The latest device to emerge from the clever minds at Sinevibes is an update to their advanced volume gating sequencer effect: Inertia 2.0. Analyzing input in real time and applying host-synced amplitude modulation with a highly intuitive interface, Inertia excels in excising elements of any sound source to generate new rhythmic impulses and intricately glitchy textures.
At its core, Inertia’s spartan yet elegant Retina-resolution GUI is comprised of a step sequencer with up to 32 steps. Above the sequencer is a real-time waveform displaying the audio being fed into it, which makes it easy to line Inertia’s sequence up with the activity of your source material.
Along the top, you can specify the loop Duration of the input source as 1, 2, 4, or 8 bars to more accurately segment and intelligibly edit your sound. The overall editing Division can be toggled between triplets or the more standard timing they’ve denoted as Quadruple; in Quadruple mode, a Swing amount can be applied positively or negatively from 25 to 75%, with no swing applied at the neutral default value of 50. Just above the waveform, a white line can be adjusted to set the sequence length to any available segmented value for polyrhythmic purposes and less predictably repetitive patterns.
Beneath the waveform is the primary sequencer editing area. The Level lane allows you to easily draw the volume of each step with the mouse. The envelope Type lane allows you to choose from six fundamental envelope shapes: full square, half square, single ramp, double ramp, triple ramp, and triangle; combined with the Polarity control for each step, the last five shapes can all be inverted—from ramp down to ramp up, for example—resulting in eleven envelope contours in total.
Just under the envelope sequencer, the Time control shortens or lengthens the individual envelope durations, the Lag control applies a smoothing attack and decay measured in milliseconds, and the Intensity determines the blend of the dry signal with Inertia’s gated signal—with the ability to boost the gated signal gain at extreme settings, up to +6 dB if necessary.
Along the bottom of the GUI, you can access eight Snapshots—each of which can contain a completely different sequenced pattern; even better, Snapshot selection is available for host automation control. Copy and Paste options make it easy to generate variations of a single sequence in each Snapshot slot.
The Reset button restores all the Snapshot settings to default, while the Randomize button quickly generates new settings throughout the device as a creative starting point; the Evolve button randomizes only a small selection of sequencer steps to quickly generate variations at the click of a button.
Three Cloning options let you quickly duplicate segments of your sequence for instant repeating patterns, while the sequence shift buttons let you slide the entire envelope sequence forward or back in step or beat increments. A number of handy modifier keys and multi-touch gestures further accelerate Inertia’s workflow.
Contrary to what the name might imply, Inertia rapidly applies momentum to your sonic input. Elaborate synth lines, ambient drones, organic percussion, and live guitar can all be wildly transformed, bringing textural complexity and detail to the forefront or forcefully applying rhythms where needed.
Though amplitude modulation—however extensive or intricate—may not jump off the shelf as a “must-have” effect category, Inertia 2.0 quickly proves its creative value. While competitors such as Cableguys’ Volume Shaper may be more extensively featured for technical applications, it’s hard to imagine expressive gating implemented more usefully, intuitively, or affordably than Sinevibes have done here.
Price: $29 USD
Pros: Very affordable, easy to use, CPU-efficient, and highly effective.
Cons: No built-in Undo functionality; only available in Audio Unit format for Mac users—not available for PC.