Swooping through Linux music land one more time

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Digital Larry
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Swooping through Linux music land one more time

Postby Digital Larry » Thu Sep 12, 2019 3:04 pm

I've been making music on computers since I built my first PC clone in about 1984. I made a UART based MIDI ISA card and wrote a 24-track MIDI sequencer in DOS using...what was it... "Hercules Monochrome Graphics" OMG real old school. When Windows came along I did not make the jump as far as adapting my program to it. It was too far over my head.

Around 1992 I worked at a sound card company and we had access to various MIDI sequencers. I started using Cakewalk, eventually winding up with SONAR Professional which I still use. SONAR is really powerful, blah blah blah which translates as COMPLEX, and I have had a lot of trouble "creating" while using it, as compared to simply recording ideas which were already well formed.

Here's an example of something I did about 15 years ago and is a good example of a combination of MIDI tracks with electric guitar and bass. https://www.soundclick.com/html5/v4/pla ... ID=1570841

I got a Digitech looper pedal and was amazed how much easier it made it to capture ideas that come up when I am playing the guitar. Just step on a footswitch. No mousing, creating tracks, selecting inputs, head scratching, etc. It just works. But I'm also frustrated by the limitations and expense of many looper pedals and the difficulty getting those ideas into a DAW.

Specifically:
a) I'd like to be able to build up 3, 4, or 5 tracks sometimes on the looper.
b) I don't generally overdub or replace parts of the loop other than to try to correct a small bit rather than redo it.
c) Everything needs to be MIDI footswitch controllable. The more hands off (e.g. mouse, keyboard) the better it is.
d) I like the ability to make the loops different lengths. e.g. I record a 4 bar riff and then 8 bars bass synced over it and then 16 bars melody/solo. That's the way I would normally do it.

I did loop recording in SONAR using "take lanes" - you set a looping section on the timeline and then record. Each pass goes onto its own "take lane" which is like a sub track. This feature is really designed for doing things like comping vocals where you can mark sections of each one and then merge them together. Then you erase the parts you don't need. This is complicated and requires a lot of mousing and doesn't let you make things of different lengths unless you just set it all up manually and copy/paste the shorter parts to extend them.

I've also got Ableton Live and I'm going to try to see what it offers for looping, but again I do NOT like working in a DAW or want to ever touch the mouse if I can avoid it at that place in the process.

TL;DR sorry.

The closest I've come to how I want to work is Sooperlooper with 3 mono tracks (rhythm/lead/bass) sync'ed with JACK to Hydrogen. I need the ability to edit the drum part to match the rhythm guitar and/or bass rather than the other way around. Too many times I was playing a riff into a DAW and wanted to record it, only to fall down the well into auditioning drum loops, none of which really matched and after a few minutes of that the original idea went out the window. I've been using Ardour as a mixer/FX dock. This combination (Sooperlooper/Hydrogen/Ardour) would be great. And it is great when it is working.

I've used the QJackCtl connection manager which while functional, is inefficient. Claudia seems to work much better. I'm trying to get it all to work consistently, and if my stock configuration could get set up automatically upon boot or just load one file, I would be ecstatic.

So, I've traded setup complexity and uncertainty about stability and interoperability for an optimized music creation environment. If that all was wedged into a single app without any extra features, it would rock pretty hard. I'd even be happy to use Sooperlooper minus several of its features which I never use anyway.

I tried to set up Sooperlooper/Hydrogen/Ardour on Mac, but somewhat like Linux, there are multiple audio systems and multiple MIDI systems, and depending on which apps you use, you may have to "bridge" from one to the other, which I'm sorry, is a ROYAL PITA. I guess Windows has similar things with MME, ASIO, etc. but I never used so many different pieces trying to sync together which is why it hasn't been a problem there. I just use "SONAR". Or "Live". Or "Acid".

So there you go. I am not a fanboy of Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android. I use all of them. My opinion is that what I personally want in a creation tool is not being offered. Live is not really geared towards simplicity or guitar looping. It's really geared towards live performance and control of a bunch of stuff on a grid. I did look at luppp briefly, which offers some of that, but it doesn't work well enough in other regards for me to ever get to the point where that arrangement UI would ever be used. Now if I could combine Sooperlooper's looping engine with luppp's UI, I might be onto something. And with Open source, of course I could, and you never know, maybe I will. Nice thing about Sooperlooper is that it runs as client/server anyway so using a different UI with it is well within reason.

If anyone's aware of a commercial tool that does what I'm talking about, I'd sure be interested to learn about it. But another DAW, I do not need, unless it does this perfectly.

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Linuxmusician01
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Re: Swooping through Linux music land one more time

Postby Linuxmusician01 » Fri Sep 13, 2019 12:07 pm

Digital Larry wrote:[...] So there you go. I am not a fanboy of Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android. I use all of them. My opinion is that what I personally want in a creation tool is not being offered. [...]

Be opportunistic. There's no shame in using Windows. If a certain system (be it hardware or software) does offer what you want, use something else. On the - recently gone defunct - NedLinuxforum we always recommended "hopping" distro's. That is: if one doesn't install smoothly or does not recognize your hardware in one go, try another.

On the other side, I've grown accustomed to Linux and I too - like you - bend over backwards sometimes to use Linux (and its native software) for anything. Got me into a lot of trouble w/ MS Word compatible documents to exchange between me and others.

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raboof
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Re: Swooping through Linux music land one more time

Postby raboof » Mon Sep 16, 2019 7:45 am

Linuxmusician01 wrote:On the - recently gone defunct - NedLinuxforum

Oh that's sad https://web.archive.org/web/20070222162 ... hp?id=1540

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Linuxmusician01
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Re: Swooping through Linux music land one more time

Postby Linuxmusician01 » Mon Sep 16, 2019 11:50 am

raboof wrote:
Linuxmusician01 wrote:On the - recently gone defunct - NedLinuxforum

Oh that's sad https://web.archive.org/web/20070222162 ... hp?id=1540

Hmmmm. How can I find my old profile like that? I am/was "MeneerJansen". :)

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raboof
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Re: Swooping through Linux music land one more time

Postby raboof » Mon Sep 16, 2019 12:35 pm

Linuxmusician01 wrote:
raboof wrote:
Linuxmusician01 wrote:On the - recently gone defunct - NedLinuxforum

Oh that's sad https://web.archive.org/web/20070222162 ... hp?id=1540

Hmmmm. How can I find my old profile like that? I am/was "MeneerJansen". :)

First google "MeneerJansen profile site:forum.nedlinux.nl" which gets you the now-defunct https://forum.nedlinux.nl/profile.php?id=3450 , then enter that URL in http://web.archive.org/ . That nick does ring a bell, small world :)

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Linuxmusician01
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Re: Swooping through Linux music land one more time

Postby Linuxmusician01 » Tue Sep 17, 2019 10:18 am

raboof wrote:First google "MeneerJansen profile site:forum.nedlinux.nl" which gets you the now-defunct https://forum.nedlinux.nl/profile.php?id=3450 , then enter that URL in http://web.archive.org/ . That nick does ring a bell, small world :)

[off topic] Thanks! :)


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