This is a fabulous VST and well worth your money. This is one of the most FUN plugins I have, and if you like FSU you can work profane miracles with this beat slicer. The interface is easy to use and learn, and VERY well thought out, and reminds me of a Mac user interface; simple extrinsically but intrinsically complex. Very easy to use, and very stable. If you are like me, a self-taught music maker tired of reading manuals for every #@@$% thing and spending hours configuring instead of playing, and just wanting to have FUN and bring back a little of the life to making computer music, this will get your rocks off. This is a plugin you can really PLAY with.
The documentation and examples provided at Ohm's website is clear and more than enough to get you going. I believe Darkstar has written a very nice guide for this one and like all of Darkstar's manuals, very well done. A+ for the documentation.
Regarding presets -- The free demo version comes with a few ready-made loops. Could there be some good presets for this one? Well, I suppose a handful more loops would be nice but not essential. I don't consider presets a very relevant issue in the case of this plugin.
My one complaint is simply that the developer, a very creative plugin designer, has been slow with the updates in 2007. There's been promises of support for .REX and .ZGR format files for probably a year now, and the version 1.5 was supposed to include these months ago I believe, and yet ver 1.46 was the last update, last summer. What you can load at present are .wav files of any size or resolution, and acidized wav's. I don't mean to say we're naturally entitled to new versions, either, but since the new version has been mentioned by the developer more than once, I remain very anxious to get it!
But I'll say again, even if it never gets updated again, it's still worth the price. This is an easy plugin you can play with for hours and not exhaust its potential, again and again.
This instrument is one of the secret weapons in the world of VST. I don't want to write some in deep review of this sampler capabilities. I think previous reviews were more than constructive and enough in that approach. This review will be focused on everyday work with liveslice, so my review will be quite subjective. I'm working with various types of music and I am using many different approaches when it comes to composing. One of basic weapons in my music are loops. This tool let me explore loops and samples in in a way not possible ever before with any other host or instrument. Before this tool I have tried many loop oriented instruments. Although they were fine and professional tools, none of them was so easy and fast in getting the results like Liveslice. You load a loop and you instantly have a result. It's creative approach is just fascinating. You can rearrange slices or crate a new loop in no time. You can combine sounds from different loops to create new layered loops. Using liveslice's internal effects gives you the ability for creating a new dimension with dull, bad produced or standard loops. You can even control external effects (hardware or software) with Liveslice midi send commands. Liveslice have up to 8 stereo outputs for maximum flexibility of routing and processing. Creating stereo loops is just too easy with this tool: his arranger can hold many instances of same loop, and with little shuffling and panning you can make perfect stereo field in your music. I am using Liveslice to record sessions directly in his wave table. That way rearranging or just playing some parts that were sometimes just accidents is easy. I am using Liveslice to chop a vocal and play with him. Pitch shifting, reversing, fast chopping for delight of creation. Doubling vocal to make it fatter and live. Drums are in many cases the foundation of today's music. With this tool you can make drum loops that have both: the precision and human feel. This tool is created for on stage live performance in mind. I think it is useful for wide variety of applications and sounds. Midi control is great, any parameter in liveslice can be controlled with external midi controller. It can sync to host clock for perfect loop reproduction. Customer support is perfect, all bugs are maintained in a day or two. Anybody can talk about Liveslice and his capabilities, and of course how can he become even more powerful.
This just scratches the surface of this instrument. I can use its capabilities in so many ways. For me this is the ultimate tool for loops. Words can't describe all, give it a try and you will find yourself playing with it and enjoying creation for a long period of time. This kind of approach is great refreshment in the world of VST.
If it's a realtime loop manipulator you are looking for to write tunes and/or play live, and you are on a limited budget, this is the tool you need. You can create new loops or preview already made loops directly within Liveslice before mangling them. Slice, pitch shift, reverse, set random playback of slices, mute, solo, pan, volume control- these, among other parameters, are all assignable to your MIDI controller and computer keyboard for quick and easy realtime loop manipulation.
Another great feature is the ability to save files within a Liveslice bank so there's no need for file hunting.
One thing to note, at first i had to get used to how certain settings affected the way a loop played back. Experiment with different settings between "Events" and "Beats" as you can get sounds you didn't expect. Since Liveslice is intuitive, there's no steep learning curve. I had to open the manual only ONCE.
As far as layout, it's extremely simple:
1) The Slicer view displays the loop to be manipulated
2) The Arrangement view, as the name implies, arranges all loops to their exclsuive track
You can have the same loops in multiple arrangements each having their own variation or have different loops set to each arrangement. This versatility makes way for interesting song structures.
I was looking very long for an easy to use Slicer which fits my needs in live usability when I learned about the Buzz version of LiveSlice. Since then I couldn't wait to get my hands on this as a VSTi. Now it's there and tops every expectation as it's capable of so much more.
LiveSlice is not the usual slicer which only splits loops and let the slices be played via MIDI, it is bundled with an arranger which lets you program new loops right in the VSTi itself. In addition it is possible to combine slices from different loops in the same arranger-track, so very complex sounds can be the results. As the slicer and the arranger are capable of handling very short slices, it is also possible to get granular-like sounds.
The GUI is clear and intuitive, the basic functions can be accessed very fast with only one or very few mouse clicks. WAV-data is displayed in different colors representing the frequencies, so it's easy to determine which kind of sound is in a particular slice (bassdrum, snare, hihat). In the excellent manual more ways of using the GUI are described, as there are many keyboard-modifiers which can be used to get more functions with as few actions as possible. All mousebuttons can be used as well as the mousewheel, but all functions of the middle-mouse and mousewheel can be accomplished with alternatives, e.g. if a laptop-mouse without wheel is used. Drag'n'drop slices to tracks is now implemented in version 1.30, which makes LiveSlice usable even more in Live situations.
There's a second page for the settings where locations for samples can be set and an option to save samples within banks and songs, which makes sharing banks easy. Also the fully customizable MIDI-mapping can be found there. As LiveSlice can be set in many ways and is modular when it comes to building arrangements, it's possible to set up custom Mappings where MIDI-notes and CCs can be set to control functions of LiveSlice with the host and/or a hardware-controller. This makes it a perfect tool to manipulate samples in live situations. The lack of VST-parameters to use automation is no problem at all, as this wouldn't be flexible enough and overloaded. The usage of MIDI just fits the concept of live usability in addition to studio usage better.
ACIDized loops can be loaded with their slice marks, and when normal WAVs without additional information are loaded, they can be saved in ACIDized format after slicing, so whenever these loops are reloaded, they are ready. This is very handy to prepare loops to be used live.
A new feature of LiveSlice in version 1.30 is the ability to use it as an effect. Now it's possible to record the input, e.g. for recording a drumsynth and rearranging it on the fly like it's done with a loaded sample. On top of that function, LiveSlice can be set to effect-mode, so it continuously records the input and plays the sound back as arranged in the arranger-section. It's kinda like some sample-mangle plugins we know but with full control. For hosts which don't allow to route audio to Instruments the LiveSlice-package now includes a dedicated FX version.
In the demo-version there are a few Presets, also additional banks can be downloaded on the site. As presets aren't as important for samplers and slicers as for synths, these are only examples of how LiveSlice can be used.
The support is outstanding, there are regular updates with new functions and LiveSlice already has a great base of users who are very active and willing to help in the dev's forum here at KvR. Also bugfixes are available fast, though the program is very stable due to the good feedback of the users and the fast reaction of the developer.
The pricing is very reasonable as LiveSlice offers so many functions and good support and gets better and better with every update.