Review: Isotonik Studios Modular Series
An essential addition for anyone using Follow Actions in Live, or looking to add some fun and useful performance tools.
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Modular Series key features:
- 7 Ableton Devices to increase functionality
- Extends options for Follow Actions
- Control 8 dials from 1 dial
- Multiple DJ-style FX
- 11 bonus Devices
- Requires Ableton Live 9.7.5+ or 10, plus MaxforLive
When Ableton added Max/MSP into Live several years back, few could have predicted just how significant it would be. Beyond the thousands of new effects, instruments and inventive sequencers that have been made by home programmers and third-party developers, Max is flexible enough to also allow new, useful features to be added where needs arise. Isotonik Studios is home to a collection of inventive programmers whose aim is to add new functionality to the already extensive DAW package.
The Modular Series comprises four products plus bonus Devices. The first of these is Follow, which contains Follow Clip, Follow Scene and Follow Arrange. This extends the functionality of Follow Actions, allowing you to build sets by triggering clips, scenes, and even different markers on the Arrange page. You can cue up the next clip or scene from a drop-down menu without triggering it, and also MIDI-map parameters to create complex Live progressions, while also retaining interactivity.
Next up is Smart, which allows you to use one dial to control up to eight mappable dials, each of which can have its own unique break-point curve. This is great for live performances, as you can control complex modulations across multiple instruments and effects with one hand. For those that want DJ-like looping functionality, the Looper Scrub and Looper Brace devices offer two different ways of manipulating loop settings. You can trigger increasingly shorter loop repeats, and can move playback position forwards and backwards. It’s good fun, but it takes a degree of skill to release the loop and return it to its original position.
It does, however, work well as a performance tool when used in conjunction with the Isotonik FX device. This features a range of effects including an audio slicer, Reverse and Brake turntable effects, pitch controls, and a HP/LP resonant filter. There’s also a simplified version of the Smart control built in, meaning you could combine it in an effects rack to build a powerful and fun performance tool. As a final bonus, there are 11 Devices for clip settings and track routings, so you can MIDI map them and automate changes.
If you perform live and want some fun tools and an extra level of flexibility and control, this is a superb package to add to your Ableton setup.
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