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Re: Free Looper coming with Tiger!

On May 18, 2005, at 9:49, Kim Flint wrote:

> Hi Per-
> At 04:03 AM 5/16/2005, Per Boysen wrote:
>> I've been reading and drooling here for
>> the last five minutes. Indeed very nice!
> So I'm curious, can you tell me what about the feature set makes  
> you drool?
> For me it didn't seem very remarkable or innovative from the readme  
> file, so I'm wondering what you saw that I missed. I don't have a  
> mac that can run tiger to try this with at this time, so maybe you  
> or others can help answer some of my questions below?

Hi Kim,

Cool that you joined this thread, you die-hard hardware fan! ;-)  You  
have posted a lot of good questions for the AULooper. I've been  
playing around a little with it today and will try to answer some.  
Below have deleted questions on functions I have not tried out yet,  
to keep the text as short as possible.

"Drooling...." Well, the things I like with software is the light  
weight (compared to a fat rack), the option to rewire the rig by  
different saved pre-sets (playing with different setups armed with  
different effects on send/return loops or inserted on the channels .

> By this time, after so many years of discussion about Record-to- 
> Overdub, any looper that fails to implement this feature from the  
> start is really exhibiting some astonishing ignorance about the  
> looper universe. I hope they didn't miss this!

No, it doesn't do that. I agree that's a loss. Even when you are  
overdubbing, you don't hear all the overdubbed layers until you stop  

>> Currently,  AULooper supports up to four stereo loops.
> As always, the important questions with multi-track loopers is, how  
> intuitive is the user interface for live control?

As often with computer software, that is partly up to the user to  
configure. I think the AULooper does provide enough powerful  
parameters for a creative user. But it it seems that the mapping of  
external MIDI controllers to these parameters doesn't work as  
intended. For example, the AULooper readme file says you can command- 
click on a parameter to map it to a sent MIDI control message. This  
is only true for AULab (the AU host application), not for the  
AULooper (the AU plug-in). A bit of a bummer, yes.

> Creating a multi-track looper is very easy. Creating a multi-track  
> looper user interface is very, very, very difficult. Nobody has  
> done it well yet. How did they do here?

Some parameters are found both on a global level and on a loop part  
level. Like "pitch". You can transpose the complete looper two  
octaves up/down. You can also transpose each of the four loops one  
octave up/down. All parameters are addressable independently so you  
can (in theory, right now it doesn't remember what you teach it ;-)    
create many different "looping rigs" with just the AULab and the  

>> At any given time, one of the four loops will be selected.  Any of  
>> the four loops may be selected at any time by clicking on the loop  
>> itself.
> So you can't select more than one loop to control at a time? (i.e.,  
> pitch shift 1 and 4 but leave 2 and 3 alone, etc).

Oh yes, you can!

> I assume they all play simultaneously?

Noop. Pitch can be targeted individually for each loop. The functions  
that is only applied to the "selected loop" are those that are not  
individually addressable. That was a really good question, because  
this makes it usable for easy live looping though chord changes by  
sending four midi cc's that pitch the loopers (even through such  
chord changes, one loop can still be kept one octave lower for bass).  
That will of course change the timing of the loops, so you have to  
prepare for it musically when creating the loops.

>> * Undo (undo/redo for the last edit or record operation)
>>     (undoable operations are: record, copy, paste, clear, divide,  
>> and multiply)
> is it multiple undo? Can it undo a mistake button press, or just a  
> mistaken overdub layer?

As far as I have found out yet I think you can undo everything - but  
only one step back. If you clear a track and get cold feet because it  
just sounds bad, you can kick the undo and get the track (loop) back  
at once. Kick it again and it's gone, etc. (Undo-Redo-Undo-Redo....).  
You can actually use that musically in a looping performance! But it  
has nothing that can stand up to the EDP's unlimited (except for RAM)  
chain of undo's (not to mention loop windowing!)

>> * Set Start (at the moment this command is received, re-defines the
>> starting point for all loops)
>>       (The "Play" command will then retrigger playback from this  
>> new point in the loop)
>> * Slip Start Time Ahead "<"   (Similar to "Set Start", but  
>> incrementally nudges start time ahead for all loops)
>> * Slip Start Time Behind ">"   (Similar to "Set Start", but  
>> incrementally nudges start time behind for all loops)
> They give a lot of space to discussing StartPoint manipulation.  
> These functions have long been available in the Echoplex and the  
> Repeater. It is a practical and useful function, but the fact is  
> most people don't care that much or get very excited about it.  
> Useful, but not glamorous.

I guess I'm just another guy that doesn't care because I like to play  
it right on the spot or not play it at all if it's too difficult.  
Noodling with start points and stuff is what I use Logic or  
Numerology for. But maybe others can find something creative to do  
with it. Hmmm... well with the Repeater I sometimes recorded mono on  
two chained tracks. Then I had a MIDI foot pedal to split them up,  
pan them out left/right and time shift one track an eight note. Could  
make for some broad stereo pads. That's the only trick I have been  
doing with start points in real-time

> Funny that they give it such a prominent place in the feature  
> discussion, when far more important looping functions get little or  
> no mention at all.

Yes. This plug-in could be a lot better if the developers had been  
working together with an active looper musician. No doubt!

>> * Resync (Sometimes when playing with the "Reverse" commands it's
>> possible for the playback lines in the loops to get out of  
>> synchronization.  "Resync" will selectively change the loop's  
>> start times to match the current mix. Subsequent "Play" commands  
>> will then retrigger playback at this rhythmic relationship)
> Is this like a limited version of the ReAlign commands in the  
> Echoplex? (hard to tell from the description.)

Correct! I tried it today and it's about the same as the EDP's ReAlign.

>> * Pitch (global pitch control, additive with the individual loop
>> pitch controls)
> Does this pitch change affect loop length?

Yes. Just like a tape delay. It seams as no one has yet had the guts  
to take a shot at time-stretching/pitch-shifting in software. Maybe  
it's too processor demanding. One of the coolest qualities of the  
Repeater is that it fails to do that in time, giving a musically  
peasant glissando/accelerando to the changes. Maybe software for  
computer can't be that "squarish"? I don't know. But I like the  
Repeater's way of not getting there in time but catching up a bit  
late - happy as ever (like R2D2).

> Which does it do, or does it do both options? How easy is it to  
> control?

It's very easy to control. Continuous MIDI control; you can pitch it  
like a whammy pedal or use kick buttons with a fixed value for a pre- 
defined pitch. But it's a bit flaky, sound-wise, I found:  I had  
assigned one pedal to the "play" control to step on it to create  
stuttering effects. When I did this with one loop track pitched down  
one octave (for bass) this pitched-down track caused ugly audio  
artifacts. Definitely bad and something to watch out for (actually  
the first red mark in my book).

>> There are also commands for editing the currently selected  loop:
>> * Divide (divides the length of the loop by two, discarding the
>> second half)
> that's useful, assuming there are subsequent functions to operate  
> on the divided cycles. What can you do with the divided cycles?

Just the same as you can do with a loop track. When you "divide" you  
simply cut off the last half and throw it away (you might "undo" it  
of course).

>> * Multiply (double the loop length, appending of copy of the original
>> loop)
>>     This allows longer overdubs on top of the originally shorter  
>> loop.
> Is this a fluid real-time multiply like the Echoplex has, or the  
> more limited approach to multiply found in the Repeater?

It's limited as in the Repeater. With that I mean that you have to  
first make a decision of how many times you want to multiply and then  
push equally many times. Then you can start playing. I hate that! The  
multiply implementation I like most is the EDP way to simply kick  
multiply once, play the thing as it should be and then close the  
multiplied loop by kicking it a second time. I don't think I will  
ever use AULopper's multiply function for anything delicate. Same  
goes for the Repeater, if you ask me.

>> Clock Settings
>> * Sync (Internal or Host Sync)     (normal default operation is
>> "Internal" which allows the musician to control the playback  
>> transport; "Host Sync" will syncronize loop playback with the  
>> host's timeline)
> So I guess this would include midi clock through the host?

Yes, I guess so too. I have not researched that much because I'm more  
interested in using this AULab/AULooper as the master on gigs when I  
can't bring my Echoplex (setting the tempo by creating the first loop).

> How accurate is the sync? I would imagine this area is very  
> difficult or impossible to do well for software running on top of a  
> non-realtime OS, in a non-realtime hardware system architecure. Has  
> anybody tested it seriously?

For my application (running it as master) it's perfect. This means  
using other AU plug-ins with beat synced functions as filters etc  
(like PSP84 and many Ohmforce plug-ins).

> How does sync between the 4 loop tracks work? Do you have the  
> option to sync them or not? Can any of them set the main tempo?  
> (sort of like using BrotherSync in the echoplex?) If so, what sort  
> of flexibility is there for setting relative lengths of one loop  
> track versus another?

Not much flexibility, I would say. But some people like that, because  
it keeps you safe from odd meters. You can manipulate the length of  
each loop in two ways; by multiply or by divide. To me this makes  
AULooper behave similar to the Repeater.

>> * Tempo (once a loop has been recorded it's playback speed may be  
>> adjusted with the "tempo" slider; the initial tempo is determined  
>> by the recorded loop's length and the "beat length" of the loop  
>> which is assumed initially to be four beats, but may be changed by  
>> the user in the edit text field)
> so I assume this means it changes the length/tempo without pitch  
> change?

Yes, as said above.

> So what about feedback control? They never mentioned that. Please  
> don't tell me another looper has been created without feedback  
> control!

I don't know, really! I was looking for a feedback control all  
afternoon. Will keep looking tomorrow again. There are some two or  
three I suspect to find it at. Just didn't have time to go through it  
all. Man, I wish you had a Tiger Mac available over there, so you  
could check out this software and post a review. Your questions are  
very good because you have experience and a healthy critical mind.

Greetings from Sweden

Per Boysen
www.looproom.com (international)
www.boysen.se (Swedish)
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