pure Data and Max 8, hopefully looking to sell my own stand-alone and MaxforLive devices and get involved into the installation art world, where algorithmic composition, interactivity and music programming would be extremely useful. 

Follow Giordano on Instagram and SoundCloud