Ableton Intros Time And Timbre Percussion Instrument

Ableton has released Time and Timbre, a Max for Live percussion instrument and ‘time engine’ that they say is the result of three years of development by the duo Skinnerbox.

The pack consists of five individual drum synthesis modules (Timbre) and a polymetric sequencer (Time), as well as a built-in mastering plug-in (Master Blaster).


About Time & Timbre

The first of Time & Timbre’s sections is a six­ voice polyrhythmic and polymetric sequencer called – you guessed it – ‘Time‘.

Taking the drum sequencer concept a few steps further, Time not only lets you make and chain together patterns, add accents and rolls to individual steps, but also define sequence length and beat divisions freely and independently for each of its six channels.

Another unique feature of Time is the ability to apply swing to any notes in a pattern (not just 4ths, 8ths, 16ths), thus providing highly unusual and interesting varieties of ‘feel’ for your rhythms. Time also includes four internal LFOs that can modulate anything within the device (or even any parameter in Live) and can be synced to follow the swing.

The second section, Timbre, consists of five drum synthesis modules capable of producing a broad spectrum of sounds. Timbre gives you direct control over key parameters of each drum voice including envelope, tonality and noise (a fundamental element of percussive synthesis). All this allows you to craft a broad range of drum sounds that can be as classic or as unconventional as you like.

Going even further, each drum voice can be randomized and have its parameters modulated by internal LFO, letting you infuse your patterns with any degree of subtle sound variation or controlled chaos.

Time & Timbre comes with a set of tools that present an alternative to preset browsing. For instance, the panel labelled Morph Master Mike lets you save two sound snapshots and morph between them

Push Integration

Time & Timbre is also integrated with Push, letting you take its= creative potential into the hands-­on realm of hardware.

Here’s a video that gives an overview/demo of using Time and Timbre with Push:

Here are some audio demos:

Note: This pack requires Max version 6.1.9 and Live version 9.1.6.

Pricing and Availability

Time and Timbre is available now. It normally retails for US $69, but is currently 20% off during Ableton’s Holiday Sale, for $55. More information is available at the Ableton site.

If you’ve worked with Time and Timbre, leave a comment and let us know what you think of it!

7 thoughts on “Ableton Intros Time And Timbre Percussion Instrument

  1. Mixed feelings, the sequencer looks very nice. I really dislike this grainy quality of the noise. Just ugly for my ears. But maybe it is not the sound engine itself, and more lush sounds can be reached.

      1. fta “The second section, Timbre, consists of five drum synthesis modules capable of producing a broad spectrum of sounds.”

        it would seem that the article describes two distinct sections of the software, a sequencer as you have stated, as well as a synthesis engine which would indeed create sound

  2. The demo does a good job of showing some unusual rhythms and tones. I wish it was available as a VST, AU, or standalone, since I don’t have max or live.

  3. Exactly what i’ve been looking for… reminds me of fruity loops sequencer but with more features… Wish i had a (Registered) version of Ableton 9

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