Building a MainStage Live Looping Setup with LoopBack – Part III

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

PlayBack is a backing track player that syncs to the beat.  Flex audio and markers make it even cooler.  Best of all, it works together with LoopBack for a killer combo.

  1. Thanks for the awsome videos! Can you tell me the make/model of the pedalboard you used? Also, any idea how fast a processor and how much RAM you would need to pull this off? I have an early 2008 MacBook Pro. 2.4ghz core duo. Mb133ll/a or A1260. It has 1GB of RAM, but I was thinking about upgrading to 2GB. Do you think I would have latency problems? Thanks, again.

    • The controller is the fcb1010 from behringer. I would think your latency would be fine – have you tried it yet? I normally use an audio interface, but I think the on-board mac sound does pretty well. I have the unibody MacBook Pro from around that same timefram and it can get really low latencies with the presonus interface I have. If you can’t test it for some reason, let me know and I may be able to help out. Glad you liked the videos!

      • Thanks for answering so quickly, Sam. I’m really new to all this, having just bought the Macbook Pro. It came with Logic Studio 8 and I’m probably going to get 9 just so I can do this. I just noticed that you have a video on Mainstage and SooperLooper. Is that Mainstage or Mainstage 2 you are using in the SooperLooper video? Could I just use that and skip 9 for now? The Macbook is in for repairs right now, so I can’t check. I’m wanting to do something like what KT Tunstall does live on The Black Horse & the Cherry Tree. Actually, I haven’t even bought my audio interface yet. I’d eventually like to handle a small band and it seems like the Focusrite Sapphire Pro 14 has the best price point at around $220 for a first time interface that has room to grow. That sound reasonable?

        • Rob,
          I can’t say if MainStage will do what you’d like – I’m not familiar with KT Tunstall and the project you referenced. I believe that MainStage 1 could operate with SooperLooper to provide looping. MainStage 2 has the built in looper and makes things a bit easier.

          Your audio interface choice. If you’re looking to record bands, you’ll want at least 4 inputs for drums, 2 guitars, one bass and a scratch vocal. Looking at the pictures of that thing – I don’t understand how you’re going to get 8 inputs into that thing. I can see two mic pres, two line ins and 2 spdif inputs. That’s 6 with the spdif not being the most useful connector – I’ve never managed to use one in ten years. You’d need 2 more mic pres to get up to 4 microphones, so expect to spend a little more money to get up to 4 mics. You can do a kick, overhead, guitar, and bass DI for a small band if they aren’t expecting the full treatment and it can sound good if you take your time getting sounds – see the two mic garageband video here. If you’re seriously looking for something to grow into – and want to record bands, I’d recommend something with 8 analog ins and an ADAT input as well.

          I’d also stay away from firewire, unless you plan on buying macbook pros forever – if I weren’t doing video, I’d have a usb interface and a macbook – no doubt.

          Best wishes and you’re very welcome – Sam

  2. Thanks again, Sam. That will really be great.

    I think I may be stuck with the Firewire interface for now, since my Macbook Pro only has 2 USB ports and they are both being used. I guess I could get a hub or something, but would that affect latency? Also, I wouldn’t really need to record a band. For the band, I’m really just thinking of using it for a mixer and effects processor for live shows. Are drums usually amplified at small gigs? Like I said, I’m really new to this. I’ve only played some singer-songwriter stuff at coffee houses and open mic nights.

    I’m too old to start playing in bands at this point. Part of my thinking is planning ahead for my son. He’s about to turn 7 now and has only been taking piano lessons for a little while, but he is very musical and wants to be hip hop star (not my first choice, but, like I said, I’m old). I’d like for him to have the tools around for him to make a good start of it when he is ready.

    • Rob,
      You could get a hub and still plug your audio interface into one of the computer ports. Drums are usually not amplified at small gigs. If anything, the kick may be mic’d up. But your mixer idea could work – but a mic over / in front of the kit, mic an amp or two and then try to get a feed from the PA mixer for the vocals. On the other hand you could just put up a stereo pair of mics and call it a day.

      That’s cute about your son. I was into hip hop as a teenager and my dad HATED it. Wish all these toys were around back then!

      • I wound up placing an order for the Focusrite Saffire Pro 24 from Amazon just before I got your response. Oh, well. Still seems like it might be a good deal. At $229 from Amazon, the next step up has ADAT inputs, which, if I’m understanding this stuff correctly, should mean I can mic some drums if we ever get to that point. So now I’ll have a very crappy (no velocity sensitivity) 66 key MIDI keyboard with USB in, a YDD-60 electronic drum kit with MIDI I/O, a Power Tour Electric guitar toy (which could be nice for a cute effect and be a crowd pleaser), and a crappy CO1U USB condenser mic. Over the years, I’ve also picked up a console piano, a cheap old (but decent sounding) acoustic guitar, hammered and mountain dulcimers, fiddle, open back and closed back banjos, and harmonicas (its where old instruments come to die). In the mail is a Sennheiser E835 mic/boom stand/cable package for $109 and another boom stand with a telescoping arm for $28.91 from B&H. Then my mom is getting my son the Rock Band 3 Squire Guitar controller with analogue and MIDI out for his birthday in a week and a half, to round out the mix. I would think with all that together, we should be able to make some noise! My thought is run all the electronic stuff into the audio interface, and have one mic for vocals and the other for the acoustic instruments and then run all that into a PA. I’m actually debating whether to get the pedal yet. I’ve got so much crap now, I probably won’t get around to needing it for while and maybe could just map some keys on my computer keyboard to control the loops. Would that work?

  3. Thanks Sam for the videos!!!
    Really helpful.
    I changed from PC to MAC and from Nuendo to Logic and from KORE to MainStage, so lot of things to learn and after more than 15 years professional MIDI work every day I feel like a learning to walk again… 😉
    Previously I looped with program called Möbius – absolutely superb for live looper ( ). Now with MainStage I’m really interested does the Loopback have the same possibilities like Möbius.
    My main problem right now is that Loopback is always in sync… I cant find the solution how to let it free. Sure I want some looper tracks to be in sync, but some tracks I need to make without certain tempo, but Loopback always count something… 😉
    Do You think it’s possible to loop without concert- or set- or patchlevel syncronisation?

    Thank You!
    Tiit Kikas

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