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Re: Multiple Loops question

Hey, thanks for thinking this question through enough to point out some
possible levels of "complexity cascade", but I'm not sure that it's so 
impossible to come up with some subset of features in an affordable box.

> 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, 
> etc?  "really fuckin' enourmously huge ticket price?" :-)  I mean, the
> "affordable" class of traditional samplers (emu esi-4000, yamaha A3k, 
> or even the roland sp808, are about twice that with no options added, at 
> street price around $1200. And none of those have full duplex audio to 
> 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....).
Well, as a guitarist, a "big ticket price" for a sound processor is one
that's the same or higher than the guitar that's running through it.
And more to the point, I was comparing it to the other 'looper boxes' 
that get discussed most frequently here, such as the Boomerang, the old
JamMan (my current box), Digitech pedals, etc.  

As far as comparing to samplers, I think even the bottom-of-the-barrel 
Akai lets you sample 8 or so samples and then trigger them singly or 
multiply from the front panel buttons.  Sync those samples together to
some master loop length, move those buttons down to an EDP-style
footpedal, and you have the kind of functionality I was imagining.

> 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 
> 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, 
> 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 
> 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 
> 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 
> 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
> rudimentary.
As a JamMan user, I'm used to not having all that 
going on, so I'll leave that to someone else to figure out.  What I might 
imagine is this:  a pedal setup the similar to the EDP's, with the 
buttons assigned to individual 'tracks' and some sort of function
selection.  So you'd set up a loop, but then as you tap in 'overdubs' they
appear on subsequent tracks instead of merging with a single track.
Maybe an LED lights up above each track with an active loop.  Then,
depending on the function selection, you could tap each button to mute
or unmute that track, or replace it, or just delete it.

> 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 
> effects, with appropriate mix control over that. So that's a whole mess 
> faders, level indicators, mute buttons, etc. Certainly way beyond what
> could be sensibly put on a footpedal or a rack, so we're talking 
> 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. 
> 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 
> too, sure. Others? heck we'll throw in a few assignable knobs for 
> you want. And we'll need some set of controls to let loops interact with
> each other, for copies, replaces, synchronization, even modulations 
> 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 
> 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, 
> 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?

Umm, all of that would be nice, but I guess they could wait until 
Rev. 2... 8^)

----------------------- Tear Along Dotted Line -----------------------
John Neilson                                             www.mixup.com 
jneil@mixup.com                                  "a site for sore ears"