The small Czech company behind Vector is teasing us with a new synth plaything, the Tempera. On its website the words “granularity – record – resample” scroll merrily past while we switch our gaze to the flashing lights and colours on the accompanying mockup animation.
Those fast off the blocks will already have pre-ordered their unit, due to ship in November 2023, with a second batch due in February 2024.
So what is it? Basically, it’s a granular synth.
As the name suggests, granular synthesis is a sound synthesis technique that involves the manipulation and generation of audio by dividing it into tiny, discrete fragments called grains. Each grain typically consists of a very short duration of the original sound, typically ranging from a few milliseconds to a few hundred milliseconds. These grains are then manipulated in various ways to create new sounds.
In granular synthesis, the grains are usually played back in a random or controlled manner. They can be arranged in different order, played at different speeds, overlapped, and modulated in pitch, duration, amplitude, and other parameters. By manipulating these parameters, a wide range of unique and complex sounds can be created.
One of the key features of granular synthesis is the ability to manipulate the individual grains independently, allowing for precise control over the resulting sound. This technique is often used to create texture-rich soundscapes, intricate rhythmic patterns, and abstract sonic effects.
So the specs of Tempera are as follows:
- 4096 grains
- 16 voice polyphony
- per voice filter
- 5 per voice routable modulators
- 64 total emitters per voice
- 4 concurrent emitter configurations
- 8GB internal storage
- 16-bit stereo samples, 32-bit processing
- audio input switchable between instrument, microphone and line in modes
- record what you play resampling
- dimensions approx. 20.3×14.6×3.4 cm (5.4 cm with knobs)
The diagram (copied below) shows the main controls , including four RGB backlit smooth encoders with anodised aluminium knobs, four bright 128×64 monochrome OLED displays, 8×8 capacitive touch LED backlit grid with full polyphony, onboard mic, and controls for accessing mixer, samples, emitters, notes and voices, envelopes and LFOs, effects, custom macros, and more. It can also accommodate an SD card for sample storage.
Price is €670.