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Track groups, performance mode controls

edited August 2012 in Support and Feedback

First of all, this app is a slam dunk fantastic. I've been messing with it a few weeks, did this track on my first day. This is recorded dry using nothing but the crappy iphone mic.


While I'm waiting for my iRig to arrive to hook it up to the FCB1010, I have a few feature requests that I hope you will consider for the next release. I would be willing to make a fairly sizable donation (say, the difference between an RC-300 and what I paid for my loopy setup?)

it would be great to have the ability to assign tracks to groups, and then gobally do stuff to groups (anything you can do to a single track: mute/play/volume/etc). I understand this functionality could be quasi-achieved by turning off delete on merge, and copying the track, then using the tracks to represent groups...however for live looping performance, groups would be better because you could save them as part of the session, open the session, record three tracks, and then get to it. It's very difficult to mute/unmute multiple tracks simultaneously during performance (you only have two fingers and/or two feet)

open a saved session with the tracks pre-assigned to groups
track 1 rhythm member of both groups A and B
track 2 verse guitar/bass group A
track 3 chorus bassline group B

so then you can get straight to singing/performing and just toggle group A/B without wasting any time with copying tracks. I think this would be useful for the DJ crowd too.

Loopy's record controls are awesome, with some very specific functionality that allows record to automatically start on loop start, and automatically end on loop end. This type of functionality would be great for playback as well. Currently we are limited to "punch in" playback in real time only. Could we have:

start playback of this track (or track group) on next loop
stop playback of this track (or track group) after this loop

also, for the existing solo feature:
solo track (or track group) at next loop start
stop solo of track (or track group) at the end of current playing loop

I realize this would make too many controls/tap possibilities probably for the touch gestures, but it shouldn't be a problem for the MIDI bindings.


  • This is worse then Me... ^___^

  • @Thore
    lolz...post me a link to yours, so we can be terrible together.

  • Good lord, @ezee, what an essay ;-) Thanks heaps for the kind words! I shall have a read through this when I have some brain-space available!

  • edited August 2012

    I've edited the OP to correct a few things. One of my requests was already in Loopy, just didn't see it until I got deeper into the MIDI setup. The laundry list has gone from crazy to just a little nuts.

  • actually, two of my requests were already in loopy: midi bindings to allow direct select of individual tracks, and solo. They were both already there. This app just keeps getting better by the minute.

  • I wonder if groups might one day be implemented by having mute/solo toggles for rows and/or columns. That way there is no extra config screens and all that. If you want a loop in a group, move it. It would be limited but limitations are good!

  • edited August 2012

    @ezee GOOD GOOD NEWS!!! But I can't say anything...
    @syrupcore GREAT IDEA, easy and clean!
    @michael you can make another MIDI Function "GROUP Mute/Unmute" with two submenu (Row/Column) and (number). So I can select Time after Time what I want play.
    @all Sorry for my "Pizza and Maccheroni" english... ;-) This presupposes an organization of tracks in matrix and I don't know if Michael has organized so...
    Ex.: Changing track layout, the track number remain the same but change position in row and column...

  • Neat =)

    Actually, as far as groups are concerned, I've been cooking up ideas of tying this in with track colours. I see it this way: Open the track menu (which is radial, and can be scrolled in a circle if it has more than four items, revealing more items at one side), and there's an item for color/group. There'll be something like six colors. You select one, the track background changes to a shade of that color (possibly different shades, automatically selected, for multiple tracks of the same colour, so you can tell them apart?).
    Then, in the config for the mute/unmute action, alongside the "Selected Track" and "Track n" options, there's "Red Group", "Green Group", etc, to toggle all tracks of that colour.
    It's still early in the planning process, so I haven't thought it all the way though, though. What do you think?

    I'm open to the row/column stuff, but I'm worried that it would be a bit confusing, especially given that you can rotate the device around, whereupon the rows become the columns.

  • Was what I meant when I talked about the matrix organization...

    I thought a similar thing with the numbers but I was afraid to tell you ^__^ and anyway, with colors is much more immediate and effective.

    With colors is much better.

  • I'd like to bring up my swipe groups idea again. You need the top row to mute, swipe across them in one motion. When you let up the swipe, they toggle mute/ unmute. Need a z-shaped pattern of banks to toggle? Draw a z on the screen, swiping through those you'd like, and then release the swipe at the proper beat.

  • Hmm, I do appreciate the cool factor @Rats, but I think it's a bit obscure for most users, and also would tend to interfere with the existing gesture set.

  • edited August 2012

    yah colors or A/B/C/ etc would probably be more functional.

    Michael, as you are thinking this through please consider the ability for a track to be a member of more than one group (a rhythm track for example that's the same for all sections of the composition). this lends itself more to A/B/C than colors (although colors are hella cool and way more intutive if you could do multiple colors somehow)

    rhythm track member of group A/B/C

    bassline / chords for part A member of A only

    bassline / chords for part B member of B only

    bassline / chords for part C member of C only

    so choosing A/B/C gives you all three parts without any merging/copying shenanigans.

    Also, the "row" method limits you to the number of tracks in a row (three at the most) as group members...which I guess isn't a problem (three should be plenty). So long as you enable vertical or horiz rows so the 6 track interface users don't get stuck w rows of 2.

  • I'm thinking that tracks in the same group will basically mute/unmute as one - you tap one track in a group, and all its groupmates mute with it. So, tap to toggle, just like existing tracks, as opposed to what I think you had in mind, @ezee, which is tap to switch to that group, muting everything that isn't in the group.

    The tap to toggle approach is more flexible (it takes care of the situation you proposed, where you don't want to switch all tracks, just some), but it does require two separate interactions (a tap on one group, and a tap on another group - which, by the way, you can do at the same time, as I did in this track).

  • I'm looking forward to colour and groups .
    Seems grouping could be used in two modes:
    1. for linear sections of all tracks in verse, chorus , bridge or
    2.Internal track matrix variations ; so maybe 6 different drum loops in drum group to toggle between with 4 different basslines in bass group to toggle between ..kinda Ableton/dj approach.
    In either scenario , it seems to me the option of a toggle/choke function would be useful , though
    In scenario 1 the choke would be "macro " so triggering chorus group stopped verse group,
    Whereas in 2 . Internal matrix , drumloop 1 is stopped when drumloop2 is triggered WITHIN the group , but actions within one group dont affect another .

  • Sorry about the respond delay, @Wally - I did read your response, but I had my hands full at the time and forgot to actually reply.

    I can see the appeal, of this approach, certainly. It does run against the 'simplicity' goal of Loopy, so I'm not instantly drawn to it, but I will continue to think about ways of making this work in a coherent and understandable fashion. If anyone has suggestions to that end, do please fire away, too.

  • Re grouping, why not consider the drag and drop model that apple uses on the iPad? When users drag on track onto another u can prompt them to either merge or group (within a group dragging and dropping would only merge). Users are already familiar with this model so the learning curve would be minimal. Once a group has been created u could offer options on it similar to what u do not for a single track...

  • Not a bad idea...although I'm concerned that it's going to complicate the merge process, which sometimes you want to do quite quickly. It turns one relatively coarse gesture into two gestures, the second of which is a relatively precision tap to hit the 'merge' button. Could be tricky during performance. It also might interfere with some of the semantics of the gesture (like, you can't merge drag from a blank track, but you will want to be able to group a blank track, in advance). Sounds like it might get a little confusing.

    I'm still a big fan of colours, because they can serve a number of goals all at once, although I do understand that that limits being able to have one track in a number of groups. I'm not sure that isn't a good thing, though, as it could potentially get a bit mind-bending that way.

    This discussion reminds me of something I had in a very early Loopy mockup, during the design stage. The idea at the time was you hit the "+" on the panel to add a new preset, and it would recall the mute/unmute status of every track. So you could have one set of tracks playing, hit "+" to create "a", then change the selection and create "b", and toggle between them. I'd imagine you could tap the preset buttons while the preset was still active to go into an edit mode, and then mute/unmute different tracks, and the preset would remember.
    The more I think back to it, the more I like it, actually.


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  • edited November 2012

    Hmm sounds great...
    If I get it, does that mean :

    1- in case you have a,b,c presets done, if you press "b" while playing "a", it will wait till the end of a before it plays "b" ?
    1.2-with this mode, all loops are taken into this process of chaining mode ? Even the blanks one ? I mean, if you add a live loop while using preset "a", while getting preset "b", (partly premade) you won't have the new live loop added in a, while playing b ? Unless if you have done in your setup of preset "b" the playing of an empty loop ? (the one that has been recorded in a, but not existing with b)
    Sorry if it's unclear, I don't want to blow your mind, I just think the concept of blank loop, but maybe as a parameter of the loop, and not as silence sample, should be usefull.

    2- It might be harder to setup the size of each loop (get other panel) then go back to preset mode panel ?
    2.2-Maybe the size of each loop could be integrated as a parameter on each loop ?
    2.3- As the way it should play ? (once, looped, reversed)

    3-if there's more than "c", pushing "+" would add a "d" ? (then add an horizontal scroll with the letters ? )

    4-How do you delete a preset ? A "-" somewhere ? Not to close of the "+" I guess :) (maybe behind the "a" ? )

    5-Deleting a preset should delete the current preset after it finishes to play, but what next ? The other loops not in a preset are looping, but how do you know which preset you are currently playing ? (even of you want to delete it) is there a color code on each preset ?

    6-The very good point with that system, I think, is the midi implementation which is "easier" , if you want to chain, the controler should be just "next preset" and "previous preset".

    7-I guess the letter should also blink to indicate which one will be next, and the current playing should be highlighted.

    EDIT: I just read the first messages of this topic, so I see that you may use a color code, which is very good I think !

  • edited November 2012

    Some excellent ideas here! I had originally sent this request in via email and was directed to this thread, so I'll add some thoughts. After reading the discussion above, I can definitely appreciate the complexity of adding these powerful features while maintaining the elegant simplicity that is already baked into the UI. This is how I'd envision this working.

    First, I think that some finite, predetermined number of groups would be OK (4? 8?) if that makes coding easier - at least for my purposes. Group assignment could be added as a fifth choice to the press and hold radial menu (volume, pan, group etc.) for each loop. This could produce a pop up dialogue for single or multiple group selection as well as a way to dismiss the pop up. Multi-select type dialogue. Select one group, multiple, or none. Color coding would be sweet to indicate which loops belong to which groups if that could be done with the multi-selection concept.

    Then, one more left menu could be added to existing ones.

    Sequencer - This is where you would control the playback of the groups. I could see this being a (+) button. Pick the group to play, and how many repititions. Zero reps = infinite repititions. For example, add a step. Select group A to play four times. Add another step, Select group B to play twice. Then back for four more repititions of group A, etc. until the end of the last step, then either pause/stop or go back to the first step. When a new step is reached, Loopy would wait until the end of the longest currently unmuted loop, then:

    • adjust time signature if needed
    • adjust tempo if needed
    • unmute any loops assigned to the group
    • mute all other loops

    Also when the time signature and tempo are adjusted, that would set and stored with the selected group. I would think a group's length would automatically be set to the longest loop in the group.

    I guess it would also be pretty neat to have the sequencer be able to be swtiched between song mode (descirbed above) and "live mode" - no steps, just switch groups as buttons a-g are pressed.

    Seems like a simple idea, I'm sure it's much more difficult to program and there's probably some glaring thing I haven't thought about that would make this impossible. :-) One final thought, it would be nice if there were a global setting to turn groups on or off - to keep them completely out of the way of someone who's not ready to be quite so "advanced" yet. Disabling would just remove the fifth choice from the press-and-hold radial menus as well as the new left hand menu. Or alternatively, maybe all loops just default to Group A, and the sequencer just defaults to group A in "live mode."

    Thanks for Loopy. It is awesome as is! Groups and a sequencer would make it a mind-melter!

    EDIT: Just to add some clarity (and to prove beyond the shadow of a doubt why I did not choose a career in graphic design), I added a sketch up attachment.

  • edited November 2012
  • Hehe, this is why I love Loopy users - it's like I have a whole team of pro bono advisers ;-)

    Reading, digesting...

  • @crony - thanks for the links - good to see there are other ideas and discussions around this.

    @Michael - thanks for your consideration. Hope you take it for what it is and that this didn't come off as pushy or anything. It's not. Really enjoying Loopy, feeling inspiried by it, and want to contribute somehow! :-) If anything in that post is useful, awesome. If not, keep up the great development toward whatever features you see fit!

  • Cheers, @SuperNiCd =) No, I really do appreciate exactly this kind of thing. This sort of stuff means that when I have the brain-space, I have a wealth of development avenues to choose from, which is fun.

    There're some very neat ideas in there, which I'll definitely be putting some thought into.

  • I like the idea of different colours for different groups, and then there could be a midi function to 1: assign to group/colour, 2: record to group, 3: solo group, etc

  • Say, if you are thinking about a sequencer, why not make several sequences, give them a name, and give them a midi binding.
    Something like:
    Preprogram sequence nr.1: mute/unmute track 1, after the loop is finished start recording track 3, after recording instantly mute track 3 and mute/unmute track 2.
    Then have a midi bindings: sequence nr.1, nr.2, nr.3..(or names)

    Same from me, i really don't mean to push. Just dreamt an idea, and wanted to share.

  • Hi All, I searched for 'sequence' and found this thread. Thought I'd put my two cents in. I'd also like some sequencing. Just nice and simple. identify a group of tracks that play one after the other in a loop. OR even simpler: allow me to do a 'dub' like you do at the moment but instead of laying the track perfectly over the top of the existing one on that track, append it to the end of the existing track. That way I could create one single track which is a 'sequence' of others buy concatenating a bunch of others. The downside of this is that it can't be pulled-apart and recomposed but that doesn't matter since I can just create a new 'appended-dub' track with a different sequence. PS. Sorry, but I can't write this without saying how awesome I think Loopy is since it's my first contribution to the forum - truly one of the most well written and thought out apps ever. Cheers.

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