Review: CableGuys TimeShaper

Some plugins go beyond regular processing and open up whole new worlds of time-based sound mangling. Could Cableguys' latest offering take you to another world?  

There are some tools that don’t completely show the face of their true power until you sit with them for a second. And then there are some tools that you have to sit with for a moment longer. But once you catch the trick, once you see the workflow take shape a whole new world of possibilities opens up. This is what happened for me with TimeShaper, a module within Shaper Box, by CableGuys. Let me tell you about my experience

In the Beginning...

At first I tried TimeShaper as an active insert on an audio track, in realtime. 

I head straight to drawing in timing offsets within the usual Cableguys grid that lays in the middle. And what a clever system it is! The highest value of the Timing Offset grid is, of course, regular playback speed. Using your cursor and some very helpful tools, you can draw in timing offsets in realtime that produce glitches, reversals and completely new versions of the audio that you are piping through TimeShaper via Shaper box. The result is a plugin that not only creates amazing loops, breaks, beats, and textures but also a plugin that brings a lot of inspiration to the table.

Like all Cableguys plugs, and especially now that they’ve consolidated their whole tool kit in to one very cool toolbox known as ShaperBox, TimeShaper can warp not just an entire incoming audio signal but it can have up to three patterns timing offsets (up to 3- high, mid, low) running in realtime. Each band actually gets its own selective pattern of modulation. I dragged TimeShaper, riding within ShaperBox, as a plugin, over to a Return track, and started piping everything in my mix in to it, in realtime... I thought my mind was going to melt.

Further Down The Rabbit Hole, Alice...

I separated all three bands, giving each band a new, offset pattern within TimeShaper. And then I went through and started adjusting the resolutions of each pattern separately from one another. There are a slew of different patterns that you can use as templates for your own patterns. And they are also very nicely categorized. So helpful!

Within a few minutes of ofsetting and hosing with each band I’ve gone ahead and set my Sends to Pre, and I’ve lowered the fader of all incoming tracks, sending it to the return track housing TimeShaper. And what I have to listen to is light years from what I put in.


Again I need to reiterate that each assigned band, once specified, can be used to create another ‘sub’ pattern within the loop you are currently running through TimeShaper. And in addition to this you can also save patterns you’ve created to a MIDI trigger. MIDI triggers can be cued by pressing specified keys on your keyboard, allowing you to let your fingers do the walking and performing, making TimeShaper a formidable live and studio plugin. 

Download this Ableton Live CableGuys TimeShaper project for free here.


TimeShaper, for me, like all of the other CableGuys plugins is not just a tool for editing sound. It’s a highly sophisticated instrument in its own right that allows you in realtime to modify the playback speed, direction and offsets in a very clever way that simply sounds amazing. And because it now can be used in the same plugin iteration with all of the other amazing CableGuys tools, making sick grooves just became very easy. If you’re looking to change up the groove and performance of your beats in an inspired way that sounds amazing, check out TimeShaper as well as ShaperBox’s other tools. 

Price: $44

Pros: An amazing sounding time offset tool that can completely change the sound and groove of any incoming audio through user created patterns, and MIDI triggered patterns. Great tutorial video. Great price!

Cons: Resides in another plugin that has additional items available for sale. No manual. 




Sound Designer, Musician, Author... G.W. Childs has worn many hats. Beginning in the U.S. Army back in 1991, at the age of 18, G.W. began learning electronics, communications and then ultimately audio and video editing from the Department of Defense. Upon leaving the military G.W. went on to work for many exciting companies like Lu... Read More


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