Learning how to make beats of your own can be a fun process, but at a certain point, you may find yourself getting tired of the same old sounds and patterns. If you’ve reached that point in your own beat making journey, you may be the perfect candidate for iZotope’s BreakTweaker virtual instrument.
BreakTweaker is the second collaboration between popular audio plugin maker iZotope and producer BT. Their first venture, Stutter Edit, was extremely well received, so it’s no surprise then that, when BreakTweaker was launched at NAMM 2014, many DJs and producers jumped at the opportunity to try it.
What It Is
BreakTweaker is essentially three tools in one: a sequencer, a beat generator, and a micro-editor. The sequencer allows you to create your own beat patters, the beat generator allows you to choose from a 2GB library of pre-made sounds, and the micro-editor allows you to edit every sound down to the molecular level. You can also purchase expansion packs from iZotope to expand BreakTweaker’s existing sound library.
Who It’s For
BreakTweaker is really designed with producers in mind, but DJs who know a thing or two about how to make beats could benefit from a tool like BreakTweaker. Essentially, it’s a drum machine that gives the user way more control over sounds than any other drum machine ever made. You can use it on the fly for random manipulations, or zoom in on a single sample and manipulate that sample to your heart’s desire.
The ability to zero-in on individual elements is what really sets BreakTweaker apart from other beat making modules. The micro-editor lets you slice up and tweak every sample to create glitch and stutter effects, and ultimately create never-before-heard sounds. So if you feel like you’ve outgrown your current beat making software, BreakTweaker is an excellent upgrade.
Who It’s Not For
iZotope calls BreakTweaker a MIDI-driven instrument, although it has its limitations as a performance tool. You can use a MIDI controller as both a sampler and a pattern selector with BreakTweaker, however, there’s no MIDI note input for the sequencer, which means the only way to input new sequencer notes is to use a mouse. In addition, you can run into problems with syncing when changing track values in real-time.
So while it may be a good addition to a live setup when used in conjunction with a piece of performance software like Ableton Live, BreakTweaker doesn’t provide enough MIDI control to be used as a standalone performance tool.
The Bottom Line
BreakTweaker is not your grandmother’s drum machine. This thing means business. If you’re just learning how to make beats on your own, this tool might give you more functionality than you really need. If, on the other hand, you’re ready to get creative and make some totally original sounds, you should definitely consider giving BreakTweaker a try. The best part is, if you’re not convinced, you can try it as a 10-day free trial and see for yourself what the software can do.
If you want to learn more about how to make beats with software like BreakTweaker, check out some of our Ableton Live tutorials on topics like tempo control and using grooves; BreakTweaker can easily be integrated with Ableton to give you virtually limitless possibilities for beat making and warping. Or, if you’re just getting started in the DJ game, check out our DJ school where you can learn everything from what gear to buy to how to get gigs and promote yourself online.