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New to looping? Want to use an iPad and looking for advice? Learn from my experience.

Hi Loopy community,
This is my first post. I feel compelled to share my experience with you. I have learned some valuable lessons but I am also interested in your feedback because I understand that learning to use a looper is much like learning a new musical instrument and there appears to be no end to what can be done!

First a bit about me and my goals for looping. I have played in several bands, off and on, since 1995. I began learning piano and then gravitated to the drums (thank you Dave Grohl). Since then I have progressed to playing several instruments – jack of all trades, master of none type :smiley:

Today I am a singer/songwriter. My goal was to use loopy in my creative process and to incorporate it in small, open mic venues. I had no previous experience with looping so Loopy HD was my first exposure to it. I figured the cost to experiment would be worth it and it absolutely was!

My Loopy setup is such that I can record voice, acoustic guitar and synth lines from a midi keyboard. I also have the option to use a drum machine that is midi sync’ed on certain songs to add an additional dynamic. I can share more about my setup if you are interested.

I have experimented with Loopy HD for about five months in many different configurations but dialed it in perfectly for me. To get it up and running requires firing up my pedal board (by flipping the power switch on my power strip), slipping the iPad into the mic stand, plugging in the iPad, turning the iPad on, firing up a third party app for my BlueBoard and connecting it to the iPad, opening AB3, loading my preset, turning on BS-16i, tapping on Loopy HD and away I go! The whole process takes under a minute.

I designed my system to be as close to ‘instant on’ as possible. Nothing stifles my creativity more than having a long, complicated, elaborate process to follow before you can actually make music. It’s a complete waste of time and time is a precious commodity to me. I highly recommend you invest your time upfront into making your start up process as simple as possible.

Some thoughts about Loopy’s capabilities and which you should use. You need to understand that Loopy is not a product that is necessarily intended to use off the shelf. It is a product with many features and it is intended for the DIY type of person. If you are not that type of person, you should look elsewhere. If you are, I recommend you purchase the app and read on.

I recommend you explore all of the features first and experiment with equipment you have laying around the house before you go out and buy all the bells and whistles (audio interface, midi controllers, iPad mic attachment, etc). Instead spend your time learning about what Loopy can do – then focus on what you really want to do with it. Let me say that again because it is important and it will help it sink in. Spend your time learning what Loopy can do – then focus on what you want to do with it.

For example, Loopy can record an insane number of loops! Most looper pedals on the market only do one or two. So really challenge yourself before you go out and buy that big midi controller pedal that has eight or more switches for loops – do you really need that???

I determined I only needed two loops that were capable of mute/rec/play and overdub and one dedicated switch for stop and reset. So I bought an iRig BlueBoard. Admittedly, this is not a simple setup but it was as simple as I could make for my needs. That’s the important part. Determine what you need and make the setup as simple as you can.

So, I have this awesome Loopy setup. I am ready for my first open mic night. Until…Apple updates the IOS and my setup stops working!

Yes, this happens to me after the setup was rock solid and I’m ready to perform. What do I do now? Rollback the IOS? Tried it – failed. Email tech support? Why? The problem is actually with the system audio – not Loopy, not AB3. Essentially I am dead in the water unless I want to waste HOURS trying to roll the IOS back again or sitting on the phone with Apple tech support which will be next to useless. If I had planned for this, I would have been ok. All I needed to do was back up my iPad before I updated it! Hindsight is always 20/20…

Unfortunately this issue was big enough for me to abandon the idea of using Loopy live. I need my rig as simple and reliable as possible. The iPad I use is not dedicated to music production and I need to be able to update it frequently. I cannot risk the reliability of my looping system every time Apple decides to make an IOS update. Wikipedia shows that Apple makes an update almost every three months! I can’t afford to roll the dice every time a new update comes along.

So if you are going to use Loopy or any looper for the iPad in a live situation, I recommend you have a plan when it comes to keeping your setup reliable. Reliability is less of an issue if you use Loopy in your creative process.

It could be possible to make your iPad more reliable if you dedicate it to music production. That means no games, apps with push notifications, those types of things. Set it up so it doesn’t turn off on you at the worst possible time. Make your iPad a true musical instrument!

Also, you should take control of when updates are made and you should be prepared to work through bugs afterwards. And always make sure to back up your stable configuration before you update!!!

And last tip, for goodness sake turn off phone calls, Facetime and text messages! I’ve had calls come through in practice situations. Imagine that happening live! ‘Sorry Mom, can I call you back? I’m playing a gig right now’. LOL! Don't be that guy...

I hope this post has been helpful to you and the community. Thanks to Michael for the awesome app and for setting me on my looping journey.

Stay inspired!


  • Great write-up, Jason! Thanks for sharing!

    Out of curiosity, what was the audio issue that started happening with the iOS update? (We have had untold headaches with various iOS updates along the way too, including some with some utterly insane problems like hardware that gains nearly a second of latency - we don't always have the nicest things to say about certain teams within Apple ;-))

  • Thanks Michael. It was very odd. Essentially everything connected fine and I could play but I never got in more than a song or two before a crash would occur that would loop a portion of the audio over and over again. It was very hard to stop the loop. I think i had to exit out of all apps or power off the ipad. I think it was a system audio issue because it appeared that AB3 and Loopy were working correctly but what do I know.

  • Ouch! That does sound a bit systemy; weird though, I've not seen that before

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