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Looping or Recording device

Discussion in 'Ask Steve Lawson & Michael Manring' started by tyjacks, Jul 11, 2003.


  1. tyjacks

    tyjacks Supporting Member

    Dec 23, 2002
    Memphis, TN.
    Not looking to endorse any particular product, but does can you give me some advice on a good looping, play-along recording device? I've looked at the Akai MCP2000XL and a few Roland devices but I'm still not sure. I'm looking for something that I can use at home to practice solo's and grooving, any practical experience with the Akai unit?
     
  2. Steve Lawson

    Steve Lawson Solo Bass Exploration! Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2000
    Birmingham, UK
    Ty,

    for real time looping, the MPC would not be what you want at all. The MPC works best with a prerecorded loop set (drum sounds, stabs, short bass grooves etc.) that can then be sequenced however you want, or triggered via the pads. Setting up stuff to play over at home with an MPC would be an overly long task compared to using a Gibson Echoplex or Line 6 DL4, or Boss RC-20, or Boomerang, or Repeater or JamMan... All of these have advantages and disadvantages. The Echoplex is the most fully featured looper around at the moment (the Repeater was pretty cool too, but isn't in production anymore...) and I use four of those. The RC-20 allows you to store loops and recall them later, even after powerdown. The DL4 is very very easy to use, and very portable, and has a load of great delay sounds that go with it...

    best bet is to visit www.loopers-delight.com, read the descriptions and search the mailing list archives for more info...

    good luck!

    Steve
    www.stevelawson.net
     
  3. tyjacks

    tyjacks Supporting Member

    Dec 23, 2002
    Memphis, TN.
    Steve,
    Thanks for the info and heads-up on the web site..
     
  4. Wrong Robot

    Wrong Robot Guest

    Apr 8, 2002
    The MPC is a great machine though, a really great do-all for aspiring hip hop producers :p
     
  5. Steve Lawson

    Steve Lawson Solo Bass Exploration! Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2000
    Birmingham, UK
    The MPC is definitely a fantastic machine - the new 4000 is stunning, and I'm sure that with a few clever work-arounds, you could come up with some really really cool stuff with just a bass and an MPC, but you'd be using it in a way it's not designed to be used, and you still would have trouble getting it to 'just' be a looper for practice purposes... start low, aim high, and enter competitions to win gear that expensive... :D

    steve
    www.stevelawson.net
     
  6. alankroeger

    alankroeger

    Sep 1, 2003
    Hey Steve your LD profile says 4 EDP's whats that two stereo rigs?
    Also are you using a MIDI rig or something else like a G-Major in the Quicktime movie on your site?
     
  7. Steve Lawson

    Steve Lawson Solo Bass Exploration! Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2000
    Birmingham, UK
    HI Alan,

    at the moment, I've only got three of the EDPs in my set up (I own four, but one is currently resting... ;) ) - they are all unsync'd, and I use them to layer things up out of time with on another so that the texture is constantly shifting. The processor is a Lexicon MPX-G2, and I sometimes loop on that as well, and also using the loop function on my Korg Kaoss II... :D

    For the most part though, I use two EDPs and the processor...

    Steve
    www.stevelawson.net
     
  8. alankroeger

    alankroeger

    Sep 1, 2003
    Hmm, that gives me the opportunity to pose another question. How are you making use of the Kaoss pad live you do need to glide your finger accross the control surface? I have thought that someone should create a KP that is foot operated like a foot operated joystick or can you do that with a MIDI footcontroller instead of the KP surface?
     
  9. Steve Lawson

    Steve Lawson Solo Bass Exploration! Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2000
    Birmingham, UK
    with the Kaoss I use it almost exclusively for post processing loops, so am never playing bass and tweaking it at the same time.... :)

    steve
    www.stevelawson.net
     
  10. alankroeger

    alankroeger

    Sep 1, 2003
    Thanks Steve,
    I was reading through the MIDI implemetation of the KP II a while back to see if I could control it via MIDI expression pedals and the answer I came up with is a definative 'I can't tell'. I guess that means you never tried that. I suppose the only way for me to find out would be to buy one and try that out. What are you using for MIDI control if you use it at all?
     
  11. Steve Lawson

    Steve Lawson Solo Bass Exploration! Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2000
    Birmingham, UK
    Hi Alan,

    the MIDI implimentation on the Kaoss seems pretty rudimentary. you could probably hook up a pedal like that Behringer board to control it, but to be honest, if you're going to do that, you'd be better off getting something like the Boss/Roland VF1 that Michael uses - a great box that has an expression pedal socket that can be assigned to just about anything...

    I own the big foot controller that goes with the MPX-G2 but haven't used it for ages for a few different reasons - 1) it's too big, 2) the pedals are way to noisy (I do a lot of quiet gigs) 3) I try to keep my live rig 'flyable', so that I'm using the same stuff here as in Europe or the US...

    So for MIDI control I have a two button lexicon footswitch (JamMan style) that I assign to different things, mainly used for loop functions on the G2, but also for triggering some of the morphing effects in it. And I have an EV-5 expression pedal. I want a couple more of these for controlling the feedback on the Echoplexes, but again, I'm trying to keep the whole thing so it'll all fit in a suitcase! :)

    the rest of the patch changes etc I do by hand on the front of the unit, which obviously means I don't do any patch changing mid part - I tend to put down one line and then change sounds and put down another...

    cheers

    Steve
    www.stevelawson.net
     
  12. alankroeger

    alankroeger

    Sep 1, 2003
    Thanks Steve,
    I have in the past considered the VF-1 and it appears to be a useful device I did have some issues with it's implemetation as I wanted more flexability in sound design and I could never get good answers on whether it could do what I wanted or not (I guess I could now pose those question to MM), but I am now using the Adrenalinn II as a front end to my G-Major. I was mostly interested in the Kaoss pad from the morphing feature which it has. It seems to control 4 parameters at a time from the control surface and of coarse I couldn't use that live since both Bass and Violin really occupy both hands fully. I investigated the KP to see if that could be controlled by two expression pedals at a time but, it seems that there are no pedals at this point that can send two control messages simultaeously at a time. I guess this might be accomplished using some sort of MIDI filtering schema but, it just doesn't seem worth the effort for what you might be able to achieve. I suppose I could do some morphing with the G-Major too but, I haven't quite gotten to the point where I am doing any morphing yet (I do want too).
    Thanks again
    Al Kroeger
     
  13. Steve Lawson

    Steve Lawson Solo Bass Exploration! Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2000
    Birmingham, UK
    My MPX-G2 is great for morphing stuff - the MPX-1 does a lot of it too, and is a lot cheaper too. I think the old Lexicon Vortex was good for that kind of thing - they show up on E-Bay from time to time.

    or, if you've got shed-loads of spare cash, try the Eventide Orville... ;)

    steve
    www.stevelawson.net
     
  14. alankroeger

    alankroeger

    Sep 1, 2003
    Yes Steve the Orville would be nice I have seen what they can do but, I think I have enough to do what I want currently and the Kaoss Pad wouldn't apparently help much (live) maybe I will check out the Lexicon MPX next. Isn't it amazing you would think the processing power of both the Adrenalinn and the TC G-Major would be enough to get almost everything you would want but, there is still an Orville out there with my name on it :)
    The worst part about this stuff is that eventually you might need to transport it to another location and then you start wishing it was smaller yet.
     
  15. Taylor Livingston

    Taylor Livingston Supporting Member Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    Louisiana, US
    Owner, Iron Ether Electronics
    Hi, Steve. I'm trying to figure out the right looper for me. I honestly don't think I have a use for most of the capabilities of the EDP, and, frankly, learning how to use something with that level of depth frightens me. The price is also a little scary. I've seen a used one for $600, which isn't too bad, but I always worry about buying that kind of gear second-hand, from shady :ninja: types who may have not been kind to it.

    I'm mostly leaning towards the Boomerang, for ease of use and the right features and price. The two things keeping me from this are the sound quality and the lack of an undo. The EDP, of course, has superior sound quality, and an undo feature. But, again, I don't need much of what the EDP offers.

    So, it comes down to this: in your opinion, is the Boomerang's sound quality lacking enough that I should save up more for the EDP? Thanks.
     
  16. Steve Lawson

    Steve Lawson Solo Bass Exploration! Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2000
    Birmingham, UK
    Hi CJ,

    My experience of the Boomerang is pretty much confined to the older version where the noise problem was pretty bad. The new ones seem to getting some usage by guys like John Scofield and the guitar-dude from Phish - people who can afford to graduate their gear if the tone isn't there... So I'm guessing it at least not as bad as it used to be - best bet for those issues is to search the message archive at www.loopers-delight.com

    Re. the EDP - I think the EDP is not only the deepest of the loopers but also the most intuitive. The foot controller allows you to access the stuff you need straight away, and even though it has all the deep midi stuff etc. it doesn't get in the way of the more mundane functions. If you can stretch to the dough, I'd go for the EDP straight away, but if not, check out the DL4 and RC-20 as well as the Boomerang, and pick the one that works for you...

    ...just remember, all loops lead to the Echoplex... :D

    cheers

    Steve
    www.stevelawson.net
     
  17. I've just picked up an EDP from a "shady type" :ninja: :D - Hi Steve!!

    I must say that although it has TONS of functionality it is really easy to get into. There are lots of neat tricks it can do that I wish my DL4 would - undo, multiply, replace, insert, copy loops forward into another location... These aren't really complex functions, but ones that make the EDP a really useful tool. And once you've mastered that there's another whole raft of extra functionality that throws the looping doors wide open.

    I'd echo Steve's comment. If you can stretch the money to get one, go for it.
     
  18. Taylor Livingston

    Taylor Livingston Supporting Member Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    Louisiana, US
    Owner, Iron Ether Electronics
    Over the past few weeks I've been reading a ton of stuff at Looper's Delight. I just read Andre LaFosse's EDP analysis pages and listened to his music... and am being heavily swayed towards the EDP. In particular, the replace function seems like a world of possibility. Andre's music is also great. My predicament is that I'm 16, and work part-time, and already have a $2000+ custom bass on order. But I do believe it's better to buy something good in the first place than to work one's way up to the top over a long period of time.

    On to look for a cheap EDP... :D
     
  19. Wrong Robot

    Wrong Robot Guest

    Apr 8, 2002
    I use a digitech BNX3 as my phrase sampler.

    I love it, I believe it uses the old lexicon jamman circuit, which is neat.

    but what I really like about it is that it has 8 tracks and 3 minutes, expandable to 24 minutes.

    it may not be the best looper in the world, but it is very versatile.

    also, since it is built into the multi-fx processor you have a pretty wide range of things you can do to your sound to keep your loops interesting.

    at $500 it's not cheap, but it definitely is worth every penny.
     
  20. Steve Lawson

    Steve Lawson Solo Bass Exploration! Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2000
    Birmingham, UK
    CJ - both Andre's albums are HIGHLY recommended - not easy listening by any stretch, but he's an awesome musician playing genuinely original music. For anyone else, check out Andre's stuff at www.altruistmusic.com - he's marvellous, and his EDP tuitional would be worth the cost of a CD, even if he wasn't... :D

    Steve
    www.stevelawson.net