Ever since I showed you our RX3 Advanced post, I have discovered more and more features of iZotope’s latest plug-ins to boost my Imaging. With BreakTweaker, iZotope brought us a cool drum machine/FX/Glitch/Freakout-Tool which is very powerful for EDM and Urban production. While playing around with the BreakTweaker sound library I thought: Why not use it for brandings, sweepers and promos?
BreakTweaker is the second plug-in iZotope created with electronic music legend BT. It works as an instrument in all DAWs and has a nice, futuristic look. It comes with a 2GB sample library and you can expand it with additional special packs.
Pro Tools Setup
If you want to try iZotope’s BreakTweaker on a song, you can load it next to the audio track to an instrument track. The song-slices you want to „BreakTweak“ can be prepared quickly: Cut them, name them and export them to a place you’ll find them easily (I created a „Samples“-folder in our session folder).
You may think that’s too complicated if you just want to create glitchy FX with a song/VO/whatever. You could use Stutter Edit or NI The Finger as a midi controlled insert FX. But BreakTweaker is an instrument: it works differently and gives you other possibilities.
It consists of six tracks and each one triggers three generators. There are two generator types: Sample and Synth. You can load any .wav or .aiff material as a sample and the synth section comes with 2 oscillators and many different waveforms.
So, per track you can choose if you want to layer samples, mix samples with synths, or create your own synth sounds. Plus, you have a distortion, filter, mix (gain/pan)-section per generator and you can choose from four envelopes and four LFOs to modulate almost every parameter of a generator.
Here’s a short song sample treated with a filter, modulated by one of the freaky LFO-curves. And a second synth generator is layered where we created a short riser, soft distorted riser.
You see you have a ton of options to modify your audio even before you start to „arrange“ your sound.
If your audio is loaded and if you want to modify, you can arrange it in typical step sequencer patterns. You can set steps by clicking on a track and dragging the length. One BreakTweaker preset is made up from up to 24 different patterns and can be triggered in various modes via MIDI. The Sequencer gives you direct access to the basic track features like gain, pan, solo/mute, plus you can multiply or divide the speed of each track (if you want to try out polyrhythmic patterns which I don’t recommend for radio imaging).
Here is a short pattern created with one audio slice, arranged on three tracks (center, left, right):
If you wonder what that freaky effect is and why one slice is pitched – that’s because of THE BreakTweaker feature, which gives you the glitchiest glitch you ever heard: The Microedit!
The Microedit-tool allows you to modify every single step in your BreakTweaker patterns in a unique way. By clicking on a step the sequencer window is opened below. Its main part is a block view of your audio that can be divided into slices (2-256). You can choose whether the entire audio should be sliced or if every slice retriggers the audio. The rhythm of the slices can be modulated by eight different slopes. This allows you to create musical elements if you choose very fast slices.
This audio example shows you different slicer slopes in retrigger mode (straight, sine, BT curve, minor chord):
But slicing is not the only micro-edit option. You can adjust the pitch of every step, add fades and add one FX (HP-/LP-filter, Chorus, Distortion) to every step.
Here is an example of how you could create freaky stutters, and more to the music in your session. You see the upper track with the cut samples (muted) which are loaded to the BreakTweaker instrument track below with MIDInotes triggering the different patterns.
A Beat and FX Machine
Now that you know what you can do to audio with BreakTweaker, we’d like to also point out that this instrument can help you in radio imaging in another way – namely as an instrument.
It comes with a lot of cool presets for Electro, Dubstep and HipHop, modern beats each in 24 variations (the different patterns). Plus, you can easily create your own beats with the BreakTweaker library that includes synths, glitch sounds, and more apart from the different drum sounds.
You can created your own risers, zaps, alarms, etc with the synth generators if you want to set your inner sound designer free.
Why Not Give It An Imaging-Try?
To sum it up:
BreakTweaker is one for the tweakers! Definitely check out how this plug-in works and how you can best integrate it in your sessions If you take the time to create your own patterns, you’ll be able to use them in every other session and of course in every other tempo.
If you want to save some time to re-use a cool stutter that you cut for a prior promo, you can load one of your BreakTweaker presets and replace the samples.. That way you can use your prior result and modify it easily.
The same applies to beats and FX – use them in every other session no timeshifting necessary!
Here is a simple build-up I made with another BreaktTweaker as an instrument. I used it on one song but it works on another one, too. The stutters from the first one are integrated as well – I simply took other short samples and just „tweaked“ the patterns a little bit:
So listen to Katy Perry: „it’s no big deal“ – check out iZotope’s freaky PlugIn and start tweaking!