Monday, May 1, 2023

Rekombinator III

After three years hiatus I'm back and just released Rekombinator III. Working on this instrument was a along and bitter journey, but finally I managed to make it all work. This is granular sound machine, a major update of Rekombinator II. Version III has the same sample pool and basic mechanics as version II, but is has entirely different internal structure, also effect section is completely redesigned and modulator has new design mode and vastly improved functionality. So here's what's new:

Support for sample drag and drop. Rekombinator II had a bad release timing, NI released Straylight (which has very similar concept) just when I have been finishing the manual and then introduced sample drag and drop loading to Kontakt. Rekombinator II had somewhat compromised functionality, because I struggled to make it user manageable to edit and expand sample pool. Now when you can just drag a sample into UI it made no sense, so I had to rebuild internal design. Anyway in Rekombinator III you can just drop the sample into UI to load it. The instrument will attempt to detect pitch and volume level and adjust sample settings automatically. Additionally the same functionality applies to convolution reverbs, now you can just drop your IR files into the UI.

Effects section is completely new. Rekombinator II only had chorus and phaser hard coded into specific point in signal chain. Now there's a kind of effect rack. There are four effect containers, you can select which effect to load into each of them, and where to put it in signal chain. Whether to process only one sample, both or put it as insert after send point or in master bus after send return point. It supports effects that has been added to Kontakt after Rekombinator II release: Choral, Phasis, Flair, Replika delay and new algorithmic reverbs. Also there is brand new preset system for all the effects, with a browser and ability to save your own presets.

Modulator has now new shape design mode, based on idea similar to vector graphics. You can set up LFO waveform by moving/adding/deleting nodes in XY pad area.

Finally the modulator can now be attached to (almost) any controller in the instrument including the effect rack. Also controllers have visual live feedback of modulation. This part, combined with editable effect rack, was particularly challenging and it made me almost gave up on the whole thing multiple times.

You can watch instrument quick walkthrough here:

The instrument requires full version of Kontakt 6.6.1, the last version which supports Windows 7.

Available at Loot Audio.

ps. I gave up on Facebook, my apologies if you tried to contact me there and I did not respond. I just can't stand it.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Stay at home with Cracklefield

A lot of people are stuck at home these days, with no income and not much to do. Here's something to fiddle with: Cracklefield "Stay at Home" Edition. This is somewhat stripped down version of cellular automaton game sequencer, propelled with modular oscillator bleeps. It's free to get until it bets back to normal. It requires full Kontakt 5.8.1 or newer.

Compared to regular version...
- it is using entirely different sample set, four raw oscillators take from Sawmill,
- only visible panel is "maps", you can change progression and velocity maps, but cursor and field configuration are missing, as well as presets panel,
- "generate preset" button creates a random configuration (in regular version this is one of options in "field transform" menu),
- you can edit the field, but wall building and cursors placing modes are not available,
- midi pattern recorder is missing.

Basically, press "generate" and see if it comes up with something interesting.

get it here:

Here are some patterns it generated while I was testing.

Also, everything I made is now half price at KontaktHub.

March 23 update: added some snapshots and keyswitches to turn cursors on and off. Re-download if you didn't get the snapshot folder.

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Rekombinator II

I have just released Rekombinator II at Kontakt Hub. I started this project last November, so it took me quite a while to finish. It's the sequel to granular machine from 2015. Sequel rather than an update, the theme is similar, but it's whole new and quite different instrument. It's a take on granular playback implementation in Kontakt. There are built in granular based playback modes in Kontakt (time machine), but here it done with scripting. High frequency step sequencers are being activated for each note and grains are generated by playing fragments of the sample using internally triggered notes. It does result in high voice count and relatively high CPU utilization, but it opens some fun possibilities.

This instrument gives you full control over playback speed and playback position in realtime, play forward, backward, in nonlinear fashion or just freeze the sound. Works nicely for very slowly evolving drones and soundscapes when using extreme playback speeds, like 0.5% of the original. Rekombinator II has two waveform slots, so you can blend two samples. Each slot has independent control of basic engine parameters, like speed or playback position and separate audio path. Then there's hybrid modulator, introduced in Sawmill, where you can use step sequencer controller to render an LFO waveform. You can use it, for example, to create a nonlinear playback curve, make the playback head position travel around the waveform in fancy ways. Like in first Rekombinator, it is possible and not complicated to use any samples.

The instrument requires full version of Kontakt 5.8.1 (Kontakt 5 with latest update) or Kontakt 6. When pushed, it can produce noticeable CPU load, it's fine on my 10 years old 6 core, so I think any half decent modern processor should handle it easily.

Rekombinator II is now retired and replaced by Rekombinator III.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Cracklefield update 1.4

Cracklefield has been updated to 1.4. This version introduces new feature, chord progression generator and sequencer.

new feature:

  • Added progression generator and sequencer, pattern/chord progressions can now be generated internally in Cracklefield.

fixes and tweaks:

  • Tweaked random preset generator, the randomly generated presets should be simpler more often, possibly giving more useful results. The generator will affect the animator, reset it or occasionally set up a moving field.  The generator will now also respect preset loading filters. 
  • Fixed scale key button set not being updated on certain occasions.
  • The seed for random event generator will now be reset to a derivative of field checksum every time transport starts (you press play or record in DAW). This way any random event sequence in the project will be synchronized with field contents and each time you render a saved song it would repeat the very same progression of pseudo-random events.
  • Small change in main sequencer queue, the animator will be now applied 1/3 sequence step ahead of other functions (with the exception of the first step). As the animator transformations can be CPU intensive, especially if you make it play several life games at one step, coupled with progression generator, it could occasionally cause audio dropdowns. Now that animator is processed a small while ahead of other functions it should make such situations less likely to happen.

Cracklefield is available at Loot Audio.
If you acquired it elsewhere, please write me for the update.
You will find the e-mail address at the end of manual.

Sunday, September 9, 2018


I have released new instrument at Kontakt Hub. It is inspired by the supersaw... In a broad sense, it doesn't try to emulate the classic supersaw sound. In fact, I don't particularly like the supersaw sound. But I think it's interesting how layering detuned oscillators turns a static waveform into something with evolving texture. I have been wondering how would it sound if you could detune other parameters, not just pitch. A filter, LFO frequency, effects... And here comes Sawmill, where you can detune... everything. For each oscillator.

There are seven oscillators in this instrument and it is quite like having a stack of seven synthesizers, with controllers conveniently grouped by type. Each oscillator has independent signal path with separate set of controllers, including effects, from filters to chorus or delay (with single exception of convolution processor, which would make it too much of CPU hog). So if you want tune a filter cutoff you have a row of seven knobs to deal with. It makes it easy to experiment with oscillator layering.
The instrument is build in Kontakt, but it's not quite a sample library. Rather a synthesizer with sampled oscillators. There are 32 waveforms, generated mostly with modular analog system and vintage analog synthesizers. The samples are fairly long to capture bits of analog drift and tiny electronic imperfections which makes it sound more alive. Each sample has been looped by hand without any additional processing, to preserve as much of the original flavor as reasonably possible. The waveform selection is focused mainly on different variations of saw, but it also includes other basic shapes, as well as some fancy waveforms you can generate in a modular by mangling the oscillator with rectifiers, ring modulators, inverters and the like, all in analog domain.
Sawmill includes nearly complete palette of what Kontakt has to offer in signal processing: full range of filter types, classic effects, different types of envelopes, LFOs with various shapes and frequency modulation.
Additionally there are several innovative functions. There is a sequenced modulator, which is a crossover between step sequencer and LFO - you can program a value pattern and shape it to LFO waveform. There are six patterns which can be combined and/or patched to different parameters, like pitch or filter cutoff. In fact, any parameter can be automated using MIDI CC. There is pitch glide function with adjustable acceleration curve. And then there is multi-arpeggiator, which is like having a stack of eight arpeggiators, which you can sequence or combine in different ways to create complex note patterns out of a simple chord.

It started from the supersaw, but it's not really just about supersaw. It can go way beyond it.

The instrument requires Kontakt 5.8.1 or newer (full version).
It it a 2GB download (unpacked samples take 2.75 GB, there are 2574 samples in wav format).
It is available at Loot Audio.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Kontakt multi-channel sequencer experiment

Common question about Cracklefield instrument is: Can I use it as a sequencer to play other instruments? It's tempting idea, Kontakt does output MIDI generated by loaded instruments, but the problem is, all messages are put on a single channel. As a workaround Cracklefield has MIDI recorder, so you can export it's output by MIDI clip drag'n'drop, but the clip has to be recorded beforehand and it's not quite as fun as live output.
I have been pondering this and came with somewhat convoluted solution, worthy of fairly confusing name. Kontakt has multiscript feature, you can run scripts on MIDI level before MIDI data is passed to individual patches. You can change MIDI channel for events with multiscript. So my idea was to prepare sequence data at sequencer instrument level, in a way which would include channel/cursor number. Send it to another instance of Kontakt, where it would be decoded to multichannel sequence on multiscript level. Lets' see how it works...

Maybe it's not very practical, but isn't that fun? You can make it work with Cracklefield 1.2 or Orchestra Enigmatica, both of which generate a kind of multi-channel sequence and include a function which prepares data for receiver/decoder multiscript. They convert notes to series of CC messages, which include note number, velocity and channel/sequence number and can be then interpreted by receiver multiscript.

If you'd like to try it, download the receiver multiscript here.

Mind you, this is experimental setup, not guaranteed to work for you. Also you may need a bit of advanced know-how with Kontakt and DAW configuration, for example, know how to connect one instance MIDI out to another instance MIDI in. Read included text file for more information. Have fun.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Cracklefield update 1.2

I updated Cracklefield to 1.2, introducing introducing field animator, new function which can dynamically transform the whole sequencer field. The field can be scrolled, rotated or evolved using game of life family of cellular automata. Different transformation modes can be sequenced or combined for some extra generative fun.

Available at Loot Audio.