Best Granular Software Synths On iOS

Post date:

Wed, 12/19/2018 - 08:37


Naomi Bolton

Soft synths have come such a long way that there are now various options when it comes to exploring even the most niche synthesizers. This means that you no longer need expensive Eurorack modular synthesizers to create granular synthesis either. In fact, you don't even need a computer and DAW as there are a number of applications at your disposal if you are an iOS user. So, if you want to delve into granular synthesis right in the palm of your hand, then look at some of the best granular software synths for iOS.

Sylo Synthesizer


Price: Free


Just to prove that you don't have to pay an arm and a leg for granular synths on iOS there is the free Sylo Synthesizer by Wooji Juice Ltd. In addition to allowing you to create instruments or effects from recordings using granular synthesis, it also has a range of other useful features. It makes use of live time-stretching technology and has a suite of filters to play around with. Don't let the fact that it is free cause any doubt about its quality either as both The Flaming Lips and Gorillaz made use of this software. It doesn't just limit you to one or two LFOs either, but allows you to program virtually all the parameters in the system to vary over time in complex ways. 

Grain Science

grain science

Price: $9.99


If you enjoyed Sylo Synthesizer, but want something a lot more powerful, then Grain Science from the same developer is worth checking out. Sporting an intuitive user interface, multichannel MIDI input and a sophisticated grain engine, Grain Science goes beyond what you can accomplish with other "experimental" granular apps. 

Quanta Granular Synth


Price: $9.99


If you have a powerful iPad device running iOS11+ or already own the full version of Quanta for Windows or macOS, then Quanta Granular Synth is worth serious consideration. According to the developer, Audio Damage Inc, it is a feature-heavy desktop quality synthesizer, so make sure that your hardware is up to scratch. For your money you get a multi-format sample loader, a grain engine that can handle up to 100 simultaneous grains per voice, sidecar oscillator, dual multi-mode filters, four flexible envelope generators and much, much more. 

Borderlands Granular


Price: $12.99


Borderlands Granular by Chris Carlson has been winning awards since its release and has just been getting better and better. It takes a while to get used to the interface as it makes use of gestural interaction instead of knobs and sliders for creating sounds. However, once you get the hang of things, it is a joy to use and you can being sculpting your sounds with ease. Borderlands allows for the loading and exporting of sounds via Audiobus, Audioshare as well as real time input. In addition it allows you to record, loop, store and duplicate any of the touches and parameters in order to improvise alongside the app.



Price: $9.99


csGrain from Boulanger Labs is another powerful real-time audio processing and recording tool that makes use of a stereo granular sound processor. You can use it to render, process, sample, resample, synthesize, resynthesize, play, delay, reverse, gate, compress, chorus, and echo your sounds, along with a range of other features, all in real-time. It allows you to import and remix your own songs as well as ones from iTunes and you can even AudioCopy and AudioPaste to and from other iPad apps. While csGrain can a little complex, it does come with a comprehensive user manual to get you started. 



Price: $3.99


iDensity by apeSoft may not be as well known as some of the other apps, but those who have used it all agree that it is great. The developers describe it as a granular playground for generating a wide range of usual and not so usual sound effects, which is pretty accurate. iDensity features six granular streams, full Instr and FX AudioUnit support, high density granulation, sampled and live granulation as well as the ability to share common audio files using iTunes, Dropbox AudioCopy and more. 


The six apps mentioned here are by no means the only granular synth options available on iOS as there are also others like iPulsaret (Link: and Crystal Synth (Link: that are worth a look. Let us know in the comments below or on our forums what your thoughts are on granular synths and what you use to incorporate them in your compositions.