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Klevgrand Skaka

AU, VST, AAX & AUv3 Plug-in By Paul White
Published February 2021

Klevgrand Skaka

Rating: **** 4/5 Stars

Klevgrand’s Skaka is a sample‑based instrument complete with multiple sequencers designed specifically for creating shaker‑style rhythms. It might best be described as a drum machine for shaker‑type sounds. It is available for iPad (AUv3), Mac OS and Windows (AU/VST/AAX), and has its own player. If ‘shakers’ sounds a little too niche, read on as Skaka is actually a very neat instrument and is particularly effective for layering with existing beats. As expected, there’s a library of presets, arranged by genre, to get you started.

What you see when you first open the plug‑in is the main window with 12 slots arranged as three rows of four, each slot populated by one of the eight multi‑sampled instruments. These samples have either eight or nine velocity layers, with sounds ranging from tambourines and Latin instruments to African percussion and the humble shaky egg. Master controls affecting the overall output are on the right. Why 12 slots but only eight instruments? Because you can do quite a lot to make the second (or third) instance of the same shaker type sound quite different. Skaka’s engine also automatically predicts in and out shakes, which lends a very natural variation to the sound.

Each slot shows a sequencer pattern that can be locked to the nearest beat, the DAW timeline (playhead position), or simply the host tempo without regard to beat position. Each sequence is triggered via its own MIDI note, which starts playback according to the selected sync mode. Once started, the sequence loops until the MIDI note ends.

Clicking on the instrument allows you to select a different one, while clicking on the sequencer pattern opens up a new window showing the pattern sequencer in detail. The sequencer grid can be set from simple eighths up to 32nds and triplets. Here you can write your own patterns or modify existing ones. Each beat can be adjusted in velocity, duration, pitch (both per event and globally for the sequence) and gain. Tabs in the top‑left corner select between the four edit modes and adjustment is achieved by dragging the vertical lines representing the beats.

I found Skaka very easy to use and it sounds very much like a real performer playing a shaker instrument — quite different from simply playing back a string of stock samples. Though more sounds might have been useful, you can actually get a lot of variation out of the existing library just by changing the pitch or reverb settings. By combining different instruments, it is possible to build up some very effective rhythmic layers. My first reaction on hearing that Skaka was a dedicated shaker instrument was to wonder if the world really needed such a thing, but having heard it, I have to say that it does an excellent job.

Mac OS/Windows $49.99, iPad $19.99.

www.klevgrand.se

Mac OS/Windows $49.99, iPad $19.99.

www.klevgrand.se

Published February 2021