Awesome be interested to hear what you find. I did get it and am still learning it. I am able to drag and drop the sample right into the oscillator and trigger it, but I haven’t figured out if I can somehow chop or recontextualize the sample from there past slapping effects on it.
Aside from figuring out the sampling part, I can say that this could easily be the main synth plugin for many people, including myself. It has real quality waveforms of so many awesome synths plus foley sounds and acoustic sounds built in. So you can just play it as is and adjust some filters and already have a part down.
Of course from there you can get weird and that’s what I am messing with now and trying to learn.
CHOREOGRAPHS / ENGINE OVERVIEW - YouTube this section on granular seems to be what you’re looking for. It’s obviously not as powerful as Cycles (I just picked up Choreographs but don’t have Cycles yet), but the best way to go about sample mangling seems to be by triggering a voice with a relatively tight envelope (so that it doesn’t play through the whole sample) and then modulating the voice’s Start parameter with whatever mod source you’d like.
Awesome thank you. The last section of that vid - makes sense since I have not finished it yet, I am still halfway through the video. haha.
I am also curious about Cycles as well since it appears to be even more of what I need. It appears to chop up and resequence samples which is pretty awesome. It’s insanely expensive though, so maybe they will have a sale around christmas. I love the potential of it for sample based music. My one fear is that I am not in the ambient category at all. I like to make underground dance music with more defined hooks and energy. I had a morphagene module and I never could get anything out of it that really worked for my music, and I tried for ages.
Cycles seems far far deeper though and Choreographs seems like it will work for me past mangling samples regardless. I feel like I should be able to make really nice pads, leads and arpeggios with it as well,so it was a solid investment. It was also sub $200 which made it a little more palatable.
Among many other things (including, strangely enough, an excellent granular engine,) cycles is a dance machine. the thing to consider is that you can fill up a bank with samples, edit them all individually as to how they will be chopped and replayed and then layer them. This AND this held down. Now also this for a bit. Now just a blip of that. Now retrigger everything ever other beat, now for a bit every three beats, now back to every other bar. Now ONLY this. etc. And then the master fx, etc, glues it all together. It is a blast. The preseets are great but when you start loading in your own stuff you’ll realize it doesn’t take much to get the “thing” happening. I play it on a linstrument. It work well enough on a piano, but any kind of grid and you’re making visual patterns out of what does and doesn’t work and how across the grid.
closest thing I can come to is that it is like an exploded, alien, experimental version of Live’s clip launcher.
I wouldn’t have much use of it for one loop at a time… it’s the layering.
Oh man I really want it now, haha. I wonder if they will go on a sale soon again, or if I missed my chance there. It’s as expensive as buying some hardware, but far more powerful for sure.
What I have been doing is grabbing vocal phrase samples from records, running them through autotune while pitching the vocal down in ableton, so that way I can get the texture I want and get it in a key I want to write in.
From there I do slight warp adjustments to the phrase so it sits well against the kick and I have been running that through GrainDad and just going through and tweaking presets until I hear something special. At that point, I let it run for like 16 bars or so and record into a new audio track and then scroll around with the loop markers while looping 1 or 2 bars. I chop out the stuff I like and then listen to each one separately and many times chop those up a little and combine, since many times I like the second half of a bar but not the first. So by that point I usually have a main melodic hook plus other ideas I can sprinkle in as either build ups or change ups.
So that is kind of the level of I have gotten to with vocals since this lets me sample about any song or singer with a quality acapella and completely change the context of the sound while still having a little of that magic that made the original special.
And while I don’t need to replicate that exact same workflow on Cycles, that at least gives an idea of what I’d like to do with it. The result is usually a completely unique and interesting sound that is still catchy and strong enough to work on a dance floor.
Also I have an Oxi One sequencer so that should be a perfect grid for doing the layered workflow you shared.
Just wanted to say that this is textbook exactly how I use it so this is a testimony to how well it lends itself to this kind of method. Also the good thing about it is that it makes a rather cryptic interface all of the sudden very seamless and playful, you don’t have to do a whole lot of effort to make it sound cool.
Part of the trick in the end is to do exactly what S+H did : cook your own quality content / samples / bits and pieces. And then it’s a blast.
I have Cycles, as well as Choreographs, but I didn’t realise it was possible to load your own sounds…The Choreographs “engine overview” vid explains how to do this in C’graphs, but how would I do it in Cycles?
And, one more question if that’s ok? ; when you say “layer them”, do you mean having multiple instances of Cycles open and simultaneously playing back all your samples that you’ve chopped? Or do you mean manipulating your sample, then freezing it as audio and then just stacking those audio files up in your DAW?
I’m bummed you erased your post as I was reading a little of it yesterday and it just disappeared on me. That said I think you were saying it does what I want but maybe not in the style that I want, which makes total sense. I wish I could demo it.
Im not a huge software head but these Slate + Ash plugs almost feel like modular hardware or something. They are just really well made.
Mods, please move this to a different thread if this is the wrong place for this…
I’m wondering if someone can help me determine what Apple laptop might be up to the task of running more complex Slate + Ash Cycles/Choreographs “patches.” Finding these instruments hugely inspiring and want to find a way I can use them without worrying about overloading my CPU in the middle of a live performance.
What’s the best way to do this? M1 Max? M2? Extra RAM?
When you are loading presets you have a few options at the top level. One of them is User Sources. Load that and then drag a sample onto the interface and place it in a keyboard slot on the sample drop ui that pops up
You can layer them by playing multiple keys at once, or you can choose expand and play the sound of one of your samples across the keyboard.
I am running them just fine in Ableton on an M1 Pro with 16 gb of ram. Some cycles presets used to be impossible on my previous laptop (2019 MacBook Pro with 16 gb of ram) but have never had an issue with the new one.
I think what I was trying to convey is that cycles does a bunch of stuff really well. And my bet is that you’d love it for what you’re doing. But it is not like other tools where the intention behind it feels like “with this tool you can do specifically what you’re intending to do.”
It is more like modular in that generally you find amazing stuff with it by exploring. With a DAW or a mixer and a bunch of effects I can dream up something in my head walking the dog and go home and do it. This is much less like that and much more about getting things that you wouldn’t have thought of.
I run this stuff with an M1Pro 16GB and it runs great. I don’t run into an issue. I couldn’t get my 2018 i7 Macbook pro to run cycles well so I got a 4.6 Ghz 2020 10 -core i9 and it ran it ok. The M1Pro with the native version of Kontakt 6 runs these things way better even than the i9 did.
As for layering:
open up one of the presetes that is patterns (not grains) based. Like Motion-> Machine Patterns.
Press and hold key that is in the “blue keys” range. You will hear a pattern. Release.
Now press that key and one or more other keys at the same time. You will hear the first pattern and you will hear other patterns overlayed. They are all going to fit together tonally because they are all tuned to the “red key” that is active. If you don’t press them down in time or at the same time they will play out of sync. You might turn input quantization on to bar, quarter or eighth notes to keep things in sync with the DAW’s clock.
find a pattern you like and press and hold that one. now try out other blue keys (in time) and see how they fit or don’t fit.
Soon you’re gonna be having a good time!
Clip launchers are the shit for this–I like to just keep hitting record for 4 and 16 bar loops with the laucnchers, with input quantization off, and jam on a few keys. I’ll record 10-15 clips like this and then go back and pick the good ones and tighten them up. It’s very cool. You have to try it – you’ll figure it out.
extra credit: put cycles on a track and have two different MIDI tracks feeding midi clips into it. Sequence the patterns with one (the blue keys) and the pitch with a different one running async (the red keys.) yay!
Go it to settings and set MIDI up so that notes go to the outside world. Then the note effects (trigger and harmony) and the euclidian sequencer send notes. Works straightaway in Bitwig (put Kontakt on an instrument track and then your target instrument right next to it to the right.)
it is a really nice arp/euclidean sequencer! After reading through the new Torso manual I felt itchy with desire for something like this. I think that this, while not anywhere near as powerful or complete, scratches that itch nicely.
This is Choreographs sequencing Spitfire Audio’s Blankforms Tape Synth.
EDIT: i got emails from S+A about the CPU issue and the vst param vs internal control. They can’t replicate the CPU issue I reported, so you might report it if you have been seeing that. Additionally they indicated that they don’t support the VST Param control and are not planning to make any changes to supporting that.
Just bought this, but looks like they still haven’t fixed the serial number issue where you get to pay for the product but can’t use it until someone manually sends you the serial number - how long did y’all wait for it? I’ve messaged them and haven’t heard back yet. Pretty annoying tbh.