Ember | Microsound Collage Machine

Ember is a sophisticated microsound collage tool that employs granular resynthesis to configure complex sound composites. Inspired by musique concrète pioneers of the past several decades, Ember harnesses modern digital algorithms with classic splicing techniques to create dense and evolving soundscapes. Point it to a folder of sounds and Ember will generate a composite of granular textures that you can later use in your electronic composition process.

Ember is open source and available on Github under (CC BY-NC 4.0).


Ember employs granular resynthesis in the powerful Csound sound programming language to explore a collage of sounds on the particle level. Select a folder containing more than one sound and an output folder. Hit “Render” and Ember pulls a number of sounds from the folder and selects a playback slice from each one. It then creates granular composites of all sounds together with various time stretching, density and spatial algorithms.

Ember Controls

Composite Time - The length of the output recording (in seconds)

Min Sound Dur - the minimum length to slice a sound (in seconds)

Max Sound Dur - the maximum length to slice a sound (in seconds)

BINARL - Create a spatial audio (binaural) mix

RENDER - Load the samples and begin processing. Abort the recording by pressing it again.

Some Ember Tips and Techniques

1. Try pointing the Sample folder to a folder with 2 very short, simple samples in it. Set the Min/Max Sound Dur to 1-2 seconds. Set the Output Folder the same as the Sample Folder. Press Render and when it's finished rendering after a few seconds, press it again. This way you keep iterating over the input sound content, building a complex collage from a specific, limited palette.

2. Use a Sample Folder of drum or rhythmic loops. Move the Left (Pink) shape all the way to the right to make the density more sparse. Use the right control to modulate the grain rate and size.

3. Set Min/Max Sound Dur to the maximum (10s) and input ambiences or field recordings into Ember. You will likely get some complex soundscapes!

4. Create a folder of many (more than 20) "kernels" (very short impulses and sounds under 1 second) Use these as input to Ember and you will get some very dense clouds of rain or sand-like textures.

5. Is the loading progress bar taking too long? You probably have some very large samples. You can abort rendering by clicking "Render" again.

6. Ember runs multiple granular processes and therefore uses a moderate amount of DSP resources. Depending on your system, you may hear some audio glitches. However, the rendered file takes priority over the audio monitoring and it is likely that the output audio file remains unscathed by any system strains.

You can use the shapes in the UI to manually adjust granular parameters in real time:
Left shape X-axis = Grain density
Left shape Y-axis = Pitch
Right shape X-axis = Grain Rate
Right shape Y-axis = Grain Size

Minimum Requirements

• OSX 10.8 or Windows 10 x64
• Audio Units or VST compatible audio host