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Looper with MIDI sync
Old 5th July 2016
  #1
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Looper with MIDI sync

Dear GS community,

I'm looking for a good looper (the more recording tracks available the better) that can also be synced with MIDI, being slaved to a master clock (Squarp Pyramid sequencer or E-RM Multiclock). It probably should be able to quantize too.

The idea would be to facilitated the recording of acoustic instruments or live improv. within a hardware live electronic setup (composed of a bunch of analog synths and drum machines). No computer.

I'm only aware of the Electro Harmonix 45000 that theoretically can do all of that but judging by the number of threads of complaints on EHX.com I'm guessing it doesn't do it really well. Is it true ? If not, what are the other options ?

Any experience sharing / advices will be warmly welcomed.

Thanks a lot.
Old 5th July 2016
  #2
Pigtronix Infinity Looper
http://pigtronix.com/infinity/

Old 5th July 2016
  #3
Here for the gear
I was on this hunt for awhile and ended up with a Ditto x4, mostly because I ended up getting an incredible deal on it. The dedicated stop switch is nice, as is the serial or sync option for its two tracks. I was coming from the 20sec looper tacked on to the hardwire dl8, so the ditto was a bit of an adjustment. If you aren't good with your timing you can pretty easily end up with gaps or silence in your loops when using midi sync. But the midi sync itself has worked quite well, and I've used the midi thru to send notes to my volca keys without any problems. No quantize as far as I recall (the quick start manual it comes with is useless), but it should also be a contender if all you're doing is midi synced looping.

Also, this is my first post. Hope it helps!
Old 5th July 2016
  #4
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channelite's Avatar
Loopy on the iPad?
Old 5th July 2016
  #5
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D_Davis's Avatar
 

I've used a good number of different loopers over the last ten or so years, and the best by far is the Pigtronix Infinty. Sample accurate MIDI sync, sounds great, and dead simple to use. When I play live, all I use is an Analog Keys and the Infinity.
Old 5th July 2016
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by D_Davis View Post
I've used a good number of different loopers over the last ten or so years, and the best by far is the Pigtronix Infinty. Sample accurate MIDI sync, sounds great, and dead simple to use. When I play live, all I use is an Analog Keys and the Infinity.
Thanks to everybody who replied.

I wished the Pigtronix would have 4 tracks and the ability to "mix" them with simple faders (like in the EHX 45000).
Old 5th July 2016
  #7
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goldphinga's Avatar
 

I use the Boss RC-505. It's sync has always been solid when clocked from my Tempest. Used it live loads this way.
Old 5th July 2016
  #8
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didlisquat's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Octave Octavio View Post
Thanks to everybody who replied.

I wished the Pigtronix would have 4 tracks and the ability to "mix" them with simple faders (like in the EHX 45000).
I am still getting into my Infinity, but I've layered four tracks on it with ease. I haven't put enough time into it yet to know if I can mix them individually or not.
Old 5th July 2016
  #9
Anyone have experience midi syncing with a Boomerang III?
Old 6th July 2016
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by goldphinga View Post
I use the Boss RC-505. It's sync has always been solid when clocked from my Tempest. Used it live loads this way.
Gee! This might be just what I need actually, i was not aware that it existed.

Could you elaborate a tad more on your experience with it ? What you like and don't like for instance ? Thanks a lot
Old 6th July 2016
  #11
+1 on the Infinity Looper. Super clean sound and tight clocking.

An interesting non-midi option that uses beat detection is the Redsound/Peavy Soundbite series of loopers. It's more of a remix box - like a micro hardware version of Live - than a looper. Very cool.
Old 6th July 2016
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Octave Octavio View Post
Gee! This might be just what I need actually, i was not aware that it existed.

Could you elaborate a tad more on your experience with it ? What you like and don't like for instance ? Thanks a lot
There's nothing I don't like about it! I hit play on the Tempest and it starts the RC505 and everything is tempo locked. I can have a beat going on the tempest, mess about with it and the RC505 just keeps solid and lets me overdub and effect stuff in sync. You have 5 stereo tracks of audio available each with their own volume slider. Can't fault it!

BOSS - RC-505 | Loop Station

Old 6th July 2016
  #13
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+1 on the RC505, especially w new system 2 software update.

+1000 on Loopy HD on iPad w a good interface, especially w Ableton Link as sync! 12 sync locked tracks. Soooo many features.
Old 6th July 2016
  #14
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Sebastian N's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Helmey View Post

An interesting non-midi option that uses beat detection is the Redsound/Peavy Soundbite series of loopers. It's more of a remix box - like a micro hardware version of Live - than a looper. Very cool.
the redsound beat detection has always been spot on for me. i don't have experience with the soundbite but i did own their federation fx boxes and the beat detection was always great. the cool thing with the soundbite is that it's super small and can have multiple loops stored afaik. bad thing is they are only available on the used market or if lucky, some nos units.
Old 6th July 2016
  #15
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kAbLeHeAd's Avatar
 

I use the ehx 45000 and 2880 at home. They have some drawbacks but i got used to it. I had no problem midi slaving them to other machines. Never used them live so there may be problems that i haven't experienced yet.
Old 6th July 2016
  #16
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D_Davis's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Octave Octavio View Post
Gee! This might be just what I need actually, i was not aware that it existed.

Could you elaborate a tad more on your experience with it ? What you like and don't like for instance ? Thanks a lot
For me it's a no go because it doesn't have loop decay. The loops constantly play at the same volume, making it unusable for sound-on-sound live performance ala Frippertronics stuff. If the RC-505 had auto loop decay, it would be a great machine (although the fx sound mostly bad, but you don't have to use them). I also found the machine a little too complex for its own good. I prefer things that are more simple and straightforward - less that can go wrong!
Old 6th July 2016
  #17
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My only gripe about the RC-505 is the lack of feedback decay. Other than that, it's perfect.

I actually find the RC-505 extremely simple and easy to use. But that's because I only use it as a 5 track looping recorder. I never use the FX and only rarely use the built-in rhythm track. I just hit the record button on a track and then start jamming.

I had a Pigtronix Infinity for a while. I got rid of it because I found the controls for undo and erase to be less than intuitive. I also wanted the higher track count that the RC-505 has.
Old 6th July 2016
  #18
I love my Ditto x4. I use it a ton, and haven't had issues. I'm syncing it from a Korg Es1 electribe.
Old 6th July 2016
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jabberwalky View Post
I love my Ditto x4. I use it a ton, and haven't had issues. I'm syncing it from a Korg Es1 electribe.
My main problems with the X4 is that it doesn't respond to transport control (I have my Infinity synced to my Analog Keys, and when I hit play on the AK sequencer, the looper starts right on beat one), and there is no crossfade setting between the loop end and start points, so it's not good for droning/ambient stuff. Also, the X4 won't queue a command to wait for the top of the next bar, it starts immediately.
Old 6th July 2016
  #20
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D_Davis's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rooftree View Post
I had a Pigtronix Infinity for a while. I got rid of it because I found the controls for undo and erase to be less than intuitive.
It's one button press on the foot control for undo (the UNDO button), and a single button hold for erase.
Old 6th July 2016
  #21
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I absolutely love my Boomerang III
Old 6th July 2016
  #22
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I REALLY suggest you look into Loopy HD on the iPad. If you have not really discovered how good this can be, now that it has Ableton Link included, you are missing out on the best looper experience there is to date.

Granted....you'll need an iPad (early cheaper models will work fine) and an audio interface (the expense of which can range from $50bucks to $750bucks depending on how serious you are about sound quality)....but once you have it set up...its utterly brilliant.

The "kicker" here is Ableton Link! Lets be clear...you don't need a computer, or even Ableton Live, to use Ableton Link. All you need is at least ONE iPad app that includes it (Loopy!) and another app (free) called Link-to-Midi. If you happen to have standard wifi in your studio or venue....then you can even "link" two or more iPads, EACH running Loopy, for 24 or 36 tracks of full stereo looping, with decay, and every other feature you'd expect from the history of loop making machines.

With an audio/midi interface on at least one of your iPads....you can open up the sync to ANY midi device. With Ableton Link...there is no "master" or "slave" as we expect from midi-clock. Rather....ALL devices lock to a "time frame" based on measures. Tempo can be changed on any device, and all others will follow. Its really quite bullet proof and brilliant. One huge advantage is that you can stop and restart devices (for breaks, fills, etc) and have them link-up to the "time frame" in perfect sync at the next measure. This is near impossible with standard midi-clock with most devices.

Really....after settling in on the Octatrack and RC 505 as my loopers of choice for quite some time....the implementation of Ableton Link TOTALLY changed by thinking and now Loopy is IT for me. Its highly reliable, scalable, deep functions, yet easy to understand, and syncs better than anything I know...and the track count is limited only by your hardware (iPads, iPhones). Right now I'm rockin' 24 stereo tracks in perfect sync with my hardware synths and drum machines. I got a nice audio interface so the sound quality is fantastic, and I can easily save my loops and projects and export them to my PC for further arrangement.

I've even found it to be the best solution for using Maschine Studio as a TRUE standalone device. I have Maschine on its own dedicated Macbook Air....and use Ableton Link to drive it in perfect sync with my other hardware and other computers (If I even want to turn on my DAW....its not necessary to make this work). I just use an old iPhone to run Link-to-Midi to link up Maschine with the rest of my Link system (2 iPads running Loopy, and all of my hardware synths and drum machines). Again...BRILLIANT!

Check it out. If you just have a simple system, such as one iPad and the new Korg plugKEY audio/midi interface...its as portable and independent hardware as any you may find. If you need foot pedal control..its easy to set up with any midi-foot-controller. I think its the highest and best implementation of live looping I've come across ever. And live looping is the centerpiece of my performances and studio.

PS....I have no affiliation with Loopy or Ableton or Apple (LOL). I'm just fired up about how cool it all is. I've been on a looper quest for 10 years. THIS is IT!

PS...I own Infinity Looper, RC 505, Octatrack, RC-50, Looperlative LP-1, EHX 2880, Mobius, Ableton Live, and more. Nothing has me as fired up as Loopy with Ableton Link.

Last edited by RonF; 6th July 2016 at 11:40 PM..
Old 6th July 2016
  #23
Quote:
Originally Posted by pwquig View Post
I absolutely love my Boomerang III
But how does it do with midi? If it can sync well then its at the top of my list.
Old 6th July 2016
  #24
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The thing that turns me off of Loopy HD is all the hand and finger gestures needed to do simple things that I can do on other loopers with 1 button press with my foot. I found that there were too many options that were just enough too complicated that they got in the way of my playing. For me, a looper needs to be an almost thoughtless thing - something that I use subconsciously while playing my instrument. But that's just me. I'm the king of keeping my live performance as simple as possible. One synth, one pedal. The only thoughts being focused on playing the music. As soon as I have to remember if what I want to do is a two finger rotate, or three finger swipe up, I'm likely to lose the creative moment I wanted to capture.
Old 6th July 2016
  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by D_Davis View Post
The thing that turns me off of Loopy HD is all the hand and finger gestures needed to do simple things that I can do on other loopers with 1 button press with my foot. I found that there were too many options that were just enough too complicated that they got in the way of my playing. For me, a looper needs to be an almost thoughtless thing - something that I use subconsciously while playing my instrument. But that's just me. I'm the king of keeping my live performance as simple as possible. One synth, one pedal. The only thoughts being focused on playing the music. As soon as I have to remember if what I want to do is a two finger rotate, or three finger swipe up, I'm likely to lose the creative moment I wanted to capture.
I understand. But, just to make a point for anyone who may be interested...the only thing you'd need to use a "two finger rotate", as you describe, would be to realign the timing of a loop (such as if you came in late on your instrument after the downbeat of the beginning of the loop). Then you have the *option* of realigning the timing of the recorded loop in real time...which if you think about it, pretty much no other looper even offers that option, and its rare that you'd need it, especially in live performance, but its pretty cool that the feature is there...and is particularly useful with a touch screen interface.

There is no "three finger swipe" that I can recall, at least not for a major function. There is a "two finger tap" to RE-engage overdub after you've closed a loop...but that's easy enough to remember. And further, ANY of these gestures can be bound to a midi controller, and have custom one button functionality. You could easily use a foot controller, or Korg NanoKontrol, or both, for fully hands/feet knob/slider/button-per-function control.

Actually, the Loopy HD interface is very similar to the RC-505 as far as your standard performance features....Rec/Odub/Play/Stop/Erase/Undo/Volume...and the way the loop is displayed and controlled in a "circular" display. I'll give you that Pan/Reverse requires two-steps (tap to open a menu, then tap the Pan control....but it takes two steps on the RC505 and Octatrack too....and Pan is somewhat "complicated" in a stereo loop anyways. But still, again, you can bind Pan or Reverse or anything else you want to any controller you wish, and have everything right at hand/foot....which you CANNOT do as comprehensively on the RC505 or Octatrack.

All in all...just offering a counter-perspective. I know its not for everyone. But where/how else are you going to get 24 track stereo midi sync'd looping? Without turning to a computer setup with Ableton Live, that is. Having that much power and recording time and tracks opens up creativity and musical options considerably! And I HATE turning on computers to get to the creative flow! The iPad setup is on and recording faster than I can turn on the RC505 or Octatrack!
Old 6th July 2016
  #26
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D_Davis's Avatar
 

Right - it's just a person preference. I simply have to keep things simple, or I lose the mood. That's all on me, which is why I like the Infinity so much.
Old 6th July 2016
  #27
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ImNotDedyet's Avatar
MIDI foot pedal w/ Loopy.
Old 6th July 2016
  #28
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D_Davis's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ImNotDedyet View Post
MIDI foot pedal w/ Loopy.
Too many cables, too many things to carry, too many points of failure.

1 Synth, 1 pedal. I need to keep things as simple as possible.

My brain/body can't handle any more in live situation!
Old 6th July 2016
  #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by D_Davis View Post
Too many cables, too many things to carry, too many points of failure.

1 Synth, 1 pedal. I need to keep things as simple as possible.

My brain/body can't handle any more in live situation!
ONE lightening cable! Foot controller is bluetooth, or midi. Everything is bus-powered.

Actually, fully loaded (using foot controllers to get full functions), I have more cables and things to carry with my Infinity Looper (2 stereo tracks) than with the iPad setup (12 stereo tracks)!

Infinity: Looper, Infinity Remote Switch, Expression Pedal, power cable, and assorted audio midi cables.

iPad: iPad, bus-powered-interface, bus powered pedal into USB Midi connection. No power cables. Same audio connections.

But...having said that...perhaps its a better setup for studio than for stage (potential reliability issues....as the iPad IS a computer of sorts). But I have not personally experienced ANY stability or setup issues.
Old 7th July 2016
  #30
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I have iPad 3. I'd need Camera Connection Kit (which always comes undone because it doesn't click in), then an audio interface with MIDI out to connect to my foot switch and Analog Keys, then a place to put the iPad.

I've also had trouble before with Loopy HD not responding to transport to control. Maybe they fixed this in a recent update.

But adding in the unreliable Camera Connection Kit with an audio/MIDI interface is not something I would look forward to in a live setting. I mainly play at looping festivals in which you 30 minutes to set up, tear down, and perform. My set up now takes less than 3 minutes.

But we're just talking preferences, here. And with looping, it's all about the preferences of the performer. Luckily there are as many viable options as there are people to use them.
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