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I have to laugh at "phrase loopers(samplers)" that are advertised and sold as transcribing aids. All I can say is those manufacturers must think there is a sucker born every day. Either that or their products are designed by engineers that haven't a clue how to transcribe.

Phrase loopers will record some piece of music, typically 30 seconds or so and then play it back in a continuous loop, sometimes with the ability to slow the music down and keep the same pitch. Aside from some seriously bad slowed down sound produced by a number of those units, they are fundamentally flawed by their lack of any ability to manipulate the loop boundaries or to control various aspects of the playback process. In addition, they generally lack slow speeds, i.e. 1/4, 1/5, 1/6 .. which are routinely needed to figure out certain riffs or solos (not just fast ones either!).

The process of transcribing requires one to work through the solo or riff note by note. The person must create a playback region and keep adding notes to it, however when it gets too long the beginning, of the loop must be moved forward in time. In addition one usually wants the music to stop at the end of the playback region so that you can clearly identify the last note. How can you do this if the loop starts over again? (Of course sometimes you want the music to loop so a decent unit for transcribing must do that too which of course ours can).

Many times you miss the last note and need to just rewind a bit and hear that last note again. Thus a rewind button is essential One constantly needs tape transport controls such as rewind, pause, stop, fast forward which these simple looper devices lack.

Anyway, I could go on for pages pointing out the flawed concept or phrase loopers for purposes of transcribing.In fact the list of features for playback region manipulation in our products takes several goes for several pages in our manuals. These phrase looper products have no problem fitting all their features on a single folded sheet of paper.

Our products are designed by Reed Kotler. Reed does transcribing for Jazz Improv magazine, has taught transcribing at the Stanford Jazz Residency Program, is a professional jazz musician and knows the transcribing process inside and out. These products we make are designed for real life work

I can guarantee that anyone buying a phrase looper for purposes of transcribing will be seriously disappointed when they actually sit down to use the device. You will not get anywhere with it

 

 

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Last modified: 11/01/12