Hadron States Documentation

Hadron Particle Synthesizer

The Hadron particle synthesizer is the ultimate creative tool for granular synthesis. It is available in different plugin formats (VST, AU and Max For Live), even though the graphic appearance is slightly different for the different plugins wrappers, the audio functionality of Hadron is the same in all formats.


Hadron can be used for many purposes in sound design. It can be used as a synthesizer or an audio effect, and it can seamlessly morph between different sound processing methods. Some of the typical uses of the device provide fat analog monosynths, granular delay effects, time stretching, formant shifting, transient manipulation, vocal synthesis, FM synthesis, sonic clouds, live sampling and sound morphing. The synthesis engine is controlled by parameter states, and you can morph between states using the 2-dimensional X-Y pad. Specific timbral manipulation within each state can be controlled by the four expression sliders.

How does it work?

The core of the synthesis engine behind Hadron is an extremely flexible implementation of a granular audio generator. Due to it’s ability to generate all known types of granular synthesis (and a few new variants as well), we propose to use the term particle synthesis to describe the audio processing method.

To control the particle synthesizer engine,we’ve built a system for easy manipulation of the large number of parameters involved in the synthesis process. This system gives the user access to a six-dimensional parameter space of sonic control. Currently, over 200 parameter values are used to define how the synthesis process is executed, and consequently what sound you will get out of it. One such set of parameter values is called a state (you might be familiar with using the term preset for such a set of parameter values, but we’ll use that term later to define a collection of states that will work together). Each state has 4 expression control mappings, providing the user the expressional ability to modify a subset of the 200+ parameters values defined in the state. A preset in Hadron consists of 4 states, and a method for interpolation between these states. Interpolation between states is controlled by a 2-dimensional control surface, with one state residing in each corner of the control surface. Since a state represents a specific mode of granular audio processing, this system lets the user interpolate between different sounds and different sound processing modes. In addition to the 4 states, a preset also contains selection of up to 4 waveforms used as sources for the synthesis process. Which of these waveforms is actually used is defined by the state, and the graphical user interface displays an activity indicator on each of the 4 waveform selectors roughly indicating how much each waveform is currently used in the synthesis process. The waveforms can be read from sound files, they can be live sampled audio fragments, or the source can read from realtime audio input.  When realtime audio input is used, Hadron acts as an advanced “granular delay” effect. This is activated by selecting audioInput as the source waveform in Hadron.

Using Hadron as a VST plugin

Hadron is installed in your VST plugins folder (typically C:/Program Files/Steinberg/Vstplugins on Windows and /Library/Audio/Plug-Ins/VST on OS X), and it can be used both as a midi controlled synthesizer and as an effect for processing audio input. In both cases you should load Hadron as an audio insert effect on an audio track. To use it as a midi synthesizer, you can still send midi to it by routing midi notes to the VST effect.

Take a look at our example VST setups for Cubase, Mulab, Reaper and Ableton Live.

Using Hadron as a AU plugin

Hadron is installed in your AU plugins folder (/Library/Audio/Plug-Ins/Components), and it can be used both as a midi controlled synthesizer and as an effect for processing audio input. In AU terms it's defined as a "MIDI-controlled Effect".

To be able to use Hadron with both audio and MIDI at the same time, you'll have to insert it on a instrument track like you would with a synthesizer (Hadron is placed under "AU MIDI-controlled Effects->PartikkelAudio"). To get audio input, you select either a audio channel or one of the available audio inputs from the side chain dropdown box in the upper right corner of the plugin window.

Using Hadron as a Max For Live device

Hadron is installed in your Live library under Audio Effects/Max Audio Effect/HadronForLive. Here you’ll find the Hadron device itself (Hadron for Live), a midi sender device (Hadron MIDI sender), and various Hadron preset files.

    For typical use:
  • - load Hadron for Live on an audio track, and
  • - load Hadron MIDI sender on a midi track.

This way, midi data (midi notes) will be sent from the midi track to the Hadron audio device. If you only use effects states (states with an fx prefix in the name), you will not need to load the Hadron MIDI sender

Take a look at our Live demo songs for diffeent configuration examples: Hadron demo songs for Ableton Live

The different types of Hadron states

Parameter states in Hadron can be divided into categories depending on what kind of processing the state provides. The state names start with a two- or three-letter prefix signifying the state’s type.

  • fx: This type of state lets Hadron be used as an audio effect for live audio input. These are normally used with audioInput selected as the waveform source(s).
  • tfx: Similar to the fx state type, these states provide processing of a live audio input signal. The tfx states require midi input to make sound, as the audio output is muted when no midi notes are sent to Hadron.
  • gr: Audio synthesis states, where the perceived pitch is constituted by the grain rate (the number of audio particles/grains created per second)
  • gt: Audio synthesis states, where the perceived pitch is constituted by the transposition of sound inside each audio particle/grain.