Idea of busking with fairly "low-budget" equipment

edited October 2011 in Equipment
Hey Loopy Users,

I'm planning for a long time to do busking. I've always been amazed of the street musicians and can watch them for hours even if they play covers or their own music.

That's why I've put together a setup or let's just call them a bunch of ideas buying portable stuff if you want to go out the street and play for the public.

First, let me compare the new Boss RC-300 Loop Station (more than £400) and the Loopy 2 App (£2/£5 for the HD ver). I chose the RC-300 cuz that gives you the closest number of individual loop tracks you can record/overdub (3 stereo). With Loopy you get at least 6 tracks (9/12 on HD). The reason why I make this comparison will be clear in a sec.

Let's forget the RC-300 and save that 400 quid for other stuff to buy so we can go out and play.

I can't count the iPhone's/iPad's price cuz we love it and would buy it anyway... :P :D But here's my list and I know that many of you will find it useful. I tried to choose cheaper but valuable equipments while also keeping in mind portability.
Here I is (iPhone version but it's almost the same for the iPad). :D

Loopy 2 (£2 / £5 HD)

iRig G&I interface (~£25)

iRig MIDI (~£50)

iKlip MINI (~£25)

MOTU ZBOX (~£32)

BEHRINGER FCB1010 (~£95)


PylePro PWMA series (~£100-200)

Let's see the details of each. Loopy is obvious, it's the "core" in our iDevice and iKlip is holding it (e.g. on a mic stand)

iRig guitar & instrument interface is transfering the sound to the iDevice.

iRig MIDI to control Loopy through MIDI (I know it's not capable of doing this YET but it will be :D) and we connect a nice MIDI foot switch (cheap and smart) the Behringer FCB1010. Yes, this is the only thing which needs power supply but I'm listing it cuz I will go for it anyway. :D I'm sure now that iRig MIDI and LINE6 Mobilizer II are released we will find soon many battery-operated or maybe even passive footswitches for iDevices through MIDI.

I'm sorry to disappoint many of you but an electret cond mic won't give you a nice sound and as the tests and reviews are showing it it's just bad for real pro use (like a live quality street busking)! And also, it does NOT fit into this setup. (mentioning the iRig Mic)

That's why I came up with an idea of a small but yet powerful battery-operated mixer with enough inputs to handle your way nicer microphones and you can also plug in your instruments or any device with line out (for example an iPod as a music source). This is the Behringer XENYX 1002B which is running on two(!) 9VDC battery. And the main output of the mixer (basically your gig) goes into the iRig's TRS input. As a nice optional hardware for electric guitars with pickups I do recommend the MOTU ZBOX. It's a miracle to the guitar sound and it's passive so it doesn't require any current. (The Behringer 1002B has 5mic-line input OR 2mic-line/6stereo input with 3bandEQ, 2aux etc.)

Finally, the Public Address (PA). I've found real luggage-like battery powered speakers made by PylePro and those are just wicked! Low-budget but nice stuff. They have wheels and handle for easy relocating, EQ, and many other cool stuff built-in and provided with and they give you enough power to blow away your own head with guitar riffs, beatbox, singing SO JUST USE LOOPY to amaze your audience!! iRig's output goes in the PylePro's input and here we are.

Yeah, you need to buy a mic but this way in this setup nearly anything will sound better than that electret condenser.

That's what I was thinking after doing some research. Instead of buying a Boss RC-300 LS for 400quid (vs. Loopy 2 HD for £5) you can take all these stuff for that money (the sum is between 400-550 depending on where and what you buy or not) and you're good to go and show some real busking to the public and start a career like our Uncle dubFX... :D

I hope you like my idea and start some brainstorming with me in this case. ;)

Make sure you buy some cables as well and someone to help you carry the stuff (musician's life was never-ever easy)... :D

Cheers for reading and huge thanks to Micheal for making a freaking good app like Loopy and the possibility for us to save a bunch of money. Many thanks! :)


  • Wow, this is a fantastic piece of research, @fonyo! Nice work!
    Would you mind if I reproduced it with some editorial changes (and credit, of course!) on
  • Hey Micheal,
    No, I don't mind it at all... :) My English is not perfect but I always try hard.
  • Brilliant, cheers =) It's great!
  • I've found another battery-powered portable speaker. You can play up to 8hrs with one charge (100W RMS)! It's 14kg only. Nice look, handle and wheels (+2 wireless mics included which we don't really need in the setup but it's worth mentioning). It's made by QTX Sound and costs £199.

    You can check it out here (cheapest price):"+100w+178.843

    Do you guys know other cool stuff or ideas?
  • Hey Fonyo, very intereting, thank you! For me there is one huge flaw: I would never trust a mixer by Behringer in a live situation. I would use the built-in mixer of my trusty Roland BA-300 box.
  • @Bloopenheimer Cheers for your comment and idea. I totally agree with your statement. Behringer is famous for its poor quality products. That's true. However, it looks like they managed to change this recently (at last, hopefully!). But the problem is, I couldn't really find other battery-operated mixer which is very sad in the 21st century. The reason we need to use an external mixer is to feed the sound to Loopy for recording them as loops. Unless you can manage to mute the main output of invidual inputs of your Roland BA-300 while you send all of them to Loopy, it's still not a solution. I don't think it can be a standalone mixer (tell me if I'm wrong). We want to make loops from the sound of all our instruments/mics so we need to connect them to Loopy first and then send it to PA. In a case of normal busking without Loopy, you're absolutely right, no need for a mixer. That's "plug in and go".

    And just to keep things a bit funny, in an event of mixer faulty we just pack up our stuff and go home. It's not like a concert where the audience paid for a ticket, is it? :D
  • hey!

    nice to find this forum!i am planning to play in the streets too and make some loops!
    i am thinking about the problem with batteries...have you ever thought about using a rechargeable battery for all your things?I am planning in run all my pedals with the same battery.

    and another question is...
    do you have the same options with loopy than with the rc-50/rc-300?i mean,reverse,undo,redo, can you control the app with your feet???

    thank you!

  • Hey @vazoliver! Reverse, undo & redo: Not yet, but they'll be coming quite soon. You can plug a foot pedal straight into Loopy and control it with that.
  • Ipower is a good brand for rechargeable lithium batteries. Pricey to get setup, but very good stuff. I believe there is a 5700mAh one that will hold a good charge for quite a while. Watch the cold temps of outdoors! Could cause the batts to crash sooner than expected. Get a battery tester! I suppose you could get fancy with some motorcycle batteries if the devices requiring ac power don't draw too much current. Would need to look into the needed power for your device as well as somehow downgrade the power in a case where it uses less than 12volt dc.
  • edited March 2012
    Bravo! This is a great overview of what's needed to get a decent busking looper setup.

    I believe one difference with the Loopy setup (vs the RC300) that hasn't been pointed out is that an iRig only has a mono input. So what you've got here is 1 in 2 out - which is fine for most guitar-based setups, but might not be ideal if you wanted to run synths/drum machines etc.

    This would of course not be the case if you were running an iPad with an audio/MIDI interface via the CCK.
  • This is a nice amp from Alesis for busking with iPad. Great battery life, and you can connect with Bluetooth so don't have to worry about connectivity. Also got inputs for guitar, mic, aux in etc

  • Not sure who jane is but thanks for bumping. This would make a nice wiki page.

  • Anyone know what the latency is like for that kind bluetooth-connected amp?

  • edited June 2013

    Why not using the new Behringer iStudio together with the Behringer mic-stand clip and therefore getting rid of all the overpriced iRig/Klip crap?
    As it has a stereo line input plus two additional mic/guitar/line mono inputs (or a stereo line-in if you want) you might ommit the mixer as well. You will get a prelistening function as well so that you can use your headphones for pre-listening while the main signal still goes out from the main outputs of the iStudio.
    You can drop the Motu zBox as well as the iStudio has a Hi-Z Input as well.
    Ah, btw.: the Behringer is202 (aka iSudio) goes for EUR 129,--!

    Edit: forgot to mention that it can be battery powered as well.

  • Is the Behringer available yet? Been checking the online retail sites and haven't seen it.

  • edited June 2013

    At least in Germany it's available for many, many weeks now.

  • I guess it depends on what you are doing. I currently have a Line 6 MicroSpider battery powered amp. it takes 6 c sized batteries. i managed to get a small led acid battery and a car multi valt adaptor that plugs into the mains plug. to power it longet the the c sized batteries.

    The MicroSpider comes with built in guitar effects including a channel for acoustic guitar. also mic input and a mp3 player input.

    along with my MicroSpider I have a cheep mic I brought online. around $30 it works but is not the best.

    When Busking i use my seagull acoustic guitar or baratone ukulele.

    I have also seen people using the Rolland street cube amp which is a nice cheep amp for busking

    also rolland have now got a new busking amp for acoustic guitarists called the ac-33. this is a great amp and one day i am going to upgrade my MicroSpider with this. the nice thing is that the amp has a built in overdubbing looper. Phill Keaggy does a nice demo of the amp here

    Aer make a really nice portable battery amp but they are up there in price. Here is it live on Queen St Auckland played by Luke Hurley

    here is just my experience and ideas on the subject of busking gear and setup.

  • I tip my hat (if I had one) to all of you who have the guts to go out and busk the streets. I have been on many large stages in California in rock bands, but could never do anything as close-up and personal as this.
    Good luck to you all.

  • @fonyo
    yes yes yes... this is the thread I've been looking for. Excellent info!

    I love street music, and it's great to see more interest in this. Just last week in Key west i met a guy playing thru a small Roland amp. Just guitar and vox with a little flange on it. Claimed to have been discovered by Hendrix on the street way back, but whatever... Two out of four of the tunes were mesmorizing...

  • This is an example of my portable rig...not strictly using loopy in THIS rig, but it could be done within Audiobus ...totally

  • I was looking at a Boomerang Phase III Sampler for around $470.00. With the side car add on it's over $600.00. Now I'm waiting on an iPad 2 and Behringer iStudio, total $449.00. Didn't realize all that was out there for making music with the iPad, especially the live performance stuff. I'm old. lol...

    I'm also a programmer of 30 years and was a die hard Windows guy. Got a MacPro 15" W/Retina display and SSD at work and now I'm hooked.

    I have a Bheringer FCB1010 already. This is supposed to work well with the iStudio and Loopy I believe. I have an Allen&Heath ZED FX12 for recording and live in-house.

    I am looking at Bose L1 Compact for live in-house and Roland Street Cube for busking. I have no idea what I will end up with for DSP apps yet. Not sure where to even start on that.

  • Hiiigh! :-)

    im wondering how to play in the streets as the so called boss dont put battery in their loopstation rc 300............
    oh really, more people play on studio with this? i dont think so

    so i go Gaïa Roland Synth and Cube street ex with battery, but the loopstation is without........

    please if someone can tell me how to play in the streets with it, and not like : "you just have to buy a car battery"

    i dont know what battery, i dont know how to load the battery, and most important, i dont know how to plug a normal wire like you have on your computer or else in a battery 9 volt........9 volt wtf????? nothing is on 9 volt

    what a joke for 500euros

  • owiowi
    edited April 2016

    @Dubix ,®-MP-50000-Powerbank-externer-hochleistungs/dp/B00KTC8UJ2?ie=UTF8&psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_detailpage_o05_s00
    the above powerbanks ( alternate between 9v, 12v etc..)give you more power than you will ever need for the rc300 but you could go for one with less power...or use a car battery ;)
    one more link:®-MP-30000-Power-Bank-Notebooks/dp/B00XMM4ZZE/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1459550030&sr=8-2-fkmr0&keywords=XTPower®+MP-50000
    to change the polarity for the rc 300 you will need this one:
    and that´s it basically.

  • edited April 2016

    ooooooooh thanx for that good answer! :-)

    so if i understand well, i will not use the basic loader/plug that i use when i play in a room?

    ----> i have to put the t-rex polarity inverser inside the hole of electricity of the rc 300
    and then to plug it on a powerbank
    after loaded the powerbank in a normal electricity plug?

    expansive but easy way....... :-)

    and maybe this one is ok, please? 40 euros is in my prices

    merci! ;-)

  • @Dubix ,
    the hb powerplant is not a powerbank. it is a power adapter.
    what you need maybe this one or a similar one:®-MP-10000-Powerbank-Ladegerät-Ladeadapter/dp/B006N48VJY?ie=UTF8&keywords=powerbank 9 v 12v&qid=1459806536&ref_=sr_1_cc_1&s=aps&sr=1-1-catcorr
    it will power the rc 300 for 3-6 hours (if this is long enough for you).

  • edited April 2016

    much thanx Owi! :-)

    i see its shit, only possible online to buy these powebank 9v, no shop sell that!

    i dont want to use amazon, i boycott/buycott them as they dont respect so many rights of Human and Animals etc

    thomann i see this, and there is the cable inverse also with
    but maybe its not enough power? 6000mAh?
    i would like at least 2hours of loopstation rc300, maybe 3........

    i would also buy bag for loopstation and synth there, so its much easier
    and faster coz i wanna buskin sunday
    free shipping germany etc

    but 6000mAh only........mmmmmmh

    but 10000mAh around 3-6hours
    so 3+6=9 : 2 = 4.5
    6000mAh around 2hours30 ----> it can be enough for me, as i will make only impro live and direct music
    so creating from nothing about 12 tracks each time i will busk!

    strange : " - Consommation rc 300 : 320 mA (DC 9 V) " .......... per hour?

    so i got 20hours with 6000mAh ? ah no, lol

    i love only Music, not the material stuff................

    ach sooo finally, i think i will take this solar 12000mAh thing:

  • let me know how it goes

  • Hi everyone,

    I'm thinking about picking up the Alesis transaction wireless amp for busking along with a battery powered Alesis I/O USB. It looks like the FCB 1010 is the way to go for a foot pedal; however, that requires a power supply (and MIDI interface). Does anyone know of any Bluetooth, battery operated, foot switches with more than 4 buttons?

  • @owi, let me see if I understand correctly:

    I can pick up something like a korg nanopad 2, plug that into the Yamaha Wireless Bluetooth USB-to-host MIDI Adapter, then plug that into the 4 port hub which then plugs into the power bank? And that will create a powered, bluetooth midi foot pad controller successfully sending midi signals via bluetooth to loopy?

Sign In or Register to comment.