Flex Beat is the latest software release from music production experts, Akai Pro. Created in conjunction with AIR and described by the company as "the ultimate rhythmic tool", the plug-in provides a simple and intuitive way to chop beats, create DJ-style scratches, trigger reverse, half time, and pitch-shifting effects and much more.
Flex Beat’s GUI provides a grid of 16 performance pads, each of which can be loaded with an effect from the built-in preset library, which is divided into categories based on the style of effect. The pads can be clicked directly within the plug-in or triggered via MIDI, and once engaged, will immediately apply their processing to the input signal.
One Shot and Loop play modes cause the effect to either play once for a set time or latch on indefinitely, whilst a Hold mode will keep the effect active only whilst the pad is held down. It is also possible to configure the effects to engage immediately once pressed, or to trigger at the first beat of the next bar. A wet/dry mix control is also present, allowing users to blend between their processed and unprocessed sounds.
The Grid Editor panel displays an envelope that allows users to edit the plug-in’s time and volume-based effects, with its length equal to one bar at the tempo of the host project. A set of useful editing tools are provided, and can either be moved freely around the grid, or set to snap to specific musical subdivisions. Envelope shapes can be imported from the plug-in’s library, and it is also possible to save user-created settings as new presets.
Check out the video below.
Flex Beat is supported on PCs running Windows 10 or 11, and Macs running macOS versions 10.10 to 12. The plug-in will run natively on Apple Silicon machines running macOS 11 or 12. VST2, VST3 and AU plug-in versions are available, and 1GB of free disk space is required.
Pricing & Availability
Flex Beat is available now, and is currently (9 March 2023) available for an introductory price of $39£41.01, reduced from its full cost of $79£83. Prices include VAT.