Friday, April 2, 2021

BeatCutter - Rhythm slicing & recombining

BeatCutter is an experimental multi-channel app for slicing and recombining sound based on rhythm. In the center of the app is a matrix of sample cells with smoothly reconfigurable recording, playback and control busses. This app is best for those who would like to experiment with large audio files or live instruments, creating chaotic constructions and patterns from sliced rhythm-driven samples.

>>> Get this app on App Store
Universal app for iOS and macOS (AUv3)

With this app you can create sound textures and abstractions with the atmosphere of cyberpunk, industrial ambience or alien jungle. BeatCutter has an almost unlimited range of options for transformation of source audio. The kind of original sound does not really matter. It can be any tracks, external musical instruments or sound from other apps. The content of the source material and your settings will define the final result, which can range from futuristic IDM to abstract music for fill the living space and soundscapes for relaxation and meditation.

Please note that BeatCutter does not contain exact presets for a specific result. It has a large set of parameters that are adjusted by experiment depending on the source material. But for a quick start and search for ideas, this app has a convenient template editor, which consists of a set of numbers, where each number defines values for a group of parameters. You can change numbers in the template and listen to the result, or use the randomizer for the entire template, then change some specific parameters and save the current state as a preset.

One of the most interesting and experimental features of this app is the Feedback mode. This is not like analog feedback when positive loop gain occurs at some more or less stable resonant frequency. It looks more like fractals when the next level is similar to the whole structure, but in this case with constantly changes. We can say that it works like a sound structure that evolves and changes itself. This is an incredible ability to create perfect sound abstractions, unrelated to any external samples or signals and it opens up a huge potential for experimentation and inspiration.

The BeatCutter works on iPhone and iPad standalone and as audio unit. Supports up to 4 external input and output channels, playback up to 8 files at once, works as a multi-channel audio unit, and is compatible with Audiobus. The app interface is designed for convenient work with the most common MIDI controllers containing 8 faders and 8 knobs.

How it works:

At the core of the app is a matrix of 64 (8x8) cells in each of which a sample can be recorded. The sample matrix is controlled by 5 types of buses - Inputs, Triggers, Controls, Sequencer and Outputs.

The audio signal for recording takes from 8 input buses, each of which can playback a file or be assigned to one of 4 channels of an external sound card or audio unit.

Cell recording start and stop is controlled by 8 trigger buses. Each trigger can be assigned to a signal from any input bus or external channel. The trigger is activated when the signal exceeds the threshold. Each trigger has a band pass filter which selects frequency range in which the trigger will activating. The length of the record in the cell is defined either by a fixed value in beats or by activating and deactivating the trigger.

The sequencer controls the playback of the cells. The sequencer can sync with the main BPM clock or change the step when activating its own trigger. The played sample is fed to one of the 8 output buses on which the cell is located.

The output bus also process the signal with one of the audio effects, filter and echo modules. Next, for each of the 8 output signals, can set the output level, stereo panning, EQ and level to send to the main reverb. The output buses and main reverb are mixed for the external stereo output.

Each cell has a set of parameters that define the playback speed of the sample, a bit mask of playback addressing that implements a kind of glitch effects and other parameters. For each group of 8 cells, these parameters are set by one of the 8 control buses.

Another interesting feature is that for all 5 types of buses, 8 different modes of combining cells in the sample matrix can be set. This allows to create completely unusual configurations for recording, playing and controlling sample cells. Changes mode of buses and value of parameters are performed smoothly and it is possible to set the duration of this change. This options makes the transition sound even more amazing.

>>> Complete description of BeatCutter 1.9 (pdf)

Demo and reviews:

BeatCutter - Tutorial Part 1: Getting Started, Core Concepts (SoundForMore Tutorials)

BeatCutter - Tutorial Part 2: Play FileDirect to the output (SoundForMore Tutorials)

BeatCutter - Tutorial Part 3: Setting up BeatCutter inside AUM (SoundForMore Tutorials)

BeatCutter - Tutorial Part 4: Quick Preset Management (SoundForMore Tutorials)

BeatCutter - Tutorial Part 5: Process one Input Bus (SoundForMore Tutorials)

BeatCutter - Tutorial Part 6: Process Multiple Input Busses (SoundForMore Tutorials)

BeatCutter - Tutorial Part 7: Process Multiple Input Channels in AUM (SoundForMore Tutorials)

BeatCutter - Tutorial Part 8: Triggers, inputs, filter, length, attack, release (SoundForMore Tutorials)

BeatCutter - Tutorial Part 9: Input Options and Automation (SoundForMore Tutorials)

BeatCutter - Tutorial Part 10: Feedback (SoundForMore Tutorials)

The Matrix Decoded: BeatCutter for non Rocket-scientists (MarkH / Almost Aviation)

BeatCutter - App Deep Walkthrough Review (Gavinski’s Tutorials)

BeatCutter - Possibly The Most Experimental App Ever (The Sound Test Room)

Click on image to enlarge


  1. A very interesting concept and appoach. I believe this is worth looking more into and getting the app.

  2. please make as VST for computers

    1. I will think about it. At least for MacOS.

    2. Any progress on this for macOS?

    3. Not ready yet, but working on it.

    4. Happy to beta test on both intel and M1!
      k at floeter dot link

    5. Thanks! will let you know when it will be ready.

  3. Beatcutter running by itself is hitting 100% DSP in AUM on my iPad Air 2 and making crackle distortion sounds. I love the app and don't want to have to get a refund. Is there a way to fix this audio problem? Thanks!

    1. BeatCutter is a resource demanding app requires enough device performance. But you can try to set in AUM sample rate to 44100 and buffer size at least 512 (1024 better) frames.

  4. Hello Igor, can I use Beatcutter as an AU in my DAW (Live 11.1) on an M1 mac? And if yes, where do I find the .component file?

    1. This app is primary designed for iOS devices. I can't say will it works on Mac M1, I can't test it. In future I plan make special version of this app for MacOS.

    2. I concurr. A VST would be awesome.

    3. As of version 1.7, BeatCutter is a universal app for iOS and macOS. It can work on iPhone and iPad as well as Mac/MacBook with M1 chip (and newer). On macOS, BeatCutter can work as a standalone app or as an Audio unit with DAWs and audio unit hosts that support AUv3 plugins.

    4. Thanks :) That's good news in general and less so for me. Some DAW do not support AU, like Bitwig. But I understand your resources are limited.