The Mangle: Manual

  1. Granular synthesis - the concept
  2. The Mangle's structure
  3. Getting started
    1. Adding an audio file
    2. Triggering notes
  4. The basic parameters
    1. Position
    2. Amplitude
    3. Rate
    4. Pitch
    5. Duration
    6. Reverse
    7. Pan
  5. The Waveform & Grain Display
    1. Waveform zoom & pan
  6. Slots & multi-timbral capabilities
  7. Modulation
    1. Adding modulations
    2. Editing modulations
  8. Modulators
    1. LFOs
    2. Envelopes
    3. Random generators
    4. Sequencers
    5. MIDI & Macro
  9. Position tab
    1. Grain scaling
    2. Loop
    3. Position locks
  10. Presets

Granular synthesis - the concept (top)

The Mangle is a granular synthesiser. I'm going to be lazy and reach for Wikipedia for a definition of granular synthesis:

It is based on the same principle as sampling. However, the samples are not played back conventionally, but are instead split into small pieces of around 1 to 50 ms. These small pieces are called grains. Multiple grains may be layered on top of each other, and may play at different speeds, phases, volume, and frequency, among other parameters.

Actually, The Mangle can play grains that are much longer than 50ms, but otherwise this offers a pretty clear description of what it does. The Mangle features an animated display that shows in realtime all the grains that are being created in your sound, their playback position over the sample, their amplitude and a few other parameters.

The key thing to understand about a grain in The Mangle is that once created, it cannot change. The parameters for a grain are fixed at the moment of its creation. For example, if a grain is created while the pitch ratio parameter is set at 1.0, that grain will play back at that pitch for its entire duration, even if I change the pitch parameter while it is still playing back. Ditto for the grain's duration (envelope), overall amplitude, pan position etc.

The Mangle's structure (top)

One common misconception is that The Mangle is an insert effect, like a reverb or a delay, that processes incoming audio on a track. At the moment, this is not the case, although I may consider making a modified version in the future that works in this way. If you're interested in this kind of plugin, I recommend SaltyGrain, which does what you're after.

Instead, The Mangle is a "software instrument", like a synthesizer or sampler. It works from static sound files on your computer, not an incoming stream of audio. And you trigger streams of grains using MIDI data, just as you trigger samples with MIDI notes in a regular sampler.

So you won't find The Mangle in your list of audio effect VSTs / Audio Units. You need to create a special software instrument track, and add The Mangle as the instrument/generator for that track. Terminology, unfortunately, differs between DAW hosts.

Getting started (top)

The best way to learn any synth is simply to play with it. After all, this is supposed to be more art than science. With that said, there are a couple of steps you'll need to be familiar with before you can start making sound, so let's look at those first:

Adding an audio file (top)

To make some sound, The Mangle needs an audio file to granulate. You can add an audio file by dragging it from a folder on your computer onto the large black rectangular panel at the top (the waveform display). Some DAW hosts don't allow files to be dragged in for various reasons, so there's an alternative way. Click the small folder icon at the top right of the waveform display and you'll be prompted to open a file. The Mangle can use WAV, AIFF or MP3 files.

Triggering notes (top)

You can preview the sound in 3 ways:

  1. Click the preview button in the slot selector that occupies the left hand side of the window below the waveform display. The button is a grey square that lights up yellow when clicked.
  2. Click and drag on the waveform whilst Mouse trigger is enabled. You can toggle this using the button below the far right of the waveform display.
  3. Play an appropriate MIDI note. Because of the Mangle's multi-timbral structure, by default each slot only occupies a single octave of MIDI notes, so you may have to find or edit this range using the Key Map tab in the bottom panel.

Remember that methods 1 & 2 can only be used for previewing notes - the Mangle can't pass MIDI notes to the DAW host, so recording yourself playing notes this way won't work. You need to play or program MIDI notes on The Mangle's instrument track.

There are two options related to triggering notes. These are located at the far right of the Perform panel, just below the waveform display. The first, Mouse trigger enables quick previewing of the sound by clicking and dragging on the waveform display itself. If you're triggering notes via MIDI and changing the position at the same time (e.g. see Recording automation) you probably want to turn this off so clicking the display doesn't interfere with your note triggering.

The second, labelled Toggle mode lets you start a note with a single click / MIDI note, and stop it with another click / note on the same key. If you want to change position or amplitude of the grains without toggling off your drone, Ctrl-click on the waveform display.

Sometimes it can be hard to keep track of which notes are toggled on - in this situation, disabling Toggle mode kills all notes playing on that slot.

Now you're ready to start editing the parameters that make up your sound.

The basic parameters (top)

There are 7 key parameters in the Mangle. 5 are represented with large friendly knobs on the Perform panel. These are: Rate, Pitch, Duration (actually made up of 3 sub parameters to make a simple ASR envelope), Reverse and Pan.

The other 2 main parameters are represented on the Waveform graph. These are Position and Amp (which combines with the grain envelope to decide the 'volume' or amplitude of the grain at a given point in its lifetime). They are represented by a pair of small triangles making crosshairs on the display.

Position (top)

This describes where in the sound file the grain begins its playback from. Combined with the grain's envelope, this describes which part of the sound file the grain will play back. If you set the position all the way to the left, grains will play back from the start of the sound file, ending as far into the sound as the grain envelope determines.

Of course, it's boring for every grain to originate in exactly the same place, so modulating the position is one of the key techniques in granular synthesis - from randomising it a tiny amount to create gently phasing timbres, to modulating all over the sound for blending different timbres, or creating rhythmic slices of your sound.

Amplitude (top)

This simply describes how loud each grain will play back. It represents how loud the grain will be at the peak of its envelope i.e. the sustain phase, since there is no "decay" in a grain envelope.

Rate (top)

This is the 'odd one out' amongst the basic parameters. All the other parameters describe aspects of how a grain will play back, but this parameter instead governs the stream of grains. Specifically, it controls how many grains will be created per second whilst a MIDI note is playing in the Mangle.

It ranges from 4.0 (one grain created every 4 seconds) to 0.004 (one grain created every 0.004 seconds, or in other words 250 grains per second). Remember, at high grain rates The Mangle will consume much more CPU, especially if the grains have long envelopes, because The Mangle will have to play back hundreds of individual instances of the sound at once.

Rate locking (top)

The Rate can be synchronised to the host's tempo, which allows you to create rhythmic patterns of grains. To access this feature, click the label under the Rate knob which has a padlock icon. You can then choose whether to lock to dotted divisions, whole divisions, or triplet divisions (or any combination).

You can also choose whether to synchronise the first grain to the grid (Quantise start), which ensures the first grain is locked to the grid even if you start the note off the grid. This can help your whole patch stay in sync. If you're going to be changing the rate through automation, you can select to Quantise changes. In this mode, if you change the rate in between grains, the stream will wait until the next grain is outputted before changing the Rate, again helping to keep everything in sync.

Finally, there is a Swing slider to add some swing to your grain stream. This works whether or not your grains are synchronised to the beat, but be aware it is a simple implementation - it simply delays every other grain by a certain amount.

Pitch (top)

Grains in The Mangle can play back the sound file at a range of pitches. This is accomplished in the old-fashioned manner. To play a higher pitch, we play the sound faster, while playing the sound slower will lower the pitch. This is just like playing a turntable faster or slower. You will notice that when the pitch is higher (for example) the grains move much faster across the sound file. Pitch is described as a ratio - 1.0 is the original pitch, 2.0 is an octave higher (playing back twice as fast), 4.0 is an octave above that, then 8.0 etc.

People sometimes ask if I could include "time-stretching" or "elastic" audio a la Ableton Live, where the pitch can be affected without affecting the speed the grain moves across the waveform. This is currently not possible because it would be too CPU intensive. Actually, elastic audio in (for example) Ableton Live is accomplished using granular synthesis. So to achieve this in The Mangle, each individual grain would have to be a granular synthesiser in its own right - a pretty tall order if you want to play thousands of grains per second.

We will see later how The Mangle can automatically adjust grain envelopes for higher/lower pitched grains to avoid them moving over parts of the sound you don't want. See the Position Tab.

Pitch locking (top)

Pitch can be changed freely, or locked to a particular scale. For example, in many cases you will only want grains to play back at the original pitch or octaves of that pitch, to preserve the musical key of your sample. To access this feature, click the Pitch knob's label which has a padlock icon. You can choose from a list of scales to synchronise to.

Duration (top)

The duration of a grain is determined by its simple envelope. This describes how long the grain take to reach its full volume (attack), how long it stays at that volume (sustain) and how long it takes to fade to silence (release).

The third main knob from the left on the Mangle can be switched to affect any of these envelope stages, or to affect the overall length of the grain through a simple multiplier. To change which part of the grain envelope (and to modulate any of these stages) click the knob's label and select an envelope stage from the dropdown menu.

You can also see the overall envelope shape and change any of its stages by clicking on the Grain Env button in the Modulators tab on the bottom panel of the Perform page.

Reverse (top)

The Reverse knob sets a probability that a given grain will play the sound in reverse. This is really the same thing as having a negative pitch, but it seemed conceptually easier to give it its own knob. At 0% no grains will be reversed, at 100% every grain will be reversed. For anything in between, on a grain's creation the computer 'flips a coin' to decide if it will be reversed, though of course this coin can be weighted differently to the 50% chance we know coins have in the real world.

Pan (top)

This describes where a grain will be placed in the stereo field. The Mangle is a stereo granulator, which means if you use a stereo sound file, grains play back the sound in true stereo. A panned grain is much like panning a stereo audio file in your DAW - both channels are distributed between the speakers to acheive the effect of moving the sound in the stereo field.

By creating many grains with different pan positions, you can acheive very wide and pleasing stereo effects.

Clicking on the Pan knob's label presents a dropdown that lets you flip the stereo playback of certain grains. This is useful if your sound file is somewhat biased to one side of the stereo field. You can choose to flip the stereo of your grains alternately or randomly.

The Waveform & Grain Display (top)

The waveform display has several functions. First it acts like a giant XY pad, allowing you to change the grain origin position and amplitude in tandem. This allows for expressive performance of the stream of grains. When Mouse trigger is enabled (button to bottom right of waveform display) simply clicking and dragging on the waveform triggers the grain stream, for quick previewing of the grain stream at different origin positions and volumes. See the section Slots & multi-timbral capabilities for more details.

The second function fulfilled by the waveform display is to give you visual information about your sound, so you can understand what the grain stream is doing, and hopefully also to inspire ideas.

The display shows the current audio file visually. It shows the relative level of three frequency bands of the sound. By default it shows low frequency parts in a darker colour, mid frequencies in brighter colour and high frequencies in a brighter colour still. You can change how each band is coloured in the Global Setup tab (button at top left of window).

When you play a stream of grains, the display shows an animation of the grains which are being created in real time. The grains' movement shows their actual position in real time. You can easily see how lower pitched grains move more slowly over the waveform, while reversed grains move backwards.

In addition to their speed, a grain's colour also helps you identify what pitch it is at. Blue, green and purple grains represent low pitches, while pink, orange and yellow grains reach into the higher pitch ratios.

The grains' size over time reflects their individual envelopes - slowly change the grain envelope attack from long to very short, and you will see this.

Hopefully the grain display should help you see why your sound is behaving as it is - as well as providing some colour and delight in the music-making process!

Waveform zoom & pan (top)

If you want to focus on a smaller part of the sound file, you can use the zoom & pan control in the bottom right of the waveform display. It looks like a minature version of the waveform inside a box. To zoom in and out drag up and down. To scroll left and right once you're zoomed in, drag the box left and right. Alternatively, if your mouse supports left-right scrolling gestures, just use your two-fingered scroll (or equivalent) anywhere in the waveform display.

To zoom all the way out again, double click or alt-click the zoom & pan component.

Slots & multi-timbral capabilities (top)

The Mangle is set up for flexible multi-timbral or layered sounds. There are 8 identical slots - each of which can be a complete patch of its own. A slot comprises an audio file, parameters and modulations. Throughout this document I'm mostly referring to a single slot. Therefore when I say something like "The Mangle has 4 sequencers" this is actually a fib. Each instance of The Mangle actually has 4 sequencers in each of its 8 slots, making for a total of 32 sequencers!

Each slot can be assigned to any range of MIDI notes. The ranges can overlap, which means you can layer slots. If you like, a single key press could trigger all 8 slots. This allows for extremely complex layered sounds. Alternatively, you can map each slot to a few notes or a single octave. This is useful if you want to take samples of an instrument playing different notes and map them up the keyboard in a similar way to a traditional sampler. Or you can do a combination of these different techniques. How you use the slots is really up to you.

You can switch to a slot by clicking on its name or gain slider on the left hand side of the panel, below the waveform display. You can preview a slot by clicking the grey button above the name. To change the relative volume of different slots quickly, you can drag the gain slider above the name left or right. You can rename the slot by double-clicking the name.

Key Map tab (top)

You can change how a slot is mapped by switching to that slot, then selecting the Key Map tab in the bottom panel. You can drag the boxes or enter a MIDI note name (e.g. "f#4") or number (e.g. 60 is the same as "c3"). Alternatively, you can Shift-click the keyboard to change the minimum of the range, Alt-click to change the maximum of the range, and Ctrl-click to change the centre note. The centre note describes where the synth considers the 'base' note of the sample to be, and therefore how it repitches it as it goes up the keyboard. If your sample has a definite note (e.g. E4) you should set the centre note to this to get correct tracking.

You can also tune the sample by semitones and cents in this tab, and there's an option to turn off key tracking altogether so the sample is the same pitch at any key position.

Copying, pasting, soloing & muting slots (top)

There are some extra options available if you right click or ctrl-click on a slot's gain slider. You can solo or mute one or more slots to better understand what each slot is contributing to your sound.

You can also easily copy settings between slots. To do so, click Copy. Then right click the slot you wish to copy to, and select which parts of the slot's settings to Paste. You can paste everything, to make the new slot identical to the original. Or you can paste just the sound file, just the settings (i.e. parameter values & modulations) or just the sequencer settings.

Copying and pasting slots in this way even works across different instances of The Mangle, so if you want to copy a slot from one Mangle track to another, you can.

Finally, you can Reset to default, i.e. reset the slot to a default state, which removes the sound file, puts all the parameters back to their default values, and deletes all modulations.

Modulation (top)

As with any synthesiser, completely static sounds are rather boring and uninspiring. After all, our brains are trained to recognise changes in sound over time, because this is how sounds behave in the real world.

Just as with other synthesisers, changes in the sound can be acheived in The Mangle in two ways. Firstly, manually changing parameters over time. In today's DAWs these changes can be recorded and played back in a system that is generally called 'automation'. The second way to change sounds over time is to use signals inside the synthesiser to affect the values of parameters automatically. This is known as modulation.

Adding modulations (top)

Before we look at the types of modulators in The Mangle, lets look at how to assign a modulator to a basic parameter. Once you understand this, it's easy to figure out what each modulator does by assigning it to something and playing with it to hear how the sound changes.

Making a modulation is very easy. Switch to the Modulators tab in the bottom panel if it isn't already active. Mouseover one of the buttons (e.g. LFO 2). You will notice that the mouse turns into a "hand" icon, (unless you mouse over Grain Env, which isn't really a modulator, it's just here for convenience).

Drag the modulator button to a basic parameter such as Pitch. You will notice that the knob's label turns blue to indicate it can be modulated. Note that you can also drop a modulator button onto the triangular indicators on the waveform display that represent Position and Amp.

Editing modulations (top)

When you drop a modulator button on a knob or triangle indicator, a popup will appear which allows you to control how the modulation is applied to the parameter. It also shows any other modulations that are applied to that parameter. To see the modulations popup for a parameter at any time, you can right-click (or ctrl-click if you haven't enabled right click on your Mac) on the knob or triangular indicator.

You can also view all the modulations active in your sound by clicking on the Mod Matrix tab in the bottom panel. Here you can filter the list of modulations by the parameter they are affecting. Let's look at the controls available on each modulation item.

Modulation intensity (top)

Most important is the large horizontal slider which controls the intensity of modulation. In some situations, you may want to do very fine adjustments to this slider. For example, if your audio file is very long, quite a small change in a modulation of the Position parameter could result in a large change in the area that grains originate. If you want to control this more finely, you can drag the box below the slider which reads 1.00x by default. This effectively 'zooms' the slider - the slider has a reduced range, which means you can control smaller changes more easily. Another tip is to use the Mod Matrix tab, where more space allows a larger slider, and thus greater control.

As you edit modulation amounts, you will notice a preview of the modulation amount on the parameter in blue. The dark blue colour represents all the modulations summed together, while the bright blue represents the modulation you are currently editing.

Modulation bypass, polarity and delete (top)

On the far right of the modulation item is a switch which allows you to temporarily bypass a modulation. Just to the left of that is a cluster of 2 or 3 buttons, depending on whether this is a 'lockable' parameter. The rightmost icon, which looks like an X, deletes the modulation. The + or +- icon switches the modulation between unipolar ("+") and bipolar ("+-") modulation. Unipolar modulation only adds to the current parameter value - it is probably best used for Envelope or Sequencer modulations. Bipolar modulation both adds and subtracts from the current value - it may make more sense for LFO or pitch wheel modulations.

Modulation locking and via (top)

The padlock icon only appears on parameters that can be 'locked' to specific lists of values, namely Position, Rate and Pitch. Toggling it causes the modulation either to obey the locks, or to ignore them. This means you can have locked and unlocked modulations on the same parameter - for example, you could have an LFO modulation of the pitch, locked to a scale for an 'arpeggiated' effect, as well as a small unlocked Random modulation to detune some of the grains.

The final control is the via dropdown. This allows you to multiply the modulation intensity by the output of a different modulator. For example, modulating with an LFO 'via' an Envelope will cause the intensity of the LFO modulation to grow and shrink according to the Envelope's level.

Modulators (top)

The Mangle features four types of modulators: LFOs (low frequency oscillators), Envelopes, Random generators, and Sequencers. LFOs and envelopes should be familiar to anyone who has used any kind of synthesiser before - the other two may be less familiar. There are also 4 Macro knobs, and options for assigning MIDI expression & control changes. Let's look at each in turn:

LFOs (top)

A low frequency oscillator is a unit that produces an oscillation (i.e. a wave of some kind) that is not outputted directly to the speakers, but instead modifies some aspect of the sound. It is called a low frequency oscillator because it usually operates at frequencies below the human range of hearing (i.e. below 20Hz).

In the Mangle, LFOs can have one of 5 wave shapes: sine, triangle, saw, pulse, and random step. Select one by clicking the appropriately shaped button. You'll notice that the display to the left changes to reflect your choice - The Mangle always tries to show you some visual feedback so you can see at a glance what your sound is doing.

The Rate knob determines the frequency of the LFO. Again, this is reflected in the display.

The Phase knob betrays something about The Mangle's LFOs. Unlike LFOs in traditional synthesisers, they are not free-running. In other words, they do not continue to output a signal if no note is playing. They begin their oscillation when a note begins, and end once the voice is released. This helps reduce CPU, but it also makes the LFO more predictable. Whenever you hit a note, the LFO will begin at the same point in its phase, and the note will sound the same, unless you enable the Random phase option, which randomises the LFO's starting point.

This concept of non-free running modulators also holds for the Mangle's sequencer modulators, as we'll see later.

The Pulsewidth knob changes the pulsewidth of the pulse waveshape and the random step waveshape.

The LFO sync option allows you to synchronise the Rate to your DAW hosts' tempo. Notice that when it is enabled, the display changes from showing 1 second of time to 1 beat, and the Rate knob now selects discrete musical timings. This doesn't change the fact that the LFO starts when you start you note, so if your MIDI note is out of time, the LFO will be out of time too.

Envelopes (top)

An envelope progresses through a series of changes in level over time when it is triggered. In the Mangle, all envelopes (except Grain envelopes) are triggered when you begin a note.

There are three envelopes in the Mangle (let's ignore the Grain envelope, since it refers to something different from our regular envelopes): the Voice envelope and two others, Env 1 and Env 2. Each one is a regular ADSR (attack, decay, sustain, release) envelope.

The Voice envelope is always hardwired to control the overall volume of the grain stream. If you increase its attack, for example, the whole grain stream will slowly fade in. If you increase its release, the grain stream will fade out slowly when you release the key. You can also drag the voice envelope to modulate any other parameter as well, however. Env 1 & Env 2 are not hardwired to anything, but can be used to modulate any parameter.

The far right slider on each envelope, marked "Vel" describes how sensitive the overall level of the envelope is to velocity. At 0, the envelope is unaffected by velocity. At higher levels, a low velocity produces a low overall level for the envelope.

A common mistake when making envelope modulations is to be confused as to why the modulation seems less intense than the modulation preview shows. This is usually because the velocity sensisitivity slider is engaged, and previewing a sound from within the Mangle simulates a MIDI note with half velocity (64). If you played a MIDI note with full velocity, the envelope modulation would reach the full extent of the preview. Bear this in mind, and adjust the velocity slider accordingly.

Random generators (top)

In the context of granular synthesis, I have found it very useful to randomise certain parameters, particularly the grain origin position and amplitude. If the position is static, at fast grain rates certain harmonics seem to 'build up' which can sound a bit unpleasant. By randomising the starting position even a little bit, the sound can be much smoother and more interesting to the ear. I also very much like to randomise pan and amplitude somewhat, which spread the sound across the stereo field and give it some movement in a pleasing way.

The two random generators in The Mangle work on a grain-by-grain basis. They output a new random number between 0.0 - 1.0 each time a grain is triggered, and apply it to the parameters they are modulating before the grain is created. Use the Multiple per grain option to choose whether every parameter they modulate gets a different random number, or they all get the same number.

You can control the distribution of random numbers with the Mean and Spread knobs. The graph reflects what these do. For example, with a Mean of 0.0 and a Spread of 0.5, the generator will be very likely to produce low numbers and very unlikely to produce high numbers. If you were modulating Pitch with this setup, you would get many grains with a low pitch, and a few with a high pitch. If you moved Mean to 1.0, you would get the opposite.

The Frequency knob does something slightly different based on whether the Impulse option is selected. With Impluse on, the random generator outputs a random number every n grains, with n being the number selected on the frequency knob. On every other grain it outputs nothing, and doesn't randomise parameters it is modulating. If the Frequency is set to 1, it waits a random number of grains between 2 & 16 until the next 'impulse'.

If Impulse is off, the random generator outputs the same random number for n grains, with n being the number selected by the Frequency knob. After n grains, it chooses a new random number. If the Frequency is 1, it outputs a new random number every grain (the default).

Sequencers (top)

The Mangle has 4 step sequencers, each with up to 32 steps. The sequencer can advance its step by number of grains triggered (e.g. every grain, or every 4 grains), by time in seconds or time in beats, syncronised to the host's tempo.

Like the LFOs, the sequence does not play in the background when no notes are playing. It only begins to step when a note is triggered. That means that if, for example, you set the sequencer up to advance every beat (i.e. quarter note), then trigger two MIDI notes a beat apart, the second note will not begin with the sequencer on step 2, it will begin on step 1, just as the first note did. Likewise, if you start a note out of time with the host's grid, all the sequencer movements will be out of time by the exact same amount as the note's start.

You can view 16 steps at a time. To see steps 17-32, click the right part of the minature display in the top left of the sequencer panel.

You can set the values of many steps at once by dragging over all the steps to 'draw' in their values.

Each step usually represents a fixed value, but it can also output a random value in a range. If you click the little 'up & down' triangles icon below a step, you will be able to move both ends of the step slider to describe. When the sequencer reaches one of these steps, it chooses a random value in the range described by the slider.

MIDI & Macro (top)

The final panel on the Modulators tab lets you assign MIDI expression and control changes, as well as 4 Macro knobs, which make it easy to change multiple parameters with a single knob.

To assign a MIDI modulation, just drag the modulator button as with a normal modulator. You can assign the Mod wheel, Pitch wheel or Velocity to affect different parameters. Keyboard uses the MIDI note number to modulate - so higher MIDI notes will result in more modulation and lower one is less.

To assign a MIDI CC (control change), you can drag the box or enter a number to select the CC number. Or simply move the desired CC on your MIDI controller to 'learn' - though this will only work whilst you are playing a MIDI note for efficiency reasons.

The Macro knobs are simply there to let you change multiple parameters with a single knob. This can be very useful for performance. And since the knobs can be automated, they make it simpler to automate several parameters in tandem.

Position tab (top)

As we have already seen, perhaps the most important factor in your sound is the position from which the grains originate and the part of the sound they play back (due to their envelope length and pitch, or speed, of playback). The Position tab gives you some more options for controlling this crucial part of your sound.

Grain scaling (top)

This panel lets you automatically reduce or expand the length of your grains' envelopes based on the grains' pitch and the rate at which they are created.

If you find that your higher-pitched grains are moving across parts of the sound you don't wish to hear because of their playback speed, use the Pitch scaling knob. At a scaling value of 1.0, a grain which is an octave higher (i.e. pitch ratio 2.00x) will have an envelope half as long, while a pitch of 4.00x will give a grain envelope one quarter the normal length. This results in the grains covering the same area of the waveform. A higher scaling factor increases this effect, while a negative factor reverses it - higher pitched grains will be longer and will cover even more of the sound.

You can also scale your grains based on the rate that they are created. If you want the overlap between grains to remain constant when changing the rate, you can use the Rate scaling knob. If you move change this knob you may find that grain length at your base rate has been affected, and you may need to adjust it.

Loop (top)

If you want your grain origin position to loop continuosly over part of the sound, you could accomplish it with a sawtooth LFO modulating the position. However, this panel gives you some more control, as well as freeing up one of your LFOs for other duties.

The area which will be looped is shown in dark blue on the waveform display.

The speed box determines how long it will take to loop the whole area. This means that if you change the loop length, the loop will still continue to take the same amount of time, which helps if you are using your loop for a rhythmic effect. This mode is also useful for creating time-stretched effects of your own.

Position locks (top)

If you only want your grains to originate from certain positions you can add position lock points. Drag the button marked drag to the waveform display, or simply Alt-click the position you desire on the waveform. Once added, you can drag these markers to change the position of the locks, or click the red cross at the top of the marker to delete it.

Position locks will only be active if you enable the Enable locks option.

You can delete all the position locks with the Delete all button.

Presets (top)

Like any self-respecting VST/AU, The Mangle can save its entire state. This is important when saving and recalling your DAW project, and also for saving sound setups that you might want to use again.

Saving, browsing and loading presets is done from the dropdown menu at the top right of the window. The Mangle searches a given folder for presets and displays them in this dropdown menu. By default The Mangle uses the following folder to look for presets:

Mac: /[Hard drive name]/Library/Application Support/Sound Guru/The Mangle/
Win: C:/Program Data/Sound Guru/The Mangle/

Save as... saves the current settings as a new preset. Save saves over the existing preset if one has previously been loaded, unless you created the sound from scratch, in which case it does the same as "Save as".

Reset to preset reverts the settings to the last loaded preset file. Reset to default puts The Mangle back into its default state, removing all your audio files and modulations, and resetting parameters to their default values. Be careful, both these options will result in you losing any changes since you last saved your preset!

Choose preset folder lets you set the folder which The Mangle searches for preset files. This is a global setting - if you change it in a single instance of The Mangle, all the instances will search in that folder.

Audio file management (top)

By default The Mangle does not save audio files inside the preset file itself. Instead it simply saves the paths of the audio on your computer. In this mode, The Mangle's presets are only a few kilobytes in size.

However, this can result in portability issues. If you want to share presets with others, you will have to supply the audio files seperately and it is likely the other user will have to re-find the audio files for each slot. Similarly, if you change the location of audio files which a preset points to, next time you load that preset or DAW project you will have to search for the new location of the audio.

If you want to avoid this, you can have The Mangle embed the audio files into your preset files. The tradeoff is that the preset files will now become much larger. If you use the same audio in many presets, you will have many copies of the same file in different preset files, which can result in lots of space usage.

To choose which of these modes you want to use, go to the Global setup tab (button at top left of window). Under the Presets header you can choose whether to Embed audio in .MNG presets (presets saved from The Mangle's preset dropdown menu) and Embed audio in DAW presets (and DAW project saves)..

You can also choose whether to Compress embedded audio saved in presets. This slows down preset saving considerably, but it is relatively unnoticable when loading from presets. It can help to reduce file sizes of presets with embedded audio, though it is not always able to save lots of space.

Below these three options is an indicator that lets you know whether the preset you last loaded had its audio embedded. Below that, if the preset does have embedded audio is an option to extract it to a folder.

If your preset has embedded audio and you want to un-embed it, you should uncheck the relevant Embed audio option and resave the preset. If the audio doesn't exist on your harddrive, you should first extract it and then re-add it to The Mangle (so it knows the new location) and then resave the preset.