Review – New Sonic Arts Nuance
New Sonic Arts have released a second offering next to their excellent granular sampler Granite. Please welcome the software sampler Nuance to the world.
by Robert Halvarsson, July 2013
A No-Frills Sampler for the Future
Granite was an extremely interesting concept and a granular sampler which this reviewer has used in more than one of his projects. Innovatively, it used the GPU to offload work form the central processor(s), thereby making it more effective to use with modern computers.
Nuance pretty much builds on the successful and tasteful design choices of Granite, marketing it as a “no bloat” sampler, an alternative to its feature ridden counterparts. Nuance ships with very few instruments, but the main idea is for the user to dig out their own sample library and make Nuance twist things around.
It supports the standard fare in waveforms, you can load .wav and .au-files and soundfont-files (sfz). Inside the sampler, you get LFOs, analog modelled low-pass, band-pass and hi-pass filters, simplistic compression and overdrive controls. The effects are quite vanilla, but at the same time they do what they should. Nuance gets rid of a lot of what may be unnecessary when working with samplers, thereby letting you focus on the core of things.
You can, of course, map samples out to your hearts delight, layer them via a piano-roll, and get funky with things, but you can also modulate the effects using a nifty and flexible routing system. The modular possibilities are very nice, and quite easy to get into as well, which results in what may be considered the most original aspect of Nuance. You also get various loop modes and what could pretty much be considered unlimited polyphony (128 to be specific).
Knowing that New Sonic Arts still supports Granite with free updates, people who take Nuance to heart most likely will have something to look forward to. When writing this article, the attack, decay and release ‘time’-control (ADR) just became available as a modulation targets. Not bad, not bad at all… And seeing that a form of well-articulated simplicity has been a growing trend (think of the success of Apple to illustrate this case in point), it is likely that Nuance could appeal to quite a large demographic of producers. After all, it’s all about workflow these days.
So be sure to check Nuance out, and while you’re at it, try Granite out if you haven’t. It has been my gateway to granular synthesis – and certainly deserves more recognition then it has gotten. As with Granite I believe we are in for a treat when it comes to the development of Nuance as well.
New Sonic Arts