While live performance using some sort of looping device has become much more mainstream over recent years, it is still perhaps a niche activity. As such, it is perhaps a bit surprising that we have quite so many looper-style apps available on the App Store as we do. Daddy of them all is, of course, Loopy HD, but there are other excellent contenders for your money including Loopr, Voice Jam Studio, LooperSonic, LoopTree, Group The Loop and Ostinator.
And, released just a few months ago – and reviewed here on the Music App Blog – is Quanitloop from Stephan Marx that provides another potential option. Quantiloop has a distinctive retro design that looks very ‘hardware’ in nature. The original app offered two independent loop recording tracks, both of which offer overdubbing (so you can add layers to each loop to build up something more complex) and their playback can be sync’ed. Also on offer was IAA hosting and various types of sync – including Ableton Link – so you could, for example, host a suitable drum/groovebox app within Quantiloop and sync its playback with that of your loops. There is also a metronome if you just want a click to keep you in time when starting up a session.
Anyway, Quantiloop received a significant update yesterday taking the app to v.2.0. This brings not only a refresh of the UI but also an impressive hike in the feature set and flexibility for users. The number of looper slots has been doubled from two to four making much more ambitious live looping arrangements a possibility. You still get the dedicated rhythm track on top of this with a metronome of a suitable IAA-based drum app to guide you and blend in with your own loops.
There are also assignable input effects with some included but also the option to use IAA effects apps in this system. I have not had a chance to fully explore this element of the update as yet but it seems to work very well and you could, for example, slot in your favourite guitar rig sim in here to keep everything ‘in house’ rather than resorting to (for example) Audiobus to manage the audio routing required. Track-level effects are now also included and can be assigned to single tracks or all tracks.
Other new features include a new track Arm Mode for improved workflow, better sync options so you can slave Quantiloop to other elements of your system (e.g. a hardware drum machine), support for MIDI Program Change commands for preset loading (OK, so looper presets are not something for the purest looper but they are very practical for the gigging musician) and a new play mode called Serial Master. No, I’m not quite sure what that does either but, apparently, the full user manual will be available soon and, hopefully, all will be revealed :-)
Yes, there are some excellent alternative looper apps out there but, in terms of features, Quantiloop is a pretty good place to start for a budding looper, especially those with a guitar background. The update is free to existing users and it really is an impressive step up in terms of features and functionality. Quantiloop is perhaps targeted at those who might otherwise go down the traditional stompbox-based looper route (rather than the more abstract looper concept offered by Loopy HD for example, although the latter is very sophisticated and powerful).
For potential purchasers, at UK£9.99/US$9.99, Quantiloop offers a fairly easy way into looper technology that mimics the world of the hardware looper with the convenience (and price) of an iOS music app…. well worth a look…. as is the user demo video embedded below that shows the new version of Quantiloop in action embedded into a live performance rig.