Software Loopers

Hi,

Two weeks ago, I started experimenting with creating an extensive live-looping setup that could allow me to play guitar, hardware synthesizer and VST plugins live. Using TouchOSC and the looper module included in Ableton Live, I have been able to create a very powerful (but kinda amateurish) setup, that allowed me to have eight independent loopers, pre-recording multi-effects from every audio source and various effects that I could apply to the loops themselves.

It felt so satisfying that I bought a FCB-1010 foot pedal to go even further. I felt bad for being stuck in Ableton Live forever, using their looper. I’ve searched for another VST looper for quite a long time and I have not been able to find anything that could merge nicely with my other DAWs (Bitwig, Renoise, etc…).

I have recently found the Enso (Audio Damage) looper. I’ve played with it quite a bit but don’t really like it. The midi-mapping is counter-intuitive, and mapping the plugin to a foot-pedal is really unpractical.

What kind of software are you using for live-looping ? I would like to use a software looper, mostly to avoid buying expensive hardware (machine, pedals), and to get a better integration with the various plugins I use.

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I miss Ambiloop. http://www.livelooping.org/tools/software/ambiloop/ It hasn’t been updated in a long time and last time I tried it wouldn’t run on windows 10.I would do improvisational sessions in Ambiloop then load those loops in to Audiomulch for further processing. I’ve tried to recreate it’s operation, which doesn’t seem that hard, with other software but it’s never quite right. Part of what I liked was it’s simplicity of operation. Other looping software never has all the options I’d like. I have been able to set up mulch to do a similar thing but it’s much more complex than I would like.

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if you explore asynchrous loopers (have grid?) there are some powertools all over this place. and max4live is bigger than big if you have or are inclined.

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@abalone: I remember downloading Karma a few months ago but not doing anything with it. It might be the right time to build a nice Max4Live layer around it. Thanks for the suggestion. I think that I’ll be stuck in Ableton for now, as long as Max will be needed for this project.

@dude: a custom Max4Live patch would be great indeed. Initially, my intention was to use Bitwig, just because I feel better in this environment. I might have to stay in Ableton just because of Max4Live.

@squim: Ambiloop is not the only one that hasn’t been updated for a while. It looks like there is a ton of software loopers that were partially or completely abandoned. I keep reading about Mobius, but it seems that this one wasn’t updated for a very long time.

I’ve built a ton of loopers over the years, mostly in max/msp and max4live, even buffer~ and groove~ can be enough if orchestrated properly. karma~ is great too.

If you want VST and something bit more powerful, then I’ve heard good things about https://www.expert-sleepers.co.uk/augustusloop.html from chatting with Rafael Anton Irisarri.

If you’re open to DIY and some hardware fun, then you could check out:

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Augustus Loop is great!

These look killer! Any vids of LoopPi2 or Nott?

The ppooll environment for Max Msp is great for looping. I like the smooth loops the gg.rainer object makes with seconds-long grains.

Thanks!

I have old video of looppi v1 here: https://szymonkaliski.com/projects/loop-pi/ and some vids of nótt’s prototype: https://www.instagram.com/p/BvY22qKI4cl/

Thanks everyone! I think that I have more than enough materials to build my own custom looper now. I really like the Karma max external. The LoopPi2 is really impressive too and I’m glad to see a project using ChucK.

@ansgaria: Wow, intriguing piece of software. Someone pointed out MSDP on the forum, as a kinda modernized version of ppooll. I’ll try both just for fun.

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Is SooperLooper still relevant? I loved it for a long time, and I used it with FCB-1010 too, before going more PC-less years ago, selling the foot controller and buying an hardware looper pedal which has only a tiny fraction of SL features and capabilities… :smile:

SooperLooper works well on my Macbook Air (Mojave), both the AU and standalone version. It hasn’t been updated recently but everything is still perfectly functional.

It might be useful to create an updated list of all the software live-loopers that are still functional nowadays. It seems that live-looping softwares were pretty popular during the last decade but they are more scarce nowadays.

SooperLooper (specifically the Linux version) is still my go-to, and I likewise use an FCB-1010 to control it (when I can be bothered to bring it along). Still better featured than any hardware looper that’s remotely in my budget. :slight_smile:

Ppooll is fantastic, well worth looking into. The mailing list provides a ton of help as well.

So I think that there needs to be a distinction between two kinds of software loopers.

  1. is a looper that is like a looper pedal: it allows you to record audio of arbitrary length, maybe in sync with a clock or maybe not and then to loop that audio and optionally overdub more audio onto the loop.

  2. is a looper that records a looping sample and plays it back, maybe of arbitrary length or maybe in sync with a grid.

I propose that we call #1 an overdubbing live looper.

I use Augustus Loop wrapped in a custom Bitwig gridfx setup that bends it to my will as my overdubbing live looper. I then build patches with these loopers for my performances. Right now I’m working with a feedback network of four loopers as a single ensemble.

I’m interested in what overdubbing live loopers people are using that are software based. I have used Enso, Augustus Loop, Ableton Looper, SooperLooper, Mobius and build some a couple myself in Max/MSP and Blue Cat’s plug n script. My current Augustus Loop + Bitwig Grid setup is the best I’ve come up with but still has a couple limitations that bother me – specifically the way that Bitwig handles feedback (or, rather, really limits feedback in the mixer.) I’m waiting very patiently for VCV Rack for DAWs so that I can build a better looper setup in VCV and put that inside my DAW.

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This sounds really great and super flexible. I’d love to take a peek into that Bitwig gridfx setup, if you’re inclined to share. Even a screenshot would give me some ideas of what’s possible and how to achieve it. No worries if you’d rather not though of course!

I do hope Bitwig reverses course eventually on limiting feedback in their modular design. It’s a strange limitation in an otherwise very freeform playground.

here’s what I’m working on now… a triple looper with loopback 2 providing the BW-illegal feedback routes:





And here is the main looper setup that is in the grid fx slot contained in a rack that has a delay-1 for the feedback route:

I agree with you about feedback being a limitation. I use loopback 2 a fair amount to manage this, which is less than ideal because of the latency and… how it can get wonky if you go back and forth through it too many times. My hope is that there will be more IO in and out of grid in the future, or the ability to embed plugins within it… I don’t mind using the single buffer delay pattern that the grid uses for feedback for loopers (they don’t need to be in sync.) That said I have heard directly and indirectly from the BW devs over the years that they are not at all interested in breaking their no-feedback rule.

I am very much looking forward to VCV Rack for DAWs to be released as I can make a looper setup with feedback in VCV that works really well… but I really need Bitwig’s macros, remotes and modulators to work the way that I want to… doing all that in VCV is really heavy.

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My question for the group --> does anyone have any good experiences with virtualized audio cards on OSX that allow loopbacks? Loopback 2 is ok, but it doesn’t work as well (latency and reliability) as actually looping audio outs back into ins on my audio interface. Just wondering what others are doing.

I do this with Blackhole or Rogue Amoeba Loopback + my audio interface, combined in an OS X aggregate device.

Feedback based live looping is my jam! I’ve been using Enso lately but I do have distant fond memories of Augustus Loop and I should revisit it. I’d love to hear more about how you’d use VCV for this.

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