SparkLE is a hybrid instrument from Arturia that combines the sounds, work flow and creative tools of the Spark Engine software with a hardware controller. It takes the best elements from a wide variety of vintage analog drum machines, sample based beat boxes and physical modeling, and delivers a modern beat station with synthesis and expressive control.
The package integrates classic "TR"-style step sequencing with real-time beat making. Sixteen sequencer buttons allow for quick sequencing while acting as a visual reference. Patterns can have up to sixty-four steps. Or rhythms can be recorded in real-time using the two banks of eight velocity and pressure sensitive backlit pads, either quantized or free form.
The touch-sensitive XY Pad offers real-time performance effects for transforming beats. A global filter allows for processing an entire mix through an 8-mode filter. The Slicer provides beat slicing, reverse playback, deep Tape drop effects, Strobe, beat sync pans, bit crushers, and more. An advanced Looper acts on the pattern position itself, and allows repeating sections of a pattern at the press of a button.
Three assignable encoders work with the currently selected sound, controlling functions like pitch, instrument filter cutoff and resonance, insert effect parameters, as well as the other synthesis parameters in each engine. The divide and move functions allow for setting the size and position of the loop within a pattern, and shifting these in real-time helps create new and interesting beats.
The software mixer provides a familiar interface for controlling the level, pan, insert effects and sends of instruments. Each of these parameters can be automated in the software or controlled via the assignable encoders on the controller. Each track of the step sequencer has fifteen parameters per instrument that can be automated plus full automation of all the insert effects parameters for that instrument. Fourteen digital effects provide further sonic manipulation.
It is a simple matter to organize all the newly created patterns into a song. The song mode allows for chaining patterns in any order. Simply enter song mode, and drag and drop the patterns required, one by one. For further editing, the usual copy, paste, insert, and delete functions allow more detailed sculpting.