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What is Audiobus?Audiobus is an award-winning music app for iPhone and iPad which lets you use your other music apps together. Chain effects on your favourite synth, run the output of apps or Audio Units into an app like GarageBand or Loopy, or select a different audio interface output for each app. Route MIDI between apps — drive a synth from a MIDI sequencer, or add an arpeggiator to your MIDI keyboard — or sync with your external MIDI gear. And control your entire setup from a MIDI controller.

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Loop Pedal | Setup / Controller Discussion in anticipation of Loopy Pro

With Loopy Pro on the brink of releasing "soon". I wanted to open a break out discussion on best practices, real world experience for controlling looping software or hardware.

I, do not do live looping as of yet. Maybe "soon". I recently bought a Pacer midi foot controller. (Video review coming out "soon"). I mainly want to pick peoples brains and get the discussion rolling for how people who do live looping, currently setup with looping. Mainly looking at controlling the loopers or what hardware loopers people use, as opposed to audio routing. Audio routing would be a whole different discussion.

Regardless of app, I am sure there are some best practices out there. Boss does a lot with just 3 stomp box switches on their RC-500. I picture Loopy Pro a setup that would combine tabletop and foot-deal controls.

Couple of questions to get it rolling.
1. Is it better to have individual switches for each loop track (Switch 1 controls track 1, overdub record, long press switch to mute or clear)?

  1. or track selection buttons(increment up and down to select the track) and have dedicated record/overdub, mute, play/stop switches for selected track? (obviously it would depend on the amount of buttons you have available.)

  2. What physical controllers do you use or would want to use for live looping?

  3. How would you go about setting the pacer up to control loopy or another app. The top left switch is for selecting Pacer presets but all other switches are up for grabs.

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Comments

  • Great choice with the Pacer! I've had several foot controllers and the Pacer is in a class of its own for build quality and versatility. I'm still learning my way around mine, but what isn't obvious is the default Track and Transport presets (assigned to pedals A and B) have submodes you access by holding the button for a second. You could use those for things like direct loop access or mute toggles, etc. I think this is probably the most powerful way to use the Pacer rather than overriding this default (and labeled) behavior as I haven't found a way to recreate the layered modality without those baked-in presets.

  • edited October 2021

    I use a simple 2 row controller. 4 buttons each row.

    The bottom 3 switches are:

    tap = record without count in, tap again = stop rec start play

    long press = clear loop

    This way if I make a mistake my foot is already close to the switch so it’s easy to clear and tap to rec.
    If that loop has stuff recorded already it will overdub.

    The top 3 switches are:

    Tap = toggle mute loop.

    If there’s no audio on the loop it will start recording on the 1 so basically count in recording.

    In the past I had long press to reverse.

    The 2 switches on extreme right are:

    top = tap to toggle mute all, long press to clear all.

    Bottom = toggle play

  • I've owned a bunch of the major hardware loopers in the past (original Boomerang, Boomerang III, EDP, Repeater), and my current rig includes an Eventide TimeFactor and a Looperlative LP2 in addition to the looper in my Line 6 HX Stomp, all controlled by a Morningstar MC8. My general feeling is that it's better to have a consistent set of "basic" loop controls and use separate buttons to step through individual loops; this will make it easier to build muscle memory for the foundational actions of building a loop. I actually use the physical buttons on my hardware loopers for those functions, to reduce latency, and then program additional or "weird" functions into the MC8.

    Exactly how you set up a foot controller is going to depend a lot on how you set up your Loopy Pro session, which is itself going to depend a lot on what your looping workflow is (I personally expect to build a number of custom sessions, as though I was designing custom hardware loop boxes for different applications, and set up controller banks on the MC8 to match), but a couple of questions for you right off to narrow things down:

    -Are you currently using a hardware looper? Do you like its control setup? If so, it's probably a good idea to start by duplicating that arrangement with Loopy Pro and a controller, to make the learning curve shallower. You can always crazy it up later once you're comfortable with what you're doing.

    -Are the button labels on the Pacer programmable? If not, that's unfortunate, because I would not recommend putting your record/overdub/play/stop controls on the upper tier of buttons - you're going to be using those a lot, and the timing with which you hit them is more important than, for example, your "next loop" button.

  • @celtic_elk I do not currently own any hardware loop pedals. I have dabbled with software but never had a consistent setup. I played around with my friends RC-505 once and it was a lot of fun. As a guitar player, I need foot controls but also would like to setup a table top way to control it as well.

    As far as the labels, unfortunately other than the colors and turning the LEDs on and off, they are not programmable in the sense of words. I assume if they would have out OLED screens on each button it would have jacked the price up more than I could afford. Once I get a setup, I will just label stuff with tape as I need to remind my old brain what does what.

  • I currently loop with a TC electronics Ditto x4, syncing via midi (despite the initial firmware, the current firmware syncs ok for me). This has 2 tracks and separate switches for each (and one for effects). It’s ok - but limited. Hence I’m excited about loopy pro.

    I do own an MP-100 midi foot controller - which I wholeheartedly would not recommend! It doesn’t send cc value 0 on button push just 127. It doesn’t do the hold thing just one shot cc signals, which is used for clearing loops on a lot of software.

  • @celtic_elk said:
    -Are the button labels on the Pacer programmable? If not, that's unfortunate, because I would not recommend putting your record/overdub/play/stop controls on the upper tier of buttons - you're going to be using those a lot, and the timing with which you hit them is more important than, for example, your "next loop" button.

    With the default configuration, the A and B buttons are mode selectors, which determine how the 1-6 lower buttons behave. So that button B with the Stop/Play/Record icons is the transport mode selector, which sets the lower buttons to MMC-based Loop, Rew, FF, Stop, Play, and Record.

  • @TheAudioDabbler For the same price as the Nektar, you could get a Morningstar MC6, which is super-programmable and allows you to assign labels to the buttons in every bank. Having used the MC8 for a few months, I can vouch for the build quality and the features. https://www.morningstarfx.com/shop/MC6-MkII-MIDI-Controller-p133983417

    I'm kicking around the idea of a hybrid foot/tabletop control setup as well. I own a Sensel Morph, so what I'm thinking is to use that via Bluetooth, and assign the production overlay controls to do different things depending on the session; there's a nice variety of triggers, dials, and sliders on that particular overlay. A Korg nanoKontrol Studio could also be cool - you could control loop volumes with the sliders, so you could see all of the relative volumes at a glance and leave the screen real estate open for other indicators/controls.

  • @Liquidmantis said:

    @celtic_elk said:
    -Are the button labels on the Pacer programmable? If not, that's unfortunate, because I would not recommend putting your record/overdub/play/stop controls on the upper tier of buttons - you're going to be using those a lot, and the timing with which you hit them is more important than, for example, your "next loop" button.

    With the default configuration, the A and B buttons are mode selectors, which determine how the 1-6 lower buttons behave. So that button B with the Stop/Play/Record icons is the transport mode selector, which sets the lower buttons to MMC-based Loop, Rew, FF, Stop, Play, and Record.

    I guess that's probably a common left-to-right physical layout for DAW and recorder transports, but it's exactly backwards from the way that most hardware loopers operate IME - Rec/Dub is usually the far-left button, and Play or Play/Stop is next on the right. I would have a difficult time with that arrangement.

  • @celtic_elk I did take a ponder on the MC6 for a bit but the pacer won me over with more pedals plus expandability with 2 expression and 4 additional external foot switches.

  • @TheAudioDabbler Fair. The MC8 is a significant step up in those features, but also in price compared to the Nektar. I run a 3-button TRS footswitch with mine for menu navigation, and I have an Electro-Harmonix 8 Step plugged into one of the other expression inputs for sequencing tricks.

  • edited October 2021

    I've never been much of a fan of the hit a switch to record style looping.

    It's my understanding that Loopy Pro will do "pickup" looping where you can just hit a switch to hear x amount of bars/time loop back. Flux:FX did this with it's Loop modes. It's called Retrospective recording in Loopy Pro and @Michael is the GOAT for including it.

    For performance I find this offers a lot more freedom and removes the pressure that comes with doing takes.

  • edited October 2021

    @celtic_elk said:
    ...you could get a Morningstar MC6... Having used the MC8 for a few months, I can vouch for the build quality and the features.

    These look really great, for many uses. Like Faderfoxes for feet.

    It'd be nice if the MC6 had a couple of those 'omniports' (rather than just expression/switch 'ins') but the MC6 is probably enough, for me.

    Putting it on the list.

    [Edit: I think they do have omniports on the Mk2 MC6. First spec sheet I found said different but it looks like the new lot can also send TRS MIDI.]

  • edited October 2021

    @TheAudioDabbler I think this has potential to become my favourite ever thread as I have a long standing obsession with iOS foot controllers for Loopy (and other Apps).

    Still my favourite (from day 1 in 2012-ish) is my Line 6 fbv mk ii, with added Bluetooth, but it’s not the most portable bit of kit.

    Anyway, I think I’ve posted this before, but in trying to make a very complicated DIY Bluetooth Turnado controller (for my hands to operate), I discovered making Bluetooth footswitch controllers to be relatively straightforward.

    Below is a 9 footswitch Bluetooth cigar box controller. I use it mainly for Quantiloop, as that’s what I tend to use if just guitar looping and so no hands spare. If I’m using AUM/loopy in a bigger setup (with synths and other midi controllers), then I often use a smaller 4 button version as I’m less reliant on my feet.

    If anyone wants me to share the code (for an adafruit bluefruit) and/or some basic build instructions I’d be happy to do so (might be a ‘build time’ for instructions though).

    The controller sends CCs or notes, programmable in the code. If you’ve never ventured into Arduino code, changing a CC number is a fairly benign way to start. I knew nothing when I began 18 months ago.

    Total build cost around £70. Footswitches £3 each, the Adafruit micro-controller about £25, then that’s mounted on another optional board with screw ports (for flexibility and to save on soldering) that was another £15. £5 eBay cigar box and a salvaged li-po battery.


  • @steve99 said:
    @TheAudioDabbler I think this has potential to become my favourite ever thread as I have a long standing obsession with iOS foot controllers for Loopy (and other Apps).

    Still my favourite (from day 1 in 2012-ish) is my Line 6 fbv mk ii, with added Bluetooth, but it’s not the most portable bit of kit.

    Anyway, I think I’ve posted this before, but in trying to make a very complicated DIY Bluetooth Turnado controller (for my hands to operate), I discovered making Bluetooth footswitch controllers to be relatively straightforward.

    Below is a 9 footswitch Bluetooth cigar box controller. I use it mainly for Quantiloop, as that’s what I tend to use if just guitar looping and so no hands spare. If I’m using AUM/loopy in a bigger setup (with synths and other midi controllers), then I often use a smaller 4 button version as I’m less reliant on my feet.

    If anyone wants me to share the code (for an adafruit bluefruit) and/or some basic build instructions I’d be happy to do so (might be a ‘build time’ for instructions though).

    The controller sends CCs or notes, programmable in the code. If you’ve never ventured into Arduino code, changing a CC number is a fairly benign way to start. I knew nothing when I began 18 months ago.

    Total build cost around £70. Footswitches £3 each, the Adafruit micro-controller about £25, then that’s mounted on another optional board with screw ports (for flexibility and to save on soldering) that was another £15. £5 eBay cigar box and a salvaged li-po battery.


    Man, I’d definitely like to know how you did it. I play cigar box guitar so a Bluetooth midi cigar box controller sounds unbeatable.

  • I temporarily shelved a Mozaic project some time ago that was intended to be broadly configurable for sending various midi messages in response to 9 combinations of tap types for foot switches (tap, double tap, tap-hold, double-tap-hold, etc...).

    It got too ambitious and began to hurt my brain too much. But maybe it's time to dust that project off and put out something with a more reasonable set of features that I can handle.

  • @tahiche i’ll get on it with some instructions… I certainly wouldn’t have been able to do it without a lot of internet assistance, so time to give something back.

    The only thing that stopped me making more myself was the UK ran out of footswitches in the summer of 2020, I’m presuming that ship eventually arrived :)

  • Surprised nobody’s suggested this guy yet!

  • @supadom said:
    Surprised nobody’s suggested this guy yet!

    I can do this!. Seems like a good alternative for the year or two I’m guessing it’ll take me to get a working @steve99 masterpiece.
    What are the rubber things?. Look like door stoppers…

  • edited October 2021

    @tahiche said:

    @supadom said:
    Surprised nobody’s suggested this guy yet!

    I can do this!. Seems like a good alternative for the year or two I’m guessing it’ll take me to get a working @steve99 masterpiece.
    What are the rubber things?. Look like door stoppers…

    Bingo, and the small ones are polos!!

    You’re probably right. I bought those rubber things in a hardware store. My only issue with Softstep and similar pedals like Blueboard is unreliable triggering in live environment. Since I’ve added those though I’ve never had a problem.

    Currently it is collecting dust. I’ve dropped if from my previous set up because it was making a strange buzz when connected to my old lightning + cck based rig. It was clearly underpowered. Now though, since usb c is more generous with power it is silent as a mouse!

    I put the doorstop rubber on the top row to make it more accessible without raising my hill from the ground. The little polo like rubbers are there because softstep has four trigger sensor in each corner for x/y type operation which can cause missed triggers when used as a single switch. That’s why polos are in corners.

  • I have always been reluctant to get any of the soft step type boards. I had the quneo, and it was fun for what it was but I think it was ahead of its time and suffered from its firmware/software implementations. I know some people love their stuff though.

    @supadom you use the little LP8s if I remember? I thought about one of those as a tabletop trigger.

    @steve99 the idea of building my own is very intriguing. Time will tell if I need to with the Pacer and its expandability. Plus I barely have enough time to make music or videos so.....there is that as well.

    Unfortunately the Loopy Pro beta came in the middle of the night so I will have to wait until next round of testing to dive into it.

  • Yes, I had all sorts of combos and lp8 s were part of it but at this point in time Arturia beatstep is probably a better option. It has more pads, has aftertouch and 16 midi channels, not to mention knobs and the sequencer. It’s an amazing controller for the money if you get on with the notched encoders. ;)

  • I’m seeing some second hand IK Blueboard at good prices. They’re Bluetooth , that’s a big plus I guess. Less cables to trip with… Do you think 4 pads are enough?. Or the @supadom duck tape approach with 8 pads will be more like it for loopy?.
    Btw I’m so pissed about not being on the beta, I signed up ages ago and thought it was all good… 😔

  • edited October 2021

    @tahiche said:
    I’m seeing some second hand IK Blueboard at good prices. They’re Bluetooth , that’s a big plus I guess. Less cables to trip with… Do you think 4 pads are enough?. Or the @supadom duck tape approach with 8 pads will be more like it for loopy?.

    I used to have blueboard and I’d say that if you’re into barefoot looping at home and don’t use many loops or use one of the switches for loop selection then you’ll be ok with it. It moves around a bit because it is very light so you’ll need some rubber pads underneath to keep it still. At least that’s my experience.

    I’d stay away from bueboard if you’re at all thinking about using it live on stage. I’m not saying you can’t do it but there’s much better options out there, no less the well regarded behringer fcb1010 although it is big and needs a wall power. Pacer is quite expensive but it has to be said it has a lot of switches and if it powers from the usb then is not a bad option.

    Softstep is amazing especially if you wanted to use some of the switches as x/y pads for effects etc. and if you’re willing to spend $100 on a second hand mk 1 or extra $50 for mk they’re very decent but if you don’t raise it you’ll need to learn to tip toe to use it well.

    If you’re in Europe I’d highly recommend Actition brand. It’s a guy in Hungary who makes them and sells them on eBay. They’re small, have a exp pedal in, programmable from the unit (toggle/mom) and they’re quite cheap. There’s several versions of them.

    Btw I’m so pissed about not being on the beta, I signed up ages ago and thought it was all good… 😔

    I know. TBH I’m not surprised that the public Betamax wasn’t as public as expected. I don’t know what the limit was but I can imagine what chaos could 100+ beta testers create if they all start to ask questions about ins and outs of the app, especially when there’s no manual yet. Not to mention many not knowing whether something is a bug or their inability to use the app.

    I got on the alpha I think in February but only through blackmail ;)

  • When it comes to controlling Loopy Pro I think a single controller will not be enough. In fact it seems to me that a main controller like a launchpad with secondary foot controller may be the way to go.

    Pro has several features over hd and they will require hardware to take a full advantage of unless you want to interact with the screen itself.

  • @supadom said:
    When it comes to controlling Loopy Pro I think a single controller will not be enough. In fact it seems to me that a main controller like a launchpad with secondary foot controller may be the way to go.

    Pro has several features over hd and they will require hardware to take a full advantage of unless you want to interact with the screen itself.

    Oh no, I'm going to need more controllers? :)

  • @steve99 said:

    @supadom said:
    When it comes to controlling Loopy Pro I think a single controller will not be enough. In fact it seems to me that a main controller like a launchpad with secondary foot controller may be the way to go.

    Pro has several features over hd and they will require hardware to take a full advantage of unless you want to interact with the screen itself.

    Oh no, I'm going to need more controllers? :)

    You don’t need any if you’re happy to use the screen!!!! 😜

  • @supadom said:
    When it comes to controlling Loopy Pro I think a single controller will not be enough. In fact it seems to me that a main controller like a launchpad with secondary foot controller may be the way to go.

    I think it’s going to depend a great deal on what you expect/plan to be able to do while also playing an instrument, and on the ability of your controller to host and easily move between multiple banks of commands.

  • edited October 2021

    @celtic_elk said:

    @supadom said:
    When it comes to controlling Loopy Pro I think a single controller will not be enough. In fact it seems to me that a main controller like a launchpad with secondary foot controller may be the way to go.

    I think it’s going to depend a great deal on what you expect/plan to be able to do while also playing an instrument, and on the ability of your controller to host and easily move between multiple banks of commands.

    Personally it confuses the hell out of me to work with banks, unless there’s a very clear feedback as to what bank I’m in. Even then, when looping (which is basically live mixing) one focuses on several things at once so remembering what bank you’re in is yet another plate to spin.

    Still, I’m sure will work for some.

  • @supadom said:

    @celtic_elk said:

    @supadom said:
    When it comes to controlling Loopy Pro I think a single controller will not be enough. In fact it seems to me that a main controller like a launchpad with secondary foot controller may be the way to go.

    I think it’s going to depend a great deal on what you expect/plan to be able to do while also playing an instrument, and on the ability of your controller to host and easily move between multiple banks of commands.

    Personally it confuses the hell out of me to work with banks, unless there’s a very clear feedback as to what bank I’m in. Even then, when looping (which is basically live mixing) one focuses on several things at once so remembering what bank you’re in is yet another plate to spin.

    This is one reason why I like the Morningstar controllers, which give you custom text labels for the buttons and the banks. It’s easy to sneak a quick look at the display to confirm the identity of that button you’re about to press.

  • I'll create a patch for the KMI SoftStep2 as I did for Loopy HD (and QuantiLoop, etc.), but first I need to figure out how I want to use Loopy Pro.

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