The very affordable Tensol is a curious little effects plug‑in that combines granular delay processing with a resonator that’s been modelled on a string under tension. The input runs through the resonator, which has controls for frequency (String) and resonator amount (Stress). After that comes the granular section, which essentially chops the signal into sections which can be stretched and pitch‑shifted before being sent to the output. Pitch‑shifting can be in musical semitones or a tape‑style varispeed. Though there are relatively few controls, there is a Jumble button which randomises all the control settings... and occasionally this comes up with something worthwhile! Tensol requires an AU, VST2 or VST3 compatible audio host, runs on Mac OS 10.8/Windows 10 x64 and above, and supports Apple Silicon.
In the granular section, a Segment control adjusts the grain density, while a Stretch control time‑stretches the grains. Length determines the size of the processing window while Time adjusts the delay time, but there’s no tempo sync option. Feedback sends some of the delay output back to the input, Mix does the usual wet/dry balance thing, while the Pitch control knob can be switched into scale or pitch modes. In Scale mode the knob controls the pitch‑shift as a scaling factor, much like changing a tape speed, while Pitch mode operates musically in semitones or fractions thereof, with a range of ±1 octave.
Despite its apparent simplicity, there’s a fair range of granular‑type sounds to be had, and if you’re processing pads or drones then the lack of a tempo‑sync function doesn’t really matter — you’d miss it more if processing drum parts or other elements with an important rhythmic function. The input resonator adds a useful timbre to the signal, and most control positions will give you something useful, though I found that I got clicking on occasions after some vigorous adjustment of the controls, despite my CPU meter suggesting that all should be OK. Hitting the Jumble button often comes up with something useful: it’s usually accompanied by the sound of electronic dolphins for a few seconds as the various speed and filter changes come into effect, but you’re still able to create some interesting presets this way.
For a ludicrously low asking price, it offers an easy way to add interesting textured delays to otherwise bland sounds.
Tensol is not going to give you anything like the same depth of processing as top‑shelf granular plug‑ins such as Arturia’s EFX Fragments, Output’s Portal or Unfiltered Audio’s Silo. But, for a ludicrously low asking price, it offers an easy way to add interesting textured delays to otherwise bland sounds. Because of its lack of tempo sync’ing, you do have to be careful when setting it up to work with rhythmic sounds such as drum loops and the like, but for anything else it’s pretty much a case of ‘anything goes’. You get a few factory presets to get you started, but with the aid of that Jumble button you can build your own preset library in no time.