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Skaka - Shaked Percussion by Klevgränd

Klevgränd just released Skaka - Shaked Percussion. This is the full-package; offering both sequencing and samples designed for the unique character of shaken percussion instruments. Skaka arrives on sale for 50% off on iOS, macOS, and Windows. The iOS version includes AUv3, with a bunch of automatable parameters!

Skaka - Shaked Percussion

Skaka is a sample-based sequencer plugin for shaked percussion instruments. The sequencer and sample player engine are built from the ground up with respect to the needed parameters, and has exclusive features for playing and interacting with these types of sounds. Each event added to any of the 12 independent sequencers can control multiple parameters like pitch, velocity (as in how fast the instrument is shaked) and envelope. It can also be synchronized to the tempo and playhead position of the host application.

Giving full control of shuffle/swing amount, a complex humanizer settings panel, internal awareness of in- and out shakes (yes, they sound different), using grids divided into triplets/quintuplets/septuplets, time fine-tuning and variable sequence lengths, Skaka can get very close to how a human percussionist would sound in almost any tempo without any use of degrading time stretching or similar techniques.

In addition to the 12 sequencers and their internal parameters, there is a reverb, a room simulator, and a high shelf filter.

Skaka comes with nearly 200 ready-made patterns covering most genres and styles.

NOTE! Skaka is an AUv3 instrument plugin that only works in an AUv3 compliant host like Garageband, AUM, Cubasis, Beatmaker 3, Auria etc. It does not work as a standalone application.


USAGE

The main view shows 12 slots containing a sequencer and its parameters. These sequencers are started and stopped by MIDI Note On and Note Off (one for each MIDI note from C to B).

To reveal and edit a sequencer's events and parameters, tap the sequencer overview (in the middle of each slot).

Full documentation is available inside the standalone version of the app or at https://klevgrand.se/downloads/skaka-docs/


INSTRUMENTS AVAILABLE

Egg - An egg shaped plastic object containing small hard particles.
Shaker - A plastic cylinder object that sounds similar to the egg, but a bit softer.
Tambourine - A circle shaped wooden frame with small metallic plates attached to it.
Caxixi - A small closed basket filled with dried seeds.
Single Shot - Similar sound to a shaker, but with a shorter and more distinctive sound.
Ghungroos - A set of small bells tied to a belt.
Calabash - West African thin layered seed container.
Seeds - Several seed capsules tied to a string.


AUTOMATABLE PARAMETERS (FOR EACH SEQUENCE)

* Pitch
* Duration
* Humanize amount
* Shuffle amount
* Sequence fade in time
* Sequence fade out time
* Pan
* LP Filter
* Reverb send
* Output gain

GLOBAL PARAMETERS

* 4 different rooms and 9 different reverbs
* Reverb decay time and level
* Room level
* LP filter frequency
* Output Level

Tove from Klevgrand shows off the individual sequencers and other features inside of Skaka!

October 13, 2020  | person_outline Tim Webb
This looks fantastic. I have a shaker library for Kontakt that also uses those shift techniques to make it so the loudest part of the sample is centered on the grid point. This seems to be even more full-featured. The examples of shakers I hear sound great. the number of velocity layers will make this quite useable in lots of contexts.

$10 USD is quite reasonable for a shaker that you can actually use in a final track. The Mac/Windows version is $25 USD.
October 13, 2020  | favorite_border stub
Instabought it. Glad I did. I’ll surely use this AUv3 quite a bit. Hope they can release more plugins on this overall model.

Been having fun with Ting since they released it at the height of confinement. It became one of my go-to plugins for the kind of casual musicking I enjoy the most.

This one goes quite a bit further, with its embedded sequencers.

The workflow is really nice. It’s the kind of plugin you can use as-is or tweak to your heart’s content. To my mind, the approach to these sequencers is the result of a proper design process: they’ve obviously thought long and hard about what’s needed and provide you with just the right level of detail at just the right time.

It also sounds pretty good to my ear. Not just in individual sounds but how they work together or with other tracks. The instruments sampled are distinct enough from each other and from the majority of percussion libraries. The roundrobin does more than prevent a “machine gun effect”. With all the humanization options, it contributes to a pretty organic feel.

It’s also pretty small when compared to most sample libraries.

At 10USD for the iPadOS AUv3, it’s really good value.
Listening in more detail, the samples are pretty nicely recorded. The editing is immaculate. There is a very nice selection of sounds. There's maybe one or two shaker sounds that are missing, like a coarse seed shaker, or one of those super loud shakers with lots of pellets. But the ones that are there have been done very well. Their method of velocity layers, in/out, and round robin is incredibly effective and reads with lots of realism-- especially at moderate tempos and in a mix.

The user interface is pretty sparse but once you know your way around, it's effective. Having 12 slots to put sounds/patterns into is great. Patterns can have beat divisions of 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, or 8. That's awesome. Patterns can be up to 8 beats long. (Unfortunately, that's a bit limiting-- but you could use MIDI to alternate between two slots to get longer patterns). Here's a GREAT thing, if you switch the beat grid it will keep any notes that you have in there in their current locations, so you can create patterns with all kinds of tuplets and variation. THAT IS AWESOME!! Also, the fact that you can see the currently selected grid and slide things around for more slop or swing is amazing. The humanize controls are full featured. The smartness thing is clever. I wish that smartness would allow you to choose notes that are non-humanized by something other than velocity (i.e., their position in the bar (e.g., beats 2 & 4). That's a minor thing. You can use multiple slots to accomplish anything that you can't get in a single-slot.

It's brilliant, affordable, and most of all, it is a VERY refreshing and welcome example of how to make a truly versatile plugin. I hope they take this same approach to something with either other samples, or user-loaded samples.
October 14, 2020  | favorite_border stub
One really annoying thing is that when you are editing the patterns, it is almost impossible to adjust the duration or pitch without either creating new events or dragging existing ones. There is no zooming and the handles ("staples"?) are tiny.
October 17, 2020  | favorite_border stub
This one is most advanced Klevgrand app to date, huh? And, advanced the right way.
October 17, 2020  | favorite_border eVr
On October 17, 2020 - @eVr said:
This one is most advanced Klevgrand app to date, huh? And, advanced the right way.

Exactly!! It's really stunning how well-thought out this is, in terms of pattern editing and sound.

I did submit a support request about the edit issue. I'm hoping they'll work something out. Seems like they could add a LOCK to prevent events from moving when editing. Making slightly larger handles for editing velocity/pitch/duration would be helpful. A horizontal zoom option would be even better, since you can get pretty rapid with hits.
October 17, 2020  | favorite_border stub
I guess the one tip is to turn the grid lock (magnet) ON, and turn the horizontal enable (<->) OFF. That helps. Click just above the pattern pane to delete an event, or drag the fader below zero.

Worth mentioning that Velocity only has 8 values. That's just enough for the velocity layers they provide.

As a side note, when using multiple velocity layers, if you want 127 levels of velocity, normalize all the samples and use the velocity-->amp to control a smooth increase in volume across all values. Use velocity ranges to switch layers.
October 19, 2020  | favorite_border stub
I should clarify that this is how DEVELOPERS should handle velocity switching; and how people who make their own sample libraries can handle this feature.

Shaka is very cool, and if it only has 8 velocity levels, that's not a huge crime. Just a slight missed opportunity for more resolution in the dynamics.
October 19, 2020  | favorite_border stub
More clarification. Shaka has an edit panel where you select the velocity layer (of 8). With this mode, you select which sample it plays, which will play at the relative level at which the sample was originally recorded. So yes, with velocity alone, you get 8 levels (plus the slop from round robins, in/out, etc.) Another edit panel allows you to adjust gain-- relative to the original record level. That control is full range/resolution.

Here's where it gets a little more complicated. Velocity alone will take care of sample switching, and the original record level itself will provide 8 levels, and it's a normal kind of performance. Gain will let you micro adjust the levels to either exaggerate, compress, or reverse the dynamics cause by the velocity switches.
October 20, 2020  | favorite_border stub
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