Fraction by Sinevibes video demo from Sinevibes on Vimeo.

Sinevibes has been on a roll lately. The one-man Mac plug-in shop keeps churning out elegant, attractive plug-ins with a consistent color-coded visual interface, variations on a theme that invariably include clever twists.

And now, this.

Fraction isn’t the first slice repeater plug-in. But it might be the most direct and intuitive.

I’ve been playing with it for a bit, and it’s tough to describe just how much it’s able to do, or how quickly you can get at that range. Far from just adding some stuttering effects, you can add really subtle rhythmic and timbral variations or make a near-unrecognizable sound warped into something new. It does this by letting you directly get at the bit of the sample you want to modulate, then providing a host tools to work with from there.

EDM? Sure. IDM? Most definitely. But once you get past breaking up drum loops, you can also treat Fraction as a micro-DAW / sampler / effect unit, a sound-reshaping instrument you can use on anything.

Okay, so what does it actually do?

First, you can place slice markers on the sound directly, then use animated controls to determine what to do slice-by-slice. In fact, I must admit that when I first opened it up, I briefly was confused only because I wasn’t accustomed to effects processors letting me work that immediately with sound.

Fraction

From there, you get:

  • Eight audio slicers mapped atop a real-time audio waveform display
  • Each slicer has its own controls: size, repeat count, forward/reverse, duck/gate. So whereas more traditional slicers force you to rely on randomization or overall timing controls, here you can say, “you – that slice – I want you to do this.”
  • Eight slice sets for your slicers, each with different positions and on/off switches. (Yes, that’s 64 individual slices)
  • Each slice has three effect units and four “animation generators” for controlling modulation of those effects.
  • Each effect unit can choose among 15 algorithm types: low-pass, high-pass, band-pass and band-reject filters, phaser, barber-pole phaser, positive and negative flangers, chorus, bit depth and sample rate reducers, analog drive, circuit-bent filter, frequency shifter and pitch shifter.
  • Sync to tempo and even time signature automation.

Sinevibes continues to be a Mac-only affair, but the payoff for Mac Audio Unit users is significant: any Intel Mac running operating systems as early as 10.6 are supported in 32- and 64-bit format with Retina resolution. I will say, I notice some significant CPU consumption on my MacBook once I start turning on all the modules. (Clarification: with more testing, that’s more like minor CPU consumption when I turned on everything. Ah ha. Remember how I said this is a bit like having a DAW inside your DAW? Well, you’re running all those effects at once, so… let me rephrase this. When I inevitably succumb to my desire to turn absolutely everything on, CPU usage actually remains reasonably modest.)

US$69 now, or be a fanboy/fangirl of Sinevibes and get everything for US$299.

I may offer some demos later this month, but in the meantime, here you go. These are good basic examples, but it can actually go a lot further, particularly with different sound content.

Now, the obvious comparison here is to iZotope’s Stutter Edit, produced in collaboration with BT. At their core, the idea is related: each uses a bunch of rhythmic variations and effect modules to reshape the sound. The UIs are completely different, though: Stutter Edit uses push-button step sequencers and builds “gestures” around them, compared to Fraction’s waveform view and clickable slice-by-slice controls. Stutter Edit was actually always a bit too deep for me; I got up and running with Fraction right away and really love its waveform-centric interface. I also like the flatter UI aesthetic.

Then again, Stutter Edit, while substantially pricier at US$299, has a huge amount of power, lots of ideas around live performance (via MIDI), and libraries of presets to get rolling. These two are begging for a comparison, not so much because I expect a “winner” from the two, but because they start with the same fundamental idea and go in radically different directions.

More:
http://www.sinevib.es/fraction

  • Thanks so much for such positive initial impressions! And a quick follow up πŸ™‚ High CPU load is expected if you turn on most or all effects: just please note that technically this is up to 33 separate processors running at the same time in one plugin (sequencer + 8 samplers + 24 effects).

    • Heh, well, made an edit. Let’s put it this way: I of course turned everything on, and things stayed at around a healthy 20% on my 13″ MBP.

      • It’s 20% of one core. For 33 fine effects. Come on πŸ™‚

        • No, I’d say that’s better than healthy. πŸ™‚

      • We do use hardware accelerated DSP in most places, but we’ll see where we can do even better.

  • Thanks so much for such positive initial impressions! And a quick follow up πŸ™‚ High CPU load is expected if you turn on most or all effects: just please note that technically this is up to 33 separate processors running at the same time in one plugin (sequencer + 8 samplers + 24 effects).

    • Heh, well, made an edit. Let’s put it this way: I of course turned everything on, and things stayed at around a healthy 20% on my 13″ MBP.

      • It’s 20% of one core. For 33 fine effects. Come on πŸ™‚

        • No, I’d say that’s better than healthy. πŸ™‚

      • We do use hardware accelerated DSP in most places, but we’ll see where we can do even better.

  • Jesse MejΓ­a

    Hopefully BT’s bogus patent collection doesn’t come into play.

    • What patents does he hold? He is our very active customer BTW…

      • Dan Shuta

        careful, he also holds a patent on the acronym “BTW”, you are asking for trouble…

  • Jesse MejΓ­a

    Hopefully BT’s bogus patent collection doesn’t come into play.

    • What patents does he hold? He is our very active customer BTW…

      • Dan Shuta

        careful, he also holds a patent on the acronym “BTW”, you are asking for trouble…

  • Leo Maymind

    The demo has made Ableton crash for me repeatedly. Anyone else having problems?

    • We tested it in and out in Live and haven’t had problems. What do the crash messages say?

      • Leo Maymind

        Ill check the crash messages if it happens again. I’m using 9.1, @peterkirn:disqus

    • Live’s the host I’m using too… version?

    • Christian Fichter

      Crashes my Live too. πŸ˜‰
      9.1.8, 64 bit.

      • We fixed this with Fraction 1.0.1 released yesterday πŸ™‚

  • Leo Maymind

    The demo has made Ableton crash for me repeatedly. Anyone else having problems?

    • We tested it in and out in Live and haven’t had problems. What do the crash messages say?

      • Leo Maymind

        Ill check the crash messages if it happens again. I’m using 9.1, @peterkirn:disqus

    • Live’s the host I’m using too… version?

    • Christian Fichter

      Crashes my Live too. πŸ˜‰
      9.1.8, 64 bit.

      • We fixed this with Fraction 1.0.1 released yesterday πŸ™‚

  • Leo Maymind

    I also love this idea but wish you could choose the effects an easier way than clicking on each of those tiny circles. it would greatly increase workflow to have a drop-down menu or even be able to scroll through them with your arrow keys.

    • You can drag your mouse to “scrub” on the type selectors. But we will think about improving this, sure.

  • Leo Maymind

    I also love this idea but wish you could choose the effects an easier way than clicking on each of those tiny circles. it would greatly increase workflow to have a drop-down menu or even be able to scroll through them with your arrow keys.

    • You can drag your mouse to “scrub” on the type selectors. But we will think about improving this, sure.

  • NDm

    Hello, can you custom the UI? Would be nice if you want to go experimental.

  • NDm

    Hello, can you custom the UI? Would be nice if you want to go experimental.

  • Andre Hayter

    Reminds me of this: http://illformed.com/glitch/ but the more the merrier.

  • Andre Hayter

    Reminds me of this: http://illformed.com/glitch/ but the more the merrier.

  • Really nice plug-ins, only got to try the demo versions though! I like that they are very clear and easy of use, and obviously with a top-quality sound and tweaks. Singularity and Octagon are really impressive!!! Congrats for all this good work!

    • Thanks for the kind words, we’re really happy to hear you liked our software!

      • No probs; Will definitely cop this Singularity one when the finances will be more balanced. Keep it up!

  • Really nice plug-ins, only got to try the demo versions though! I like that they are very clear and easy of use, and obviously with a top-quality sound and tweaks. Singularity and Octagon are really impressive!!! Congrats for all this good work!

    • Thanks for the kind words, we’re really happy to hear you liked our software!

      • No probs; Will definitely cop this Singularity one when the finances will be more balanced. Keep it up!

  • Patrick Ijsselstein

    just for the looks of it, true eye candy!

  • Patrick Ijsselstein

    just for the looks of it, true eye candy!

  • Will

    I know the point is the sound but a sidebar comment on the design… I’ve been deep in pictogram world for a project at work lately and some of pictograms @Sinevibes:disqus have come up with for the different effect types are just amazing. Look at that chorus!

    • Thanks, glad you appreciate our effort on those effect graphics! They also change according to the effect parameter.

  • Will

    I know the point is the sound but a sidebar comment on the design… I’ve been deep in pictogram world for a project at work lately and some of pictograms @Sinevibes:disqus have come up with for the different effect types are just amazing. Look at that chorus!

    • Thanks, glad you appreciate our effort on those effect graphics! They also change according to the effect parameter.