Output has released Portal, a granular effects plug-in. Portal invites you to run any input signal through its granular synthesis engine, taking “your sounds to another dimension”, as Output claims. The plug-in also features extensive modulation capabilities and additional effects.
Like other granular synthesizers and effects, such as Granulizer 2, PolyGAS, or Cosmosf FX4, Output Portal divides audio into small grains. These are then resynthesized to form the output signal, which can sound like a warped version of the original, or something completely different. Unlike many granular synthesizers, Portal does not require you to load a sample into the plug-in, but rather applies itself as an effect to the incoming audio signal.
Portal lets you adjust the grain with parameters like density, offset, size, count, and shape. You can control the pitch shifting of grains, which can lock to a selectable scale, if desired. The grain section, which is accessible on the advanced page, also features time stretching, tempo-syncing grain delay, and lowpass and highpass filters.
Control parameters with the X/Y pad
Parameters can be mapped to two macros, which you can then control with a large X/Y pad. The developers took the opportunity to integrate some cool graphics that really make you feel like you’re sending your sounds into another dimension.
For modulation, Output Portal includes two looping envelopes, which seem to be very flexible. You can edit them graphically, and it looks like they can take many shapes from simple curves to complex rhythmic patterns. The envelopes can control any parameter, allowing you to modulate all aspects of the granular synthesis.
To further shape the sound, Output Portal includes additional effects. There are two slots, into each of which you can load one of seven effects. Bit reducer, chorus, distortion, filter, phaser, reverb, and delay are on offer. In addition to that, Output also has a master effects section with a stereo compressor and master filters.
Compatibility and price
Output Portal is available for macOS (AAX, AU, VST, VST3) and Windows (AAX, VST, VST3, 32/64 bit). The plug-in costs USD 149. It is also included in the Output Bundle, which is available for USD 799.