The principal idea of ReCycle is to alter the tempo of a music loop without changing its pitch or otherwise altering its sound. ReCycle does this by "slicing" loops into a series of separate "beats" or "hits" and altering their timing (or even quantizing them) without altering the length of the individual slices, thus allowing the loop to play at a different speed whilst using the unmodified sounds for each individual slice/drum hit, a process which fully preserves the original pitch of the loop while allowing a great variety of speed/timing tweaks. ReCycle can also assign each successive slice to a respective MIDI note on a scale. ReCycle was the first program to popularize the idea of loop slicing.
Propellerhead developed their own file format for this software: REX, and later REX2 (.RX2) adding support for stereo files, which has become a standard for music loops and is compatible with many third party programs, including Emagic Logic, MOTU Digital Performer, and Steinberg Cubase. Propellerhead's Reason has its own specialised REX2 playing device called the Dr. Octorex Loop Player. In versions prior to Reason 5.0, it was supported in the Dr.REX Loop Player. This device can play slices when requested or simply play the entire loop in sequence.
An update to ReCycle, version 2.2, was released in October 2011. It adds 64-bit support as well as no longer requiring Rosetta on OSX (as it was removed in OSX 10.7). The complete list of changes in version 2.2 are as follows:
- The program is now fully compatible with 64 bit operating systems.
- ReCycle 2.2 is also a true Cocoa program under Mac OS and works great with Mac OS X 10.7 Lion.
- The main window has been redesigned, with new zooming and scrolling.
- Scrolling is smoother and you can now zoom in further.
- Some redundant controls have been removed and others added.
- When exporting AIFF and Wave files, Record/Reason-style tempo information is now included in the file.
- When importing audio files created in Record or Reason, the tempo information in those files is used for setting tempo and length in ReCycle.
- The Waveform now indicates graphically what sound will be played back, by dimming silent sections.
- You can now use the Q, W, E and R keys to select tools, just like in Reason.
- The Preference dialog has been streamlined and updated.
- Open Recent (documents) is now a sub-menu on Mac OS.
- The status bar has been removed.
- Removed support for the Sound Designer II, Mixman, SampleCell and Akai (.aka) formats since these are all outdated.
- The authorization system and copy protection has been changed.
- Installation under Mac OS is now drag and drop (no installer).
- Huber, D.M. 2005. Modern Recording Techniques, 6th Edition. Focal Press. Chapter 6, p.295. ISBN 0-240-80625-5
- Souvignier, Todd (April 1, 2003). "Closing the Loop". Electronic Musician. Retrieved on April 1, 2008.
- Farrer, P. 1995. Super Looper. Sound on Sound. Volume 10, Issue 7. Available online: . Accessed: 24th August 2007.