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I would like to begin performing live. I want to create beats, harmonies and melodies on some kind of looping device. I would like it to be reliable as I don't want to push my limits in a live environment, so I would like to option to quantize.

I was thinking of the following:

1) Some kind of hardware sequencer, like an MPC for the sequencing and playing loops from a database or possibly a laptop (the latter option is not preferred).

2) Synthesizer with keyboard or midi keyboard + rack-mount synthesizer.

3) Two compressors, one for vocals and one for the total mix, although the latter might not be necessary.

4) Hardware EQ, two hardware reverbs, or one with at least two channels of independent processing.

5) Two exciters, one for the vocals and one for the final mix.

6) PA system.

7) Mixer to mix anything that needs to be mixed together.

8) Drum machine

9) A few effects, such as pitch shift, phaser, flanger, and delay.

All the tools should allow recording of patterns and easy live pattern creation and storage, or if it's not included in the tool, the sequencer should be able to handle it.

I would like to avoid using a laptop because they're fairly unreliable and I don't want to depend on one (I've had multiple laptops develop overheating issues despite taking the utmost care of them).

As I probably implied, this should all be controllable by one person, should be fairly portable, and it should definitely be very reliable. I want to minimize cost without endangering my performance.

Thanks in advance!

Currently the only tools I think might be useful that I own right now are a small Yamaha MG10/2 mixer and a pretty good Sehnheiser (e855) microphone. I have a bass effects pedal too, which might be useful. Also, I own a Peavey TNT115 bass amp, which also may be of some use. Everything else I have is oriented towards digital production.

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Welcome to Musical Practice and Performance. I am afraid that this question is much too broad to be effectively answered here; furthermore, questions about recommendations for equipment are off-topic because they are too specialized to be of general use to our users. –  Wheat Williams Nov 18 '13 at 16:34
Wheat, I sometimes feel that a negative stance is being taken. There must be lots of PRACTISING and PERFORMING artistes out there who could benefit from answers to this (and other) questions. It's either too broad or too specialised. Can't see how it can be both. –  Tim Nov 18 '13 at 18:41
The entire 9-point question is too broad, and any individual answer to each of the 9 points would be too specialized. That's how. –  Wheat Williams Nov 18 '13 at 21:01
It's a list of 9 pieces of equipment, that doesn't constitute 9 separate questions.Hopefully my answer addressed that. –  Tim Nov 19 '13 at 8:45
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closed as off-topic by Anthony, Wheat Williams, Jason W, Alexander Troup, Dan Hulme Nov 21 '13 at 13:20

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "Questions seeking recommendations for equipment are off-topic because they tend to become obsolete quickly. Instead, describe your situation and the specific problem you're trying to solve." – Anthony, Wheat Williams, Jason W, Alexander Troup
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

1 Answer

Things you definitely need : P.A. system - which should incorporate the mixer, eq. and probably reverb. Drum machine. Synthesiser/ keyboard. Mic. Looper with maybe 4 or 5 pedals, to produce differing mixes.

This gives the things you maybe don't need : Compressors. Exciters. Pitch shifter, etc.

With a decent looper, you can create your own loops and save them for the gigs, or create them on the fly while you build up a song.Using different parts of your looper to give different mixes of tracks will vary things well.Using a drum machine probably will be best as the underpinning of each song, although obviously you could record this onto a loop either before or during a performance. Quantising should not be necessary, although playing along with a drum machine is not easy for everybody.

Looking at your wishlist, there will be fun wiring it all together, not something to be taken lightly at a gig. You may need a second mixer to input synth., mic. and drum machine before they go into the looper, then into the p.a.When you get all the toys together, I'd be inclined to 'hard-wire ' as much as possible, to save time and sanity before a gig. As the mix going out to the audience will probably be the same as the monitor mix, I wouldn't bother with foldback.Also consider having an A/B footswitch to swap the mic output from looper to p.a. so you can just sing straight without putting voice onto another loop.

Watched a guy who was doing similar, but without drum machine , using a guitar. He produced lots of percussion with the guitar, and his voice, then layered more and more onto the looper, switching mixes (he used a Boss RC 300 I think) and the gig went really well. Some backings were pre-recorded on the looper, as there is room for 100 separate loops.

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Thanks. That's very informative. I have a question. If I used a separate drum machine with the looper, would I be able to make sure the loops were synced correctly, or would it sound like it's looping? Would you recommend a looper with a drum machine? Do you know if there are any drum machines and loopers that will sync together via midi or something similar, so the timing is exactly the same? –  JVE999 Nov 17 '13 at 19:08
What you can do with looper kt tunstall black horse and the cherry tree –  david strachan Nov 17 '13 at 19:12
@JVE - don't know about that, but with a bit of practice, your timing for hitting the on/off pedal will be so good, you won't need to sync. –  Tim Nov 18 '13 at 4:25
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