Loopers and phrase samplers can be fun tools, but odds are you’ve wished a hardware or software looper would work more musically. Aaron Leese has designed a prototype system, combining a piece of USB hardware, wireless USB pedals, and Windows software, that intends to do just that:

Imagine seeing a musician who could play a bit of music, loop it, add another bit, loop that ….then add a longer loop …… then some drums and a solo … maybe change the volume on that second loop …. turn the first one off … then play the third one backwards … speed it all up …. Scratch the third loop as if it were on a turntable …. Then add a couple more loops …. Delete a few ….. speed this one up …..add effects to a couple loops ……. Wherever you imagination takes you .. this device will let you do it. If it won’t … send me an email, and I will do what I can to change the code.

There are some demo videos on his site that look promising. Also interesting: he plans joystick compatibility (for scratching) and open source code (so you can create your own plug-ins).

Apparently, he’s hoping for a fall release, and is still looking for feedback. Head over, let him know what you think, and give him some encouragement:

Fly Loops

Thanks to Kevin from The Nettles for this one! Via the looper community, Looper’s Delight.

For other takes on software looping, definitely check out Looper’s Delight, and see also Zone Mobius on Windows, and my personal favorite, Musolomo on Mac. Both are free. Ableton Live is also capable of some, but not all, of these functions, and Native Instruments Guitar Rig has a simple but excellent hardware-style looper plug-in. Ultimately, it comes down to how you work. I think there’s room for more development in this area, as many people wind up forgoing the computer entirely and sticking to the classic Boss LoopStation hardware for its simplicity.

Looper’s Delight also has a wiki page with looper reviews. It’s further evidence that people’s needs are quite individual. Thanks to everyone for the comments.

  • hmmm

    Looks like an early Ableton Live beta, but optimized to run on an Atari 2600.

    I'm not sure why reinventing this particular wheel but with DEDICATED HARDWARE struck this guy as a good idea, but I wish him all the best.

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    Actually, several of these features aren't available in Live. (though it's hard to tell in the video how easy it is — or if it's possible at all — to lock tempo to recorded loops) I think there are some good ideas here, though, potentially.

  • Adrian Anders

    A great free phrase looping tool you should check out is Zone Mobius:

    http://www.zonemobius.com/index.html

    Free PC only. It models itself off the Echoplex Digital Pro with Loop IV software. It comes in both standalone and VSTi flavors and updates are often.

    ATA

  • sceptic

    Yeah I second that. This guy really needs to emphasise how this product differs from Ableton Live.

  • Mies van der Robot

    This wiki list of software loopers is a valuable resource for anyone considering this, or any software looper.

    http://www.xmlizer.biz/cgi-bin/LoopersDelightRevi

    They all have their idiosyncrasies, and for live application finding the one that fits your needs can be a matter of extensive trial and error. This new software/hardware combo looks promising enough (but a little perplexing in its proprietary nature). However, one can also accomplish a lot using many of these other tools with a standard MIDI foot controller such as the FCB1010 or MidiBuddy.

    I concur with sceptic…anyone entering this arena needs to clearly differentiate themselves from not only Live, but all of these various competitors, especially if they're entering with a commercial product.

  • hmmm

    Actually, several of these features aren’t available in Live.

    That may be true, but there's nothing in the video to indicate that. All the dev has demonstrated is quantized record triggering and real-time looping, all of which Ableton excels at.

  • http://linuxrockstar.blogspot.com DownerCZX

    There's an excellent app for Linux called "Freewheeling" that is a live looper. Very intuitive and fun.

  • richardl

    Just guessing, but I suspect Live 6 will add tools to allow it to be used more easily for hands-free live looping. The topic comes up all the time on the Ableton forums.

  • Bruce

    I am searching for someone I can hire to teach me how to loop in Ableton.

    I will pay you nicely for your assistance.

    Specifically, I am a lawyer in Washington, D.C. and I want to be able to control Ableton with some kind of small foot controller (like a Rocktron All-Access Pedal) to record, stop playback, etc loops on the fly while I am playing guitar. It might even be helpful to use 3rd party software to help. I don't know.

    /Edit by Jaymis – Bruce has moved his details to this forum thread: http://createdigitalnoise.com/viewtopic.php?t=260

    My name is Bruce. Thanks.

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  • Stan Jacob

    The Polar module in Digital performer is a better looper than all of these including any hardware you can possibly mention. While live DP effectes can't be incorporated yet, a feature which I'm sure is coming and can now easily be worked around, its the best in terms of workflow, options, control, interface, speed, efficiencey ETC ETC ETC – search for Motu Polar video – theres one out there somewhere – trust me – you won't regret it – I'm a guitar looping fanatic – Polar Rules – TRUST ME ON THIS – POLAR is THE BEST – Perameters in the polar module are midi controlable. You can set a volume threshold to start recording – its awesome.