Ableton and Skinnerbox Update Time & Timbre Polymetric Groove Engine

Ableton_Skinnerbox_time_timbre_two-point-ohAbleton and the electronic duo Skinnerbox recently released a major update for Time & Timbre, the rhythm engine and drum synthesis instrument for Live.

The revamped Max for Live toolkit allows the user to use the engine’s “unique rhythm and swing capabilities” throughout their music-making process.

Time & Timbre has been a popular tool for Live users since its release in late 2014; its five versatile drum synth modules and polymetric groove engine can add intricate polyrhythms, swing and subtle variations to drum productions.

Added to the Time & Timbre 2.0 pack are a collection of devices that offer a wealth of rhythmic possibilities. Control any MIDI parameter with groove-induced modulations; spark “a ton” of ideas for leads and basslines, or create rhythmic delays.

Modular synth users are in for a treat too: devices that allow the user to output a control voltage through their audio interface to control external gear, plus the ability to add groove to clock signals and send them to hardware sequencers with clock input. Skinnerbox are also offering two free Max for Live CV devices on their website. Visit the Time & Timbre Packs page for more info.

Time & Timbre key features:

Time is great for complex polyrhythms, subtle rhythmic variations and adding a unique swing to drums. For each of its six channels, you can define sequence length and beat divisions freely and independently. Apply swing to any notes in your pattern (not only 4ths, 8ths and 16ths) or add accents and rolls to individuals steps.

Timbre consists of five drum synth modules, which are ideal for synthesizing “punchy, crisp” drums as well as for making “completely unconventional” sounds. Add to your patterns any degree of subtle variation or chaos: randomize each drum voice, or modulate its parameters using the Time’s internal LFOs or the external TimeLFO device.

Time Sting is a sequence generator. The user can randomize sequences or take detailed control over parameters, as well as export from the sequencer into MIDI clips.

Time Delay uses Time’s groove engine to create a rhythmic delay that “fits perfectly” alongside a swinging groove. Instead of on-the-grid echoes, the user can sync the effect to Time for an effect that is full of rhythmic complexity.

Time LFO allows the user to control any MIDI parameter with polyrhythmic, “groove-induced” modulations, or “slave” it to the Time sequencer to modulate parameters with the exact same swing peculiarities.

Time LFO.CV outputs a control voltage through the user’s audio interface to control their external analog hardware. The device also sends out a clock signal, so sequencers with clock input TimeLFO.CV can send them “groovy” signals (Note that you will need an interface with DC-coupled outputs for proper operation).

Integration with Push Time & Timbre can take over the Push sequencer with a completely customized layout. The setup re-imagines how to use the unit to build beats and trigger patterns. And for owners of the new Push, Time & Timbre can take over Push’s sequencer with a completely customized layout. The setup reimagines how to use the unit to build beats and trigger patterns.

In this video, the duo Skinnerbox give an overview of the new features and devices in Time and Timbre 2.0:

Free devices for modular setups. Available for free via the Skinnerbox site is another pair of creative CV devices. CV4Live lets you control any Live parameter by translating an incoming audio signal into control information, while Clock4Live allows you to use analog clocks and triggers with Live. Use Live as an extension of a modular synthesizer: control Live’s tempo, modulate samples with hardware LFOs, fire one-shots using Eurorack sequencers. A video overview of CV4Live is here; the devices themselves are available from the Skinnerbox website.

Pricing and Availability. Skinnerbox’s Time & Timbre 2.0 is available now via the Ableton webstore; it is a free update for existing Time & Timbre users, and USD 69 / EUR 49 for new users. Find out more at




5 thoughts on “Ableton and Skinnerbox Update Time & Timbre Polymetric Groove Engine

  1. Guys, what the heck happened to this website?!? It’s become difficult to get through and looks like something made in 1996. Please bring back the old design!

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