I spent some time today digressing from my regular work to see if anyone was working on and iPhone / iPod Touch looping app that works like Ableton Live. I wanted something with variable-length loops and that would play loops as you recorded them. It took me a surprisingly long time to dig Loopy up, so here's my blog post and vote. Here's how Loopy works works:
- Tap a speaker icon to start recording (no limit to length, afaik - woot!)
- Tap the icon to stop. It will start to play immediately (if you're familiar with Ableton live, it works the same way)
- Tap another speaker to start recording the next loop. You can record any length of measures, another woot!
- There's six tracks (the six speakers you see below), but you can drag one speaker onto another to merge them.
- If you start recording before the measure starts, it records the lead-in and subtracts the space from the end, if you stop recording before the end of the measure. That's pretty cool, Ableton doesn't even do that.
I love having this in my pocket. Because I have an iPod touch, I also need my headset with mic in my pocket, too, but that's a small price to pay for such uber coolness. On @loopyapp on Twitter, the developer posted a short clip of Imogen Heap using Loopy. That led me to Imogen's web site, which lead me to her YouTube channel, where I got caught up in further digressing from work. What a cool, down-to-earth person she seems to be. Hopefully I run into her at some Tweet-up. Maybe she'll record our conversation and put it in a song...
There are some things about this app that can no doubt be improved, and it seems like the developer, Michael Tyson, is pretty on top of it. It's the kind of app that makes me want to quit my day job and go into iPhone development.
Here's my wish list / gripes:
- A foot pedal attachment to start and stop recording. I tried my bare big toe to record a guitar track, but it wasn't very reliable. If there could be a full-screen button, then the foot might work. One suggestion in the forum was more practical, to allow the user to set the count-in and length.
- Every once in a while the sound stops and I have to quit the app and come back.
- Probably due to the mac headset mic I use, the sound quality is dismal. This app will result in me purchasing yet more fun hardware for my Touch.
- Setting the tempo seems a little hit and miss. Maybe it's my huge finger.
- There's some latency, and that is a little annoying. Laying down a couple of ill-concieved beats (I am no beat boxer but have always longed for the prestige that goes along with being one) made it clear that any precise recording would be a challenge.
Overall, wicked cool! Thank you, and I'm looking forward to version 2!