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Reviewed By bassc [read all by] on December 5th, 2020
Version reviewed: 1.3.0.13 on Windows

I was on the lookout for a slicer and trialled this recently. I personally found it bit counterintuitive, with time-stretching reminiscent of RealPlayer (the popular streaming player in the 90s, AKA very bad).

The first problem I had is the interface isn't scalable, which is disappointing because you can't use your screen's real estate to view more of the sample subject. It feels quite letterbox effect even on smaller samples and using the zoom, since the interface occupies less than a quarter of the screen at a resolution of 2560 x 1440.

Placing the slice markers has been implemented for speed and I can appreciate that, but it is a bit strange not to offer other options. You can loosely put them in as you play the sample, then go back and tighten up is one way. Or you can jog through the sample, press a note or pad to place. You hear sound whilst jogging through the sample, but it really isn't too indicative of where you are and that small display makes it difficult too.

You press a key once to set a slice marker (whether playing or jogging through), then again to play. This is fast but makes it easy to set a slice accidently if you hit a note that is still unassigned. Deleting that marker is slightly cumbersome in that you have to select the pad and choose delete. Double clicking either the marker or slice button would've been a bit more intuitive, though granted you can have markers at exactly the same point so selecting then delete makes some sense in this scenario.

Weirdly when you play anything, the play position bounces back to the start of the slice and there's no mode to stop that. The two play modes are play and bounce back when released, or play in entirety to slice end when released (if set, or the rest of sample if the end = start, the two flags top and bottom on a slice). The bounce back I found annoying as I'd have liked to play something, then when it approached the next slice, have it stop, jog up to the transient using the mouse, then lay down a marker. Instead you have to jog from the last slice point with that not very intuitive mechanism or play live and press at the right time/correct later.

Helpful features include the find slices (for happy accidents), lock slices (using favourite) so you can re-find more without affecting what you have locked in, plus several individual slice parameters that include a DJ filter (<50% is lowpass, >50% is highpass), reverse, key-shift, time-stretch, reverse and envelope options. Multiple DAW outputs are also very welcome for further processing of individual chops.

The keyboard icon lets you pick a slice then sets it into a mode where the MIDI keyboard re-pitches it. Strangely, this isn't represented in the external parameters (for automating), even though those parameters are very well represented otherwise when it comes to automation.

During jogging through the sample, you can almost scratch, like you can with Serato DJ or other DJ software. "Seek" is exposed as an external parameter and I thought it would be possible to perhaps do some automation scratching using a controller or DAW drawing, but alas it isn't sensitive enough for that. I think this is a lost opportunity.

Another disappointment is we are clearly in time-stretch territory. There is no option to simply re-pitch the sample exactly to the DAW tempo. Sync will simply time-stretch it. So you loosely have to find the pitch in semitones (there's no fine-tune pitch), so that ends up with usually a combination of pitch and time-stretching being applied.

Summary

This can be a lot of fun and quick to get going with, but overall I didn't want to purchase this because I found the sound quality and time-stretching to sound really bad and far worse than DAWs (it's lo-fi, but not in a good way). Maybe that's a sacrifice of real time time-stretching, but I'm sure the hip-hop heads would've been happy with just a re-pitch option, MPC style.