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Live backing track replay pedals/units - that can play two stereo tracks at once?

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Live backing track replay pedals/units - that can play two stereo tracks at once?

Postby bigster » Mon Oct 05, 2020 8:54 am

Hi everyone - I’m looking for some recommendations for a live-oriented unit, maybe a looper guitar pedal, that can play 2 stereo backing tracks concurrently, with completely independent start and end times.

This is a bit of background about what is for, and how ideally I’d want it to work:

A live synth/electronic project I’m involved in uses a backing track for two numbers in the set. We used to do it with an Akai MPC Live triggering synths via MIDI, but for reliability and speed of setup we’ve more recently used the same studio-recorded audio playing as a 1-shot sample from a Digitech JamMan XT pedal.

I’m looking to supplement this now with more replay of ~20 second atmospheric samples as a kind of ambient ‘cover’ between all numbers in the set. So similar ‘one-shot’ replay that can be triggered with a button or footswitch press and which finishes of its own accord. It would need to be independent of the backing tracks - for musical and flexible timing reasons I don’t want to try and bake in the backing and atmospheres to the same audio track, on a single replay unit.

Obviously a solution is to get another JamMan (or similar) and have one dedicated to the atmospheres and one to backing tracks. But it’s yet another stereo output and PSU to handle, and I wondered if there was any single unit that could fulfill this role. Something that could appear as a removable drive on a computer via USB would be particularly good, to handle file transfers and organisation of the set list. (The JamMan and its now non-functional Mac/PC software isn’t great in this regard).

An hour of googling and the only thing that comes up is the EHX 22500 pedal. That looks to do what I need (amongst all the looping features that I’d never use). But I’m guessing there might be more and better options. I’d be really grateful for any pointers if so!

Thanks a lot.
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Re: Live backing track replay pedals/units - that can play two stereo tracks at once?

Postby MarkPAman » Mon Oct 05, 2020 9:36 am

If I were attempting this, I'd use Qlab, which (free, without any licence) can play any number of stereo tracks independently through one stereo output. Each track can be triggered from (qwerty) keyboard or midi, among other things.

It's a very powerful bit of software for all audio & video playback - even just using the free bits, and well worth checking out if you have a Mac.

If you don't have a Mac I understand Show Cue Systems is the closest thing for a PC
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Re: Live backing track replay pedals/units - that can play two stereo tracks at once?

Postby The Elf » Mon Oct 05, 2020 9:41 am

I do all of this kind of stuff in Cantabile, which makes everything very easy and flexible. I can assign any controllers to any number of media players. Plus it gives time-based triggers to handle any synced events, such as program changes, cues or the like.

But if it's a dedicated hardware box you're after I would think that the Boss RC-505 (and maybe the RC-300?) would do the basics of what you want.
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Re: Live backing track replay pedals/units - that can play two stereo tracks at once?

Postby bigster » Mon Oct 05, 2020 9:59 am

Thanks for the suggestions. I have dabbled with QLab in the past, and had not thought of that. Cantabile is unfortunately out as I'm not Windows-based. I think generally I'd prefer a dedicated hardware unit - I'm trying to keep the setup tablet and computer free as much as possible. I'll dive into more looper PDF manuals today... :geek:
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Re: Live backing track replay pedals/units - that can play two stereo tracks at once?

Postby Sam Spoons » Mon Oct 05, 2020 10:21 am

I'd agree with The Elf and suggest RC-300 or RC-505.I have an RC-300 and it's hugely flexible.
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Re: Live backing track replay pedals/units - that can play two stereo tracks at once?

Postby forumuser931182 » Tue Oct 06, 2020 8:01 am

Akai MPX8 or MPX16 or Roland SP404 models. You are just looking for a very simple sample player?
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Re: Live backing track replay pedals/units - that can play two stereo tracks at once?

Postby bigster » Tue Oct 06, 2020 10:25 am

forumuser931182 wrote:Akai MPX8 or MPX16 or Roland SP404 models. You are just looking for a very simple sample player?

Thanks for those suggestions. I didn't know about the MPXs, and they look perfect except their memory capacity isn't quite enough for the material I'd need simultaneously. SP404 seems to be able to stream samples direct from SD, so potentially gigabytes of storage on hand. That could be the answer - I just need to establish if it can manage the streaming for 2 samples concurrently. I'll check this out.
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Re: Live backing track replay pedals/units - that can play two stereo tracks at once?

Postby Rob Kirkwood » Tue Oct 06, 2020 8:29 pm

Left-field suggestion...

There are a number of apps for iPad, iPhone & Android that produce morphing pad backgrounds. These are often intended for worship bands or musicians, but can be useful beyond that setting.

I personally use SoftPads, which has 11 different pad sounds (which can be combined), you pick the pads you want, the key you want & then press play - pad fades in & continues until you stop it, at which point it fades back out again. If you change key while it's running, it will morph into the new key, & you can also change which of the pad sounds you're using while it's running (all glitch-free). More info & demos are on their website https://forwardsounds.com/

It fails on your requirement to run for specific duration, as you currently have to press stop - plus it would obviously give you a separate audio output that you'd need to deal with.

No personal connection to SoftPads - other than very satisfied user.

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Re: Live backing track replay pedals/units - that can play two stereo tracks at once?

Postby bigster » Tue Oct 06, 2020 8:35 pm

Rob Kirkwood wrote:There are a number of apps for iPad, iPhone & Android that produce morphing pad backgrounds. These are often intended for worship bands or musicians, but can be useful beyond that setting.

Thanks Rob. Although I'll persevere with some kind of hardware solution I'm going to check out this software just out of sheer interest and curiosity!
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Re: Live backing track replay pedals/units - that can play two stereo tracks at once?

Postby Kwackman » Tue Oct 06, 2020 8:40 pm

Maybe the Headrush looperboard?
A bit over the top maybe?
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Re: Live backing track replay pedals/units - that can play two stereo tracks at once?

Postby forumuser931182 » Wed Oct 07, 2020 4:13 am

There are also a number of drum triggers that can play wave files from SD cards. Have a look at the Roland TM-2 drum trigger. Even has the ability to add fx to your sample playback.
I used a SPD::ONE WAV PAD for this same purpose. I have also used a simple pad player on my iPhone - an app called SAMPL.
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