BeatCleaver 1.4 Devlog – Almost Done

Time for another devlog update on BeatCleaver 1.4!

I’ve made huge progress since the last update (about a month ago), and 1.4 is now more or less feature-complete:

Some of the new changes coming in BeatCleaver 1.4 that are covered in this video are:

  • Automatic BPM detection
  • Slice to MIDI
  • Tempo and pitch controls integrated into the main window
  • New icons and new graphics for the transport and loop bars.
  • Cut/Copy/Paste in Edit Mode
  • Delete and Trim in Edit Mode
  • Normalization
  • New shift and ctrl-click shortcuts to slice and trigger playback in the slicer view.

This video ended up being a bit longer than I would have liked, but it covers twice the development time that the previous ones did, and you can tell how excited I was this time around. (I had to bust out the volume normalization when post-processing the video to keep myself under control.)

I’m working on fixing up bugs still, but there may be a public beta for this release because since so much has changed, I’m getting the sneaky suspicion that there’s probably tons of bugs I haven’t found yet. Keep an eye on Twitter, Facebook, and the blog here for more info!

Devlog: BeatCleaver 1.4 Progress and New Edits

About two weeks ago, I posted my first devlog video on BeatCleaver 1.4 to help get feedback on the new “Edit Mode” I’m working on, and since then I’ve made some progress. That first video garnered a bunch of great feedback that helped me steer what I’m working on (which was just what I was hoping for), so I’m going to continue blogging my progress whenever I have something cool to show.

In this new video, I quickly demonstrate how slice points now work in Edit Mode, show how you can use two new types of “edit” to manipulate beats, and lastly, I talk about your feedback on the last video and some of the features that you suggested:

Ok, back to C++ for me!

If you have any questions suggestions about what you’re seeing here in BeatCleaver, please leave a comment below or send me an email!

Devlog: Early Look at Edit Mode in BeatCleaver 1.4

I’ve started working on a new BeatCleaver update, and rather than keeping the new feature set under wraps until right before the release like usual, I’ve decided to try developing this release in the open starting with this first “developer log” video:

Watch the video to see how the new “Edit Mode” in BeatCleaver 1.4 is going to work, and let me know what you think!

Preview: BeatCleaver 1.3 with Time Stretching

There are few audio effects that match the sheer usefulness of time stretching.

Time stretching is an effect that allows you to change the tempo and pitch of a sample independently of one another. For example, if you’ve sampled a vinyl and you want to work it into an existing track, time stretching lets you slow down the sample to match the tempo of your beat. You also usually need to transpose the sample to match the key of your song as well. Time stretching is different from resampling because the latter changes both the pitch and tempo at the same time.

What’s particularly great about time stretching is that it preserves the original character of your source material, which has made it a ubiquitous technique in modern hip hop music production. Preserving the original character of a sample is more important in hip hop than in other genres because sampling is so closely tied to the “sound” of the genre. In hip hop, sound design tends to focus more on reworking existing samples to fit with each other, as opposed to say, the synth-oriented sound design of most EDM genres. (If you wander in between hip hop and EDM production, taking certain elements of each, you get post-2010 trap music, but I digress.) Although you don’t need to use timestretching or even resampling when you’re making hip hop, both techniques let you expand your palette of available sounds. Once you go timestretching though, it sure is hard to go back.

A sneak peek at BeatCleaver 1.3

A sneak peek at BeatCleaver 1.3 for Windows. Notice anything new?

That’s why we’re excited to share the news that time stretching is coming to BeatCleaver in the upcoming 1.3 release. We’ve integrated a new, high fidelity time stretching engine and added a number of different quality presets and options to let you tweak the final sound.

BeatCleaver 1.3 adds the ability to time stretch and repitch samples (independently).

BeatCleaver 1.3 adds the ability to time stretch and repitch samples (independently).

Screenshots are great, but time stretching needs to be heard, so we’ve put together a short demo track featuring only samples that were time-stretched and chopped in BeatCleaver 1.3:

Time Stretching with BeatCleaver – “Guitars” Demo Song by Oscillicious

The beat on this track was chopped from one of the demo breaks that come bundled with BeatCleaver. All other samples are licensed under Creative Commons BY and found on

You can also listen to those samples directly, in both original and timestretched versions below. We’ve placed comments inline that label each sample and list the time stretching settings:

Time Stretching with BeatCleaver – “Guitars” Samples by Oscillicious

(Full attribution and links to the the samples are provided in the description on SoundCloud.)

We’re currently wrapping up BeatCleaver 1.3 beta testing and we hope to have a final release within the next week or so. Stay tuned for more information and the release announcement!

Fun fact: Akai released the first MPC with time stretching back in 2000, the MPC 2000 XL.


Introducing SongStarter, Free Public Beta

Live Looping, Music Brainstorming Environment

Available for Windows, Mac OS X, and Google Chrome

It’s with great excitement that I get to unveil the newest creation from Oscillicious, SongStarter!

SongStarter is a “music brainstorming environment”, built around a live looping workflow. It’s designed to help you jam out ideas as quickly as possible and build them into up into melodies. When you’re done layering up the heart of a great song, you can drag and drop MIDI export your tune into your DAW and continue producing it with the workflow you’ve already mastered.

SongStarter is FREE during beta, so download it now!

You begin in SongStarter by picking a beat and a tempo, and then can rapidly build up a melody using the collection of 21 built-in instruments. The instruments we’ve got fall into three categories:

  • Jam Essentials: A collection of sampled instruments with character, covering a range of sounds, from the Dusty Piano to the old school Cruise synth.
  • SodaSynth: Seven of our favorite SodaSynth presets for your jamming pleasure, providing classic, clean synth sounds.
  • Analog Extracts: Rounding out the collection is 5 sampled instruments created from our analog synth sample pack, providing quirky synth sounds taken from a legendary analog modular synthesizer.

We’ve tried to make SongStarter as easy as possible jam with, and we think you’ll have a lot of fun with it. With any luck, it might just help you come up with your next big hit.

Check it out, here’s an unscripted jam session I had from earlier today with SongStarter:

Lastly, in addition to the live looping jam workflow, SongStarter includes the Freestyle Recorder that we teased last week. The Freestyle Recorder is a different approach to starting a jam, which works by always recording what you’re playing, and then automatically chopping it up into segments when you stop playing. You never have to take your hands off your MIDI keyboard.

Once you’ve created some segments with the Freestyle Recorder, you can then create a seamless loop from one, just by tapping along with it. At the end, SongStarter can drop a beat right over your loop, and then throw it all over to the live looping jam workflow. (I find the Freestyle Recorder is really great for capturing ideas with huge amounts of swing or weird grooves.)

We’re excited to finally get SongStarter into the hands of more musicians, and that’s really what the free public beta is about. Oscillicious is fuelled by the feedback of musicians like yourself, and so we’d love to hear what you think about SongStarter.

Have you downloaded SongStarter or tried it in Chrome yet? What’s your impression? Leave a comment below or email us directly! We’d love to hear from you.

Coming Soon: Analog Extracts

Here’s a quick sneak peak at our next product: Analog Extracts.

Analog Extracts is a sample pack consisting of over 200 analog modular synth sounds. Our sound designers were lucky enough to get their hands on a very expensive analog modular synth, and managed to squeeze some incredibly unique and original sounds out of it.

The sounds we captured are pure analog waveforms, each with its own unique character. They’re different. The laser sounds are especially unlike anything you’ve heard before, and we think these’ll work great as accents and buildups in a range of electronic music.

Also included in the sample pack will be a number of synth leads, bass samples, and pads, along with an assortment of original analog drum sounds.

Analog Extracts Demo 1 by Oscillicious

It gets even better…

To take things even further, we wanted to make it as easy as possible to use these samples. This collection of analog modular synth samples could stand on its own as a product, but as musicians ourselves, we think digging through folders full of samples when you’re trying to write a track can be a bit of a chore.

To solve that, many other companies bundle presets for certain samplers like EXS-24 or Kontakt with their sample packs, so you can load up different banks quickly. The problem with this approach is that they assume you own one of these other (expensive) products. This only really benefits some users. As an alternative, other companies choose to license a sampler like the Kontakt Player to bundle with their sample packs, but it costs big bucks to do so and dramatically increases the cost to you, the musician.

Both of these approaches have big downsides, so we decided to do it our own way. To make Analog Extracts even better, we wanted to provide something extra for all users without breaking the bank.

The Analog Extracts VST and AU Plug-In

To make it as convient and easy as possible to use these analog samples in your music, we’ve created our own custom mini-sampler plug-in specifically for Analog Extracts. This bonus plug-in contains a curated selection of drum kits for easy access, as well as presets that map each sample to the entire keyboard. The plug-in will be available in both 32-bit and 64-bit flavours for Windows and Mac OS X, and is even compatible with Windows 8 and Mountain Lion already!

We’re wrapping up beta testing and we hope to make Analog Extracts available in the coming weeks. Stay tuned!