Review: Propllerhead ReCycle 2
Propellerhead's ReCycle 2 is the Jamie Oliver of the audio world. Ian Waugh starts pedalling and gets cooking...
|We like||Stereo file support, cool effects, cool loops|
|We don't like||Hooking up to a sampler may be tricky|
|Requirements||MIDI, USB or SCSI interface according to your hardware|
ReCycle has been around for, oh, ages, about seven years we reckon. It's one of those pieces of software that once you use you wonder how you ever managed without it. Essentially, it allows you to edit loops, cut them up, and generally do far more with a loop than you ever thought possible.
Cut above the rest
Here's what you do. You load a sample loop into the program. It works best with percussion loops, ones that have a distinctive rhythmic content. You then adjust a Sensitivity slider and as you do so, markers appear at the transient (that is, loudest) points of the loop. The higher the sensitivity, the more markers appear.
The markers effectively slice the loop into its constituent hits so low sensitivity settings will just highlight the main hits - say the four main beats in a standard 4/4 drum loop. As you increase the sensitivity, it picks out more hits so sub beats within the loop become apparent.
You then move markers to the start and end of the slices, enter the number of beats or bars in the loop and the program automatically calculates the tempo.
Slice of life
Now, here's the clever bit. Normally, to change the tempo of a drum loop in a sampler or audio editor you have to time stretch it and then compensate for the resulting pitch change by pitch shifting it. With the loop divided into its component hits, you can change the tempo simply by playing back the hits at a different speed.
If you slow down the tempo too far, you can get a gap between hits. However, ReCycle has a Stretch function which extends the tails of the hits to fill up the gap. Neat or what!
To use the loop you can transmit each slice to a hardware sampler as a separate sample, each assigned to its own MIDI note. By playing the slices in the correct order you will reproduce the loop. However, you can play them in any order you like to create new loops! You can even substitute new samples for the ones in the loop.
If you're computer-based, you can save the loop as individual hits or as a REX2 file type which can be imported into several programs such as Cubase VST and Propellerhead's Reason for further manipulation.
New in 2
ReCycle 2 has several new features. The one which existing ReCycle users had been crying out for for ages is support for stereo files.
You can now also preview the loop at new tempo and pitch settings - obviously very useful. There are also new real-time effects which include a new Stretch function with an envelope which gives you more control.
The Transient Shaper works like a compressor and can add more punch to the slices. There's also EQ - a hi cut, a lo cut and two parametric EQ controls.
ReCycle 2 also supports more hardware samplers. The original purpose of ReCycle was to transfer samples from a hardware sampler, edit them and then transfer them back. In this day when many musicians do all music processing inside a computer, that may seem strange but editing samples using the tiny LCD displays and the multi-function buttons on hardware samplers was a real pain.
Still is. However, the program has not forgotten its roots and hardware sampler support is still an integral part of it. However, we have heard on the newsgroups that setting this up is not always straightforward so we would advise you to check with Propellerhead, your sample manufacturer and on the newsgroups to see what's required before taking the plunge.
But purely computer-based musicians don't have that worry.
ReCycle always was the loop-a-holic's tool of choice and now with support for stereo files and added effects it is simply more so. It's the ultimate loop editor and highly recommended.