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Re: JamMan modifications

At 10:36 AM -0500 5/5/97, Ed Drake wrote:
>On Tuesday, Andy at SoundFNR@aol.com posted this to Looper's Delight which
>seems to be from Bob Sellon at Lexicon:
>>In a message dated 07/04/97  12:43:45, you write:
>>>We have been considering the issue of different sized loops
>>>simultaneously but are not sure of how to implement it cleanly. For
>>>instance, if you created a loop in 4/4 then wanted a second loop of a
>>>different size, would you want the second loop to be in a definable
>>>relative time signature (5/4, 13/4) or just "tapped" in on the fly? Our
>>>current software approaches the traditional multi-loop concept used in
>>>Jamman (play the current loop then switch to the next one) by switching
>>>"Pages". Each Page can have up to 4 simultaneous loops which change when
>>>the Page changes. The Page changes at the end of the loop. How do I deal
>>>with this if the loops are of different size. If I wait for the end of
>>>each loop, the loops on the second page will be out of sync even if they
>>>weren't intended to be. Any ideas? We have the capability to have loops
>>>of different size but we have been backing away from them because of
>>>problems like these. We also weren't sure how many people would use them
>>>if we did work it out. Obviously there are some.
>>>If you have a preference on how you would like the thing to work, let me
>>>know. I can't make any guarentees but would like to put this kind of
>>>functionality in the new rom if we can.
>>>Bob Sellon

These are interesting discussions. We spent tons of time figuring out how
to deal with these ideas on the Echoplex too. Challenging, isn't it? I
didn't totally follow the "page" thing. How is that again?

What do you mean by "simultaneous loops"? Do you mean four independent
tracks playing at once as a loop? I didn't think the Jamdude had the
processing muscle to do anything like that. Or do you mean four discrete
loops which are available to switch between?

The issue of rhythmic freedom vs. various degrees of synchronization is a
fundamental problem with multiple loops, I think. The effort involved in
making these features musically useful on the echoplex was huge, but worth
it. Basically, you have to give the musician the option to choose. And the
musician should be able to make the decision on the fly, with a minimal
amount of setup. Some musicians (like Matthias) do not want any
synchronization, insisting that they always be free to tap the lengths
wherever they please. And some, (like me sometimes) want precise
synchronization, allowing for polyrhythmic relationships. And most times,
different types of music and different situations just call for one or the
other. Tough challenge for the designer!

It sounds like you may be struggling with some basic architectural limits
of the jamman. Hopefully you can find a way around them! The loop
synchronization issue is a big can of worms. Once you open it a little bit,
it just explodes and becomes very complicated in a hurry!

Ed said:
>Bob, is there a way to offer both functions to the JamMan upgrade 
>on which "mode" you wanted? Obviously if you are in the "synced" mode you
>would want all loops to be the same length.

Actually, no. Sometimes you want them to be multiples of each other. Say
loop 1 is a four bar verse section. For loop 2, you want a 16 bar chorus
loop. So it has to be exactly 4 times the length of loop 1. That's a pretty
common need.

> One thing I've found
>frustrating if not impossible to do with the JamMan is if I'm playing a
>rhythmic loop with the JamMan but I'm not synced up to anything (drum
>machine, sequencer), say I'm just playing guitar and I want to switch to a
>second loop it is very hard if not impossible get the second loop to be
>exactly timed right. My timing is pretty good but but it still takes
>several passes, if I'm lucky, to get the second loop to line up. This
>limits trying to use this live.

You need a good time copying function. It should let you record the second
loop while the time is being set up, so that there is no interruption in
the performance. The second loop should somehow stop recording and begin
looping automatically when it reaches a multiple of the first loop. The
echoplex does this by combining the NextLoop and Insert functions, which
worked out miraculously well.

Could you use the JamMan's midi sync functions for this? If you had
something providing a midi beat clock and created the first loop synced to
that, couldn't you just sync the second loop to the same clock?

>If the loops didn't have to be exactly the
>same length though, you could switch loops and even if the second loop was
>slightly shorter or longer than the first it wouldn't matter as each loop
>would maintain its own "integrity".
>There are times when I do want to sync so it would be nice to have either
>mode available. Maybe there is a way to implement both depending on which
>mode you want to access, synced or non-synced. What do you think?

That's the thing. Sometimes you want to sync the loops, and sometimes not.
And sometimes you want the loops to be multiples on each other. Sometimes
shorter, sometimes longer. And sometimes you want the first loop in 5/4 and
the second in 17/8 and the third in 11/4 and the fourth with no rhythm at
all. And sometimes you want to copy the audio too. And sometimes you want
to sync your sequencer up to all of this. And sometimes you want five
loopers to do this all synchronized together. And sometimes.....well it
keeps us busy, right Bob?


Kim Flint                   | Looper's Delight
kflint@annihilist.com       | http://www.annihilist.com/loop/loop.html
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