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Cheat Sheet: Propellerhead ReCycle

July 24, 2008
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GETTING STARTED

Before creating a loop, enter the original file’s length in the Bars and Beats fields. Observe the Original Tempo field to the right: If it’s double the original tempo, halve the number of bars. If it’s half the original tempo, double the number of bars.

ADD SLICES BASED ON TRANSIENTS

ReCycle stretches tempo by slicing the file at transients into discrete blocks of sound. To add slices at transients, drag the Sens slider to the right until a marker appears at each transient. This works well for simple, highly percussive files.

ADD/REMOVE SLICES MANUALLY

To add a slice marker, click on the Pencil tool, then click on the waveform where the slice should occur. To remove a marker, use the Arrow to click on the top of the marker (the triangular head), then go Edit > Delete.

ADD SLICES ON A 16TH-NOTE GRID

Go View > Show Grid, then Process > Add Slices at Grid.

ADD SLICES ON AN EIGHTH-NOTE GRID

Temporarily enter half the number of Bars in the Bars field. Go View > Show Grid, then Process > Add Slices at Grid. Return the Bars field to the original value; slices appear on each eighth-note.

REMOVE CLICKS CAUSED BY TRANSIENT PLACEMENT

Choose the Arrow tool, and click within a slice in the waveform view to audition the slice. If you hear a click at the beginning or end, move the starting or ending marker respectively until the click becomes inaudible. Usually this requires only a slight tweak, by moving the marker to a zero-crossing point (zoom in if needed).

REMOVE CLICKS BY ADDING AN ATTACK TIME

If moving markers doesn’t eliminate clicks, enable the Envelope section by clicking on its Effect On/Off button. Add a slight attack time (1–10ms). This will “soften” the slice’s initial transient and often remove stubborn clicks.

NAVIGATE THROUGH SLICES

In ReCycle’s “transport” section, click on the “Fast Forward” button to move to, and play, the next slice. Click on the “Rewind” button to move to, and play, the previous slice. The “up” button plays the current slice.

REMOVE ALL SLICES

Type Ctrl-A and go Edit > Delete.

EXTEND SLICE DECAY

If you slow down a loop, a gap opens up between the end of one slice and the beginning of the next. Set the Stretch control to 0% and listen. If the loop sounds okay, leave Stretch down. Otherwise, turn up Stretch to extend the slice’s decay until it fills the gap between slices. If you speed up a loop, Stretch is usually best at 0%.

CROP LOOP

Drag the left and right locators on the bottom of the waveform view to the desired trim points, then go Process > Crop Loop.

CREATE PERCUSSIVE EFFECTS

Normally, Decay is set to Inf so that a slice plays through to the end. To make slices more percussive, turn down Decay to give each slice a short decay time.

CREATE COMPLEX RHYTHMIC PATTERNS

You can silence individual slices, thus creating complex “gapped” rhythmic patterns. Use the Arrow tool to click on the marker that starts a slice you want silenced (thus creating a gap in the pattern). To select additional slices to silence, Shift-click additional markers. Go Process > Silence Selected; the slices will be replaced by a blank space in the waveform view. To hear them again, uncheck Silence Selected.

NORMALIZATION OPTIONS

Go Process > Normalize. You have two options: Whole File, which normalizes the entire file by bringing its maximum peak to 0dB, or Each Slice, which brings the peak of each slice to 0dB.

ADD COMPRESSION

ReCycle includes a compression-like function. Enable the Transient Shaper section by clicking on its Effect On/Off button. Threshold is like a compressor’s threshold control, while Amount acts as a ratio control. The Gain meter shows the amount of gain reduction being applied.

FIX EQ-INDUCED DISTORTION

ReCycle has an EQ section with low cut, high cut, and two parametric mids. If you use this to add excessive gain, the sound can clip. Use the Gain control (to the left of the Tempo control) to reduce the overall level.

THE TWO WAYS TO SAVE A REX FILE

ReCycle lets you save a file as a single REX-format file, or save each slice individually. To save as a single file, go Process > Export as One Sample, then click on Save. To save each slice individually, uncheck Export as One Sample, choose the file format (e.g., WAV or AIF), then go File > Export. Choose the sample rate (11.025–96kHz) and bit depth (16/24 bits), and check “Export MIDI File with the Same Name” if you want to create a MIDI file that can trigger the individual slices when both are loaded into a host program. Click on OK. Careful: This might produce a lot of files (one for each slice), so it’s a good idea to create a folder and save into that.

SAVING AS A STRETCHED WAV/AIF FILE

Set up the slicing and all controls (Attack, Stretch, Pitch, Tempo, etc.) so that the file sounds exactly as desired, including pitch and tempo. Then go Process > Export as One Sample, click on Export, choose the file format (e.g., WAV or AIF), select the sample rate and bit depth as described above, then click on OK. The result will be a digital audio file, stretched according to ReCycle’s settings.

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