The coolest new plug-in to come with Ableton’s Live 5 was Beat Repeat. This delay-inspired effect was a creative godsend, enabling you to repeat sections of audio rhythmically to create stuttering effects that you just couldn’t get from anything else.
Audio Damage clearly liked the Beat Repeat concept, as they’ve stepped up with something similar, but this one’s got an H-bomb rammed up its phat backside.
Replicant is indeed a little out of the ordinary, so a brief tour is in order. The first area of interest is the Looper, which loops sections either to your specifications or randomly. It’s based on musical intervals and syncs to your host sequencer. Secondly, there’s the Motion section, which introduces lots of stereo dynamic fun and even dictates the direction of loop playback.
The Filter section, meanwhile, is also synced and offers random variation.
Next we have the Levels section. This enables you to adjust the level and the bit rate of the repeats, and to specify whether the plug-in mixes the dry and wet signal, automatically switches between the two or just plays the repeats (for use on a send/receive bus).
Finally, there’s the Opportunity section, which you can use to specify which parts of each bar are affected. Each bar is split into 16 segments, and each of these can be switched on and off in real time with automation! You can also adjust the likelihood of each segment in each bar being affected or even randomise the parts that will be affected.
If all of this sounds mental, that’s because it is. However, Replicant is capable of spitting out wonderful effects and variations that you simply won’t get any other way - it really is stunning.
There's only a couple of ways in which Replicant could be improved. Firstly, a wet/dry balance control when you’re using the plug-in in automatic switching mode. Sometimes, the loop section needs to be a little quieter than the original audio.
Secondly, and similarly, a fix to get rid of the occasional clicking that occurs in duck mode as the plug-in flicks backwards and forwards between the original and looped audio. A built-in crossfade control (in milliseconds) for smoothing the transitions and eliminating the clicks would be a help.
It has to be said, though, that anybody who doesn’t buy Replicant is missing out. It may cost less than £30, but it’s definitely the most creative plug-in on the market in any price band for a long time.