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Looper & Drum machine options


I started looking a month ago for a way to use a looper live.

I'm planning on a Jazz/Bossa duo, me on guitar with a singer.

So I'd like to loop the rhythm and do leads over it, but I'd also like to have some light percussion on my drum machine in the background.

I'm sure many of you are familiar with trying to get your looped sections to be an exact interval, but it never really works out that way.

Especially with a drum machine, it drifts slightly off beat.

So looking thru my Line 6 M13 manual one day, I realized that there was already MIDI messages to turn the loop on only once (play once).

One really nice part about that, is if I miss the last two beats of a progression and end my loop too soon, it doesn't change its' sync with the drum machine.

So I attempted to get my drum machine (Alesis SR-18) to send the message on the one beat to trigger the loop.

Unfortunately, the drum machine can't send that type of midi message (a CC or continuous controller message).

Long story short, I ended up making a box to do this conversion, got it working last night and now it's all packaged up.

Here it is with the cover off (black cable is USB power/programming, red is midi IN, blue is midi OUT):

Here it is with the cover on:

Since the rhythm track on the drum machine needs to send the signal to trigger my loop, I would have to have two tracks (one with signal, one without) and switch between them to trigger or not trigger the loop. This seemed like a pain. So I bought a Boss latching footswitch, and modified it to prevent the trigger signal from getting to my looper:

So when the footswitch light is on, as soon as the drum machine hits the one beat, it sends the message to the convertor, which changes it to a "loop on" message, go thru the "on" footswitch and triggers my loop.

As soon as I want the loop to stop repeating, I just turn the footswitch off.

I thought some of you on here would like this, as most loopers have midi abilities to trigger but only the really expensive loopers can sync to midi, and then it's usually making assumptions about time signature, 4/4, etc etc.

This doesn't have those limitations.

Blue Bee

This is very interesting to me, but confusing. Would love to see your full setup with it running into the looper and how it all hooks together to work. Like some type of signal flow chart too maybe.

So you'd need a looper with midi then? Not too many of those available it seems, maybe the infinity but I think it already syncs with drum machines or boomerang III but they are $400+ as well.

I would think a Beat buddy drum machine pedal and infinity looper would make a good compact setup to achieve this? That has been my dream looping setup I would love to have one day.... I currently have a jamman stereo and it's nice to have the loop quantize feature for longer tunes and for shorter things I can loop drum beats that I finger drum in real time on keyboard for fun improv layered jams.


Here's the signal chain:

Drum machine Midi OUT -> Conversion box -> Midi ON/OFF pedal -> Looper Midi IN

I'll try to post a short vid of me using it.

Most loopers have a midi IN that you can use to trigger your loop.

So if your drum machine could send that message to the looer, you could trigger on the one beat each time, avoiding the need for quantize, midi clock, etc.

You are just playing the loop on the one beat each time it comes around.

The conversion box allows the drum machine to trigger the loop.

Make sense?

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