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Re: Using computers as a Live Looper - software alternatives

On 04-01-20 08.17,  "gsj3" <gsj32002@yahoo.com> wrote:

> I am a guitarist, and somewhat new to looping.  In looking for tools to 
> live, I am struck that most hardware loopers (e.g. EDP, Boomerang, RC-20,
> Gigaedelay) each have their limitations.

Hi Gregory,

I'm also a guitarist, doubling on the tenor saxophone, and I have made
exactly the opposite experience; after looking into a possible laptop
solution for live looping I'm struck by the limitations of today's 
software loopers. Many years ago I wrote wish lists to software developers,
but no one picked up my ideas for a software looper ("too small market"
according to PSP). IMHO no software even comes close to what the EDP will
let you do. All software lack "overdub layering  sound-on-sound into a
spinning loop" features. Personally I'm using my EDP to layer clusters and
chords from monophonic playing and then to cut in/out different note values
to create rhythms. This is so easily done on the EDP and yet no software
will let you do it. Most software are still prone to the rigid
"record-a-loop-and-have-it-play-back" concept. To loop live you need (1)
overdub feedback control and (2) slicing possibilities, all working in
record mode as well as in playback mode. And then, of course, (3) all
parameters have to be accessible by external midi.

At the moment I'm kind of half the way to a laptop set-up, since I have
finally been able to replace my mixer with a laptop armed with a RME
Multiface. The Multiface gives you 8 analog in/outputs and I'm using the
laptop as a midi controllable patchbay/mixer for blending my EDP with the
four tracks of my Repeater. But I seldom loop on the laptop - software is
too limited.

The software I'm mostly running is Ableton Live. The great benefit of Live
is that  mixer functions and plug-ins are easily assignable to external 
control. So I'm using a Behringer FCB1010 for my feet and a little UC-33
(midi mixer) for hands. Then I can direct audio streams from my hardware
loopers by stepping on the FCB while playing, thus re-routing tracks/sends
of Ableton Live software mixer. As a mixer/patchbay I find the laptop much
less limited than a physical mixer. Add to this the ability to color audio
with all kinds of software plug-ins. I'm running Ableton Live synced to the
EDP (midi clock master) so all kind of beat synced software plug-ins keep 
with my EDP tempo changes.

> In principle, a software based system could combine the
> "best of" various hadware setups such as sync to a MIDI tempo (like 
> or EDP), have multiple loops simultaneously (repeater), operating like a 
> where loops ca fade (boomerang).

Yes, you are right. The possibilities are endless, but the tools are not 
yet. I'm not sure that the market really is too small. A good software
looper will sell well if only some developer could be able to wrap his head
around the concept and write down the code. Ableton Live is pretty close,
but it is still lacking both "overdub/layering into a loop" and "cutting
note value slices out of/into a loop".

Best wishes

Per Boysen