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Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by Worshiper, Jun 13, 2005.

  1. Worshiper


    Aug 13, 2004
    New York
    What programs do you all use for loops wen playing live or for recording. I am thinking of investing in a good one. I am using garage band now but someone told me that there are musch better ones out there. He recomended reason. What do you guys think?
  2. Wrong Robot

    Wrong Robot Guest

    Apr 8, 2002
    Reason and Garageband are wholly different programs.

    Garageband utilizes Live audio, midi, loops, effects and multi tracking
    Reason is basically just a very elaborate midi sequencer.

    The thing is though, you can use Reason as a slave inside of Garageband, and they compliment each other well, but Reason could never replace Garageband for me.

    To be honest, I have never seen or heard of any other programs that are as adept with loops as garageband is. Apple Loops are far more sophisticated that those found in programs like Acid or fruity loops, and they are also a lot more flexible.

    Additionally there are many expansion packs for Garageband that will give you tens or thousands of loops, so it's not like you're limited to the 2000 apple gives you. (I personally have over 13,000 loops)

    This also belongs in Recording gear and equipment.
  3. rubo


    Aug 25, 2003
    Try Ableton Live.
  4. +1
    Live is just about the best for this kind of thing...
  5. Wrong Robot

    Wrong Robot Guest

    Apr 8, 2002
    Do ableton live loops store tempo and key information? That's the big thing that separates apple loops from most other loops is that the apple loops are more than just audio loops, they are audio packages that contain loop information in multiple keys and tempos, in conjunction with a pretty decent key correction system, it gives you a pretty great level of flexibility not normally found in audio loops.
  6. I'm a bit perplexed at the word "Multiple" in your statement, but yes, Ableton stores bpm and loop-marker information for the loops. (Acidised loops store key as well). Live stretches the loops using a variety of different algorithms depending on whether it has rhythmic or other content. At present there are 3 stretching algorithms that preserve pitch and a fourth that changes pitch. Live 5 will have at least one more which is a more granular approach. Acid and Live are pretty similar packages in terms of what they do, but (to me) Live has a more intuitive interface that allows performance real-time. (My experience of Acid is limited to what I found in an earlier version though!). I like Live's ability to choose the stretching algorithm.

    I'd say if you're into working with loops (rather than programming synths and drum sequencers) then Live is definitely worth checking out. You can download a demo and give it a go...
  7. Wrong Robot

    Wrong Robot Guest

    Apr 8, 2002
    As in, multiple keys and tempos are contained in what appears to be one loop, so that altering tempo and key is not solely in the hands of a key correction or time shifting algorithm. Or so it has been my understanding of apple loops.
  8. Just to clarify - does that mean if your loop is in C but the track your importing it into is in G it will change accordingly? If so, then I think I'd think of that as pitch info rather than multiple keys. If I'm wrong then it's not something I've come across yet... ;)
  9. Wrong Robot

    Wrong Robot Guest

    Apr 8, 2002
    From what I've come to understand(I read an article about the difference between apple loops and 'the competition') , the loop has an audio for the key of (let's say) C but also an audio loop for (let's say) G, so that it doesn't have to rely on shift and creating unnecessarily ugly artifacts. This enables it have a greater range of keys to comfortably shift into. I don't think *all* apple loops do this, but the format is designed to work in this manner. Same with tempo. As far as I know, other loop formats don't support such depth in the files. But also, I could be wrong heh.
  10. Here's an example of me using Ableton Live to control beat loops etc. I'm using my Behringer FCB1010 (no comments on Behringer please, this thing seems to work very well!) to trigger the loops and control volume etc.

    I imported four beat loops and four "other" loops into Live, assigned MIDI notes to trigger them and other MIDI notes to control play, record and stop for the track. I then started, built up the track and laid over the bass stuff. You'll hear that I stuffed up the first pass at the busier line, but I've left it in warts and all. The important thing was to emphasise the live performance aspect.

    The only thing that isn't easy to "remote control" in Live is to delete loops once they're recorded. You need to click and press delete... This is probably to make it bullet proof for live performance though... ;)

    Here it is: http://www.geocities.com/mks21471/Livelooping.mp3

    PS. Low fidelity to reduce filesize...
  11. jar240

    jar240 Supporting Member

    I'll make a comment... and the comment is: as a straight MIDI controller, there is no way this will effect your tone, so using Behringer in this case is a great idea, as long as the build quality is high.

  12. Seems to be (so far - only had it a couple of months).
  13. Worshiper


    Aug 13, 2004
    New York
    Sorry if i'm a complete noob with this..Although I am. My band just wanted to start using loops live and I said I had garage band. What is a midi sequencer exactly? and what hardware do I need to run garageband trhough my system?
  14. Worshiper


    Aug 13, 2004
    New York
  15. A MIDI sequencer is something like Cakewalk, Cubase, Logic, ProTools or something like that. The terminology dates back to when computers sent MIDI information to keyboards and drum machines and basically acted like "piano rolls" to play back songs. MIDI is the language that keyboards and synths use to govern note pitch, duration etc. Nowadays "sequencers" actually involve much more and can record, edit and playback audio as well as apply effects and run "soft synths" so called because they emulate external synths but are wholly contained within the sequencer. You may have heard of VST or DirectX "plugins" which are add-on effects or soft-synths. By the way "synths" here also includes drum machines and a whole host of other virtual instruments.

    Garage band is essentially a sequencer. It handles audio clips and MIDI clips and allows you to compose, structure and edit tunes on the computer.

    Now, the thing about triggering loops live is that you need to a) have something to trigger the MIDI note that launches the loop b) some kind of virtual sampler or software that will take that MIDI note and know what loop to trigger and possibly c) some way of making sure that the tempo of the loop is communicated back to the band (drummer?). I'll cover getting the sound from your computer to the PA in a moment.

    So to address a) you can either use a mouse to "launch" the loop, or tap something on the computer keyboard, or play a note on an keyboard/synth (using a MIDI cable to connect the synth to your computer), or use some dedicated MIDI controller or floorboard (e.g. something by M-Audio / Evolution or a Behringer FCB1010 floorboard or something similar). Some MIDI controllers (keyboards) now link to the computer using USB, so having a special MIDI interface isn't really essential anymore, unless you've got some older gear already available.

    To address b) you'll need to set up your sequencer to be able to translate the MIDI note to the relevant loop. You can use a plugin that acts as a virtual sampler to do this, or you might be able to tell garageband directly to do this (I'm sorry I'm not familiar with garageband). The thing is that you probably want to have several different loops available, so you want something that knows which loop to play when. You probably also want a setup that allows you to switch between loops without having to close a program or file and open another. That's why b) is important.

    To address c) we need to talk about audio interfaces. Your computer will have a stereo output. That's good enough provided you don't want to have your drummer hear the metronome or click. That may be a bad idea. Correction, that *WILL* be a bad idea. Any time I've tried looping in a band situation things have gotten out of sync pretty quickly. So you need to have some way of running the loop to the PA through one output, and a metronome, click or monitor channel through another. You CAN split the stereo output of your computer so that the loop goes to the PA in mono (which usually isn't a problem) and run the other "half" of the signal to your drummer via some headphones. This involves having a Y cable. Male connection at one end and two females at the other. You can get these in some specialist PA and audio stores.

    So after all of that, do you still want to go ahead and do it? ;)

    The idea of having loops running in a performance seems a fairly trivial task - hey, you've got a computer and some software that plays loops. NO PROBLEM! But the reality to get the system working in a foolproof way during a performance is quite another thing.

    Good luck if you try going down this road. Let us know how you get on. Let me know if you need any further info...

    All the best,
  16. Sonar 4 is the way to go. I love the way you can put on real-time effects and stuff, too. It's a very powerful, very nice piece of software!
  17. Worshiper


    Aug 13, 2004
    New York
    hmm,...tanks guys.. I'm going to have to play around with this.

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