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.