Scatter is a very simple‑to‑use granular delay that generates up to 64 grains with randomised positions, with stereo placement based around a fixed one‑second recording buffer. At lower grain values, typically below 10, you get some nice ‘tinkly’ effects, especially if using the pitch‑shift function, whereas at higher grain values, the sound takes on a more dense, shimmery character. The pitch‑shifting function adds a lot of interest to the sound, especially if pitch randomisation is used. Pitch changes can be locked to chromatic, octaves, fifths or major/minor scale interval modes with a maximum pitch range of two octaves up or down. Scatter is available in AU (for macOS 10.12 and up) and VST3 (for macOS 10.12 and up and Windows 8 and newer) formats.
An onboard reverb adds density while a Freeze ‘snowflake’ button allows the current buffer contents to be replayed indefinitely until released, but you’re still able to experiment with the controls to manipulate the frozen sound. Grains may be output in a forwards or backwards direction, as set by an arrow to the right of the grain display. The grains slider, just below the grains display, sets the number of grains from zero to 64 in one‑grain steps. As the plug‑in runs, the dots in the grain display reflect the number of grains selected and wink in and out to show grain activity. The brightness of the dots reflects the amplitude of the grains. Each of the four rows of 16 dots has a different colour.
The main controls are set out as knobs. Size sets the length of the grains, from 30ms to one second, while Feedback adjusts the amount of granular signal fed back into the recording buffer, generating longer decay times. Space brings in a big‑sounding reverb while Shape provides choices of grain shape (rectangle, exponential decay, fast decay or smoothed triangle). Mix sets the wet/dry balance while Pitch determines the pitch of the grains according to the intervals of the currently selected transpose mode, selected via a drop‑down menu.
The outer ring of the Pitch control sets the degree and direction of randomisation within the selected pitch mode, where the range of pitch movement is shown by blue shading within the ring. The options are up, down or both, set by clicking on the two arrowheads to the right of the Pitch knob. Using very low grain density with a clean (ideally root) note stored in Freeze mode, the major and minor pitch modes can be used to conjure up some very useful random melodies.
The effects range from a sprinkling of characterful tinkles and rumbles to a dense cloud of crystalline complexity.
While not as flexible as some of the more costly ‘big gun’ granular delays, Scatter is much simpler to use and can add a lovely ambience to an otherwise bland sound, simply by mixing in around 10 percent of the wet signal. The effects range from a sprinkling of characterful tinkles and rumbles to a dense cloud of crystalline complexity and, unless you are very heavy handed, most of what Scatter serves up is musically useful. I tried it on pad sounds, eBow guitar and simple melody lines, and in all cases it added something very appealing. Its ability to create something new from frozen sounds is also worthy of exploration.