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my live looping setup 2023



Hello! So every week back on my Youtube channel I get a lot of comments and questions about my live looping setup. This blog post will try to answer your questions about anything that has to do with my gear during my performances, the hardware connections and experience with live looping. Featuring the BOSS RC-202 loop station, working in pro tools, the Arturia minilab MK2 and more! Let's jump into the world of live looping.



My gear


To be able to create a live looping performance you will need a setup of gear. It doesn't have to be the most expensive, fancy or cool setup you've ever seen. For example, my midi keyboard is high quality, thrifted, and one of the cheapest ones in the field. Two of my guitar effects are also thrifted from a family member and goes all the way back to the 70's! In other words, your computer is the only part that really needs to be your biggest investment. It needs to have a solid CPU power and quality to be able to get started. But otherwise - use what you have or can get your hands on!


In the end, it all comes down to the patience level and creative effort.



2020 M1 macbook pro


The M1 Macbook Pro is a laptop that I bought about one year ago because I wanted to change things up and give it a go. I'm actually a PC lover so I'm very aware of what I get for my money's worth in a PC compared to a Mac. The reason I bought it is because I am curious and I wanted to try it out in music production and see what the M1 actually is capable of compared to the Intel processors. It was really hyped up at the time of the launch but after using it for a year I would say that it's okay.



I definitely did expect more from it, I just don't see the hype and why it's so much better. At it's peak, it's as good as Intel. Sure, its very cool, light and quiet, that is until long hours of video editing. Not to mention the endless plugins that simply won't work with Ventura, Monterey or even Big Sur. The Rosetta is an absolute must to be able to function at all in music production. Next time I can afford it, I will go PC all the way.




boss rc-202 loopstation


This next piece of gear is essential for live looping! It's the boss RC 202 loop station. I've been using it for two years now which means some years of experience on this device. Read the full review and walk through on the BOSS RC-202 right here. I'm absolutely in love with this thing. It's so neat, small and versatile. Another plus is that its really easy to travel with.


PROS AND CONS:


+ Travel friendly

+ Easy to learn and use

+ Packed with pre and post effects

+ Sleek design

+ Durable and great quality

- Not battery powered

- Two stereo tracks can be limiting

- Small display




arturia minilab mk2


The next piece in my collection is the thrifted Arturia minilab MK2. This is a 25 keys midi keyboard that is USB powered. This midi keyboard is also very travel friendly with the small size. It's really beautiful in this design with the clean white cover, the colourful and customisable pads and the cute wooden sides. It got eight pads and sixteen knobs that you can custom set up however you want them to. When I got this I never felt the need to use a full-size piano anymore. As a music producer, it simply does the job.





Mackie pro fx 6v3


The next piece is my Mackie Pro FX 6v3 interface. This piece is actually a combined mixer, interface and effects pedal. After using it now for almost three years I feel that I could definitely cut out the effects since I never use them. Of course it would depend on the users needs, but since I want to be able to control the effects post recording I prefer to add them in post or with my loop station or guitar effects chain. I mainly use it as an interface but also sometimes as a mixer. If I would buy a new one today, I'd go for a solid interface without any extra fluff or features.




Beyerdynamic dt-250


So for headphones these are the Beyerdynamic DT-250. Truth is, I've used them so much they are breaking down - and I'm not even kidding. The headband is starting to fall off. So I would say that is the best kind of review. They are really good! They are closed back headphones which I use for everything: mixing, mastering and recording.




If you're already into music production you would know that they are not made for for mixing since they're closed back. I love the sound quality and the frequency spectrum in these. I don't really have anything to complain about really, except from the lack of comfort at long hours of mixing. All and all, they really have done their job all of these years of producing.





Beta 58A


For my vocals I tend to always use the wonderful Shure beta A58. Not that I don’t love condenser microphones! They make the voice really crisp and brings out the frequencies in a beautiful way. But it also picks up just that - everything. A dynamic microphone like the Beta 58A will pick up the front noise since it got a cardioid pickup pattern. This suits live looping really good because adding tracks on top of each other can get messy pretty fast if you don't control the noise bleed. It's perfectly durable and a perfect companion on the go as well. But note that this is only a personal choice. If you do have a quiet surrounding and really enjoy those crisp vocals, a condenser microphone could be a beautiful choice too.



Like my Neumann U87 for example:





Guitar effects




Neunaber immerser reverberator


Also I use guitar effects in my live looping setup! One of them is the Neunaber immerse reverberator. It's a combined reverb, delay and shimmer pedal. It's a lovely and versatile guitar effect with many options including wet, hall, plate, spring, shimmer, echo and detune. Absolutely perfect for the ambience music maker that wants nothing else than endless ambient soundscapes.



Ross compressor (1970's)


I recently got my hands on this thrifted Ross compressor that dates back to the 1970's! It's so cool it makes my hair stand up. It got that warm vintage tone that only can be found from that time. It's also an absolute joy to crank up the compression when looping - especially since I don't use any additional pre-amp or DI-box at the moment. If you can appreciate changing the battery from time to time it's a great idea to go vintage when it comes to music gear. It really can't go wrong and is a fantastic addition to your normal effects chain.



MXR phase 90 (1970's)


Let's keep it vintage!


The MXR phase 90 is another vintage guitar effect - a bubbly and round phaser that together with the compressor brings the soundscape to another dimension. What an absolute wonderful contrast to the modern sounds we hear way to often. I don't use it in every track, but when I do, I can guarantee a trip back to the glam rock ballad era. I really enjoy it and have a special place in my guitar effects chain.



Harley benton tuner


To keep my performances in tune a tuner is an essential piece of my, and should be in anyones, effects chain. I use the simple Power plant tuner from Harley Benton. It gets the job done before, during and after the live looping sessions. Also, I do enjoy being able to keep the tuner on the floor with a foot switch completely out of sight.



Behringer fs112v


Last but not least in my effects chain I use a foot switch. Since I'm a guitar player this has become a no brainer in my guitar chain. When performing live there is simply no time for error or more additional stress. So if you are a guitar player and haven't invested in a foot switch yet, thank me later.



Software


When it comes to software I am a Pro Tools user since way back. You might wonder as a live looping performer why I would you use Pro Tools. Well, the simple answer is that Pro tools has become my safe haven since all of my teenage years was spent in this DAW. I've gotten very comfortable and used to it and honestly, that is the most important thing. If I were starting out all over again today, I would go for probably Ableton like everyone else. But it's become my thing that I actually am a Pro Tools as a live looping performer. The truth is it's not a problem at all. Pro Tools is not made for live looping but that doesn't mean that you can't do live looping in Pro Tools. Ableton is made for looping and that's the big difference between them.



If you enjoy this topic, you can watch my Youtube video down below.


Like always, thanks for stepping by! :)


Keep practicing.


LOVE/M




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