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Old 06-17-2019, 06:01 AM   #1
Dave 2099
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Default Live looping project template and custom actions

Awhile back I created a post about the custom actions that I use in live looping. I think my explanation in that older post on how they work was not clear, so I'm putting up a new post with (hopefully) a fuller explanation of how it all works along with updated files. Feedback is appreciated.

I am not a programmer, so everything Iíve come up with uses existing actions and custom actions. My hope is that they will be of use to other unskilled newbies like myself.

My project template and the custom actions let me do four basic things:
1) cycle through input tracks for various real and virtual instruments,
2) toggle FX tracks that receive audio sends from input tracks (like stomp boxes)
3) record new media items that automatically become regions and move out of the way to new tracks, and
4) jump between regions for different song parts.

I use a Behringer FCB1010 to trigger all these actions, so I can create a song with multiple looping parts from scratch, hands-free. Though itís not perfect so some hands-on adjustments are occasionally required.

Iím including a project template and examples of the custom actions that can be tweaked to suit your live looping style.

Here are the parts:

Input, FX, and output tracks

I have separate input tracks for each instrument. The signal from each instrument passes through a series of FX tracks via routing (not folders), and then to an output track (which is needed by the rec/bump custom action). Note that the output track has to be the last track at the bottom of your TCP.

For example, my baritone guitar signal goes into two tracks: a clean guitar track and another for bass tone, and I use a McMillen BopPad and an Alesis SamplePad Pro to trigger various virtual drum kits. Each FX track can be turned on/off like a stomp box.

Each input track and FX track is record-disabled. The last FX track in each sequence sends to a dedicated output track which is set to record stereo output. It is important to record-disable every other track because you only want the output track(s) to be the one(s) that the Rec/bump/create region to affect.

Cycle record-arm previous/next input track

The input tracks are grouped (Group 1), each with master status. Also, each input track and its accompanying FX tracks are grouped, with the input as the master and the FX tracks as slaves in each group. Refer to the attached pic "Group.jpeg." They are record-arm-grouped so that when the input track is selected by the cycle record-arm action, the FX tracks in its group are record-armed too. In addition, to minimize CPU activity, cycling to an input track and its group toggles all the other input and FX tracks offline. One obvious limitation is that you lose delay/reverb tails. But I use this for scratchpad song-writing so thatís not as important. I can record the more-realized songs later properly.

Note that the output track(s) need to be included in every input-FX group so that the output(s) is/are always armed for recording.

Record/bump/create region

This custom action starts recording with one click, and with the next click it stops recording at the end of the measure, moves the resulting media item to a new track at the bottom of the TCP, and creates a region based on this item. I usually create some kind of drum beat as my first region, then add bass and other guitar parts, other percussion parts, etc. Each new item goes to the bottom of the TCP.

I havenít been able to figure out how to avoid creating a new region when one already exists (feedback appreciated).

Copy/paste items and create new region
Create duplicate region, create 2X duplicate region (without copy/paste media items)

These custom actions let you create additional regions based on the selected region and the edit/playback cursor moves to the new region when it reaches the end of the current region. If you are doing something like old school looping want to add a new part to the existing scene, copy/paste/create new region lets you copy the region/scene and its media items to an identical region next to the original. (This one has a glitch and I usually have to move the pasted media items down to the tracks they belong on. Feedback appreciated.)

The other custom actions just create new (empty) regions the same size or twice the size of the one youíre in when you trigger it, and the play cursor goes to the beginning of the new region. I.e., does not copy media items.

The included files are:
* project template (to show my input tracks, FX tracks, grouping, and routing setups)
* cycle previous/next input tracks
* examples of toggle FX tracks actions
* rec/bump/create regions
* copy/paste items/create duplicate region
* previous/next region

I hope others find this stuff useful. Iíd especially like to hear from people who have other ways for accomplishing the actions.

Thanks for reading this lengthy post.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Groups.jpg (58.3 KB, 296 views)
File Type: jpg Routing.jpg (59.1 KB, 282 views)
Attached Files
File Type: zip live looping template and actions.zip (71.3 KB, 89 views)

Last edited by Dave 2099; 06-17-2019 at 10:17 AM. Reason: added screen shots
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Old 06-17-2019, 06:43 AM   #2
mschnell
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Thanks a lot for sharing all this valuable information !
-Michael
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Old 11-05-2019, 03:18 PM   #3
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This sounds super amazing, though I haven't wrapped my head around it yet. Thanks a lot, I'll let you know if I made it work over here

btw. I already had wondered why no one came up with something like this (as I'm far too clueless about scripting et al)!
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Old 11-07-2019, 08:57 AM   #4
Dave 2099
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beingmf, let me know if I can explain anything better. It's a rather complicated setup.
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Old 01-13-2020, 06:56 PM   #5
beachbumpete
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Cool Thank you..

This is the kind of setup I have been trying to create here. I have a focusrite Scarlett 6i6 and also have the FCB1010 pedalboard unaltered. I downloaded a super8 template that I found in a youtube video and have been trying to get it working. I have it looping but right now it only has four stereo channels because the setup is mono so it takes two channels of the available 8 to accomplish. I have a large M audio Keystation Pro 88 that has lots of knobs buttons and sliders that I had previously assigned to my likes but now I have to start all over. I have tried several different looper setups inside reaper and this looks the most promising but mobius is also interesting. I tried to download your setup here and I kept getting errors in the key setups upon download and unzip. The files that did open have a mac setup is this all for a mac? I did not try it because of all the errors. I am using a Windows 10 pc with good speed.

I would love to see more of your setup ESPECIALLY where it comes to implementing the FCB1010 into it all. If I could loop using the pedalboard and have 8 stereo channels setup I would be on cloud 9. REALLY trying to NOT have to switch to ableton here. I love reaper otherwise it just flat out works. Thanks for your efforts here. Open to any info and suggestions...

Pete
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Old 02-14-2020, 04:05 PM   #6
Dave 2099
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Hi Pete,

Yes, I use a Mac. Odd that my custom actions gave you platform-specific errors, but I don't know much about computers. My suggestion would be to take a look at how the custom actions are set up and try to replicate them if they seem useful.

I tried Super8 and Mobius but found them to be limited and unreliable. I ended up coming back to my own looping setup based on custom actions and regions.

I usually start by recording a phrase, and then I can duplicate that region and add layers with other parts. So there is a progression from the initial part alone to the initial part with additional voices. Then I can branch off from that with other parts, like intro->verse->pre-chorus->chorus, etc. They all become regions, which lets me navigate back and forth between them, and/or reorder them as the individual sequences start to form a song progression.

Not sure if this is making any sense. I don't do "live looping" per se, but my setup lets me use a project as a scratchpad to create new parts and build/reorganize them into a song.

Please let me know if any of this is of interest and I can tell you more. I'd also like to hear more about your setup and how you like to play.

Dave
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Old 02-17-2020, 11:37 AM   #7
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Sounds all wonderful, did not test anything yet, a youtube video would finish it all perfectly, it is always better seeing some real example, and now everyone has a phone/camera, and youtube is there as well.
Oh, I forgot, thanks for sharing all your efforts my friend!
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