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Loop-based music production software

From: Digital Audio Principles

Video: Loop-based music production software

Now, one of the newer kinds of software that exists that's really interesting and fun to play with is Loop-based Music Production software, and this basically lets you bring in samples or loops and arrange them in kind of a grid format and create music from pre-existing sound clips, or you can also create your own loops or samples, and that's where it really gets interesting. Some of these are hybrids and involve things like recording audio and sequencing a little bit of MIDI. But the thing that they do that makes them different from multi-track recording software is their ability to deal with loops and kind of the interface that create that gives you kind of a grid system for laying these things out.

Loop-based music production software

Now, one of the newer kinds of software that exists that's really interesting and fun to play with is Loop-based Music Production software, and this basically lets you bring in samples or loops and arrange them in kind of a grid format and create music from pre-existing sound clips, or you can also create your own loops or samples, and that's where it really gets interesting. Some of these are hybrids and involve things like recording audio and sequencing a little bit of MIDI. But the thing that they do that makes them different from multi-track recording software is their ability to deal with loops and kind of the interface that create that gives you kind of a grid system for laying these things out.

Loop-based software is great if you want to make some quick tracks from existing stuff, like if you're trying to come up with a little bit of music for an intro to a podcast or something short for a video project, and you can also create original samples and really create original compositions. There's kind of a myth that makes it seem like you're just always going to make a piece of music that someone else's samples are. You're just kind of like putting a puzzle together. But it's true that you can actually create your own pieces of music, original pieces of music by creating original samples, and original loops. Loop-based really has more to do with how you arrange the sound files, and kind of a streamlined functionality for working with sounds in little chunks as opposed to the 3-minute guitar take.

Some popular loop-based software titles include ACID, Ableton Live, and GarageBand. Let's take a look at GarageBand real quick and kind of get a sense of what the loop-based environment can look like. GarageBand is a good example of a loop-based piece of software. It's developed by Apple, and if you buy one of their brand-new computers, I know it comes with that. So you might have it, and it's a pretty cool program, you can do a lot of neat stuff with it. You can do audio recording, and you can do other things like other pieces of audio software, but what sets it apart or what kind of makes it interesting is that it has this Loop- based feature built into it.

You can see that it looks similar in some ways to multi-track recording, it's got a Timeline, and it displays the data from left to right along the time and gives you some controls to the left. But what's different is that it's kind of based on this grid, and you can pull different sounds into this grid from a pre-existing library. I can pick a category, when I click on that, it loads up different sounds in that category. So right now I have process-picked, and now you can just click on these and take a listen. Wow! (audio playing) These are different samples and loops that I can use.

They will be drumbeats, guitar sounds, anything you can think of, but they are built in a loop format, so it can play and then play again, it can loop seamlessly. So anyway, I've built a little track here, I have picked some drums out there that I thought were pretty entertaining and a bass track, and so that sounds like this. (audio playing) Now, I am not an aficionado, but I know that that's almost just half a song, and we need a little bit more.

So I am picking out some guitars, let's choose this one. So I am going to drag this out and create a new track, let's drag it in there automatically without any magic or some magic, creates a new track. So now I have my electric guitar track at that sample, our loop is out there, and I can move it around on the grid, and it snaps to the grid. It snaps in different increments. So it will always be in time when you hear it just depends when it will stop, and when it will start. So you can drag it out, and now I can play it.

When we get there we will hear that guitar part. (audio playing) That's one loop. Then I can just drag that and make it loop three times. So now we get it three times. (audio playing) So this is pretty cool. You can really customize little pieces of music. If you are working on bumpers for podcast or things like that, you can make short intros or outros.

You can really customize when and where you hear sounds. Here we can end and go to the guitar solos to be able to limit it. Then we can drag all kinds of different stuff in if you want to--well I better see what that is before I pull it up there, learn my lesson. Whoa! It's like a whole piece of music, here. Here's a good break. So we can create another track, and if we want everything to pick up again, we can copy and paste those loops, move them back like this.

So we come out of our super quiet breakdown with some sensitive vocals or some imagery of something sad and then all of a sudden we're getting serious, and then we're back to our main theme. It's kind of a modular way of making music, you can move things around in different boxes and slide them all over the place, and it's really interesting how quickly you can make pretty interesting stuff that's customized and not just in terms of like when things happen but also in terms of the kind of music, the mood, the atmosphere you are able to create.

So if you don't want to hook up the guitar out, play a 3-minute guitar track, this is a great way to be able to make music without having to do that. But I should say that where I think this loop-based stuff really gets interesting is when you start to create your own loops and your custom samples. I think loop-based software offers a lot of possibilities when you start to create the loop content yourself. So anyway, it's something to think about. If nothing else, it's a lot of fun to work with. You can definitely use loop-based software to make really interesting things, and it's a cool new addition to the kinds of digital audio software that are out there. In the next movie, we will take a look at plug-ins.

Show transcript

This video is part of

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Digital Audio Principles

110 video lessons · 26898 viewers

Dave Schroeder
Author

 
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  1. 50s
    1. Welcome
      50s
  2. 39m 10s
    1. What is sound?
      4m 15s
    2. Hertz and frequency response
      5m 34s
    3. Phase
      2m 39s
    4. Capturing audio
      3m 39s
    5. Sample rate
      6m 16s
    6. Bit depth
      9m 47s
    7. The waveform
      5m 3s
    8. Audio file formats
      1m 57s
  3. 7m 25s
    1. What is a digital audio workstation?
      2m 59s
    2. Typical DAW signal flow
      4m 26s
  4. 50m 33s
    1. What microphones do
      1m 57s
    2. Element types
      5m 0s
    3. Pickup patterns
      6m 51s
    4. Axis
      2m 52s
    5. Frequency response and the proximity effect
      5m 10s
    6. Phase issues
      1m 41s
    7. Microphone types
      8m 44s
    8. Miking vocals
      5m 39s
    9. Miking amplifiers
      2m 17s
    10. Miking drums
      10m 22s
  5. 16m 39s
    1. Cables and connectors overview
      2m 42s
    2. Balanced and unbalanced cables
      3m 19s
    3. Common cable types
      7m 13s
    4. Cable tips
      3m 25s
  6. 12m 16s
    1. What is an I/O device?
      1m 41s
    2. Analog to digital conversion
      3m 10s
    3. Tour of an audio interface
      4m 49s
    4. Interface considerations
      2m 36s
  7. 21m 5s
    1. What is a preamp?
      3m 21s
    2. Input levels
      5m 29s
    3. Padding
      2m 18s
    4. Phantom power
      2m 37s
    5. Phase reverse
      3m 4s
    6. Preamp demo
      4m 16s
  8. 12m 56s
    1. What is a mixer?
      5m 55s
    2. Input section
      1m 17s
    3. Channel strips
      3m 16s
    4. Master section
      2m 28s
  9. 18m 21s
    1. What is monitoring?
      2m 11s
    2. Speakers
      4m 47s
    3. Room considerations
      5m 43s
    4. Headphone types
      3m 50s
    5. Monitoring levels
      1m 50s
  10. 15m 23s
    1. What role do computers play?
      1m 36s
    2. Performance issues
      4m 11s
    3. Hard drives
      4m 38s
    4. Mechanical noise
      2m 10s
    5. Authorization
      2m 48s
  11. 6m 54s
    1. Planning for recording
      54s
    2. Doing a system check
      1m 26s
    3. Planning your inputs
      1m 42s
    4. The recording environment
      2m 52s
  12. 25m 52s
    1. Types of digital audio software
      38s
    2. Multi-track recorders/sequencers
      4m 56s
    3. Two-track recorders/waveform editors
      4m 55s
    4. Loop-based music production software
      5m 44s
    5. Plug-ins
      6m 56s
    6. Other varieties
      2m 43s
  13. 18m 59s
    1. Common components
      46s
    2. The transport
      2m 4s
    3. The toolbar
      3m 19s
    4. The Edit/Arrange window
      4m 42s
    5. The mixer
      5m 8s
    6. The file list
      3m 0s
  14. 19m 17s
    1. Setting up a session
      3m 30s
    2. Assigning inputs and getting signals
      3m 19s
    3. Input modes
      3m 28s
    4. Overdubbing and punching
      5m 14s
    5. Bouncing down
      3m 46s
  15. 19m 42s
    1. What is editing?
      1m 21s
    2. Waveforms
      2m 53s
    3. Making silent cuts and trims
      7m 1s
    4. Fades and automation
      8m 27s
  16. 1h 23m
    1. What are plug-ins?
      3m 0s
    2. Using plug-ins
      6m 11s
    3. EQs
      7m 4s
    4. Dynamics pt. 1: Compressors, limiters, expanders, and gates
      5m 40s
    5. Dynamics pt 2: Applying dynamic effects
      7m 2s
    6. Pitch shifting
      6m 14s
    7. Reverb
      9m 28s
    8. Echo and delay
      6m 23s
    9. Modulation effects: Phaser, flanger, and chorus
      9m 39s
    10. Sound tools pt. 1: About, gain, normalize
      7m 39s
    11. Sound tools pt. 2: Reverse and time compression/expansion
      6m 29s
    12. Sound tools pt. 3: Noise reducers, dither
      8m 11s
  17. 23m 43s
    1. What is MIDI?
      3m 6s
    2. Keyboard controllers
      1m 23s
    3. Computer-based virtual instruments
      1m 6s
    4. Control surfaces
      1m 6s
    5. Recording and editing MIDI
      12m 4s
    6. Virtual instruments
      4m 58s
  18. 27m 29s
    1. What is mixing?
      1m 54s
    2. Some common objectives
      3m 4s
    3. Some useful techniques
      5m 59s
    4. A quick mixing demo
      16m 32s
  19. 18m 48s
    1. What is mastering?
      2m 24s
    2. Sonic maximization
      9m 43s
    3. Final preparations and exporting
      6m 41s
  20. 13m 34s
    1. What is audio compression?
      2m 16s
    2. Popular formats
      2m 9s
    3. Bit rate, sample rate, and channels
      5m 42s
    4. Other adjustments and considerations
      3m 27s
  21. 15m 6s
    1. Essential gear
      7m 36s
    2. Voice recording setups
      1m 43s
    3. The voice production process
      5m 47s
  22. 10m 4s
    1. Analog vs. digital
      2m 48s
    2. Tube vs. solid state
      5m 6s
    3. The continual upgrade
      2m 10s
  23. 18s
    1. Goodbye
      18s

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