Ditty-A-Week #22: Building a Functional Software Looper using only your DAW.

Now it's "Ditty-A-Week."

I took to the task of designing and Building a Looper in 3 Major DAWs using nothing but Delay Effects, with no third party plugins whatsoever. In the end I got 99% favorable results… sort of.

Jumping ship from Logic Pro over to Ableton Live was a wise decision, in a project like this.

Okay, maybe “jumping ship” is a harsh term since I still use Logic Pro from time to time. In fact, Logic Pro has some redeeming qualities about it that make it shine. Take it’s Delay Designer plugin, for example. That little beauty just has “Looper” written all over it. But Logic Pro makes it difficult to use it the way I want to. Mainstage makes up for this inadequacy in the family. Chances are, if you own Logic Pro 9.x, you already have Mainstage lurking on your hard drive. If not, then Mainstage will only cost you $30 (Mac only).

Ableton Live… wherefore art thou’s long delays, like Logic’s Delay Designer? And thy dB level-appropriate sends and returns, like Logic’s? It’s totally doable in Ableton Live as well, but took 4 times as much audio routing to get ‘er done. That and I’ve noticed an occasional timing drift; but I have read this is relatively common when you start getting complex pathways in Ableton.

In the end, I found it’s awesome having both DAWs on my machine. This was a great project. You get to know the shortcomings and strengths of both tools. Thus use the right tool for the right job.

The audio file below is an example looping example I did using the Ableton Live file as provided in the download, played only using my laptop itself (playing all notes via QWERTY keys), a Korg nanoKONTROL2, all the instruments and effects provided within Ableton. No Ableton clips were used.

If you went out and bought Ableton Live 8.3.x and a Korg nanoKONTROL2 right now, the downloadable project file should work with both items out of the box, as long as you change the Korg nanoK2 to MIDI channel 16. The same criteria applies for the Mainstage file.
CAVEAT: If you start adding other MIDI controllers, well… YMMV. You may have to track down the random MIDI issue.

This entire project is from as a Seminar/ presentation I hosted at the EM2012 festival.

Ableton Live, Apple Mainstage, and Logic Pro files, plus a nifty PDF explaining how to do it yourself… all here and yours for the taking.
CLICK HERE to download the whole package (.ZIP file).

The following non-nonsensical verbiage is here just to make this post totally findable by internet search: eloquent kumquat pickle.

iPad/iPhone/iPad Touch users:
CLICK HERE to hear this track.


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