Akai artist Needlz set up this MPC+computer rig with Renaissance ... in a hotel room (to get out of the house). No, no standalone MPC hardware at the moment, but 1.8's software features might help you forget that.

MPC 1.8 Update Expands How You Play; Inside Look with the Developers

“MPC” these days is a name on a lot of Akai stuff, down to even various MIDI controllers that happen to have pads. But to die-hard MPC users, “MPC” means a way of working. So, workflow is vitally important. And MPC users who cut their teeth on Akai’s dedicated hardware have been waiting to see the software/controller combination really come into its own. Native Instruments’ rival Maschine got to the software game first, but now it’s a question of how the MPC can again set itself apart. That makes any software updates a big deal. You’d be forgiven for assuming …

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Can an Open Source Library Fix MIDI Sync on iOS?

ATastyPixel, maker of the wonderful Loopy, is busily working on the cleverly named Loopy: Masterpiece Edition – taking all that looping goodness and making it more robust for serious applications, from loop functionality to how it works with other tools. That’s already good news. But developer Michael Tyson yesterday announced he’s going one step further. Not satisfied simply by finding a solution for MIDI Clock sync in his own app, he wants to create an open implementation all app developers can use, for free. The vision: make apps and hardware all sync together with better performance, in a more usable …

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Diachronic is a Completely Insane Looper Inspired by Turntablism, Free for Max for Live

If loopers have been getting you down by being a bit, well, repetitive, this is for you. It starts as a simple, drag-and-drop looper. Add it to Ableton Live and drop your audio on it. But then things get a little … um … different. Inspired by turntablism, loops in Diachronic cycle continuously. But speeds can be changed spontaneously, as if the hole in the record could be shifted in position. And the results are absolutely nuts. (Underscoring that effect, the promo video for version 1 is narrated by a calm British narrator, intoning parameters solemnly, with names you’d be …

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Roll Your Own Looper, Cheap: Raspberry Pi + Pd + KORG monotron Hands-on

If computers are compact and $25, we’re talking a very different world of music hardware. Armed with the popular Raspberry Pi, Servando Barreiro has made an incredibly-affordable, ultimately-customizable rig with free software and the open source community. Oh, and he’s made the KORG monotron polyphonic – after a fashion. See video at top for some beautiful chords. And that’s just the beginning. We’ll let Servando share how he’s working.

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Loops as Sketches of Guitar Pedals, in Multitouch Table Music Design

Working in open source code for any platform, Brazilian artist and developer Jeraman has produced a charming project that imagines musical interfaces in dynamic, whimsically-simple sketches. Like doodled knobs, cartoons of guitar pedals, interactive devices on the touchscreen control musical activity. And because it’s open, cross-platform code, everything from a computer-powered multitouch table to an Android tablet could get in on the fun. Jeraman explains:

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Boomerang III is the Live Looper Box Texas Made Great; Video Tutorials

As we’ve been looking at live looper options from BOSS and VOX, Mike Nelson from Boomerang points us to his company’s live-oriented loopers, boutique-made in Texas. And they look as delicious as Texas BBQ. What’s unique about the Boomerang III “phrase sampler” is just how much it can do with loops once recorded, with computer-like manipulation of your samples. You can undo and redo, play back one-shots, stutter, re-sample, line up loops in sequence, play up to four loops as once, sync to tempo, drift to different tempos, fade, play at half speed, and play in reverse. (Software makers, take …

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VOX Gets in Looping Game with Dynamic Looper – 90 Seconds, But with Live Features

For one candidate to challenge the reigning BOSS Loop Station line, there’s rival VOX. While they’re both loopers with some things to stomp on, the designs are quite different. The BOSS units can store up to three hours and 99 phrases; the VOX VDL1 stores two loops with a total recorded time of 90 seconds. Nor do you get the utility of the BOSS’ USB storage transfer. And the Vox is mono, whereas the BOSS is stereo. In place of those features, the VDL1 focuses more on live looping and effects: Live effects: Pedal/Wah (Clean/Comp/Crunch/Overdrive/Distortion), Mod (Chorus 1/Chorus 2/Flanger/Phaser/Tremolo), Bass …

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New Boss Loop Stations Add Features, Up to Three Hours of Recording; the Loopers to Beat

You might not see it on a magazine cover or tattooed to someone’s arm, but the lowly looper is one of those things many musicians find invaluable. And in hardware loopers, the BOSS Loop Station reigns supreme – I’ve even seen a San Francisco-based musical act who call themselves LOOP ! STATION. Believe it or not, the (actual) Loop Station hardware from BOSS has just turned ten. In one of the more overlooked hardware announcements this week, BOSS has rolled out some significant and promising-looking upgrades to these well-loved, affordable tools. There’s a new RC-3 stereo stompbox-style model, as well …

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NAMM Picks: Roland’s Octapad Updates a Classic Percussion Controller

A lot of the music tech industry involves incremental improvements and fairly routine hardware. Amidst the crowd, certain devices are special. They might not even appear so to a general audience, but they have a special place in someone’s music making. For whatever reason, some Roland percussion controllers fit in that category. As electronic musicians ponder how to make live performance work, the handful with adept percussion skills can pick up one of these boxes and play hard. So, while it was overlooked by most folks, I think one of the stars of the new gear announced this week at …

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