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I'm a musician in a live band that plays folkadelic music. Folkadelic music is played by bands like Kila or Shooglenifty. Instrument mix is acoustic guitar, electric guitar, fiddle, bass, drum kit and horns.

I want to add live sampling and looping to our performance.

The workflow I'm thinking of is that the looping musician (the looper, let's call it) has feeds from each of the musicians. While the band is playing the looper samples one of the other musicians' performance and then triggers that sample or samples live. I could loop the samples automatically in a sequencer or manually by repeatedly triggering the sample(s) by finger drumming on trigger pads.

The band doesn't play to click so for this to work, the looper's instrument has to make it quick to sample, trim and quantize the sample and then change tempo on the fly using some sort of tap tempo function or by manually triggering the sequence.

Note that I'm not talking about just playing loops at the same tempo as the live music. I've got that, thanks. I'm really looking at something like creating and playing hip-hop beats in a live situation from live samples. That requires being able to trim live samples down to phrases or notes with ease. It also requires being able to finger drum trigger pads.

Oh and I don't want to use a laptop. I've found dedicated hardware to be much more reliable and robust.

Is it possible to do something like this with an Akai MPC Live, Electribe 2 or something like that? Does anyone have experience with this?

  • There are various loopers on the market and they all do what you need. Mostly triggered from foot switch. – Doktor Mayhem Mar 23 at 18:55
  • @DoktorMayhem I'm familar with most of the simple loopers. They don't allow trimming the samples. – pro Mar 23 at 21:16
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    You can crop samples with a few, but in reality, the problem you describe is generally not fixed by cropping or trimming samples, but by running the looper she same tempo as the music – Doktor Mayhem Mar 23 at 21:19
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    @DoktorMayhem I'm familar with changing tempos of loopers to match live music, (search "user:10635 [looping]"). I'm really looking at something like developing hiphop beats in a live situation from live samples. That requires being able to trim samples down to phrases or notes with ease. I'll edit my question to make it clearer. – pro Mar 23 at 22:38
  • Ah - I think I get what you mean. Some do allow cropping, but it's difficult. Normally you'd grab the sample at the length you want, and then let the looper autotrim past the loop length. A laptop is usually the way to go - most of the bands we play with use laptops on stage (and in our experience the only ones that have given issues are macbooks :-/) - – Doktor Mayhem Mar 24 at 10:14
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I think you could look also at Casio the designer of the mighty SK-5 and FZ-1, the models like XW-G1 (discontinued) or MZ-X500 https://www.casiomusicgear.com/products/mz-x-series/mz-x500 could sample live block and have them sequenced as drum patterns with either a step sequencer (XW-G1) or a 16-track MIDI sequencer (MZ-X500)

  • Big and heavy though. – pro Mar 26 at 20:00
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I've looked at the Electribe 2 sampler and the Akai MPC Live standalone online. Unfortunately, I only own the Electribe 2 so the Akai info is from online.

It appears that the Akai MPC Live would be the best choice for this sort of performing.

As you can see from this video, with practice sample capture and editing is quick on the Akai using its multitouch screen and waveform display.

This is a lot harder on the Electribe 2. With the Electribe, you have adjust the start and endpoints by twiddling a knob and the only display of the sample is a single numeric value in fractions of a second.

I'm not sure if the Akai can change playback tempo in realtime with onboard controls, because I don't have the device in front of me, but it does accept external MIDI syncing from an external MIDI controller, so I can use the Electribe 2 or some other controller to change the playback speed.

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