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Re: Software looping

I’ve just gone and bought myself a hardware drum machine and hardware 
Tascam multitracker — the latter hasn’t even been unboxed yet — but if I 
view them as sunk costs that simply need to be resold — I’m feeling more 
and more like I could be attracted to a software setup for recording with 
live shows simply using the Ditto X2 or the Boomerang III.

But that then gets to the matter of finding the right hardware/software 

Hardware: I’d much rather use an iPad or a Microsoft Surface Pro than 
something where I’m dealing with a keyboard and trackpad. It seems like it 
would be easier to position a tablet conveniently for access while 
recording particularly if it is also serving as the looper.

Software: What I want is the ability to take a stereo input and record it 
to a pair of tracks and also walk it across feeding into a number of 
parallel stereo loopers. Basically, I need the notion of a current looper 
that is receiving the input signal and responding to footswitch control. 
(If I’m ditching the hardware drum machine to cut down on number of 
physical inputs, then I also need to run some number of virtual 
instruments as well though those might also generate audio for recording 
rather than MIDI.)

The goal is to come out of a recording session with 8-10 tracks: the raw 
stereo input, the output of say three stereo loopers, and the drum 
machines. I could easily see this heading up closer to 16 tracks but at 
some point that probably involves overdubbing.

Audio interfaces: I’m probably going to need to run a small mix board for 
the input signals and different instruments using processing chains and to 
drive the monitors. The Apollo twin is a 2x2 interface. (I’ve already got 
an older Apogee Duet 2x2 that only works with the Mac and not the iPad.) I 
could get a mixer with a built-in 2x2 interface through presumably that 
wouldn’t sound as good as the Apollo or the Apogee but it would be one 
less bit of patching. Advantages or disadvantages to going one way or 
another? (My current mixers are somewhat aged Mackies.)

Control: The consensus seems to be something like the Softstep but my real 
question here will feed back to software questions. Are there 
looper/controller combinations that are efficient in their use of control 
real estate — i.e., they don’t make me burn 3 or 4 buttons on what a 
hardware looper would likely do in 2?

So, there’s my general wish list if I go the software route. I want to 
improve on the hardware straight-to-two-track approach that has dominated 
my recording for years. I want to have a better parallel looping system 
(though the Boomerang III works reasonably well here). I want to have 
recordings that are easier to edit after the fact. I don’t want to spend 
lots of time squinting at a computer screen.