Review: Herse by K Devices


One of the things that makes Ableton Live the best DAW for dance music production is their bundled partner application, Max For Live (M4L). What’s really cool about M4L is that the environment is a completely open domain, allowing developers to create their own devices that work perfectly in the M4L or Ableton world. One such amazing device is the new Herse from K Devices (MSRP:$29). This unit is probably the most comprehensive slicer/effect/step mangler created so far in the M4L world, and competes with anything from Sugar Bytes, etc. Basically what Herse is designed to do is to take audio from a live input (no need for buffered or sampled audio), and slice and rearrange the audio in a multiplicity of different ways.

From a rudimentary perspective, Herse will use a step-sequencer (user selectable time resolution) to define the steps of the incoming audio, and allow you to rearrange the slices however you seem fit. In addition, each slice can have a number of effects applied to it, each time-synced to the transport, and each effect’s parameter can be synced or stepped. The effects include roll, waveshaper, amp envelope, lowpass filter, amp modulator, resonator and volume modulator. This makes for a very complex take on whatever signal source you are feeding into it.

From very subtle effects on live guitar or vocals, all the way down to extremely glitched-out drum loop pandemonium, this versatile effect is a key choice for all Ableton (M4L) users. While this effect can go incredibly deep for the advanced user, those just starting out can get amazing effects in just a few minutes. Several key features that beginners and masters will both enjoy are, randomization for almost every parameter and drunkwalk mode, which randomly morphs the sequencer’s direction/position.

And if all of these features aren’t enough to tweak your sound, you can save several different snapshots of all your parameters and then morph between them, creating extremely complex effects. If you find that you need to add a little bit of edge to your recorded or sampled loops, this amazing time-based effect can complement or destroy whatever you throw at it. Modern producers should take special note, and this innovative device could morph your sound into the future of music.