[Date Prev][Date Next]   [Thread Prev][Thread Next]   [Date Index][Thread Index][Author Index]

Re: Multiple Loops question

At 10:42 AM -0800 12/11/98, John Neilson wrote:
>Forwarded message:
>> >Subject: Multiple Loops question
>> >
>> >Which -- if any -- of these boxes will let you play multiple loops
>> >simultaneously?  I don't mean layering on one loop and then clicking
>> >to a parallel, but unrelated loop for another section.  I mean having
>> >loops 1 - 2 - 3 - 4... running simultaneously in parallel, and being
>> >able to turn off #2 for a couple passes, then bring it back in and
>> >turn off #4, etc.  You know, like an 8-track mixer with track mute
>> >buttons, or like a sampler where you can trigger multiple samples
>> >while others are playing.
>> I've wondering about this as well - my dream looper would be all of the
>> above w/ pitch modulation, the ability to save the loops to a SCSI
>> device,  Full MIDi support and onboard FX ('verb at least). It Doesn't
>> seem like it's too much to ask for but until I get an advanced E.E.
>> degree  I'll be  hoping that my EDP &  sampler (an ASR10) will have
>> puppies one night...
>> jmw
>So I gather that none of the current boxes do this?  I had thought that
>the Echoplex would have been the one that might have his feature, given
>the big ticket price and the fact that it has the perfect foot controller
>for it (unlike the old JamMan).

When did ~$600 become a "big ticket price"???  Which adjectives are left
for things in the $3-4k range, like kyma, eventide dsp4000, emu 4xt, k2500,
etc?  "really fuckin' enourmously huge ticket price?" :-)  I mean, the
"affordable" class of traditional samplers (emu esi-4000, yamaha A3k, etc.)
or even the roland sp808, are about twice that with no options added, at a
street price around $1200. And none of those have full duplex audio to let
you do things like real-time overdubs and such that loopers do. they also
lack high end sampler features like scsi, spdif, full effects, etc. You
just ain't going to get full realtime looping capabilities plus all the
features of the top samplers for $600! (or $1200, probably....).

I'm curious about your thought that the echoplex footpedal is perfect for
working with multitrack loops. It's fine for one loop track, but I don't
see how it could easily apply to multiple tracks at the same time. I think
people don't realize just how complicated the interface for fully
multitracking looper would have to be. The idea of fully asynchronous
multitracked loops sounds great on the surface, and everyone wants it, but
how do really deal with controlling it all in realtime without being
totally overwhelmed? Have you really thought this out? I don't think 7 red
buttons are gonna do it! Imagine: recording input 1 onto loop 5 while
multiplying loop 2 and adding something else from input 2 to it while
changing the feedback of loop 4 and copying 2 bars of loop4 to loop 1 and
loop 7 while changing the mix of loop 3 and doing undos on loop 6 and
stuttering triggers on loop 8. Is it possible to make an elegant interface
where such things can be done easily? Or do we need to grow more 

At the very minimal, I'd think you would want this footcontroller to have a
set of switches to select which track you are currently operating on,
another set of function switches, and some indicators to tell you what loop
you are currently working with. That right there is quite a bit more
complicated than the echoplex pedal, and to me it is still very

What about mixing? you also want to control which tracks the inputs are
going to, and control the mix of all the loop tracks and the inputs going
to the output. (or outputs, since you probably want several...:-) And
you'll probably want patch points to send the feedback path out to external
effects, with appropriate mix control over that. So that's a whole mess of
faders, level indicators, mute buttons, etc. Certainly way beyond what
could be sensibly put on a footpedal or a rack, so we're talking table-top.

You'll need quite a display to show you what's going on with all these
different tracks (loop time for each, current function operating,
multiple#'s, sync status, etc, etc...). In fact, we want to access a file
system over scsi or whatever and probably deal with lots of parameters. So
we'll throw in a nice graphical display with some function keys and
parameter editing knob. And lots of knobs, right? We'll need feedback
control for each track, and the endlessly requested pitch and time warp
knobs. And some filter knobs, can't forget those. Knobs for LFO modulations
too, sure. Others? heck we'll throw in a few assignable knobs for anything
you want. And we'll need some set of controls to let loops interact with
each other, for copies, replaces, synchronization, even modulations maybe.

uh-oh, looks like our control panel all by itself will cost $2000, hope
there's lots of wealthy loopers out there....;-)

But we still haven't really dealt with the question, "how do you control
multiple loop tracks in realtime?" Sure, our imaginary uber-looper has
multiple tracks availabe. and lots of controls for them. But it's the
brute-force approach, everything is laid out there, it's big. The more
tracks, the more complicated it gets. When does it get too complicated and
you can no longer focus on the actual music? Also, it still enforces an
approach where the user is really only working on one track at a time, then
switching to another to work with it. The tracks might be playing
simultaneously, but not controlled simultaneously by the user. That might
be ok for meticulously composing something, but we want to work in real
time. So somehow, a meta interface is needed, something to put the user a
notch above the detailed interface so he/she/it can truly manipulate
multiple tracks simultaneously, and still remain musically creative. Any
thoughts on that? Is there a genius in the house to crack this nut?


Kim Flint                   | Looper's Delight
kflint@annihilist.com       | http://www.annihilist.com/loop/loop.html
http://www.annihilist.com/  | Loopers-Delight-request@annihilist.com