Manipulate individual harmonics and use subtractive synthesis, with FlexibeatzII Sequencer
FlexibeatzII is a free and easy to use step sequencer program. It will let you use any .wav files for sounds, but also offers editing and synthesis toolsets for each sound, with the ability to shape and sculpt sounds extensively and dynamically while the sequence is playing (at the same time not compromising the ease of use of the sequencer). Bram Bos’ Hammerhead Rhythm Station is also a great X0X drum sequencer application, but limited in the per-sound synthesis department (you can only sequence short patterns with it).
For each of FlexibeatzII’s channels you can open up a synthesis panel independently, via which you can draw in volume, frequency and filter envelopes for your sample or waveshape your sample by manipulating individual harmonics, and combine the result with sounds created from scratch using subtractive synthesis on a variety of standard and specialized waveforms. You can then put the sonic result through an arsenal of effects independently for each channel eg reverse, chorus, delay, reverb, various types of distortion, stutter, filter, compression, bit reduction, sample rate reduction and separate level settings for the positive and negative parts of the waveform. A 3-band Parametric Equalizer is also provided for each channel to enable you to finely EQ the sound. Use it as an effect, or as a means of getting each sound to sit just right in the mix.
When programming a sequence, you can opt to see notes to 32nd resolution instead of the standard 16, and you can copy and paste patterns around the composition (which can be upto 999 Measures long). You can swing notes, accent notes, and have the application record your level slider movements on each sound as the sequence plays. You can have FlexibeatzII randomize sound and notes selection. This rather cool feature lets the application load random sounds (from the ‘data’ folder containing all your .wav files) into each channel, or randomize the notes set in the current measure for the selected channel, for that extra bit of inspiration.