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Re: Hardware vs. software etc... (Re: 900!!!!!!!!!!!)



Exactly Andre, I whole heartedly agree with you 100% on every point.  I 
know we're not there yet with the laptop or PC without additional 
hardware.  Maybe boxes like Plugzilla are closer and could be the next 
wave.  I never said I didn't like the EDP.  If money were no object, 
I'd have two.  One of the reasons I got really mad at Electrix wasn't 
because my looper of choice was going away, but I honestly thought that 
we might have been embarking on a time when there was some more 
competition in the high end audio looping world.  The success of the 
Repeater (possible success) would have brought down prices of the EDP 
and maybe inspired others to come to market with similar devices making 
it a win win for everyone.  Didn't work out that way.

I do feel like we're soon to see laptop audio computing take over 
though.  Maybe not now, maybe not next year, but my guess is that in 5 
years we're going to see amazing things.

Mark Sottilaro

On Saturday, August 23, 2003, at 12:09 PM, Andre LaFosse wrote:

> Well met, O Mark!
>
> Mark Sottilaro wrote:
>>
>> Amazing eh?  Good thing you don't want to do stereo looping or your
>> looper would set you back about the price of a good used automobile.
>
> Ah good, the obligatory Sottilaro EDP Stereo Gripe is gotten out of the
> way at the beginning!  ;)  (Teasing, dude.)
>
>> Frankly, I've abandoned the idea of ever owning an EDP.  Not because I
>> couldn't come up with that money, but because I just don't think it's
>> worth it, especially now with software loopers starting to hit the
>> market that will make your laptop your best looping friend.
>
> Probably the single biggest gulf between hardware and software loopers
> is the ability to work with live-input audio in the way that
> EDP/Repeater/DL4 people are accustomed to.  A program like Radial is
> amazing, but it doesn't allow for a real-time input.
>
> Those programs that DO allow for live input still don't offer the exact
> same feature set as an EDP (for example).  And there's the oft-stated
> issue of various kinds of latencies that exist in computer-based
> operating systems.  Even if you do get a "perfect" software clone of
> LoopIV, will it "feel" exactly the same on a millisecond-by-millisecond
> basis?  For someone like myself, who's spent years practicing the 
> manual
> timing of unquantized pedal presses, that's a significant issue.
>
>> Basically, I've given up looking for the ultimate dedicated hardware
>> looper.  I don't think it will ever exist because of the nitch market
>> we are.  The EDP is expensive and it looks like there will never be a
>> significant hardware upgrade for it.
>
> One of the main reasons the EDP costs what it does is because it has so
> little in the way of direct competition.  Not even so much in terms of
> hardware loopers, but in terms of what the EDP itself can specifically
> do that nothing else can - hardware OR software.
>
> Not everyone wants or needs those features, but those of us who do
> aren't going to find a program like Ableton Live or Reaktor to be a
> replacement.  They're different "instruments," and using them requires 
> a
> different set of mental and physical "techniques" (in both the
> figurative and literal sense) in order to play them.
>
> For people who really understand what they can do, and where they're
> coming from, an Echoplex and a Repeater are no more in competition with
> one another than are an Ibanez 7-string and a Gretsch hollowbody.
>
> And an Echoplex is no more in competition with a program like Ableton
> Live than an analog recording studio is in competition with Pro Tools -
> especially for the recording engineer who's spent years learning how to
> coax the right sort of sound out of tape oxides, tube preamps, and
> console channels... or musicians who have built their craft off of the
> limitation/parameter/reality of having to get a take down by playing it
> live, rather than recording two dozen takes and comping them together
> with a mouse and a hard drive.
>
> The electric guitar's been around for at least 50 years, but has anyone
> ever made an "ultimate" electric guitar?  A Les Paul's a wonderful
> instrument, and if you build your playing technique around having two
> humbuckers and a fixed bridge, you'll get very attatched to it.  But if
> you want a whammy bar and single coils, it's not for you.
>
> Is there a reason why Keller Williams and Phil Keaggy still use 
> JamMans?
>  Why David Torn still carries around 20-year-old Lexicon hardware
> (including the one emulated by PSP's software) in his performance rack,
> even though he uses the latest and greatest software programs in his
> home studio?  Why Robert Fripp likes multiple hardware TC Electronics
> digital delays?  Why Nels Cline and Bill Frisell still use ancient
> Electro-Harmonix pedals?
>
> Why people still covet MiniMoogs, after a decade of virtual analog
> hardware and software synths?  Why people will spend thousands of
> dollars on amassing collections of instruments and amps, instead of 
> just
> buying a single Line6 modelling guitar and amplifier?
>
> One thing I've noticed about a lot of people who really like the EDP is
> that they tend to be serious players/performers.  My theory is that 
> they
> gravitate towards the fact that the Echoplex has a very specific,
> narrowly-focused feature set, which is designed and implemented by guys
> who are themselves instrumental performers, because they're already of
> the mindset to develop an approach within a tightly-defined vision.
>
> The very act of "learning to play an instrument" basically involves
> being presented with a set of very narrow parameters, and then spending
> years/decades/a lifetime learning how to make music by working within
> those parameters.  And people who really respond to the EDP seem to 
> zero
> in on that aspect of its design.
>
> On the other hand (and at the risk of over-simplifying), people who
> don't dig the EDP are generally looking for "more" options - more audio
> channels, more tracks within a given loop, more memory - basically, a
> "bigger" and "broader" general universe of possibilities.  The more
> subtle (and unique) aspect of the Echoplex - and the VERY deep and 
> broad
> world of possibilities within that particular world - don't seem to be
> much of an issue for these folks.
>
> So certainly, if someone can comfortably go between Digital Performer,
> Reaktor, MAX/MSP, Ableton Live, or a Repeater for their looping needs,
> they aren't going to need to bother with an EDP.  Because the common
> ground amongst all of those programs is so broad generalized that
> there's very little crossover with what an Echoplex can do.
>
> In the meantime, it seems to me the choice is:
>
> 1) a $750 EDP and a $130 MIDI pedal
>
> 2) a laptop computer, a control interface to trigger the functions of
> the computer without having to use a QWERTY keyboard, a MIDI interface
> for the controller to talk to the computer (if my preferred controller
> of choice doesn't have a USB port), an audio interface with low enough
> input latency to not be (too) noticable (or zero-latency input
> monitoring, which would require me to deal with the pre-software sound
> of the input instrument), enough dedicated channels within the audio
> interface to allow me to blend my live input instrument with the
> post-software sound (or, barring that, a dedicated hardware mixer),
> enough RAM to allow the programs to run smoothly, however many programs
> I might want to run (individually or simultaneously)...
>
> and it STILL won't let me do what an EDP can do.
>
> Not exactly a neck-and-neck competition, from my point of view.
>
> Anyway...
>
> --Andre LaFosse
> http://www.altruistmusic.com
>