Multi-track looper software?
August 12, 2009 5:58 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for some sort of multi-track looper software. Something I could use during a live performance to record and play along to multiple tracks.

Ideally, it would be a way for me to play all the parts of a song by myself in a single performance. Example of how it might work: I play a drum part and record it into the computer so that it keeps repeating that drum part along to pre-set time signature and tempo. As it loops back, I lay down guitar, keyboard and bass. When the verse comes in, I stop the guitar and keyboard part from playing with a quick tap of the keyboard. When the chorus starts, I bring them back. And on and on until the end of the song.

Bonus - if effects can be applied to the tracks in the middle of the song.
posted by fizzzzzzzzzzzy to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
The answers to this previous question will serve you well. Seems Ableton Live might be just the ticket.
posted by merocet at 6:08 PM on August 12, 2009

My ex-whatever has been a loop artist for quite a few years now, & he used a semi-convoluted system of daisy-chained Boss loopstations to do basically exactly what you're describing. He was able to add effects by attaching an effects pedal to one of the loopstations, I think. We don't talk anymore, but he was always willing to talk about his set-up with other musicians -- memail me if you'd like his contact info, or you can search for him on MySpace (his stage name is Philip Stendek).

Oh, also, he did a podcast with someone from Boss which can be found here (edition 4). I haven't listened to it myself so I can't vouch for it, but it sounds like he describes his set-up in one of the segments.
posted by oh really at 6:49 PM on August 12, 2009

You can download Ambiloop for free if you want to try out some techniques before (or instead of) putting down the cash for Ableton Live.
posted by infinitywaltz at 7:23 PM on August 12, 2009

There is an open-source program called Freewheelin which does exactly what you describe. It runs on Linux, but depending on your needs, installing a linux distro on an old laptop (with a good sound card and memory) might be just the ticket.
posted by Maximian at 7:35 PM on August 12, 2009

Propellerhead's new soft out called Record is in beta right now. It has a looping recording mode, that might fit the bill.
posted by bigmusic at 8:43 PM on August 12, 2009

Seconding Maximian, and there is a livecd called dyne:bolic that will run on your machine without installing anything on disk, and gives you low latency audio out of the box. It also comes with freeweeling (aka fweelin) and sooperlooper, which is very similar (I think at one point one of them was a fork of the other). Speaking of forks, you may want to try pure:dyne, which is a debian based fork of dyne:bolic that comes with nerdier audio tools like puredata and supercollider and chuck and csound (it may not come with all of those by default? my memory is a bit fuzzy).
posted by idiopath at 9:04 PM on August 12, 2009

If I was you, I'd look into something more like oh really's suggestion: get a pedal board, put a couple Boss RC-20s on it, then whatever pedals you want, and then get like a little mackie or something to buss the drum mics down with. A computer to sounds like a nightmare in this situation. Plus unless you start dragging a big multichannel interface with you everywhere you're still going to be bussing the drum mics down anyway, so you'll have to have the mixer regardless. Bringing the RC-20s outputs' back into the mixer gives you more flexibility for bringing them in and out and adding more effects, too (you could say set up the outputs of the RC-20s to come in on the Alt-3/4 bus of the mackie and then assign that to main mix to feed the house PA, and keep the control room mix for feeding the inputs of the RC-20s from the drum mics and line sources).
posted by jeb at 9:14 PM on August 12, 2009

Audiomulch can do that and is a fairly simple program.
posted by psychobum at 5:57 AM on August 13, 2009

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