Sample Magic has introduced Klip, an instrument and drum machine for electronic music production, utilising an expansive parameter editing matrix and comprehensive mixer functionality.
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Klip is built for Native Instruments Kontakt, be it the full version or the free Player – a good news for those that don’t own a commercial license of NI’s flagship sampler. Simply download the latest free Kontakt Player 5.7.0 release, activate and install Klip via Native Access, and you’re good to go! With an introductory & reduced price of $130.15, Klip is in the semi-premium instruments league (if I’m allowed). For the money, you receive a selected cast (in order of appearance): stunning visuals, intriguing sound, smart & modern architecture – in the end, a lot of fun converted into productive things. But let’s take a closer look to Klip.
Main view and waveform display
In short, Kilp is both a drum machine and sequencer, allowing for live performances but also for programming. The GUI looks very good, resembling of 90’s audio hardware with a modern twist.
Maybe what stands out when you open it for the first time is the real-time waveform display on top. There, you can visualize the actual sample and choose how to be rendered: loop synchronised to the host or Klip tempo, as a one-shot or continuous playback (sample), or as an “infinite” loop. The waveform display is flanked by global volume knob on the left and the pad selector/sample browser on the right. Now that we’ve reached the browser, it must be mentioned that Klip comes with over 4000 high-quality Sample Magic samples, pooled from a vast range of titles across electronica, techno and house. The sample(s) can be shaped from the toolbar underneath. Select the global key, key octave, fine-tune the sample or loop, sculpt the attack, hold and decay, and much more.
Next, is a function selection menu that lets you display and access the five main pages (modes) of Klip: the sequencer, an FX matrix, mixer mode with the 8 channels, master channel and its insert FX and limiter, and delay and reverb FX sends.
On the very top of the GUI, we notice a transport bar with controls such as Play, Stop, Record, Sync to DAW, MIDI Export and Metronome level. Next is the pattern bar with rate, shuffle level and pattern selector. A copy/paste selector lets you duplicate patterns with a simple click of a mouse. The last in line are inserts and shaper routing from where you can order (using pre-made templates) the mixer insert effects.
Pad bank and mixer
Klip has a 16 pad bank where you can assign the samples and perform in real time. Each pad has three LED’s, white for the currently selected sound, red for pad mute, and yellow when the pad is soloed. To assign a sample/loop to a pad, simply click that pad, then from the sample browser choose your desired sound in the category and type. You will notice a color bar under each pad. By clicking the bar, you choose from one of the eight mixer groups and same time, assign the sample to a mixer channel.
Which moves us to the next section, the mixer (when MIX mode is selected). As mentioned above, there are eight mixer groups that can be labeled according to their category from the
drop-down menu. Following the same color scheme as pads, the channels can be muted by clicking the red LED, or soloed with the yellow LED enabled. Speaking of color, each mixer can be colored, so you can easily differentiate them. And yes, you guessed, the chosen mixer channel color will be also shown in the bar under the pad(s) corresponding to that group.
FX and sends
Each mixer group has panning switch and a vertical slider that sets the global effect amount. There are four effects, EQ, compression (COMP), shaper and send (SND), each of which can be bypassed by clicking the LED next to the module name. I will not review each of the four effect modules, but I can say they offer enough controls to get the best out of a sample.
The bottom row houses output and panning controls, a bank of 20 different filters, a powerful distortion section, and delay & reverb sends. The knob can control either Delay A or B (by hovering the mouse over the text below it), same thing with the reverb knob. The FX sends module can be accessed from the SND in the function selection menu. You will see two simple yet powerful delay modules and two reverb modules that can be set to be either room, spring or digital.
Sequencer and FX matrix
If you want to program more complex arrangements, use the inbuilt sequencer that allows you to edit velocity data across all 16 pads. In the sequencer, each pad has its own row arranged according to pad number, therefore when you click on a pad, its respective lane will illuminate. Also, when you make changes/edits in the sequencer, the pad in use will be visible due to the white LED. The sequencer comes with tons of pre-made sequences to create rhythms on the fly.
The sequencer works in tandem with the parameters matrix (labeled FX in the function selection menu). Here, the first lane represents the selected pad sequence – similar to the one from sequencer, so any change you make here, will be also reflected in the sequencer mode. Then follow the parameter lanes linked to the effect knobs. Basically, the pattern you draw in each parameter lane will automate its respective linked effect. Let’s say for example you want to trigger the cutoff from the filter module at a certain time, in a certain sequence. Locate the CUT lane and draw the pattern as you wish. Once you hit play, the cutoff parameter from the filter will move in accordance with the pattern you just made.
The sequencer with its FX function is very well built. For example, using a MIDI controller, you start recording the pads, then dive into the complex world of the sequencer and create amazing grooves or loops with the precision of a surgeon. The sequencer is maybe my favorite part of Klip; I say “maybe”, because I also like the pads with their fantastic ability to be grouped in the mixer. I also like the fact that Klip offers you a lot of ways to process a sample, cumulated with the impressive library of sounds gathered from Sample Magic’s vault. And the effect modules offer me plenty of options, so I won’t need any other external effects.
There is much to be said about this amazing virtual instrument, but I will let you discover it by yourself and marvel. I will only add that I warmly recommend it – Klip will definitely be a point of maximum interest in your music.
Price: $130.15 (introductory)