to loop or not to loop

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
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What do you think about using loops?

Use anything that sounds good from anywhere
Use loops from commercial sound libs
Use only loops that you create
Loops are evil, every clip should be unique, and you should put aluminum foil in your hat to keep the government from reading your mind.
Total votes: 47

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to loop or not to loop

Post by mikemc » Fri Feb 25, 2005 4:58 pm

Just to get an idea of what people think FWIW fyi $0.02 to provide background on my perspective, I only use loops or samples that are expressly intended for creative re-use. I use ProSessions, PowerFX, and BigFish audio loops, as well as make my own audio loops with drum machine, guitar, keys and vocals and MIDI loops with note input and midi instruments.

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Post by sqook » Fri Feb 25, 2005 5:08 pm

Music is music, man... you gotta use what the situation calls for at the right time. Sometimes that's a factory loop, but often times, I make my own. In the cases when I use factory loops, I generally don't use them "out of the box", but will either re-order them or change them with a filter.

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Post by pepezabala » Fri Feb 25, 2005 5:46 pm

People should use what they want to use. There should be a legal option to use copyrighted material as well. I enjoyed the DJ-food mash up that was posted here some days ago a lot.

One of the main roots of electronic music, the DUB, is mostly rearranging yet recorded and published material.

But you will always have to do it with RESPECT, otherwise you will burn in hell.

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Post by ashley_k » Fri Feb 25, 2005 9:12 pm

My vote went to: Use loops from commercial sound libs

As I make only a few of my own loops – drums, etc., and the rest of the time I use loops from commercial sample CDs and the free samples from magazine CDs, generally they end up being re-arranged or chopped up a bit, but not always.
As a rule I never take loops from other peoples records, I’m a big fan of hip-hop and the art of the cut-up, etc., so I’m not saying that you shouldn’t sample other people’s records, I just decided not to.

Ashley_K - Chief Loop Wrangler

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Post by Machinate » Fri Feb 25, 2005 9:35 pm

I never (never-ever! Never-ever?) use prefab loops. It's a matter of (MY) personal integrity, but not an opinion which I'd force upon others. Do whatcha like.

I also really dig the loop-creation part, and it's one of the things I plan on exploring further in the months to come (more on that later.)

Okay, I think I've used up my share of parentheses for today (phew :wink: )


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Post by hoffman2k » Fri Feb 25, 2005 9:53 pm



Ableton Live in 3 words.

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Post by Perc » Fri Feb 25, 2005 11:47 pm

use loops but try and take them away from their original context, by warping and using combinations of effects and processing on them.

the multitude of tools that you have with ableton actually allows me to use more loops than just a plain sampler, as I can be more creative with them.

personally though I would never use a loop staight from a cd. without at least chopping it up or trying to change it. boring!

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Post by ashley_k » Sat Feb 26, 2005 1:24 am


… imitation is the most sincere form of flattery.

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Post by AdamJay » Sat Feb 26, 2005 3:11 am

i don't think its really about What you use.
loops, single shots, vst's, microphone recordings of spoons on a brick wall, fart samples.

its HOW you use it.
mangle it, tweak it, mash it, make it your own.

a good friend of mine has made many techno 12" EP's with an MPC2000. and almost all of them have sampled source material from artists like Jay-Z, Van Halen, Fugees, Dr. Dre, Beatles, etc. but he mangles the source material so much that you wouldn't know it otherwise.

is he less of an artist because of it? no.
Picasso used the same paint your little sister used in kindergarten.

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Post by divonic » Sun Feb 27, 2005 5:45 pm

I choose "Use only loops that you create" but that isn't totally true. I generally use all original loops of stuff that I've made using my hardware (or VST's now that I have L4). But I have no problem using 1 or 2 samples that are prominent in a track. Like that guitar part from that song. and using it in a way that will make people smile when they figure out where they recognize it from. (of course I think that getting permission is important too if you are going to try to release it comercially) but again most of the track is original.

I dislike it when a hear a track that is made up of ALL sample loops. wheather sampled from a song or taken from a sample library or from a synth preset. (People love to use the Korg EA-1 original loops sometimes totally unaltered what does that prove that you can hit play)

chopping up a loop into individual hits that no longer follow the original composition is more acceptable. and that is an art form of it's own. That is what I've seen most people who use an MPC do.

Using samples that are mangled is sorta o.k. in my book but if you don't want anyone to recognize it why start with a sample in the first place.

Vocal samples (not from songs) are a whole different boat.

Adam I disagree with you Picasso analogy a bit. That would be like saying that high school student uses the same words as a Newspaper writer. but if they use the same phrases and sentances that is plagiarism.

So I'd like to offer another art analogy, it is a little backwards, but lets use the idea of paint by number's. If you have a paint by numbers painting is it the same as painting something straight out. you go and buy a tool that makes your end product much easier to complete. You can come up with an amazing painting. You can not follow their suggestions for color you can add your own flourishes. but in the end it's still just a paint by number painting. if you just use the paint and the board and don't follow the number or the lines why get the paint by numbers in the first place.

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Post by noisetonepause » Sun Feb 27, 2005 8:28 pm

as long as you don't leave the loop running unaltered for four minutes I don't care. Repetition can be a form of change, yes, but it's still a rather dull one ;) (Unless you're as good as Steve Reich...)

this is why I'm beginning to prefer arranging in Digital Performer to Ableton Live. DP is No Loops zone. You can copy/paste but not really loop. It makes you think completely different.

I mostly create my own source material from single shots BTW. Not out of principle, that's just how it usually pans out. Easier to use my own playing that way too.


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Post by czechchap » Sun Feb 27, 2005 9:49 pm

all of the above, sometimes when using live to DJ, I'll play a song and loop the intro from another song to thicken it up. a fav of mine at the moment is looping the intro to sunday bloody sunday by u2 to thicken up and add an element of drive to other songs.

when writing tunes of my own in what might be called my own creative out put then it's all my own and not really looped at all.
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Post by timothyallan » Sun Feb 27, 2005 11:43 pm

I tend to use loops/samples for things that I cannot create myself. I.e. horns and funk guitars. I just cant replicate them realistically, so I will dig into my sample CD collection and rip a few out.

However, I still NEVER sample other peoples work, I keep all my stuff as legit and copyright free as possible.

Also, I really enjoy doing my own drum loops, but will on rare ocassions layer a very quiet commercial one underneath just to give it some depth if it is missing something....

for live shows though, I've been mulling the idea of throwing in extremely commercial samples just because everyone would recognize them. Like chucking an acapella for pump up the jam over some crazy banging funk tune. But, then if you record it as a demo CD, you can't/shouldnt send it out to label people...


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Post by czechchap » Mon Feb 28, 2005 8:13 am

what is this I never sample other people's work, pseudo-purism all about.

It's absolutely A.O.K to borrow samples from other people, it's like a tip of the hat and 80% of recording artists out there do it. It's generally pretty easy to get permission as well, I got permission to use an excerpt from a Steve Severin tune, one quick phone and a contract later... Bob's your uncle.

Oddly, I had to give him three copies of my tune, but there you go.
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