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Starting and stopping loops with click remaining...

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  • Starting and stopping loops with click remaining...

    Ok, so this is my first post here. Searched around a little, but I've found forum search tools to be pretty sub-par at weeding out obvious things someone isn't looking for....

    We do the following...

    When using loops, our music director creates a loop, and it is generally very generic in nature and doesn't change for verse, chorus, bridge, etc. It's mostly for a little extra or when leading with just guitar and keys, or something like that. Not important for what I'm about to ask.

    When he creates the loop mix, he does the standard "click panned to the left" and "loop panned to the right" in a stereo track. We trigger from an iPad. Here's where it gets hairy...the stereo 1/8" output that terminates in L and R 1/4" mono jacks get run to two separate Boss TU tuners (a TU2 and a TU3 to be exact) and then out of those to the two direct boxes running to the mixer (a Behringer X32) which is then routed accordingly to in ears and house. The reason for the tuners is that it allows the music leader to kill the right side of the loop mix that is going to house while retaining the click from the left side in the ears so that during the course of a song the loop can come in and out as needed for different dynamics and breakdowns and whatnot while retaining the click to keep time ensuring that when the loop (the right side of the stereo out) is re-engaged, everyone is still on time. Well, sounds good in practice, except (and I'll keep this as simple as I can for those of you who don't understand electronics on a construction level) voltage is coming out of the input jack on the tuners and is getting carried through the Y cable to the input jack of the iPad and frying it. I've heard that the Apple stuff is pretty sensitive to that stuff.

    Now, before you assume there is something faulty with a power supply, a tuner, etc., I did some testing with a multi-meter and 3 separate Boss tuner units using two different power supplies (a Boss brand and a One Spot). I get around 3 volts on every conceivable combination of cables and tuners and power supplies coming off of the tip (the part of the jack carrying the actual signal from the iPad to the tuner) of every patch cable I've tried.

    So, I'm wondering what folks are doing to keep time when they want to remain spontaneous in where a song goes, and bring loops in and out of the song randomly. Our team has had great success doing this from a musical standpoint, but the frying of the iPad makes me pose the following question...is there software that you can control via footswitches (Looptimus?) that will allow you to always have the click running and let you start and stop different loops throughout a song? There are parts of a song when a breakdown calls for acoustic guitar only and a drummer whacking the snot out of his hi-hat really distracts.

    Anyway, not sure I got everything in I was trying to say, but I'll leave it at that and see what kind of responses I get...

    Thanks,
    Ben

  • #2
    Most folks are probably accomplishing this with Ableton or similar software. You're correct that, in that scenario, things could then be triggered in or out with a USB/MIDI footswitch.

    I used to do something similar to what you're talking about with a dual A/B switch. I just left the "B" side of each switch open, so it effectively worked as a mute. That got the job done, and there are completely passive switches on the market. Might be an inexpensive option if you're not looking to change the essence of your setup since you mentioned it's working well otherwise.
    Eric Frisch
    www.ericfrisch.com

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    • #3
      Hmm- interesting situation.

      Looking at the standard 3.5mm jack configurations, the tip should be the left channel. If it's only coming through the left channel and not the right, that seems to isolate it to something on the left channel. It looks like you did some troubleshooting on the tuners- have you checked the DI box? Not knowing any more details, is it possible the left DI is bleeding phantom voltage from the XLR through to the 1/4" cable or something?

      Again, going off the assumption it's left channel only.

      Even if you use a passive switch, if the voltage is coming from somewhere other than the tuners, the passive switch will pass the voltage through and you are right back where you started- potentially frying whatever you plug the mini jack into.

      Hope this is helpful
      If we want to go places we haven't been, we will have to do things we haven't done.

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      • #4
        Can you use a volume pedal instead?
        Practical Worship

        Please Pray For My Wife

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        • #5
          Multitracks.com has an app for iOS called Playback that features free click tracks and you can also buy their multi-tracks and hit the fade-out/fade-in buttons really easily. If you want to be more free with the song structure, you'd likely need to buy the Playback Pro app that lets you rework the song arrangement on the fly. But that's the first thing that came to mind to solve that.

          Another solve would be to run click from one device with a mono send to your mixer, and the loops on another device with a second mono send to the mixer. This would work fine with pad loops (not tied to a specific tempo), but if the loops you're using are tied specifically to the song, it'd be tough to synchronize two iPads/etc. to hit the start button at the same time. Just thinking out loud here.

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