Transition looping in 2021

After some setup changes I was left with only an old-school Make Noise Shared System. I decided to add a Model:Samples because playing a Techno-ish live set with only a Shared System is challenging for my skill level.

This setup has the same issue than my past ones, it’s not easy to create smooth DJ-like transitions. I need 2 features: Recording synced loops and seamlessly transition between the loop and live audio. If effects or filters can be added, even better.

So here’s my question: In 2021 are there cheaper and simpler options than a used Octatrack MKI for transition looping?

EDIT: I forgot to mention that my ideal solution is one box that does both the looping and crossfading instead of separate looper and mixer.


Kaoss Pad!

You can tap tempo if you’re not happy with its detection feature (which varies with what’s going into it).

I like capturing a 1 bar loop, and at least a 2 if not 4 to combine as a transition phrase. The onboard effects are fun, and you can record the motion on the pad.


1010 Music Blackbox or the new EHX 1440 stereo looper maybe?


A bunch of pedals do it. I used Ableton’s Looper device in my last live set (nothing else done through Ableton, so the laptop really was just a looper pedal).

Four Tet uses this and a DJ mixer when he plays live:


I previously used a DJ mixer with the Pigtronix Infinity Looper 1

MIDI quantize (different than MIDI sync) is the key feature if you want smoothly recorded loops.
I believe the RC-202 also has this, but again a Dj mixer is required for mixing between the live input and the recorded loop.

Edit: it looks like the 1440 has quantized recording as well.

And that’s why I ultimately went with an OT. It may seem complex, but compared to other solutions, at least the mixer is built in.


How easy is to transition between live audio and the loop? Just a matter of moving a knob or does it require more steps?

I may be wrong but it seems I would need an external mixer for the transitions?

Do you use a MIDI controller to handle it?

I forgot to add it to my post but in general I’m looking for a “magical box” that does both of possible :sweat_smile:

The playback volume is controlled with the slider, the input volume is controlled with the knob above the slider. Super easy.

It seems there are not many options to do both looping and transitions with the same box :sob:

Yea. There’s definitely a gap in the market.

Another reason I just went for the OT instead is it gives me the ability to do fun things with the transitional loop. I can lay trigs to remix it live, effect it, etc.
Use it in the middle of the tune to make the tune itself more interesting, as a textural layer. Stuff I couldn’t do with just the looper and mixer combo.

The result is more compelling than a simple transitional loop. So there is some value there.


Ipad and small 4io interface? Using AUM and a looping app would be so easy.

I think the only other options you would find are in eurorack.
Stereo sampler + stereo mixer. And unless you have room in the case, with a 4ms pods case you’re probably looking at $800ish to make that happen. Which is about what a used OT MK1 goes for.

an iPad solution has issues of latency that might be annoying.

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I’m not entirely sure, didn’t read the manual, yet. I read a review recently, seems to be a quite capable looper! You can even prepare some loops and import with the software, so if you want to take some fieldrecordings or in-case-of-emergency-loops with you, you can.
Also let’s you export recorded loops.

Shouldn’t it work well and stable with a decent interface and only very few apps running?

Using Enso on AUM and on an A12 processor (current non pro iPad), I was getting about 16ms round trip latency.
This was with MOTU M2.
Worse with the Zoom interface.


Thanks everyone for your advice! It seems that an Octatrack is still the less clunky solution for mixing/looping and with some luck you can get a used MKI for 650€ here.

I’ll put more attention at @AdamJay’s video of M:S + OT to get a feeling of the workflow. I also watched this video and the workflow makes sense:

I lent my Shared System to a friend until January so when I have it back I’ll try the M:S + modular setup for streaming a few live sets and then decide how much I need the looping, maybe I can get away with just evolving the music since I won’t have prepared tracks anyway.


It’s definitely not there yet, but this could be an interesting direction for the Bluebox — it’s already a twelve channel, three bus recording mixer with midi control. Bus cross-fades and looper controls for the recorder wouldn’t be a huge stretch.

…why o why do all truu live acts still wanna do smooth transitions like dj’s…?

the dj better have smooth transitions…to make all the tracks from others he’s about to play become one neverending flow…in best case.

the mission of a live act is a totally different approach…and smooth transitions are anything but the most favourite skill to have…

if u can’t mingle in any different way from one track to the other…well, then, stop beeing afraid of a lttle moment of silence…and all will be fine…ur not THE JUKEBOX…ur the musician that night…

just make sure, if we’re talking techno here, that ur own tracks are beyond the standard…
so don’t start them with one plain solo kik on quarters only…and after 16 bars all that adds next is an off hat…boooooooring…