Sound On Sound
Sound On Sound magazine began publication the same year I started working in the audio industry. They have been a consistent source of quality information, training and guidance over the years, and it was a great pleasure to start writing for them in the same year they celebrated their 25th year of publication.
Since the advent of digital audio recording, recorders and editors have grown in power and functionality, and yet, with all of this power at our disposal, it seems as hard today as it was 10 years ago to focus our creativity. By providing us with an unlimited number of options, DAWs have made it harder than ever to escape the “just one more edit” syndrome that prevents so many recordings from making it out the door (no pun intended).
Some devices succeed in the market even though they take the opposite approach and purposely limit your ability to record and edit, focusing on fun and creativity instead of complexity. One of these devices is the loop recorder.
Limited to a finite time — and, more often, a set number of bars — loop recorders have taken many forms, from the original concept based on a loop of tape, through to today’s solid-state recorders full of MIDI power and flashing lights, such as the Korg Kaoss Pad or Native Instruments Maschine.
In this article, we’ll take the complex back to basics and show you how to create a loop recorder of your own in Reaper.
If the amazing amount of content available on the Internet gives you a bad case of information overload, spare a thought for the engineer tasked with turning a huge number of tracks, effects, sends and automation into a finely mixed stereo master. Digital Audio Workstations offer incredible power and flexibility, but, packing so much information into one system (and often, one screen), they lack the ‘all in one glance’ comprehension factor of mixing on a hardware console.
Fortunately, Reaper offers many features that can help you wade through the most complex of mixes, to tame the flood of information so that you can concentrate on the sound.
Gather your pieces of analogue effects gear together and put them in a pile. Now take any two of those pieces and try to connect them. Chances are they’ll both share a common, standard connector that lets you send audio from one unit to another and back again, with the minimum of fuss.
Now gather your DAW programs together in a virtual pile. Take any two of those DAWs and try to connect them without routing audio outside your computer. Chances are you won’t find an easy way to route audio to and from both applications. Most of them will support the ReWire protocol, which lets you send audio from one host to another, but only in one direction. While there are workarounds for bi?directional audio that involve third?party patching programs, getting audio to and from two DAWs on the same computer has always been a complicated process — unless you use ReaRoute.
Takes and items
If you use loops as part of your production process, you’ve probably heard about the Dr OctoRex loop player now available in the latest version of Propellerhead’s Reason. An update of the classic Dr Rex player, Dr OctoRex has a range of powerful new features for working with loops, including access to multiple loop slots, the ability to process individual slices in Slice Edit mode and the ability to call up any of the loaded loops from a Pattern/Loop lane in the sequencer.
While Reaper users with a Reason 5 license can get access to all of the Dr OctoRex features via ReWire, you might be surprised to learn that Reaper already offers many similar functions for loop production, via the Items and Takes system.
Reaper’s Item/Take system provides a quick and powerful tool for loop-based production. In this article we’ll show you how to load your loops into Items, call these from the timeline, and emulate some of the major features of Dr OctoRex.
Remember those spontaneous performances when everybody is relaxing during the break, or those moments of inspiration that come while you’re auditioning one of 300 synth patches? It’s a fair bet you weren’t recording when they happened — so wouldn’t it be great to have a recorder that’s always on, ensuring that you never miss an opportunity again?
SOS Smart Guides
In December 2010 Sound On Sound published the first of their new “smart guides” – DAW Power User.
If the amazing amount of content available on the internet gives you a bad case of information overload, spare a thought for the engineer tasked with turning a huge number of tracks, effects, sends and automation into a finely mixed stereo master. Digital Audio Workstations offer incredible power and flexibility, but, packing so much information into the one system (and often, one screen), they lack the ‘all in one glance’ comprehension factor of mixing on a hardware console.
Fortunately, Reaper offers many features that can help you wade through the most complex of mixes, to tame the flood of information so you can concentrate on the sound.
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