The little man on the front panel and the name seem to reference the classic 1983 Commodore 64 platformer Lode Runner. But then you’d sort of assume that this would be 8-bit and have something to do with SID synthesis, but it’s not. Load Runner is a Granular Synthesizer that takes 16bit wav files and does interesting things with them. Maybe Phase Synthesizers are just fans of old computer games.
Let’s start with the helpful definition of granular from the Load Runner manual.
The term ‘granular’refers to small snippets of sound ranging from 10 milliseconds to 1 second; each short section of sound is referred to as a grain. An amplitude envelope is applied to each grain in order to smooth out any transients and to create different sonic textures. When multiple grains are played together, they can form a continuous sound with different characteristics to the original source audio.
So, you load a sample and Load Runner generates a bunch of grains. There can be up to 15 grains at one time or down to a single grain every 10 seconds.
You load your wav files (up to 200) into the internal memory from a USB flash drive that you can stick right in the front. You can swap samples on-the-fly or access them via CV. The nice big screen displays the waveform and you can get stuck in with controls over the start point and length and Load Runner will randomly generate grains from your selection. Grain density, length and pitch are also controlled from the front panel. There are three pitch modes and also 10 envelope shapes that can be applied to the grain amplitude. All of these parameters are CV controllable so you can modulate the density and scan through the grains.
One neat feature is the ability to resample the output and turn that into a sample for generating more grains.
It’s a straight forward module that looks great and does what it’s supposed to with a useful display and easy to use format.
- Phase Synthesizers website.
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