Sequencer? Looper? Sampler? What the heck do I need as a one man band?

Anything about hardware musical instruments.
thouqht
KVRer
7 posts since 9 Nov, 2017

Post Mon Jan 01, 2018 12:27 pm

Hi, just getting into the hardware end of things and I'm trying to figure out what I would need to do one man band stuff. I want to use:

- Guitar
- Hardware Synthesizer
- Drum Machine
- My own vocals
- Maybe some samples

But I'm struggling to figure out how to put them all together.

Ultimately, I want to be able to build up the song parts in a looping fashion, but I want to be able to recall them after I've built them. So for example: build up the Chorus layer by layer, then switch into the verse, build THAT up, and then be able to switch back to the chorus part without having to build it again.

So basically I'm trying to find a hardware solution that will allow me to build "scenes" (a la Ableton Live) live and then recall them. Ideally I'd be able to mangle and mess with the scenes I've recalled.

I'm trying to avoid using a laptop and I don't know what equipment I need to achieve this wizardry.

Any help would be greatly appreciated!

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Dillinger
KVRist
83 posts since 2 Apr, 2016

Re: Sequencer? Looper? Sampler? What the heck do I need as a one man band?

Post Mon Jan 01, 2018 1:35 pm

There are a number of paths to go down to achieve this and can be a rewarding experience if done right. If done wrong can be very frustrating, like juggeling with one hand.

I will suggest some equipment but it’s up to you to see if any of it fits into your intended workflow. Simplicity is king.

KMI Kmix
iPad
Ditto x4
Roland Jdxi

Just a thought.

thouqht
KVRer
7 posts since 9 Nov, 2017

Re: Sequencer? Looper? Sampler? What the heck do I need as a one man band?

Post Mon Jan 01, 2018 3:55 pm

There are a number of paths to go down to achieve this and can be a rewarding experience if done right. If done wrong can be very frustrating, like juggeling with one hand.

I will suggest some equipment but it’s up to you to see if any of it fits into your intended workflow. Simplicity is king.

KMI Kmix
iPad
Ditto x4
Roland Jdxi

Just a thought.
Thanks for the reply Dillinger, but the Ipad kind of defeats the no laptop thing I was aiming for - basically I want something as hardware based as possible. Which function exactly did you see that filling?

User avatar
justin3am
KVRAF
10462 posts since 7 May, 2006 from Southern California

Re: Sequencer? Looper? Sampler? What the heck do I need as a one man band?

Post Mon Jan 01, 2018 4:09 pm

Elektron Octatrack. MIDI sequencer, looper and sampler. The interface takes some learning, since it can do so much. I think that's been improved with the MK2 version but you can find a MK1 for less than $900 if you look around.

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Dillinger
KVRist
83 posts since 2 Apr, 2016

Re: Sequencer? Looper? Sampler? What the heck do I need as a one man band?

Post Mon Jan 01, 2018 5:47 pm

Ok, I understand better what you mean when considering an iPad and laptop the same.
It functions kinda like a Swiss Army knife in that it can loop, be a sample player, Link, function as a midi controller (to The jdxi for example), program the jdxi, act as an effects box etc etc. They can be fiddely at times though and I wouldn’t try all of the above on the same iPad. Dedicate it to a task or two and use a foot controller such as the KMI softstep or fcb1010.

Yeah that octatrack that justin3am mentioned is a great thing for what it does.

thouqht
KVRer
7 posts since 9 Nov, 2017

Re: Sequencer? Looper? Sampler? What the heck do I need as a one man band?

Post Mon Jan 01, 2018 8:44 pm

Huh okay... looking at some octotrack videos and it seems crazy complicated just to capture a loop.

transmetropolitan
KVRist
281 posts since 24 Nov, 2014

Re: Sequencer? Looper? Sampler? What the heck do I need as a one man band?

Post Tue Jan 02, 2018 2:08 am

I'm someone who recently considered this kinda problem.

I also love old samplers and already own several.

I concluded that a laptop setup made most sense for me. Although I would also like something like the Octotrack.

Really it comes down to what is most important and what you can compromise on.

My absolutes were that it must be relatively straightforward to setup quickly and be portable enough to transport everything myself.

There are loadsa ways to do what you want to do that are some mix of complicated, bulky and expensive. My first feeling is that for the level of complexity you want, software is probably the easiest option.

The Octotrack is probably the single best hardware option I can think of and even that is not without drawbacks.

You could look at a hybrid solution, i.e. more than one box with a straightforward looper for some parts and a sampler for more pre prepared stuff - but that has other limitations.

For me the reality is that doing more complex things with loop arrangement requires a more flexible/advanced/complex user interface. Currently software does that better.

tapper mike
KVRAF
4841 posts since 20 Jan, 2008

Re: Sequencer? Looper? Sampler? What the heck do I need as a one man band?

Post Tue Jan 02, 2018 8:10 am

Finger style is all you really need to call yourself a one man band. After that use backing tracks and save yourself lots of headaches.

pc999
KVRian
1289 posts since 19 Aug, 2009

Re: Sequencer? Looper? Sampler? What the heck do I need as a one man band?

Post Wed Jan 03, 2018 4:35 pm

Consider also the Akai MPC Live or the MPC X.

They are meant to replace the laptop.

transmetropolitan
KVRist
281 posts since 24 Nov, 2014

Re: Sequencer? Looper? Sampler? What the heck do I need as a one man band?

Post Thu Jan 04, 2018 8:11 am

pc999 wrote:Consider also the Akai MPC Live or the MPC X.

They are meant to replace the laptop.
MPC Live has a looper but it is quite limited. For example, the output from the looper goes to outputs 1-2 and this cannot be changed. You only have a single track. You can't bring different bits in and out.

It will definitely do the sequencing/sampling bits but is not suitable as a live looper in the way the op wants.

deastman
KVRAF
6834 posts since 7 Aug, 2003 from San Francisco Bay Area

Re: Sequencer? Looper? Sampler? What the heck do I need as a one man band?

Post Thu Jan 04, 2018 8:33 am

I’ve only recently started using the Octatrack myself. Yes, it seems crazy complicated at first, but once you have it set up the way you want, it’ll be a great looper. The thing to understand is that the Octatrack was designed in this weird, open ended way where there is no one clear workflow, but instead you can use it in lots of different ways for whatever you need. It can be a sampler, or a drum machine, or a midi sequencer, or a looper, or all those things at once. You could use it as 8 loopers at once if you want. And you can hook up a midi foot switch controller so you could control the looping with your feet while playing guitar.

The only other approach I would suggest would be one of the multi looper pedals from Roland/Boss or TC Electronics. I’ve never used one, so can’t comment much.
Incomplete list of my gear: 110V AC to 12V DC 1.5A power supply (+ tip)

pc999
KVRian
1289 posts since 19 Aug, 2009

Re: Sequencer? Looper? Sampler? What the heck do I need as a one man band?

Post Thu Jan 04, 2018 5:09 pm

BTW why not just go with a Push or a Maschine, would have all the advantages of the SW, but if the video on YT are right you barely would need to touch the laptop.

I ask because I would gladly go to a HW only solution but it seems that even a limited setup is quite expensive and more limited than any software. So I am looking to buy a Push.
transmetropolitan wrote:
pc999 wrote:Consider also the Akai MPC Live or the MPC X.

They are meant to replace the laptop.
MPC Live has a looper but it is quite limited. For example, the output from the looper goes to outputs 1-2 and this cannot be changed. You only have a single track. You can't bring different bits in and out.

It will definitely do the sequencing/sampling bits but is not suitable as a live looper in the way the op wants.

Didn't knew that, but even thing this seems a bit limited overall.

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