Hardware midi looper

Hi all !

I’d like to know if someone here has ever heard of a hardware midi looper. I know I could use my mpc 2500 for this, but I’d like to have something light that only records midi notes sequences played on a keyboard and loop them as soon as it is asked to…

My project would be to improvise with my machines, building songs on the fly (drums and synths lines). So I need :

  • a linear drum machine (LXR seems nice but I ithink I missed the second batch pre-order subscription, or roland MC-XXX type)
  • some hardware to play my lovely MI setup via midi so that I can tweak the sound of the looped synth. (that’s why I’m looking for a midi looper and not an audio looper)

The midi looper could be a kit or not, I don’t care.

Thanks for your advices guys !



There are some seats left for the 2nd run…

Yes, Julian told me there were some seats left…so that will probably solve my “which linear drum machine to use” problem.

Concerning the midilooper, it seems like the midibox seq V4 could fit my needs…But are there some other options ?

Seq V4L sounds perfect for this…

@RyanA4: well, this looks like an interesting machine…I need to dig further into the specs to see if it will fit my needs (more than 2 tracks simultaneously played)…

@altitude: the “problem” of the v4L is that it’s a deliberately light midibox v4 with some predefined effects…which means only two tracks (i.e. 2 synths) at a time, which is not enough for me…Then if the midibox is getting my favour, it will be a v4


I agree.

I almost bought one just because it’s so cool- but honestly it needs 3+ midi outs to be worth it. Otherwise it’s just a “set it and forget it (and send pattern changes from a different controller)” sequencer for a single synth. Better for live performance than studio work.

Just get in line with the rest of us (well, me anyway) for a Seq. v4 kit. There isn’t a better hardware sequencer in existence. Except possible a Cirklon, but that price tag makes it a tough buy when there are so many sound generating devices still out there to own. Gotta catch 'em all (then trade most of 'em for a lust-worthy synth, then catch 'em all again!)

You could grab a Fyrd MCP and write your own: http://www.fyrd-instruments.com/MIDI-Control-Platform-2

or grab a midipal and write your own :slight_smile:

You could even do it on a PicAxe…

but of course you have to confront yourself with that horrible machine of horrors called computer…


Com…pew…turrr? What is this device you speak of? Is it poly?

He could split the difference and use Genome for iPad. Pretty great app, and it (along with every other iPad app) will be better once those damn iConnectMIDI 2+ and 4+ finally ship. Might force me to finally fix the partially shattered screen on my iPad…

@Tom – I’ve been working on a hardware midi looper that seems to be similar to what you’re looking for. It’s a small DIY board, similar to Shruthi in construction, with MIDI IN/OUT, 16x2 LCD, clickable encoder, 5 buttons below LCD and 2 on the left, and a bunch of LEDs. Very similar to MidiBUD but with 2 extra buttons on the left of the LCD and a row of LEDs above buttons at the bottom.

The idea is dead simple: 4 tracks play midi events according to the selected tempo. Each track may be muted/unmuted by one of the 4 buttons below. Fifth button on the right acts as a Shift key: pressing it along with the track button activates track recording.

4 tracks are organized into a Part. You can have up to 100 parts. Each has name, tempo and a bunch other settings.

Parts can be organized into Songs. You can have up to 100 Songs. Each has name and a list of parts it plays with counts.

Device can be in Part mode when it plays currently selected Part over and over again or in Song mode, when it plays selected Song Parts one by one.

This architecture is very similar to Alesis MMT-8, however I’m not planning to implement editing functionality MMT-8 is known for.

Hardware is built around Atemga644p and 64KB SRAM chip backed up by a coin battery which can hold about 10K note events.

Prototype hardware works on the breadboard and core firmware is implemented (basic UI and recording/playback code). The next step will be to route/order a prototype pcb and finish UI/miscellaenous functionality while waiting for a prototype boards fab.

The project name is MidiREX and it’s still in the very early stage… however I’m already having lots of fun playing with it: it’s very easy to layer tracks on top of each other especially if you’re using a controller keyboard with dedicated Start/Stop/Record buttons (mine is Alesis QX25).

@kvitekp very cool project!

Will it have quantizing?

It already has quantizing for note positions, note duration and track length. The latter is a must since if the track length is slightly off the phase error builds up quickly.

@kvitekp any thoughts of some type of direct foot pedal control? Do you have a spare input that could be used for a momentary switch foot pedal jack or two?

@joshuagoran: yes, there are two spare i/o ports that could be used for foot pedal inputs, however there is no room on the pcb for jack connector at this point. I’ll probably be able to fit in one 3.5mm stereo connector so you’ll be able to connect a foot pedal.

EDIT: or just make the board large to make room for one stereo 1/4" jack connector.

Don’t do it on my behalf, but if there were room for a stereo jack so it could be compatible with this I bet some people use it. If it were me I wouldn’t mind using a 3.5mm to 1/4" stereo cable.

I think it’s a must for a looper since you need both hands to play … it helps if Start/Stop/Record buttons are available on your keyboard controller surface, but if not, the foot pedal (or a dedicated note on the keyboard) is the only way to go. I cannot see it working if you have to reach out to MidiREX and press a button there.