[Date Prev][Date Next]   [Thread Prev][Thread Next]   [Date Index][Thread Index][Author Index]

Re: Hello and such

On Wed, 11 Sep 1996, Matthew F. McCabe wrote:

> Dave, that's a great idea.  I just tried it and it works
> wonderfully....although now I must rush back to work....
> Using your idea, loopers will be able to create continuous loops that can
> change textures and tonal centers over time.  Very cool!
> Matt

Actually, credit should go as much to Robert Fripp and Frippertronics as 
to me.   I got the idea from listening to _Let the Power Fall_, Fripp's 
classic looping album.  He would do the same trick, building a little 
structure with the loop, then fading it into the background and building 
more on top of it.  Sometimes you can hear several old structures still 
beeping away in the murk while he's adding new notes.  And those Revox 
tape machines sounded SO nice.  

Someone mentioned how good the Lexicon boxes sounded.  I couldn't agree 
more.  Most digital effects (and many analog ones) seem to do horrible 
things to the dynamic range and liveliness of the original sound.  At 
this point, the only digital effects in my signal chain are the Vortex, 
the JamMan, and a horrible old Boss Pitch Shifter/Delay stomp box that I 
(rarely) use specifically for its artificial, robot-voice quality.  I 
think it actually has only a 12 bit digitizer.  

With this in mind, I think Lexicon COMPLETELY blew it marketing the 
Vortex.  Are they even making them now?  I got mine for $220 last year, 
and word was Lexicon was dropping them due to poor sales.  The marketing 
I did see emphasized the morphing ability (which I hardly ever use) and 
the weirdo effects like Bleen (which does rather sound like an alien 
farting).  But to me, it's just an exquisitely *guitaristic* effects 
box.  Lack of MIDI isn't a big loss.  The envelope follower, expression 
pedal, tap delay, fascinating programs, relatively simple interface,  and 
rich sound quality are HUGE wins.  I just run a rackmount preamp into 
it, and out comes this wonderful sound.  It seems to me much more 
musician-oriented than the hordes of boxes out there with ten zillion 
"effects" and no character.  

And as long as I'm talking... I have to admit, as many of us do, I'm 
beginning to despair of ever seeing a low-cost, high-function, 
musician-oriented looping device on the commercial market.  They're all 
either too pricy (TC 2290), too limiting (JamMan), poor sound, or (worst) 
out of production.  But... I think there may be a solution.  And that 
solution is software.  

Ordinary desktop PCs and Macs these days offer 16 bit full duplex sound 
recording, huge memories (16 bit stereo sound is about 10mb/minute), and 
blazingly fast CPUs.  And pleasant input devices, in the form of MIDI 
faders, expression pedals, and footswitches, are also commercially 
available.  So why not just turn a PC into our looping device?  It may be 
a little impractical for the stage, but it'd be GREAT for home recording 
and playing.  Performance interaction could occur via any MIDI device, 
and new/clever functionality could be added at the software level.  A gui 
with a keyboard and mouse could be used, rather than the tiny knobs, 
buttons and LCD screens that can fit on a 19" rack.  Save your loops?  
Use the computer's filesystem.  Process your loops in real time.  Switch 
instantly between loops.  Reverse them.  Extend them.  

I really like this idea.  Once you take the hardware issues (digitizing, 
user interface) out of it, it's just a matter of throwing CPU and RAM at 
the problem until it goes away.  

Anyone wanna buy me a new computer so I can write this?