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Re: hardware MIDI looper??

     Mark wrote:
<<<<<<<<My wishes for a hardware MIDI looper:

* Define the loop length on the fly rather than having to think in advance
about it being x number of bars at y tempo. Or I want to split the
difference and specify the tempo in beats per minute but not lock myself in
with respect to the number of beats. (For example, I might set things to 
bpm and start playing a groove only to discover that I seemed to be feeling
like 7/4 today.)>>>>>>>

     No can do on a Command Station.

<<<<<<<* I'd like to be able to multiply out a loop so that I can record 
the basic
pulse, multiply it out, and then ornament it>>>>>

     Likewise, SOL.

<<<<<* If I can't have feedback, then I want easy ways to switch tracks, 
sounds assigned to tracks, and mute and unmute tracks -- which I guess
points out that I want multi-track support>>>>>

     Pretty straightforward on these aspects, you do have to have your 
hands on the beast though. 
I suppose much of this can be done with MIDI foopedals, though I haven't 
explored this at all. 
Switching tracks is easy with the up/down scroll function near the screen, 
switching sounds is a
bit more difficult as you have so many to choose from.  My command station 
is maxxed out with 4
sound ROM's which gives me 13 banks of 128 sounds plus 4 banks of User 
definable sounds.  A total
of 2176 different options.  Of course if I was doing what you are asking, 
I'd take my most used
sound and place them side by side in the User bank where I could find them 
quickly and easily. 
Muting/unmuting tracks, well you have 16 dedicated buttons for that... it 
don't get much more
intuitive than that.  Plus with one button press, the screen shows a 
mixdown chart and you have 16
rotary encoders that will adjust on the fly.  My only small complaint 
about this feature is that
the volume will "snap" to the current knob position (once you move it) 
rather than turning it
beyond the actual current location to activate it.

<<<<<* I want the ability to erase notes while the loop is playing -- again
particularly important when feedback isn't available>>>>>

     Piece of cake with the command stations.  You can erase the whole 
track, portions of it, or
selected notes only.  Imagine this, recording a cluster of notes on the 
keyboard, then going
through the loop again and holding down specific notes while holding the 
erase button.  These
notes then drop out of the loop.  You can go from sonic mayhem to a finely 
crafted sound in this

<<<<<<<<* It needs to loop controller information as well. Actually, in 
some ways,
this would be easier with respect to implementing a feedback 

     Not sure what you mean here, do you mean stuff like pitch bend and 
pan and volume and all the
various modulation sources availble through MIDI?  If so, then yes, this 
stuff is all a part of
the recorded track.

<<<<<* I want to save and restore loops without stopping playback -- a la 
Next Loop on the EDP (though even there it could be better)>>>>>

     All the above is availble without stopping playback.

<<<<<* I want to be able to pull in loops over the top of other loops a la 
an EDP as a sampler or more specifically thinking about a real time version
of recording and playback for something like Roland's RPS functionality
(which you have to go set up ahead of time).>>>>>

     Sorry, I'm not familiar with Roland's RPS functionality.  The command 
station can act like a
MIDI clock source if you want to sync other things up with it.

* There should be essentially no functions that require me stopping play

How much of that can the Command Stations do?

     Well a command station can do what I've outlined, though that's about 
5% of what they are
capable of.  They are not designed to be MIDI loopers, that's just one of 
the results of a very
powerful machine.  Many people are using them in many different ways.  If 
you are into mixing
beats and hip hop and trance electronic and what have you, these are great 
machines.  I myself use
it mostly as a sound module with extra trimmings.  When I want to loop, I 
use a looper (as that's
what they do best) and when I want to sculpt sounds, I use a combination 
of sound modules and
controllers.  They also feature very in depth and fairly well laid out 
access to creating your own
patches and sounds.  While their sound cards do not approach the quality 
of a Kurzweil for
example, they are well above average (compared to Roland, Korg, Yamaha, 

<<<<<<I'm torn right now between:

* A Command Station
* A MachineDrum
* Sticking with playing my HandSonic into my EDP
* Supplementing the latter with something cheap like an Electribe>>>>>

     It really depends on what you want to do Mark, if you are having good 
results from the
Handsonic/EDP combination, stay with it.  It will do things that no MIDI 
looper will come close to
at this point in time.  The command stations are in a class of their own.  
And at $499, they have
really closed the gap with any competition.  When they first came out, 
they were $1200 street

     Just to clarify a bit... the command stations are the logical 
extension of the Proteus 2000
sound engine with the addition of a sequencer.  The XL-7 is the XL-1 card 
(Xtreme Lead) in a
sequencer.  The MP-7 is the Mo'Phatt sound card, the Proteus 2500 is the 
Proteus 2000, (and yes it
is the same beast as the XL-7 and the MP-7 without the rubber keypads and 
the ribbon strip), and
they are coming out with a new one this summer, the PX-7 which is the same 
command station with a
drum ROM card only.  I guess they mean this one to be a drum machine.  
Each command station comes
with 4 slots total for expansion cards ($275 a pop, though deals come up 
all the time) so you can
tailor the sounds to your taste.


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