Loopy 2 mini-review
After spending a bit more time with the Loopy2 app on my iPod touch 4th generation I find that there are some features that put it above the rest of the available iOS loopers in terms of the "Looping as an instrument" world is concerned.
I've highlighted them here:
6 simultaneous overdub-capable loops that can each be different lengths...!
After recording your initial loop, you can use the multiply and divide icons at the bottom of the screen to make the length of any subsequent loop to be an even multiple (or fraction) of the first recorded loop. By using the Plus and Minus icons, any subsequent loop's length can be set to any arbitrary number of beats longer or shorter than the original loop. This feature is unique to the Loopy2 as far as I know. By setting each of the loops to a different number of beats you can easily create complex polyrhythms, and for creating long undulating ambient backgrounds is the next best thing to completely unsynched loops.
There is an option in the settings menu that allows you to enable or disable "count-in" while recording or overdubbing. This is a very important feature, it allows you to arm a track and have time to get your hands back on your instrument before it goes into record.
Global menus and individual submenus...
Each of the 6 loops has a built in sub-menu, called up by holding your finger down on a loop, allowing you to adjust the Volume level, Pan position, as well as import and export audio to an from each loop in your session. This is a brilliant use of the limited real estate of the iPod / iPhone, plus it streamlines the GUI so than non-essential functions are hidden until needed.
This is one of the most exciting features for me. Tracks may be positioned within the stereo soundfield and pan positions may be preset for the empty loops. The big news here is that when merging two tracks (by simply dragging on onto another) the resulting "merged" track retains the stereo placement and level of the two original source tracks, and you now have one stereo track where you previously had two mono tracks. The length of the merged track is automatically set to the common multiple of the two source tracks, so any polyrhythms will be retained.
A "session" is defined as the six loops and their settings. Sessions may be saved and recalled, or even duplicated at will, and there is also the ability to make a stereo recording of the 6 loops along with your performance over the top of them and save this to the "recordings" folder.
I've tested several iOS apps for latency using the iRig interface (which uses the mic input of the idevice via the 4th connector on the headphone jack.
and the Loopy 2 has a reasonable, but not exceptional, latency measurement of 930 samples (21ms). It's not much of a problem in actual use except for highly precise rhythmic playing.
Here's how it stacks up to other iOS apps:
Pass through Latency measured at 44.1k sample rate, iPod Touch 4th gen, iOS 4.3.3
Everyday Looper 1244 samples (28.2ms)
Loopy2 930 samples (21ms)
Amplitube Fender Free, normal latency mode 736 samples (16.69ms)
TC Helicon Voice Jam 730 samples (16.5ms)
Amplitube Fender Free low latency mode 490 samples (11.11ms)