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Re: Computers **(MSP)**

Hey all,

>The other thing that people seem to miss in these discussions of using
>something like MSP on a computer to make your own looper is the interface
>for the looper. Getting audio to loop is a very easy thing. Whether on a
>computer or on separate hardware. Designing a musically intuitive 
>and feature set for a looper, when there is really not much precedent, is 
>whole other thing. The devil is really in the details there.... Ironing 
>every little subtle detail of what a musician might want something to do 
>a given situation, and figuring out how they might have the easiest time
>doing it can be maddening! To me, that's really the whole job.

>With the echoplex, it probably took us only a couple of days to have it
>looping audio once the hardware was made. It took about six years of
>constant work to get the Loop interface and feature set right. If you talk
>to the people who developed a lot of the good synths and effects 
>out there you would find a similar story. Getting it to do the most basic
>function is deceptively easy. The interface and the interactions between
>the features is always the hard, time-consuming part.

Right on target, Kim. This a rarely addressed topic. MSP and Max are
deceptively simple. It's very easy to quickly create audio and MIDI
processing tools. The looping patcher I'm developing, was created in a very
short time. Just to show others what is possible with MSP, I put a simple
interface on it. It is FAR from finished. It will be a long time before I'm
happy with the patcher and have a "completed" version. I've got a huge list
of features to add, mostly having to deal with user interaction. This will
take up the bulk of my future development. On a side note: MSP will be
adding support for VST plug-ins soon. Of course I'll want to add that into
the looper. For me, instead of "so little time, so much to do", I prefer
"so much time, so much more to do".

Your description of the echoplex development, holds true for any hardware
or software development. Again, your insights show others what is often

>So beware, unless you're a nerd and doing the development and engineering
>is really what you are interested in (which is what motivates us...:-),
>trying to replace your whole studio with your own computer programming
>could be a much bigger project than you think. All power to you if you 
>to do it yourself, but if you are mostly interested in the musical result,
>you may be better off getting something where all the interface 
>is already done.

The balancing of time between developing software and playing music is
difficult. I struggle with it daily (add in an 8 hour day gig with an
engineering company designing machines). If only time were a constant...

I think I should mention that anyone interested in MSP does not have to
purchase the full blown version. There is a free run time version
available. The drawback is that you can not develop your own patchers. MSP
is still very new and there are not many patchers available at the normal
Max software sites yet. I'll mention again that I have a looping patcher in
development (currently in a primitive but usable state), available from my
home page. It is free and always will be. I would be very interested in
feedback about the patcher. While I have a list of features to be added,
others will want things that I haven't even thought of. I'd love to make it
a collaborative project with input from this list. If anyone does try out
my patcher, please direct discussion about it to my personal e-mail. The
current threads on computer looping may start to alienate those using
hardware devices.


My music and other stuff:

King Crimson music (Elephant Tape):