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I want to record drum loops, and guitar loops, during the live performance. For example, I want to begin with guitar riff, loop it, and then overdub with sequence played on the drum machine. I wonder how to do it, and what gear should I use. The configuration should be something like this:

Configuration

I've done some research, and I think that I could use Alesis SR-16 as drum machine, and Behringer MICROMIX MX400 as mixer, whose output signal will be an input for the looper. Will it be OK? I'm afraid of problems with the impedance, besides I don't want to destroy the amplifier. Do any of you use a similar gear configuration? Do you have any tips? I will be grateful for your help.

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    Can you go into a few more details as to how you are intending to use the drum machine? Usually a drum machine handles its own looping, so having it going into the looper perhaps isn't the most obvious configuration. – topo Reinstate Monica Jun 13 '16 at 19:41
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    How are you going to be sure the guitar riff is exactly the same tempo as the tempo set on the drum machine if you loop the guitar riff first? It seems to make more sense to loop the drum first and then play the guitar riff to the tempo established by the drum machine. Or will you be monitoring the output from the drum machine with a headphone or have a click track set at the same tempo as the drum machine when you play the guitar riff? – Rockin Cowboy Jun 13 '16 at 23:41
  • @topomorto I was thinking to record drum loops by hitting pads, but now I think to use drum machine sequencer synchronized with the looper. – arek Jun 14 '16 at 13:10
  • @RockinCowboy Ditto Looper X4 can sync with external MIDI Clock, as you can see in this example. – arek Jun 14 '16 at 13:17
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    If you're going to just play the drums into the looper in real time, I'd think an electronic drum kit with proper stick-playable pads (instead of the SR16, or controlling the SR16 via MIDI) would be better. As arek says, there are sync solutions if you want to sync a drum machine and a looper. I also wonder if you've considered using something like Ableton to deal with your drum and looping needs? – topo Reinstate Monica Jun 14 '16 at 13:52
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Regarding destroying the amplifier, this is not going to be a problem with the Looper. It is designed to be in line with a guitar or a keyboard, and you can set the volume levels of your loops.

You shouldn't worry about or output impedance either. Input is 1MOhm, and output is 100Ohm - which are fine for this usage.

You may not need the mixer - the looper is stereo, so you could run the guitar on one channel and the drum machine on the other. This obviously won't work for stereo drum signal, and your guitar level would be much lower than the default drum level so this may not be the most useful configuration, but worth thinking about.

  • You may still need to run it through a mixer or a couple of volume pedals to control the different channels's volumes if you're performing live. This is particularly true if you lay down a lot of layers. The overall volume gradually goes up as you add each layer so at some point you may need to lower the looper output volume and raise your input volume to compensate. – pro Dec 19 '16 at 15:33
  • empty - pretty much all loopers give you really good control of levels so this shouldn't be an issue. It is good to have gain controls or EQ anyway after the looper though. – Doktor Mayhem Dec 19 '16 at 15:35
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I think I am getting a better idea of what you want to do following your comments!

It would be a good idea to make sure that the drum machine that you choose has good playable pads - a lot of people only use the pads on drum machines to sequence things in step time or play simple parts that are then quantised later, so the pads aren't always that good.

You might want to make sure that you are happy with the sound of your drums through the guitar amplifier - drums often sound terrible through guitar amplifiers, as the amplifiers are often very midrangey.

Also bear in mind that you won't be able to use distortion or any effects on the guitar amp without also affecting the drums. You might consider using a guitar effect pedal after the guitar but before the looper. In fact I am assuming that you'll be using something between the guitar and the mixer - the MX400 is a 'line mixer' and only has an input impedance of 4.7kOhm, so might not work well with a guitar plugged straight in.

  • Thanks for great tips! I wonder about your comment on MX400. From the comments I've read, that people use this to mix acoustic guitars, and amplify them on guitar amp. Do acoustic pickups have different impedance from those used in electric guitars? – arek Jun 17 '16 at 7:22
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    Acoustic pickups are often 'piezo' pickups and need an especially high input impedance - i.e. they are even more 'fussy' than normal magnetic pickups. However, many acoustic guitars with such pickups have a small preamp built in, making the output signal much more like a 'line' level signal. It's not clear from those comments whether those acoustics had onboard preamps or not. – topo Reinstate Monica Jun 17 '16 at 7:34

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