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hardware loopers that „know“ grouping?

edited March 2019 in Help

i really like GTL‘s concept of groups. i’m wondering whether this is a rather unique concept in the looping world, or whether there are hardware loopers that know simular functionality, too? it seems to me that whenever i saw people looping on streets, it was extremely repetitive. with GTL i experience the first time looping that actually comes close to „real“ songs...

all the best


  • The most similar hardware I found to group the loop in these terms are the Digitech Trio+ (the post link I shared last time has some videos) since it has song parts and can record loops alongside drums and bass line (the common factors in regular pop songs) and also the Pioneer DJS1000 which is like an Ableton Live looping set made machine.

    Recently Akai released Force machine but the videos I have seen for its looping capabilities seemed a bit weird workflow which to much adjustments, not truly on the fly.

    Another interesting machines are the ElectroHarmonix but not so flexible like the mentioned above.

  • thank you! so it seems that for classical looping, repetition is a defacto standard, while some newer loopers begin to explore grouping?
  • edited March 2019

    Well classical looping comes from tape looping and delay experiments so the usual approach for the field was overdubbing.

    When Ableton live come these paradigm start shifting even Ableton wasn't conceived to that in mind but still nowadays grouplooping isn't a field itself. The nearest could be multilareying which is how common live loop artist build songs but usually at studio (and maybe very few at stage).

    The thing reason behind why there are so few or zero hardware with this approach is risk vs revenue.

    Looping everything and building from scratch is useful in composition at studio but just a gimmick for touring. Very few artists will grow a show from scratch and show it as "work" (to demo a work you must create it in advance) so these proposals are just experimental or ephimeral from a start point (which end in experimental exercises in the end).

    If you bring pre-recorded material then it's backing tracks, more or less live but backing tracks in the end. So between bringing all pre-recorded or just few there is not so much distinguible from the crowd perspective... so why to risk?

    There are some artist doing in between approach like Tash Sultana or FKJ but usually these artists are capable of perform by themselves without loops if the set wrecks. Take this in consideration too, please.

    Then we have some hardware which isn't loopy oriented (in fact we have so little really focused on it) which can be used as grouplooping tools. Digitech trio+ maybe is the first grouplooping tool I know released with that idea in mind and it's more a backtrack groovebox than a looping tool if you think it twice.

    The DJS1000, the Electron OctaTrack or the Akai Force are Ableton-in-a-box attempts. Even Traktor with F1 or D2 controllers could fit in that description but again the point is these weren't developed with looping artists in mind so some of them aren't even suitable (or a PITA to work with).

    AFAIK the only enough flexible and suitable is the DJS1000 but pricey as Pioneer usual tier for just go looping at bars.

    If we take in mind what customer segment we are trying to reach then the proper tool emerges by itself.

    For bar gigs: Digitech trio+.
    For Festivals (or properly budget sessions like VIP hotels): DJS1000 or Ableton Live on macbook pro.

    That's an opinion of course, an educated and well argued, but just an opinion since I learn things everyday and I go wrong too often to believe I have the Gospel truth but bang for buck this is what I've learnt over years.

    In fact the perfect setup for low to high tier will be a Digitech trio+ mk2 with midi clock capabilities into iPad setup with GTL for extra grouplooping backing tracks...


    ... GTL implementing some of the trio+ functions (musical note pad has some of them like build bass and drums from recorded material)

    but since we live in present I just go and grab what is available.

    Maybe someone develops a perfect onemanband live-arranger tool but if it never happens... probably will be due it's a market niche, not for hardware limitations or clever developers. There are both of them out there but these struggle with narrow-minded budget managers or directly with budget struggling if they are iOS developers (and in this case narrow-minded is Apple itself with its Appstore policy).

    Hope it helps to set a compass in your research @josh <3

  • edited March 2019

    note aside...
    Roland could improve their Rc505 into something similar to Akai Force and Sp808 shaped (and legacy workflow) but the team rear Aira isn't the same rear these era so they released the Dj808 (to fight Traktor alongside Serato and to integrate Aira grooveboxes in dj set) and vocal fx units like vt-4 (also focused towards looping artists but obviously never will be a replacement for rc505) so who knows... maybe they release an Rc808 or similar and it becomes a grouplooping tool.

    Now take this little memory as hope. Years ago I was working a very short time with Roland at spain. They know about me due I was writing looping articles at Spanish website. (In fact they were using my content to announce the new looping contest without linking it but that's another history so I reach them).
    One day when I was in their space talking about the rc20 and so I ask them...

    Well... When are you going to release a tabletop unit with some faders and big buttons on it?

    They look themselves.

    Oh I see... I just anticipated the next product you are developing...


    Don't worry guys, you are only 3 years later to the party.

    Few time after that I lost the contact due to spanish way of made things (it has more steps the whole history but it doesn't matter too much at this point).

    Also few time before Rc505 was released at 899$/€.

    Now if you ask me about how I manage to know about it, well it's due I was doing the same and even more with LoopyHD and my old iPad 3/is202 dock and pad based with faders controller... more than a year before that encounter.

    So we can extract:

    • Hardware development is slow by definition and slowed by business planning and revenue flows.
    • Computer based solutions are more powerful but also more risky (or they should be).
    • Roland does the best they can but Toraiz/Djs1000 should be released by them with Variphrase technology. Probably it will never happen but I will love to be prove wrong.
    • In any case hardware will be cheaper than software counterpart. Even less if you want to be innovative or push-forward artist. In fact if you want to push forward boundaries you need to develop in software (or ultraexpensive hardware solutions like kyma) and label yourself as experimental, find public funding and release your researching as part of the process. Good luck if you don't have a degree and money, the truth or vision will not be enough to make them listen you.
    • The only possible option to make hardware cheaper is with diy/hardware hacking and I'm saying cheaper in money terms. In time, recognition, satisfaction and future-proof job I'm not so sure. I know very few success examples being myself not one of them.

    In the end this is a run for happiness so asking ourselves if all of this makes sense or how profitable (from the happiness POV) is... could make this entire run an end or medium.
    So less is more rule applies to this field in each single step from looping approach to business planning as a whole.

    Let me end with a Bruce Lee quote and excuse me for the pseudo-rant/therapy:

    Best wishes,

  • edited March 2019
    wow, this was an extensive answer! thank you for taking the time, chubby! this shows me how much time and love you spend for GTL! it motivates me to also stick to this (for me) pretty new world, although i still feel a bit lost in the vast mass of available options in both software and hardware. but i feel the potential in having a decent setup that allows grouping of loops, and having that i’m pretty confident that it would open an exciting world of possibilities to me and to give something back to the world with my solid intermediate guitar and singing skills (that i’m mostly using for myself at the time being). ;)

    keep up the good work

    ps: i’m also keen to see what approach loopy pro will take to offer grouping (or similar functionality).
  • You are welcome @josh!

    I also hope loopy pro brings some fresh air but I prefer to focus in help Jack since GTL is a reality not just a promise.
    Michael has few time to deal with loopy pro since he become father...

  • yeah you’re right. i really like GTL and it’s concepts, and i see a lot of potential in it.

    thank you for supporting jack. :)
  • edited March 2019

    I do my best. Thank you for join the community, mate.

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