The stutter edit, or stutter effect, is the rhythmic repetition of small fragments of audio, occurring as the common 16th note repetition, but also as 64th notes and beyond, with layers of digital signal processing operations in a rhythmic fashion based on the overall length of the host tempo.[1][2] The Stutter Edit audio software VST plug-in implements forms of granular synthesis, sample retrigger, and various effects to create a certain audible manipulation of the sound run through it, in which fragments of audio are repeated in rhythmic intervals.[3] The plug-in allows musicians to manipulate audio in real time, slicing audio into small fragments and sequences the pieces into rhythmic effects, recreating techniques that formerly took hours to do in the studio.[4] Electronic musician Brian Transeau (known as BT) is widely recognized for pioneering the stutter edit as a musical technique; he developed, coined the term, and holds multiple patents for the Stutter Edit software plug-in.[5][6][7][8]

A stutter edit "contains a single segment of audio repeated a number of times, giving a performance a decidedly digital flavor."[9] Stutter edits can go beyond 2,048th notes and can be measured in milliseconds, with layers of digital signal processing operations in a rhythmic fashion, and an individual note potentially containing within it many short fragments of sound.[10] Above a certain point, these repetitions transition from rhythmic to tonal frequencies, making musical notes out of the repeated audio.[11] These extremely short, fast groups of notes are often placed into the spacing of an eighth or sixteenth note in an otherwise "normal" bar, creating rhythmic accenting and patterns that call attention to a particular section. These patterns can be placed at the beginning of a bar, or towards the end for a more syncopated sound. One example is in the second verse of "Drop It Like It's Hot", Snoop Dogg mentions a DJ cut followed by a stutter edit and turntable scratch in reply.[12]

'Stutter' edits, which are commonly used in a variety of pop music, including dance music and hip-hop, slice and dice clips into pieces and then reassemble them in a different order.[13]

Transeau designed the plug-in to automate the arduous process of breaking audio into micro fragments and using them for new sounds, after experimenting with early versions of the software in his studio and in live performances.[8][14] Around 2006, Transeau formed the software company Sonik Architects to develop the Stutter Edit plug-in and related tools.[3][15] In 2010, Sonik Architects was acquired by iZotope,[16] and in January 2011, the Stutter Edit plug-in, based on Transeau's patented technique, was released by iZotope and Transeau.[17][18][2][19] It works by constantly sampling the incoming audio and storing it in a buffer, so that it can be used for repeating short loops or slices, with everything automatically sync'ed to the host tempo. Effects are applied using "Gestures", made up of one or more effects modules or a noise generator, each tied to a single MIDI note. It can be used for live laptop sets or DJing, or in the studio.[1] BreakTweaker, a drum sequencer for beat layering, programming and composition that allows the user to manipulate audio at a micro level, was released by iZotope soon after.[3]


Due to the extremely rapid rhythmic bursts, after a certain rhythmic point—i.e. the 128th beat—some stutters begin to sound like a tone rather than a short percussive beat. Traditional stutter edits splice percussive vocals or drum loops because they begin as rhythmic rather than constant tones. These percussive, on-the-beat areas are known as attack transients, and are usually no longer than an eighth note. The splicing of percussive samples results in a more attention-grabbing sound than it would with a single sustained pitch.[20] Stutters also often reduce notes within bars, beginning with 32nd notes, then reducing to 64th and 128th or something similar. There are instances of stutter edits that use logarithmic curves rather than relying on musically locked timings giving the impression of a "speed up" or "slow down".

Related programs

See also


  1. ^ a b Hitchings, Craig. "Izotope Stutter Edit". Sound on Sound. Retrieved 28 January 2020.
  2. ^ a b Cosmin Lukacs, “Interview With BT aka Brian Transeau,” Archived 2011-02-16 at the Wayback Machine Trance Sound, September 10, 2010.
  3. ^ a b c "BT And The Stutter Edit". FutureMusic. Retrieved 28 January 2020.
  4. ^ "NAMM 2011: iZotope, Brian Transeau Introduce Stutter Edit". Electronic Musician. Retrieved 28 January 2020.
  5. ^ Perry, Clayton. "Interview: Brian Transeau - Singer, Songwriter and Producer". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved 28 January 2020.
  6. ^ "Method and apparatus for digital audio generation and manipulation". Google Patents. Retrieved 28 January 2020.
  7. ^ "Time Varying Processing of Repeated Digital Audio Samples in Accordance with a User Defined Effect". Google Patents. Retrieved 28 January 2020.
  8. ^ a b "iZotope and BT Introduce Stutter Edit". iZotope. Retrieved 28 January 2020.
  9. ^ Preve, Francis (2004). Power Tools for Garage Band: Creating Music with Audio Recording, MIDI Sequencing, and Loops, p.38. Hal Leonard. ISBN 9781617745188.
  10. ^ Harrington, Richard. "Reveling in the Human Side of Electronica". The Washington Post.
  11. ^ "Waveformless: Review: iZotope Stutter Edit". Waveformless. Retrieved 24 February 2011.
  12. ^ Owsinski, Bobby (2013). Bobby Owsinski's Deconstructed Hits: Modern Pop & Hip-Hop: Uncover the Stories & Techniques Behind 20 Iconic Songs, unpaginated. Alfred Music. ISBN 9781470614225.
  13. ^ Anderton, Craig and the Adobe Creative Team (2013). Adobe Audition CC, p.218. Pearson. ISBN 9780321929532.
  14. ^ Sen, Priya. "BT – My daughter can pick out Stutter Edit in movie trailers, records on the radio; we literally hear it on a daily basis in TV commercials, pop songs, country tracks down to electronic music, starting to hear BreakTweaker all over everything too". Decoded Magazine. Retrieved 28 January 2020.
  15. ^ "Progressive Sounds".
  16. ^ "iZotope, Inc – Audio Processing Technology and Plug-Ins for Pro Tools, VST, MAS, Audio Unit, and DirectX". Archived from the original on 24 February 2013. Retrieved 20 February 2013.
  17. ^ "NAMM 2011: iZotope Stutter Edit". 14 January 2011. Archived from the original on 16 September 2012. Retrieved 20 February 2013.
  18. ^ "Realtime editing and Performance of Digital Audio Tracks".
  19. ^ McConnon, Brian. "iZotope and BT Release Stutter Edit". Music Marcom. Archived from the original on 24 February 2013. Retrieved 11 July 2012.
  20. ^ Alexander, Jason Scott. "Fractal Tendencies".
  21. ^ "Apple – Pro – Profiles – BT, p. 1".
  22. ^ "Harmony Central – Signal Processing with Propellerhead's ReCycle".
  23. ^ "Sony Creative Software".
  24. ^ "Memory".
  25. ^ "Glitch beta demo available for download".
  26. ^ "Gross Beat".