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|Type / Tags||Sampler (Loop Tool / Slicer)|
MicroDicer is an easy to use, flexible beat-slicing VST plug-in for Windows. It can use both WAV and REX 1 & 2 files, and it allows dragging and dropping of both slices & MIDI, in to and out of the plug-in.
- Supports 16/24 bit mono & stereo WAV and REX 1 & 2 format samples. You can drag and drop these files from other applications or alternatively you can use the file loading system, where you can preview them before you load them in (for REX files these can be played back in sync with the host tempo).
- You can splits samples into as may 128 different slices, samples can be sliced using automatic beat detection, into equal parts or at a set number of beats.
- Automatic splitting of slices and mapping of these to notes when you load in a sample.
- Each MIDI note can trigger any slice, with each triggered slice having its own pitch, volume, panning, choke group, output channel and playback mode.
- One to four output channels.
- Drag and drop of MIDI slice file into your host, this MIDI file can be altered so it is a set number of bars long or at a set tempo.
- Ability to save each slice as separate waves or selected slices as one file, also you can drag and drop selected slices to other programs.
- Three playback keys, loop, rnd and sequence, where all the slices can be played in order by pressing a key, this playback is autosynced to the host's tempo.
- Very low CPU usage, and 8 preset slots.
- MicroDicer graphics were designed by E-Phonic, and is fully skinnable, several skins are supplied.
- Full manual included in PDF format.
Reviewed By wendallsan
February 25, 2005
I am not a great drum programmer, so I rely on a combination of programmed beats and loops to make my drum parts for songs. Adding a loop gives some 'live' feeling to the rhythm and then I can add the killer kick drum or whatever is needed using a drum machine. This also gives me a lot of freedom to create variations of the beat. It is very important to me to have a looper that can deal with each beat as a seperate object, that way I can re-arrange loops, replace beats, make variations of the loop, and make completely new loops very easily while still using only one sample, which keeps the project easy to deal with on an intellectual level (no hunting for 40+ seperate sample files to load up your drum sounds). Plus, since the loop was usually crafted by a pro, all the sounds in the loop will sound right together, no need to manually tweak a filter for each sample so that they sound right together, etc.
So what does this plugin do? It loads up a REX file (Rex 1 or 2 format) and allows you tweak it minorly (adjust pitch of individual beats, etc.), and then allows you to drag-and drop the midi component of the REX file into your sequencer host, where you can then copy, paste, and re-arrange your loop into infinite variations. Creating fills, break-downs, change-ups, etc. is a snap at this point, no more 'my god, they used the same drum loop for the entire sound with no variation whatsoever'.
The features of this plugin beyond what I mention above is very limited. There are is no distortion, no filters, no envelopes, no LFO's. This plugin will pretty much just play back the beat and that's all, you will need to rely on plugin-effects to get your bitcrushing and filter sweeps on. It would be nice to have these features in this instrument, but it's rock-solid drag-and-drop midi from the plugin into your sequencer was enough for me to throw down $40US for it. I hear Jon is working on these features for an upcoming update of Dicer, which does have distortion and filters and envelopes and LFO's out the wazoo, but it doesn't currently have the drag-and-drop midi that love dearly.
I guess I should mention the features that I don't use: you can import standard WAV files rather than REX files, this seems to work alright, the interface for chopping the wave file up into bits seems to work alright, but I must admit I would rather just make a REX file in Recycle, but if you don't already have Recycle this is a very good little extra abilitity to have. You can also manually map slices from the loop to midi notes, and you can then adjust the pitch of the slice. You can have multiple instances of the the same slice mapped across the keyboard at different pitches if you want to go for that 'Max Headroom' effect or other weird '80's sampler effects. I haven't use this yet, I prefer to use the Auto-map ability so I don't have to spend any time at all mapping midi notes to slices. The last feature that is worth mentioning that I don't use much in my workflow is the drag-and-drop audio ability. That's right, you can load up a Rex file, select a slice out of the loop, then drag that slice straight into your sequencer and MicroDicer will export only that slice as audio for you to manipulate in your sequencer as you see fit.
One thing to check before you buy this is to make sure that your host supports drag-and-drop data from a plug-in. This works great in Sonar 4.02, I can't vouche for other sequencers, though. Get the demo and try it out 1st.
The only 'glitch' I've seen with this plugin is sometimes all audio from the plug-in will drop out as you repeatedly stop and start your project over and over. This seems to be easily fix-able by just bringing the plugin to the foreground or opening the plugin interface if you have interface closed. A weird little glitch.
I gave this a 5 for 'presets' but this is not applicable. The 'presets' are you REX files or WAV audio loops, so the quality of these will depend on your sample collection.
In summary, I love this plug-in's ability to quickly load up a REX loop, which you can then drag-and-drop the MIDI sequence into your host and then mung up that loop until the cows come home. This is a one trick pony: it is very easy to use, it is very limited in it's functionality, but it does what it was built to do very very well.Read more