If you work with loops or breakbeats, you’ll love Propellerheads ReCycle. Simply Open it up, load in an audio file and move the sensitivity slider to the right. As you do so, the program uses some clever algorithms to slice up your file into…’slices’, (conveniently visualised in its waveform display). The further you drag this slider, the smaller these slices get, until you’ve broken it down into discrete rhythmic components (e.g. kick, snare, hats, etc.).
Once you’ve done this (and set start and end points for your loop, its length and time signature) you’re able to alter its tempo and pitch independently of each other, change its envelope, apply EQ and a ‘transient shaper’ (similar to compression). Then, when you’re finished, you can export the results as either a Rex2 file (for use in Reason and a long list of compatible samplers) or as a series of individual consecutive samples and an associated MIDI ‘groove’ template (for use in other applications), enabling you to rearrange your loops with surgical precision, use any of the individual sounds within it and to apply its grove to a totally separate audio file.
If that sounds easy…it is! Most of the time, dragging the sensitivity slider to somewhere between 70 and 80, is all that’s required to isolate individual beats, but where fine tuning is needed, you can manually add, delete and mute slice points, as well as audition them in isolation from each other, to ensure they’re in the right place.
As Propellerheads say themselves, “it’s not magic,” (though it’s pretty close), but it does have some limitations. There’s a maximum length of 5 minutes per file, only 10 undo levels, no magnification tool (instead you have to use a combination of mouse and keyboard), only a handful of time signatures (2/4, 3/4, 4/4, 5/4, 6/8, 7/8) and no facility to store user effects presets.
There are also a couple of annoyances. One minor, namely the icon for the slice mute button is a cross (rather than the more commonly used loudspeaker with a cross through it or an ‘M’). One major, namely hardware support has been removed. While it’s true that more and more people are doing everything in software nowadays, it’s also true that lots of us still have hardware samplers that we want to use, whether regularly or just occasionally to create a particular sound (e.g. old school jungle, 12 bit trip hop, etc.), so for Propellerheads to remove the very thing that has always made ReCycle such a must have product, seems like something of a slap in the face to the user base who helped put them where they are today. Hopefully they will reconsider and add back hardware support in future versions…otherwise they might wake up one morning and find an S1000 on their pillow…
Although ReCycle can be used with any supported soft sampler, a lite version of Propellerheads wicked studio in a box, Reason (‘Reason Adapted for ReCycle’), is included in the box, which offers three ‘Dr. Rex’ sample players (specially designed for ReCycle loop playback and manipulation), a ‘NN-XT Advanced Sampler’, a RV7000 Advanced Reverb, a 14 channel mixer, the Reason sequencer and a massive Reason soundbank. Also included is the ‘Reload’ utility, which converts AKAI S1000 and S3000 formatted media into formats that can be used with Reason, ReCycle and the rest of your audio applications.
But even without these extras, its consistent accuracy and easy to use one window interface make ReCycle a killer product that enables you to do in seconds, what used to take days. If you’re a breakbeat or D ‘n’ B producer it’s an absolute absolute essential essential. In fact I like it so much that I gave it 5 out of 5…then removed ½ a bagel…just like Propellerheads removed hardware support…
More info: www.propellerheads.se
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