Getting Started With SooperLooper Tutorial

Music, Software, Tutorial| Comments Off on Getting Started With SooperLooper Tutorial

After my post My Favorite Free Music And Sound Software, I received several inquiries about tutorials for the software program SooperLooper. Since I am not aware of any tutorials other than the documentation on the SooperLooper website, I prepared this video screencast on Getting Started With SooperLooper. I have included a transcript from the video below (the video does move pretty quick)

Let me know if you find it helpful, and other topics on SooperLooper you would like to see covered.

Getting Started With SooperLooper from Joseph Fosco on Vimeo.

Transcript of the video Tutorial Getting Started With SooperLooper

This video is about Getting Started with SooperLooper
SooperLooper is an open source audio looping program you can download for free.
It is available for the Mac and Linux, I will be working here with the Mac version.

In this video, I’ll be covering three things

First we will look at launching SooperLooper and assigning Inputs and Outputs.
Next we will look at recording and playing loops
And finally we will take a quick look at syncing multiple loops

First you need to download and install 2 programs, SooperLooper, and another program called Jack. Jack is used to route audio to and from SooperLooper. Instructions for obtaining Jack are on the Sooper Looper website.

To get started, first you launch Jack. Once Jack is running, launch SooperLooper.

SooperLooper starts up with one player. You can add additional players, and we are going to do that. All you need to do is go to the session menu and add the type of player you’d like. For simplicity’s sake, I am going to add a mono loop.

Now I’ll start Jack running and then assign audio routing by clicking on the “Routing” button. This will open the Connection Manager, which shows all audio inputs and outputs. Clicking on the small triangle reveals each set of audio ports.

The system group refers to the audio interface, and SooperLooper has its own group. In the SooperLooper group, there is a common output, which is a mix of the audio from each player in SooperLooper, and then also individual outputs for each player. You can see the first player is a styeroeo player with 2 outputs, and the second player, which I added, is a mono player with 1 output. The same setup is reflected on the input side. SooperLooper’s common inputs route all audio input to all players, and each player also has individual inputs.

I am going to use the common inputs and outputs. To connect the audio interface input to Sooper Looper, I click on the first input from the audio interface, and then double click on the SooperLooper input. Then I do the same thing for input 2.

Next I do the same thing for the outputs. I click on the mixed output 1 of SooperLooper, and then double click on the audio interface output 1. And the same thing with output 2. Now audio coming into the computer through the audio interface is sent to SooperLoooper, and audio that SooperLooper is playing is sent out through the audio interface.

Next I am going to go to Sooper Looper and raise the recording threshold. This is so that Sooper Looper will not start recording as soon as I press the record button. Instead, SooperLooper will wait to record until the input audio level crosses the threshold I set. I’ll set this fairly low so that we really will not notice this slight delay. -49 db is plenty high for this.

Now, when I click on record SooperLooper will wait for me to play the first note. I am going to use the mouse, but if we had MIDI pedals it would be much easier. The mouse requires you use your hand to start and stop recording – which is not so convenient when you’re playing an instrument. But, the mouse will work for this demonstration.

To record the first loop. I click on record, and as you can see it’s waiting – It’s waiting for me to hit the first note. As soon as I hit it, it will start recording. So here we go…

I click record again to stop recording, and SooperLooper is playing the first loop. I can now play something over this loop. I can overdub on top of it.

When I click on Overdub, recording starts immediately, and when I click Overdub again recording stops. Overdub does not wait for the input audio to cross the threshold we set earlier. Overdub starts recording right away .

Now both loops are playing. Just so you know, you can always undo the last recording you did by clicking on undo. When I click Undo, the last loop will be erased. There, it’s gone. I’m going to rerecord it real quick.

I can now record another loop on the second player. This second player is independent of the first. The loop can be a different length. I can eventually change the volume of each player independently. I could also apply SooperLooper’s effects separately to each player .

So now I’ll record a second loop…

I hit record, and it is waiting to start…

OK, now this second Lopp is actually a little more than twice as long as the first. So the two loops are not playing completely in sync. As the loops play over and over, they get further and further out of sync.

To sync these loops, I can go up to quantize and click on it till it is set to “Loop”. Currently, SooperLooper is set to sync to Loop 1. Now in player 2 I check on “play sync” and SooperLooper will always start the 2 loops together.

And there the two loops are brought into sync.

Syncing will not do any type of time stretching, it will just start the loops together. If the second loop was too short, say by 1 second, syncing would create a double attack of the second loop. the second loop would start before the first, then when the first loop started 1 second later, SooperLooper would start the second loop again.

Well, that’s basically it – A Quick introduction to Getting Started With SooperLooper. If you have any questions or would like any further information, feel free to get in touch with me through my website at I’d be happy to help you out. Have fun!

The Future Of The Music Industry

Music| Comments Off on The Future Of The Music Industry

Michael Masnick recently gave this State Of The Music Industry talk at NARM’s 2009 conference. It is a great overview to creating, presenting, and marketing music in new ways that are relevant now. After boiling this down to just a few elements, he presents examples of artists, very well known to virtually unknown, who have implemented these ideas with great success. The talk is 31 minutes long. Highly, highly worth it. The 31 minutes literally fly by.

NARM 2009 State Of The Industry: Michael Masnick from NARM on Vimeo.

Keeping Sound Live

Music, Sound, Theatre| Comments Off on Keeping Sound Live

Sometimes I think the amount of automation in theatre sound has gone a little too far. Too far in that the sound looses it’s live quality. Too far in that the sound is just a little too polished.

Don’t get me wrong, I would NEVER go back to CDs or cassette tapes, or samplers, or reel to reel tape or all live foley sound. Still, at times, it seems that the amount of automated control has facilitated the removal of the “live” aspect of sound in theatre.

I’m not blaming the technology; it would be foolish to blame the technology. The technology, however, does allow us to create complex and impressive ideas that are, perhaps, inappropriate or, more likely, not able to be fleshed out in the production environment.

This issue is not restricted to theatre sound. Virtually any creative or artistic field that incorporates technology deals with some version of this. So, it is always exciting when I find someone who has found a unique, creative way to deal with this issue.

Shawn Rocco addresses this issue in photography by using a cellphone camera to take photos. Find out about Shawn and his work in this NY Times article, or on his blog Cellular Obscura.

Websites Of Artists Who Work With Sound, Music And Technology

Computer, Music, Sound| Comments Off on Websites Of Artists Who Work With Sound, Music And Technology

Here are the websites and blogs of some my favorite artists working with music, sound and technology. I believe the artists are among the most creative and exciting people working in these areas today. Take a look and get to know a little about them and their work.

Websites only

Nicolas Collins I first found out about Nicolas Collins when he was performing his “Trombone-Propelled Electronics” – a trombone that was modified to act as a very non-traditional controller of a reverb unit that was modified to act as a live sampler. He has since created installations and performances using all kinds of hacked electronics. He is the author of the book Handmade Electronic Music: The Art of Hardware Hacking
– the best book on Hardware Hacking and also an excellent introduction to electronic circuits and music.

Laetitia Sonami Is best known for her development of “The Lady’s Glove”. A glove that is wired up and connected to a computer. With the glove, Laetitia creates music by generating and manipulating sounds. Her performances are among the most powerful live electronic concerts I have seen.

Diego Stocco has a website that features videos of many of his instrumental creations. Not only do the instruments create incredible sounds, but the videos are fantastic. Some of these instruments include, “The Burning Piano”, “The Drying Rack”, and “Typosonic Machine”. Two very innovative music compositions he’s recorded are Music For A Stapler and Music From Sand. Diego is a producer for Spectrasonics where he has worked on several synths including Atmosphere, Stylus RMX and Omnisphere. In addition he creates sound and music for film, games, trailers and audio branding.


Barry Threw is an electronic musician who also develops systems and tools for creating immersive and interactive media experiences. He works with “Recombinant Media Labs” an environment that surrounds the audience with projections, light and sound. Barry is also one of the developers of the “K-Bow”, a string instrument bow that wirelessly transmits performance information to control all kinds of sound – or virtually any other computer controlled app.

Zoe Keating is a cellist who performs with rock groups and plays solo with electronics. In her solo performances, she plays the cello while sampling it live to create loops which she plays with. It is an incredibly beautiful and engaging experience. You can hear some of her music on her MySpace page.

Peter Gregson is a cellist who performs contemporary music. He is “reinvigorating the classical genre by embracing contemporary culture and technologies”. Peter has worked with MIT’s Media Lab in the development of the “HyperBow” and is also working with the soundWIRE project at Stanford’s CCRMA. Peter is co-founder and creative director of Coffeeloop a production company that creates new musical experiences.

Not A Personal Website, But Close Enough

Audio Cookbook is a group blog for audio enthusiasts. It was founded by John Keston. It covers audio production from an avant-garde/experimental perspective. One of the most exciting topics is John Keston’s development of the Gestural Music Sequencer. You can see a short documentary on this interface here.

My Favorite Free Music And Sound Software

Computer, Free, Music, Recording, Software, Sound| Comments Off on My Favorite Free Music And Sound Software

Here are a few of my favorite free software programs for sound and music. What I like about these particular applications is that they are not your typical sound and music apps.  Using these apps has you think in new and different ways.

Sooper Looper – Is a live looping sampler.  Its features and operation were inspired by the Gibson Echoplex Digital Pro.  SooperLooper allows you to record audio and immediately begin playing it as a loop.  You can overdub on top of this loop, or record additional independent loops.  Some other features allow you to sync loops to tempo, control feedback, multiply and divide loop length, insert audio into an existing loop, substitute audio in a loop while listening to existing material and many others.  All features can be controlled via MIDI (requires a program such as Midi Patchbay described below).  Sooper Looper requires Jack – discussed below.  Available for Mac OS X and Linux.

UPDATE – I recently published a video tutorial on Getting Started with SooperLooper.

Pure Data (also called Pd) – is a graphical programming environment similar to Max. Pd was developed by Miller Puckette, and provides the main features of Max and IRCAM’s “Faster Than Sound” (FTS).  Pd integrates audio synthesis, signal processing, video processing, and 3-D graphics in a real-time software environment.  There is a tutorial with sample Pd patches that can be downloaded at  Pure Data is available for Mac OS X, Windows, and Linux

Jack is a router for audio data. It routes audio between an audio interface and applications. Jack allows audio from any number of applications to be sent to the audio interface.  It also allows applications to send and receive audio among one another.  Be sure to read the excellent documentation before installing and using Jack.  The documentation will help you avoid potential problems.  Available for Mac OS X and Linux.

MIDI Patchbay – is like Jack for MIDI data. MIDI Patchbay routes midi data to and from a MIDI interface and software applications. In addition it allows filtering of MIDI data by note or channel, remapping of channel data, and transposition of note data. For Mac OS X.

These have been great programs to use alone or with other commercially available applications.  These applications provide exciting and powerful possibilites not generally available – and when these programs are used together, their power is expanded dramatically.

If you would like to find out about additional free software for music and sound check out Free Software For Music Creation and Experimental Computer Music and Electronic Music Creation.

The Decline Of Media Influence In Theatre

Theatre| Comments Off on The Decline Of Media Influence In Theatre

Jay Rosen has written a very interesting article describing why the authority of mass media is eroding.  Media attention looses much of its value if, as Rosen states, the authority of the press has been eroded.  His premise, that the internet has removed the ability of the media to define “legitimate debate”, clearly points to both a great opportunity and a challenge for theatre.  The opportunity is that the legitimacy that mass media once bestowed, can now be developed by virtually anyone.  On the other hand, any individual or group looking to find or develop a following is pretty much on their own.

Rosen’s article reveals the unspoken assumptions we have all been operating under with regards to the media.  Assumptions which had not been distinguished, but upon which the system was based.  With these assumptions revealed, the uncertainty many experience in our current environment is easily understood,  and it is obvious why all media are struggling to develop compelling content.

This decline in media’s authority creates a related problem for theatre, and the arts in general.  Media attention is now less valuable.  Most obviously, reviews and stories have less of an impact, and even advertising looses effectiveness.  The question then becomes, as the influence of traditional media declines, will new media be as effective in replacing it?  If new media is not as effective,  how will the decline of traditional media affect, or even transform art, or at least the way art is created and presented?

In a larger context, however, the same forces that are at work on the media are also at work on the arts.  These forces will result in as big a shift in the arts as we are seeing in media.  Arts organizations that resist making changes of the magnitude now being required by media organizations will see their relevance decline and even their eventual collapse.

A GREAT Sound Based Game

Games, Music, Sound| Comments Off on A GREAT Sound Based Game

AUDITORIUM is a new flash based game that uses music in a very unique and engaging way. Completely addicting. Give it a try!

Making Free Music Pay

Business, Music| 3 Comments »

For all those wondering on how anyone will make money with music being free, read Kevin Kelly’s fantastic article titled “Better Than Free”. He lists eight ways, “Generatives” he calls them, to generate money based on free. Every one of these can be applied to music. Two that are particularly applicable to recorded music are Accessibility and Findability.

Industry And Student Discounts for “Fatboy” at A Red Orchid Theatre

A Red Orchid Theatre, Theatre| Comments Off on Industry And Student Discounts for “Fatboy” at A Red Orchid Theatre

I recently completed designing the sound for “FATBOY” by John Clancy at A Red Orchid Theatre in Chicago. If I do say so myself, it is an excellent, hilarious production of a great script.

We have scheduled a pay-what-you-can “Industry Night” for Monday February 4. Please bring your headshot and/or industry resume to receive this special deal.

Also, we are offering a 2 for 1 student discount for all Thursday performances.

Hope we see you there!

Ad-Supported Music – Just A New Way To Distrubute The Money

Business, Licensing, Music, Radio| Comments Off on Ad-Supported Music – Just A New Way To Distrubute The Money

With CD sales in a downward spiral, and music downloads not even close to making up the difference, there is constant speculation on the next business model for the music industry. One of these oft touted models is ad-supported music. The music will be free; you will just have to get through the ads.

It is surprising more people haven’t realized, but this model has been with us for quite awhile. Mark Ramsey puts it clearly in this article discussing Chris Anderson’s upcoming book Free. Ramsey states:

“Anderson also thinks most music will eventually be free (and I agree with him). And you know what they call an endless stream of free, ad-supported music, right? Radio.”

Clearly, ad-supported music is not a new model! However, what many hope will be new, is payment to the music industry. This is why the RIAA and foreign-owned labels are going after performance licensing fees for radio play.

In the past, radio play sold CDs, and everything was ok. Now, with sales drying up, there doesn’t appear to be any reason to give this music away. Obviously, radio station owners do not think additional licensing fees are a good idea. They are fighting this proposal.

So what do we have? Slowly dying radio stations, desperately trying to keep ad income to themselves. Record companies looking to get a piece of this same ad income to bolster their own disappearing revenue.

What we are witnessing is the evolution of both radio and the music industry. Something WILL arise that will allow ad revenue to be distributed to content creators. Then, there will be no reason for the music industry to support radio. Traditional radio will have to evolve or die. On the other hand, right now the music industry doesn’t have anything else. Forcing radio to “pay up” is at best a short term solution, at worst it will hasten declining CD sales.

Both sides might find a satisfying solution by working together. It does seem clear, though, that fighting for a larger piece of a shrinking pie will not help anyone in the long run.

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