Patrick Madden – the main man behind Secret Base Design’s series of iOS music apps and part of the team that bought us Music IO – launched a new app back in May – Infinite Looper – that takes some of the concepts that are more generally associated with audio loopers and applied them to MIDI loops (or clips).
This approach means that you can build a loop-based composition based upon some short MIDI phrases and trigger them ‘live’, or via a pre-configured ‘song’ structure, to create your music…. and, instead of audio in those loops, the MIDI data triggers sounds based on virtual instruments, whether those be within Infinite Looper itself (it has a built-in GM-style SoundFont sound set), other iOS apps (Infinite Looper can act as a host of IAA apps) or, given appropriate MIDI connectivity, external MIDI sound sources.
In terms of basic practicalities, Infinite Looper requires iOS8.0 or later, is universal and a 37MB download. It is priced at UK£10.99/US$14.99. And while Infinite Looper is now universal, there is also a dedicated iPhone version called Aleph Looper which is available for a lower price.
Anyway, Infinite Looper has now moved to v.2.0. The headline new feature for v.2.0 is the addition of a pitch-to-MIDI conversion process. This means you can use the pitch of any incoming audio to trigger MIDI notes. perhaps the most obvious way to approach this is with a guitar (maybe a direct inout via a suitable audio interface?) but there is noting to stop you trying other audio source, including your own voice, as a means of generating your MIDI sequences.
Having given this a bit a of a try this afternoon – using an iRIG HD2 to input audio from my guitar – the pitch-to-MIDI conversion seems to work pretty well. There is a slight delay between playing a note and that note then be used to trigger a MIDI note and perhaps this is a touch long for really comfortable playing in real-time. However, the mode I found it most useful in was in Infinite Looper’s ‘step input’; here the pitch conversion is very reliable and, of course, the slight delay involved is less of an issue.
As far as I can tell, the conversion process is monophonic (one note at a time) but, again, in step mode, I did manage the app to generate chords, either by picking those notes as a very rapid (but not strummed) arpeggio or simply doing multiple passes through the same MIDI clip.
There are some other changes to the app. The UI has been refined in a number of places to try and make the workflow a little easier. Also, MIDI file import is now supported. I’ve not yet had a chance to give that a try…. so if you have, then feel free to add a comment on the process below:-)
I really do like the underlying concept of Infinite Looper. It perhaps doesn’t bring anything dramatically new in terms of powerful MIDI sequencing features and this kind of clip/loop-based MIDI sequencing is available elsewhere… but Patrick has presented in a somewhat different way here so that it is a little more immediate and, unsurprisingly, more ‘looper’ like.
For more details, read the full Infinite Looper review, check out the introductory video below or the App Store description via the Download button…. Oh, and while you are at it, check out Patrick’s other Secret Base Design apps… and also note that Aleph Looper is currently available for just UK£3.99/US$4.99 if you want to pick up the iPhone-specific version of this MIDI sequencer/looper :-)