Complex Live Looping Setup Help!

I’ve been using the looper to make fun stuff in my bedroom and then I’ve made things separately on my computer using logic, a mic and a DAW but I’d like to combine the two so I don’t have to separate and reconnect everything and so I can record directly what I’m making in the looper into Logic.

I’m really sorry but I don’t know what this means.

Same with this. I’m googling aux send but still finding it hard to understand.

Gotcha. So I need to send the midi clock separately, not through the mixer.

I think I actually have one of these. But this would mean that the laptop is controlling the clock.
What if i have no laptop connected? Could I go
looper -> usb/midi din -> computer
looper -> usb/midi din -> volca

Great. I have one of these

I expect that would work?
I find it hard to work out whether, for instance, my Pocket Piano is sending midi clock data or actual midi notes.

Could I set the looper to always be the midi clock master? Then when I connected my computer would take that as the master?


yeah, so your midisport looks great for the midi…

yes, you could set your looper to be master, and logic as slave - that’s the simplest way at least to get started.

audio : sub mix
so on your mixer, each track has 2 buttons sub and main
if you have sub pressed on it, then that tracks output will be sent to the sub mix
if you have main, it will sent to the main mix
(you can have both pressed)

so by using sub, you could record on your looper one or more of the tracks.
the advantage of submix is its stereo, and you can also choose to just monitor its output on your headphones… oh and its a nice big control to slide up : )
the disadvantage is you cannot control the individual levels of tracks going into the sub mix.

aux send is similar…
but you just have a gain (for aux) amount on each track.
the advantage is you can control the gain for each track individually
the disadvantage is its mono, an you cannot monitor it individually

either will work,
more details on both in the manual

btw: it’s a good idea to get familiar with both, and see what works for you.

good luck :slight_smile:


Thanks everyone.
I worked out aux send and return and have the looper connected to that.
I couldn’t get the guitar to sound right sending it out for effects and then back to the mixer and then was unsure how to get it out again to the looper and then back in again so I ended up going
Guitar -> Effects -> Mixer -> Looper -> Mixer
instead of

Guitar -> Mixer -> Effects -> Mixer -> Looper -> Mixer

Working great with the midi clock. But I’ve yet to connect my computer to it. We shall see!


Hello you all out there

Since I have little experience, I’m back to ask for support, hints and hyperlinks for my plan to newly set up my gear. It seems to be complicated, and I’ll try to make it short.

To bring electronica and loops together with jazz played on real instruments.

A couple of line instruments with fx (Piano, double bass, electric bass, electric guitar), a looper (ditto x4), an MPC One (finger drumming, sequencing) and a basic mixer - it’s all there. Right --> no synths yet.

I am talking about live performance (that might be recorded, too), and with a click in the ear of course :grimacing: :grimacing:
What I want to do is, to make concepts for songs that have different parts, like sequences, and to be able to record loop phrases on the fly. While the loop phrase(s) play, I need space to improvise with other instruments, and - most most most importantly - I want to be able to make rhythmic or harmonic changes without prerecording or with little prerecording only.
I assume that to this purpose I am going to need more than just one looper. And most of all, it would be important, to tell a looper: “Play this sequence of 16 bars 4 times and then stop.”, while other loopers are running. And then - prepared beforehand of course - the looper would be ready to take another new sequence of 16 bars to play 4 times.

What gear is even able to do this?

Sounds like a one man show, and I want to build it as simple as possible first (sounds weird, doesn’t it?). But eventually I want to come to the point, that I can combine (and synchronise) all this live with another musician, who might contribute with his own loops and improvisations.

I hope that I could be clear, and yes: I know that this a lot to ask. I will be grateful for all comments and suggestions.


This brings to mind two different artists: Marc Rebillet and Binkbeats. You’ll find live performances of both of them on Youtube.

Marc uses a MIDI keyboard to control a MacBook running MainStage (which is like a performance rack of Logic instruments.) He has a his favourite instruments, drum kits picked out in advance so he can flip through them with his keyboard. He records the output of his laptop into a Boss RC-505.

He controls loops coming in and out. While improvising funk/soul music. He does a lot of long youtube streams. With much practice, he’s become very good at it. Here’s his run down, (NSFW - his persona swears a bit.)

Binkbeats uses Ableton Live running on a laptop. He laptop will be running a session that has MIDI clips previously mapped out to loopback control messages that determine how long to run each loop, etc. This is very technical and impressive, but doesn’t leave a lot of room for error or freeform improvisation. (You predetermine the length of sections.) Here is a mini-doc on his set up:

Zoe Keating is a cellist that does a similar method to Binkbeats. She’s using SooperLooper in Ableton Live, controlled with a soft-step triggering MIDI dummy clips through the IAC bus to control Ableton. Someone else to check out.

If you want your looper to know when to turn itself off, that commits you to decisions made ahead of time.

I hope this helps peak behind the curtain of a few different directions.


Thank you

You Tube algo didn’t propose these people yet :joy:

I am aware of it, that I will have to make decisions ahead of time. —> improvisation within given structures. That’s fine for me.

Just how to tell the looper?

You might be able to to turn your Ditto off after # of times by sending MIDI messages from a laptop (or possibly iPad) thru a MIDI interface. The more devices along the path, the trickier it gets.

Good luck!

I’m interested in what sort of relationship you are after between the looped parts and the live parts. Are you creating loops to blow over or will the loops be part of the improvisation process? I think there is a big difference between those two things.

I just watched some Marc Rebillet and it was utterly fantastic, but it seems to me that what’s essentially happening is him setting up funky two chord vamps that he then performs over and with. That is a cool thing to do and should be pretty easy to set up.

On the other hand there is another approach to looping in an improvised context that is taken by someone like Bill Frisell where he doesn’t really make live backing tracks to blow over but uses looping tools to contribute to texture. They do form a backing track of sorts but the way that he works means that the loops will always be different and so become integrated into the act of improvisation.

For me the second approach is by far more related to the spirit of improvisation in jazz than the first, but I can totally see the appeal of the first approach. Although, if you’re going that route with stuff that you have written I wonder why it wouldn’t just be a better thing to pre-record everything and find a good flexible way triggering it to allow you to extend sections to improvise over etc. This would also get around the part of live looped performances that I find problematic which is the somewhat predictable dynamic shape as the looped parts gradually get built up.

Anyway, just some thoughts, I find this an interesting problem and I’m looking forward to seeing what other people reckon!


Binkbeats is a real discovery here, thanks for the hint - it leads me to that Bink plug-in within Ableton. There ist even someone there who explains how it works:

This is great. Looks like it would already be a solution. I wish I could do that within Logic, because I am familiar with the latter - but anyway!

I certainly would go with the Frisell-approach :smile::smile:

That’s right - maybe I just come from an imagination of the ideal way of playing and recording everything on the spot. Binkbeats, which I just discovered today, shows that it is possible though.
But I’m fine with pre-recording everything or a part of it.

And of course I am very interested in what other folks will say.


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I don’t have any videos of it, but a guitarist I played with a long time ago used something called a Boomerang Phrase Sampler. I think it could only do three loops of an indeterminate length, but he could do some truly amazing things with it and just his guitar. It might be an excellent non-DAW way of doing what you’re talking about, especially with your analog instruments.

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Right, so I just realised that “my” thread has been moved into an old thread dealing with complex live looping. So it is a bit weird and at the same time it seems to be appropriate as well :grin:

A little meta: I don’t know how to copy a link into the text without having a full column wide picture inserted … (bink looper tutorial above)

But anyway, since we are in the complex live looping thread and in gear category, I would like to ask more :scream:

I am going to need a new mixer, and I am struggling a bit, because I imagined, that it is easy to use them to record what is being played. But other than Zoom and Tascam models there are no (middle class) mixers that feature direct and editable and overdubbable recording on internal media like sd cards.

But here come the questions I’d like to put down - they might be silly but I’ll ask anyway

  • Part of my gear - looper, H9, MPC - is connected via midi sync. Why do mixers have midi connections? Do they act as click masters? If the mixer is hooked to a computer/daw, then midi features of the mixer are obsolete anyway - is that correct?

  • How can I set up a click track, that goes to the headphones but not to the main out?

I will greatly appreciate all support and encouragement


Thanks Gahlord, that helps - a bit

To feed a looper through aux, that seems clear to me.

So no need to have a metronome in the mixer. But I don’t know how to get the click just into the earphones - dedicated earphone out connection? - I’ll have to understand better what @TheTechnobear says. And what’s different when the mixer has midi i/o ???

I think I’l have to reread this earlier in the day … it is 10pm here :sweat_smile::sweat_smile:

@Gahlord you seem to be a bassist like me

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