[REVIEW] S-Layer By Twisted Tools (NI Reaktor)


Review of S-Layer by Twisted Tools.

Our new resident review writer Robert Halvarsson joins the BPB team with an in-depth look at the innovative S-Layer sampler instrument by Twisted Tools.

Twisted Sampling

When it comes to samplers, you have everything from the bread and butter ones, like the ones that often are bundled within the popular DAWs out there, to the outright strange ones. It is safe to say that if we stay within the spectrum of samplers, Twisted Tools keep pushing the envelope towards the frontier of the plugin world. Here is our review of their S-Layer sampler ensemble for Native Instruments Reaktor.

S-LAYER facilitates the discovery of new oneshots, sound effects and loops from pre-existing sample content. Whether you’re looking for a new way to create thick drum samples for hip-hop or a massive impact sound effect for game, S-LAYER delivers.

S-Layer, as well as all of Twisted Tools offerings, are not developed as part of the hugely popular VST platform, as devised by Steinberg many a’ years ago. Rather they have chosen Native Instruments alternative plugin platform Reaktor. This choice is reflected in the fact that a user will need the full version of Reaktor to work with these “twisted tools”. As the developers often reply through social media when the question arises, “we do not plan to release any VST/VSTI in the immediate future”. S-layer is available as a standalone program, too, though.

To get you started with S-layer, several well-known artists, as far as electronic music and experimental sound-design is concerned, have contributed some fascinating sample-packs. We have Glitchmachines, Richard Devine, Tonebuilder here – to name a few. The general idea is to layer different samples, eight in total, make them trig in different ways, varying pan, pitch, and other parameters to your hearts delight. You can also add filter(s), stretch and add granular playback to the sample – aptly demonstrated here via Dubspot.

Innovative control

Cells. The name of the game are cells. By manipulating them, you are able to quickly take control over all the different parameters of S-Layer in some really clever ways. At first this may seem strange, or odd, but learning the workflow enforced by Twisted Tools, will really open up for some amazing, and potentially quick handling. When you are finished, you can dedicate your sound to a specific midi-controlled channel, ranging from one to eight.

Copying, modifying and changing these sounds are quite simple, after you’ve transcended the initial hurdle of getting to know the knacks of S-layer.

What you will make of this is of course entirely up to you. But I can see this working equally well as a percussive instrument – or as a sound design tool. The samples provided are fascinating and versatile, but you may of course also use it on your own libraries. This can provide the user with a fantastic way of “remixing” what you already own, into something new, strange and delightful.

What’s it for:

Sound design, sample creation, all out mangling for owners of Native Instruments Reaktor.

What does it cost?

$69. Buying three products from the Twisted Tools shop will grant you an 15% saving, available exclusively at twistedtools.com.


Fascinating, odd and fresh sampler bound to turn some heads around. Refreshingly simple after getting to know it, despite being original and forward-thinking.

Product link: S-Layer ($69)

Robert Halvarsson (suecae.com)

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About Author

Tomislav is a music producer and sound designer from Belgrade, Serbia. He is also the founder and editor-in-chief at Bedroom Producers Blog.


  1. Great review, like the idea of this but don’t have the money to shell out on Reaktor, is there anything similar you could recommend?

    • Bedroom Producers Blog


      You mean something similar in VST plugin format? I’m not really sure, it’s quite a unique effect and I can’t remember of any similar product off the top of my head. I’ll post here if I discover a VST alternative.

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