Tag Archives: looper

Looping setup

The very first post on this blog has been pushed from emacs with org2blog, then I abandoned the idea for a while and posted from within the wordpress interface only.

Now I’d like to get back to the roots, so to say 🙂 so this post will be typed inside emacs

Looping setup

I thought for a while to set up a looping enviroment with my old laptop, a thinkpad t61p which now runs debian jessie. I already used the wonderful sooperlooper application as can be seen in the following video: Some fun with sooperloper | linuxaudiostudio

However, this was only about looping with live played material on a guitar, and I wanted to expand or maybe switch to electronic sounds generated inside the box.

Hardware

Hardware-wise at the time I used only a MIDI pedalboard (proel-ms16-93562.jpg (JPEG Image, 640 × 329 pixels)) to control sooperlooper, now I want to integrate a couple of other MIDI controllers:

Roland PC 300

roland_pc300.jpg

this one I bought used for 40 € and it is a wonderful (although discontinued) MIDI keyboard that has all the features I need with a small footprint and a light weight:

  1. four octaves with octave buttons to play on the entire MIDI range
  2. ability to switch MIDI channels from the keyboard itself. This is very important to control different softwares without touching the computer. I used to use the akai lpk 25, which is a wondeful tiny controller, but it lacks this feature (you can use at most 4 different channels by using the presets)
  3. Modulation/pitch wheel
  4. Sustain pedal input
  5. a programmable slider for sending MIDI CC
  6. USB bus powered (no need for yet another power adapter)

Novation remote Zero MKI

novation-remote-zero-sl_2.jpg

this one is a real beast. It’s also discontinued (now they make the MKII) but I found it in great conditions for only 70 €. It has a lot of physical controls with extensive programming options. It is also bus powered and it works as MIDI interface too, so I’m using it to connect the MIDI only ms-16 pedalboard.

Also great about this controller is the fact that it has two screens where you can see the (configurable) name and value of the controller you are sending.

And it has an editor that runs (with some glitches, but usable) under wine.

Software

Here is where things get complicated.. 🙂 I haven’t sorted out yet the full setup for software but here’s a list of the software that I intend to use:

  • sooperlooper (of course)
  • renoise (the best traker ever made, althoug not free)
  • yoshimi (a great soft synth)
  • mididings (neat MIDI router and processor)
  • qjackctl (for JACK connecions and patchbay persistence)
  • wmctrl (for controlling GNOME via MIDI when combined with mididings)

basically sooperlooper and renoise should be connected and sync’d thru JACK transport, renoise providing its wonderful sampler and its powerful effect chains. Yoshimi to produce synth sounds (multitimbrical, say two or three channels), mididings to route all MIDI data to the appropriate program basing on MIDI channel.

I tried with those softwares and the resulting setup is already quite complex… and this whitout external audio sources like real instruments (which I want to integrate at some point).

Other software that I’m considering:

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Some fun with sooperloper

Today I was looking at the new boss rc-30 loopsation and I found its features quite good, in particular I like the portability and the fact that it can run on batteries (good for busking around with a battery powered amplifier), but the cost still kept me away.

In addition I don’t know if all the features related to USB connection with the computer can work with Linux.

So I decided to give a try to my computer-based looping setup, which involves an old MIDI pedal board from proel (model MS-16), a laptop with arch linux and the wonderful sooperlooper from Jesse Chappel, an often overlooked software but very powerful and inspiring.

So I hooked my alhambra classical guitar to a little soundtracs topaz mixer that I use for reharsal with the band, feeding the input of the laptop soundcard with the aux pot of the guitar channel on the mixer.

The audio output of the soundcard was then plugged as well into the mixer that in turn is attached to a small PA.

I find loopers a very creative tool for sketching musical ideas on the fly without having to reach for a big DAW program, creating a new project, and so on. Sooperlooper, once set is an instant gratification tool and today took me to this little latin-american divertissement.

Sorry for the quality of the video, it was taken from a small photocamera and the ligthing was not that good. The audio was captured with the yamaha pocketrak 2G and joined together with the video with avidemux syncing with a little trial and error, so it may be also not perfectly synced.

All in all, I like a lot this setup but I reckon that it is a bit complex to put together compared with the compactness and smallness of the boss pedal. Of course my solution cost me nothing and offers more flexibility (more tracks, more rounting options with JACK) but I’m still looking at the rc-30 with lush desire 🙂

Being an improvisation there are also bad spots so be forgiving… 😀

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