Number of Footswitches Needed to Do This?

edited November 2013 in General

Live performance loopers:

I currently use a Boomerang III for live looping, and am building a Loopy-based setup to see as a potential replacement. I already have audio and MIDI in/out into Loopy. I built a small MIDI controller based on a "MIDI CPU" circuit board (a great product, btw). I plan on connecting a row of footswitches for Loopy MIDI bindings and control, and want to know what a good number to use will be. I am hoping for 4 switches or less, but could do up to 6 if needed. That said, I want to be able to accomplish the following Loopy functions:

  • record, stop, play, and overdub on two separate (synced) loops
  • erase (or undo) a single loop
  • erase/clear all loops (between songs)
  • stop and start all loops together
  • fade all loops

Those are my musts.

Question #1) How many switches should I plan on? I will be using momentary footswitches.

Bonus question) What MIDI bindings should I use to accomplish all of the above?

Thanks much, loopers!


  • Anybody? Yoo hooo...

  • Hey, soundog. I was going to give this a whack, makes me investigate different ways of doing things instead of being lazy ;-) but I have a couple of questions.

    When you say "two separate (synced) loops", are these being played one after the other (e.g. verse chorus) or together at the same time? And are you talking about just using two of the 6/12 loops are you talking about two groups of synced loops(no, there is no grouping function, yet). I assume the first, but wanted to check.

    Are these two loops the same length?

    If your hands aren't completely tied up between songs, then manually selecting "Reset Session" would free up that button.

    At the moment, I don't see 6 being enough, but with the above info, I can try the different combinations to maybe provide you with some ideas.

  • Thanks, Ganthofer .... I suppose I could figure this out through experimentation, but I was hoping someone on the forum would have delved into the MIDI bindings somewhat. So .... appreciated!

    Your assumption on "two synced loops" is correct.I don't usually do verse...chorus type looping. I will do a "master loop" which sets the minimum length and the "tempo." So, lets say, 4 bars of guitar chords. Then, I do a "slave loop" that might be sax or something, and that will often be a multiple number of bars of the master loop (say, 16 bars). So "two separate synced loops" means the master and slave loops are synced, but I stop or mute them separately or together.

    Answered second question: sometimes same length, most times not.

    Hands free: while playing hands aren't free. But I could easily do a reset (clear all loops) between songs if that would save a button.

    I can achieve all of this with four buttons on the Boomerang III (one buttons per loop, and two buttons controlling global functions such as clear, or start/stop all loops). One big advantage on the Boomerang is that you can "tap" or "hold" a button (for a 1/2 second or so) to invoke two separate functions.

    I'm hopeful this can be done with less than 6 buttons as I am trying to minimize complexity and floor space, but we shall see. Again, I appreciate your findings on this...

  • Not counting your record, play , overdub requirements it looks like you need 4 already. Different length midi commands has been discussed (like the short/long tap on your boomerag) and could be great in Loopy to double up foot switch functions.

    I agree, if you have used the fade all option to finish a piece then you could just screen tap the reset session option on screen, freeing up one foot switch.

  • Agreed stjambience ... Loopy could simply use the timing between a MIDI note on and note off command (from a momentary switch) to determine the diff between a tap and a hold. That would be most excellent, and really trim down on the number of footswitches needed.

  • Do you use Loopy in stand alone mode or in audiobus?

    I'm using a midi foot switch with 5 switches, but I've also got a Bluetooth keyboard that I'm experimenting with to access functions without scrolling to the menus. It's not hands free, but sometimes one keystroke is easier than a few screen swipes.

    The catch is that Loopy needs to be the foreground app to receive Bluetooth commands.

  • stjambience: stand alone mode. I am doing my own sound man work (mixing) while playing guitar and singing, so the simpler and "less thinking" set up to run Loopy the better. Your idea of single keystroke bluetooth is a great one!

  • A small MIDI keyboard (or controller ) also works with loopy in the background. But of course I don't think you'll find one under about $50 US.

  • Ganthofer that's a great way to get around the background thing. You'd just need your foot switch or keyboard to have a midi thru to hook both up.

  • So what do you guys mean by "in the background." I have a few small MIDI controllers laying around. I prefer to do most stuff hands free, but things like clearing all loops or adjusting volume could be done while playing if it would mean less floor real estate, or greater simplicity.

  • Bluetooth keyboards only affect the app that is being displayed (in the foreground or on top). This is a limitation of iOS, as they assume you are typing and obviously would want to see where and what you are typing. Blue board has gotten around this (as I understand it). Guessing they don't register as a Bluetooth keyboard, but how they do it I don't know.

    Loopy and many other music apps that have MIDI interfaces, can run in the background or be set to run in the background. This allows MIDI control of the background App while having another App in the foreground to interact with through the touch screen or perhaps scrolling text App for lyrics/music.

    In your case the Reset Session could be a note key or pad on another MIDI controller, and if you have knobs or sliders, these could be used for panning and volume per track in real time.

  • This is true :)

    @sounddog, given that you're using Loopy by itself (as I do most of the time) the background issue wouldn't be a problem.

  • OK, gotcha. Yes, I run Loopy by itself. And I have a customizable controller (MIDI CPU) for switches and pots. The challenge now is simplifying the number of buttons I need on the floor while playing to do the stuff in my list at the top of the thread. So.....what do you think would be the minimum, and what would their bindings be?

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