Review: Hit’n’Mix RipX – DeepCreate

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Review: Hit’n’Mix RipX – DeepCreate

Words by Stefan Wyeth

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DeepCreate is the latest addition to RipX creating a digital audio processing platform. It would be inaccurate to refer to this software simply as a DAW, because of how differently it operates in almost every way.

Whether you’re working with MIDI or audio, the approach is the same. Rather than using a system aiming to simulate the workflow of a large-format console, the interface is far more flexible and open-ended. This makes the overall feel of the software closer to the experience of using tracker software, while the signal processing style has more parallels with Photoshop than it does with a major DAW system.

Because of its completely different design philosophy, it takes you a little while to get your head around the interface. However, once you throw your DAW user habits out the window, you begin to see that DeepCreate isn’t trying to be Pro Tools or Ableton Live.

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Initially, the main window looks somewhat similar to a MIDI editor with its familiar-looking piano roll, but you will quickly learn that it’s far more complex. On either side of the editing area, you have completely customisable toolbars. Here, each dropdown menu provides access to a list of functions that you can drag between the two areas to create your own workflows. This makes more sense as you’ll learn there isn’t one prescribed way of working with DeepCreate.

Almost every function in DeepCreate relies on the powerful RipX engine. To see how this works, simply drop a mixed stereo audio file into the edit window for the system to begin decoding the track’s information. As you drop the file in, you’re immediately confronted with the Ripper options popup window that allows you to choose between single or multitrack audio processing and you can specify which parts of the audio you want to extract and work with. 

Once the ripping is complete, you’ll see that the file has been divided into multiple lanes of what appears to be MIDI information in the edit area. Each layer can now be soloed or muted from the Layers tab and you can begin processing it right away.

Like a DAW, the way DeepCreate is built allows you to use different workflows. Whether you’re creating a new piece of music from scratch, doing corrective editing on an audio file, or remixing an existing production, it provides flexible tools for each task.

Sounds can be processed simultaneously or individually for more precise control, simply by selecting the part and specifying the degree of the sound or effect you’re adding. 

The concept might be confusing at first, but DeepCreate works with samples, instruments, and effects in exactly the same way and each can be added to a selected part within the layer you’re working on, or placed separately. This part gets even more exciting because both software instruments and effects presets can be individually ripped into DeepCreate for quick, simple access and you’re no longer relying on the same level of real-time DSP as you’d expect in a DAW.

The duplicitous way you can approach audio and MIDI means you can use your favourite MIDI controllers to sequence your patterns, or simply beatbox your drums in and replace the audio afterwards a la Timberland.

Each effect parameter and the mix amount can be quickly automated, and the entire process is nondestructive. The way the system is built on working in layers means you can easily switch between working from an overview or more macro perspective.

To access more advanced editing features, a simple right-click displays the Audioshop tools. Here, you can change your approach from the default piano roll to working within the frequency spectrum by selecting the edit unpitched feature.

Apart from your basic edit functions like split, join, and clone, you can also draw notes and pitch information. What’s more, you can then smooth out extremities and apply modulation to pitch, formant, volume, and panning. Once you’ve added an effect to any note, you’ll notice the automation lane below extends for its duration and you can click or drag to adjust the degree of the effect over time.

Things get really interesting when you add the RipScripts panel from the menu bar, as this gives you access to even deeper algorithmic processing features.

The Harmonic Editor allows you to edit or introduce harmonics to a waveform, with its own set of editing tools and features that allows you to isolate and remove or creatively edit the harmonic content of any selected note or group.

Meanwhile, the Beatmapper provides the means to flexibly edit bar or beat divisions for individual selections of bars or you can do it globally to create a unique rhythm signature.

The RipScripts editor gives you a basic introduction to creating Python-based scripts for adding new features to your workflow. Here, you can also see an overview of the scripts already in use within RipX.

By developing your knowledge of the Python programming language and analysing the available RipScripts, you can start creating your own custom audio processing tools for yourself or other RipX users.

The possibilities here are simply endless as each user – especially those capable of creating their own RipScripts – will have a unique approach to the creative aspects of audio processing.

Unlike any audio or music software package, the DeepCreate environment allows the user to work with unusual fluency, crossing borders and creatively breaking rules that usually apply to working in the box.

You’re provided quick access to advanced digital processing algorithms in a way that isn’t obscure or overwhelming. In fact, it’s loads of fun, and the simple but customisable design philosophy will appeal to plenty of users out there.

DeepCreate isn’t a substitute for your DAW or a complete music production system, but rather a different way of approaching music and digital audio, regardless of your discipline or focus.

 Head to Hit’n’Mix for more information.