Sector update – Jonatan Liljedahl’s brilliant loop mashing app gets new features

Download from iTunes App Storesector logoI reviewed Jonatan Liljedahl’s Sector when it was first released back in February 2014 and I was hugely impressed by what it can offer. This iOS music app is a bit of a difficult app to classify and describe but, in essence, it takes an audio loop, slices it (into ‘sectors’) and then allows you to reassemble and manipulate those sectors (slices) in various ingenious ways.

If you are the kind of person that either likes to mangle their audio loops or who just wants to extract the absolute creative maximum from every audio loop in your collection – Sector is going to be right up your street.

Sector - just how many ways can you revitalise those old drum loops in your collection? Just brilliant...

Sector – just how many ways can you revitalise those old drum loops in your collection? Just brilliant…

Sector has had a number of updates since it was first released that have added a number of new features and kept the technical specification up to date. However, the last update was back in October 2014….  until today that is when v.1.1 arrived on the App Store. As a fully signed up fan of the app, this is obviously a welcome sight.

Freshly sliced

As well as the usual round of minor tweaks and fixes, the new version also brings some pretty significant new features. Perhaps the most significant things revolve around the MIDI capabilities of the app. So, for example, you can now use MIDI control to either trigger individual sectors or to witch between different memory slots (each of which can control various performance options). This means you can either trigger how Sector plays live (via your MIDI keyboard/controller) or from a sequencer.

Sector now includes options for comprehensive MIDI control of the app.

Sector now includes options for comprehensive MIDI control of the app.

The other obvious highlight is support for MIDI Clock slave mode; Sector can now sync to your sequencer or other suitable apps and ought to follow transport controls. There are menu options to help you configure all these settings and options to disable them if required (if, for example, your particular host is problematic).

In creative terms, there are also some new things in the WRP (warp) options. The WRP page has had a re-work and there is now a ‘silent’ WRP shape so you can add rests or mute sectors. The WRP reverse toggle can now also be included in the randomisation functions that Sector provides.

I’ve only had a brief time to explore the new options so far but, in using Sector within Cubasis, I had no problems at all getting Sector to sync to the Cubasis tempo or to respond to the Cubasis transport controls. Within Sector, the IAA ‘quick switch’ panel includes basic transport controls…  but also a button to toggle sync on/off; very useful.

MIDI Sync is also provides and worked very well using Cubasis as my IAA host.

MIDI Sync is also provides and worked very well using Cubasis as my IAA host.

Equally, the MIDI Config section shows all the default MIDI control configurations and, if you do want to change any of these, there is a MIDI Learn system for doing so. Switching between the various memory slots via MIDI worked very well… great as it means you can easily sequence these changes if you wish. I also had no problems triggering Sector’s slices from my MIDI keyboard and this is also a really useful addition if you want to ‘play’ your sliced loop manually.

In summary

Sector is absolutely one of my favourite iOS music apps and I think it perhaps hasn’t got quite the high profile it deserves amongst the general iOS music making community. This is an iOS app that I regularly hook up (via Audiomux or Music IO) to my desktop system from my iPad but, if Jonatan ever gets around to developing a VST version of the software for use on the desktop then I would buy it in a flash (even at a desktop software price).

There are plenty of other beat making/mangling applications out there but Sector is, once you dig in a little, both powerful and creative. Personally, at just UK£6.99, I think this is a real treat and if you have not, at yet, taken Sector for a spin, now is a very good time. An absolute must for iOS beat mashers everywhere :-)

Sector



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