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Recording Backing Tracks vs Band in a Box vs Loops

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This is meant for people who record music using a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) and backing music.
There are at least four ways to produce the parts other than the one(s) you play on a song:
  1. Record them in a studio with real musicians
  2. Backing tracks, as found on YouTube and for sale from various sites
  3. Software, such as iReal Pro or Band in a Box (BiaB)
  4. Loops, whether drum or other instruments
Most everyone here who records is familiar with backing tracks, whether downloaded or made with BiaB. What I wondered about is whether many of you have used loops. (What are loops? they are short files, audio or MIDI, with one or more instruments). I recently acquired two collections of loops, both of which have saxophone loops included!
Actually, I don't use sax or guitar loops as the whole point is to play the insrument. How could I resist these collections when one has Bob Reynolds and the other Kirk Whalum? I'm thinking of the value of listening to the various sax parts, usually two bars long, as a way to better understand the player. My use is for the rhythm section. iReal Pro produces a workable practice track, but to record a song, I do not find it good enough. BiaB, full of well-known foibles, does a very good job on jazz, swing and ballads. It has limited funk stuff and the sounds are real, so they're far better than iReal Pro in that regard. It also has one of the least coherent, most confusing interfaces of any complex software.

In my first productions with the loop collection, which are delivered differently, I chose a drum groove from one of the 18 styles. This product is called SessionBand, Soul Jazz Funk Volume 2, featuring licks of Kirk Whalum and four UK musicians on drums, bass, guitar and keys. Incidentally, there's an iOS app the same people produce, but I tried it and it's not work-th using on a small device. Downloading the loops as files is better for me, but it's more manula labor to create a track.

Each style, with names like Fast Funk, Gospel Shuffle, Slow Shuffle, is organized as follows:
DRUMS: Two or three variations (ride, stick, etc), and 12 keys. In each key, there are 12 chord types, Major, Major 7th, Minor, Minor 7b5, etc. With each of these are two measure tracks for bass, guitar, keyboard and sax. These can be divided into single or quarter measures. Here's an example of a song done by find the drums parts I wanted, and using the bass and keyboard some of the time, but sweetening both manyually for certain sections.
https://soundcloud.com/randulo%2Fhow-eyeroll View: https://soundcloud.com/randulo/how-eyeroll

I added some keyboard chord hits because the loops are repetitive (there's only one for each key/style). In the bridge section, I added my own bass line and changed the drum style. In this production, the fills are placed by using the drum 2-bar loops that contain fills. To date, I haven't found a single guitar groove that I like.

I intend to add more to this post, concerning the other collection I bought, and also showing short excerpts of the sax riffs, because again, there may be value in studying them. Basically, it's the answer to a question beginners often have, "What do you play on a Dm7b5 or a Eb7#9#5?" In this case you have examples answers to those questions with 12 "licks" for each key and 18 rhythmic styles.

Here's a small example I threw together in about 15 minutes, on a JB style and three chords, with some Kirk Whalum:
https://soundcloud.com/randulo%2Fjb-funk-session-band%2Fs-QFrSuwOwGwR View: https://soundcloud.com/randulo/jb-funk-session-band/s-QFrSuwOwGwR


I'd be interested in anyone's experiences with loops as compared with the other methods of making music.

Once I've tried the other collection, I'll add a post to this ongoing discussion.
 
Sue

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This is something I'd also be interested in I'd like to be able to make my own on Logic or MPCBeats but have always given up and reverted to BiaB or bought a track as I've struggled to engage with any tutorial on YouTube. There are some great audio and midi loops in Logic but I've yet to make anything resembling music. I'll watch this thread with interest.
 
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This is something I'd also be interested in I'd like to be able to make my own on Logic or MPCBeats but have always given up and reverted to BiaB or bought a track as I've struggled to engage with any tutorial on YouTube. There are some great audio and midi loops in Logic but I've yet to make anything resembling music. I'll watch this thread with interest.
The loops in Logic are many, but they're mostly for types of beat-dependent mixes, hip hop, rap etc. I make no judgement here, just that it isn't what you'd want, compared to BiaB. On the other hand, the products I'm talking about are high quality WAV files, and some MIDI in the other collection for drums.

If you have such a collection, you drag a drum beat to the time line of Logic. It's two bars long, so you would duplicate it one or more times. You'd find the other drum loops that either change the drums slightly, (say ride cymbal added to the similar groove) and drag one of those in. The rest, is the same way. The problem is that every time there's a chord, it's the same loop for bass, sax and keys. In an 8 bar pattern, that can get boring.

Another important aspect: since this is all digital, if you song is at 80bpm and your samples are the same, you can use BiaB to do the piano and the bass line, which will usually sound good and have much more diversity. A combo of BiaB and drum samples might just do the trick. Other than recording the track yourself with live musicians, BiaB is probably still the best sounding all round option. On some things, though, the drums don't follow your will.

If you have the patience to drag and drop the drums the way you want them, they'll make a better, more original track.

Back to Logic, I probably use about 5% of its capabilities, at best and I haven't been able to get much out of the numerous YouTube tutorials, either.
 
Clivey

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If you want to use loops more creatively .ie change them, then the best thing to do is turn them into Rex files. As far as I know only "Recycle" can do this it's old tech so you need to try and find it or pay for latest versions., "pretty sure it will be doable with some DAWs".
Rex files are only good if you have something to play them with ie "Reason".
If you need demos of reason then YouTube is helping out.
For the benefit of folks wondering. I use Cubase SX from 2002 and Reason 4 from a little bit later.
Anyway the point is. U can manipulate any loop In real time duration, pitch, timbre, basically it can be molded, and I can automate the process in real time with the track .
I will have Cubase and Reason "rewired" and can play the loop on a keyboard.
Loops are very good at making tracks that sound like modern pop and rock. "That's because that's what makes pop and rock today.". LOL Not too good at emulation of "real".

For the best interesting effects melding real,midi and loops is by far the most expressive method.
The state of the art DAWs all offer this ability if you want to pay the dough.
On the other hand There's something a bit cool though about running virtual machinery on old 8,16 and 32 bit tech .You just have to google Amiga demo scene or Amiga music to get great examples of the origins of loops.
"Hopefully a nice mod will move this over to Randy's loop thread lol. This tiny texting on phone needs to stop."
 
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nigeld

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I’m becoming increasingly frustrated with BIAB, but I haven’t had the courage to try loops yet, so this is very interesting for me.
 
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I’m becoming increasingly frustrated with BIAB, but I haven’t had the courage to try loops yet, so this is very interesting for me.
BiaB is amazing in some of what it does, I don't have to tell you :) But those endings!
 
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I’m becoming increasingly frustrated with BIAB, but I haven’t had the courage to try loops yet, so this is very interesting for me.
The more you make the loops the basis of your ideas the less the frustration. Trying to bend them to an existing idea is usually the source of two fingers up from the computer.
 
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Let's face it, it's rare that if your music isn't covers, people play what you hear without a lot of back and forth. If the music is written, you have no use for loops at all. But if you're trying to create rock, funk, acid jazz, or even folk or ethnic, with the appropriate percussion, loops are great. I generally try to find inspiration in the grooves I have, and build the harmonic and melodic part of the song around that rhythmic framework.
The second loop collection is called Yurt Rock. Their structure is the opposite of Session Band; they are organized by artist: if you get a drum collection, that's all there is there. But in the deal I just purchased, there's an entire collection of all their stuff for something like 8£, including Bob Reynolds, Charlie Hunter, six drummers and two guitars, one of which is baritone guitar. I've listened to a few Charlie Hunter grooves, he's a unique player on 8-string guitar. Anyway, out of curiosity, I unzipped the Bob Reynolds archive. Again, different from the other collection, because each group of phrases is in one key. In this collection there's F, D, Cm, G, Db, Am, and Bb to Eb. The only use I would have for this group is to listen to Bob's playing and maybe cop a lick or two to understand the technique being used. The six drummers are going to be the most interesting to me, because the harmonic things are too limited, other then maybe an occasional riff. I'll have to check the bass stuff carefully and see if that has anything promising.

The two collections complement each other nicely. Session Band is a subscription model at $9/month but I doubt I'll last more than a month.
 

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