With 8 stereo tracks that can either run synced together, or independently this is an incredibly powerful looping device. If you’ve got specific needs for live looping, and you’re having trouble finding the right device to satisfy that then this is most likely the answer.
Availability is limited, the LP1 is made by one man with limited means, so at time of writing the LP1 is only available second hand. Future availability is unpredictable, there would have to be sufficient orders waiting for a new batch to be made.
Feature list is extensive, original design appears to have been based on the line 6 DL4, with the operation of the most basic functions of Rec/Dub, Play/Stop being the same. If we accept that definition then it’s 8 stereo DL4s each with a feedback control.
For each track functions are
Overdub (seamless from record if required).
Reverse (including direct from Record)
Half Speed (can be activated while recording as well as during playback)
Varispeed by up to an octave by semitomes, or continuous. This can be used in conjunction with Half Speed to get a range of 2 octaves. Note: this function has very lo-fi results, with a lot of digital artifacts if you try to overdub at anything other than exactly 1/2 speed.
Replace including the ability to accurately replace a single beat.
Retriggerstart loop from beginning
Undo/Redo remove and re-add the last overdub you did, but note there’s only one Undo buffer, which means that Undo only works on one loop at a time.
Volume and Pan from midi controller or front panel, Mute is also possible.
Non-destructive Fade In/Out functional, but not perfect as half of the fade time is spent at inaudible levels.
Multiply length of loop by 2,3,4,5,6
Scramble re-orders chunks of the loop at random (removed from latest software version pending improvement.
Of course things start to get interesting when you start to use more than one loop. With ‘Sync Record’ each additional loop you make will be automatically cut to length so that its a multiple of the master loop, with regular ‘Record’ you can make an unsychronised loop. As you play any of the 8 loops can be set to be master, so no problem to start out with an amorphous sound cloud then overlay a tight rhythm.
A powerful feature is called Bounce (like Loopcopy on the EDP) which means that selected tracks can be mixed down on to a single track (while adding your overdub of course). Apart from allowing enormous arrangements this also means you can take a single loop and repeat just a small chunk of it. Also, combining your tracks together makes them so much easier to control if you wnat to Stop/Start/Fade/Reverse/Speed Change the whole mix.
The LP1 is designed to be used with the simplest of midi pedals, and even to be used without the user having to program it. Midi learn is from the front panel of the LP1, which provides an incredibly neat user interface that lets you assign up to 8 LP1 functions to a single midi button.
So, on the plus side, it’s a device so powerful that most people won’t want anything else.
Another plus is that development is ongoing, expect feature improvements and fixes to become available for quite some time to come. Software upgrades are achieved by connecting to a computer by ethernet, and if your router connects to the internet you can get the latest upgrage just by plugging in and activating from the LP1 front panel.
Downside of the LP1 is that there have been software problems which needed a lot of time to fix. LP1 users discuss which is the most stable version of the software. ( currently v1.34 is popular, which the latest 1.39 being a contender). Software instability when it occurs causes the machine to lock up, becoming unresponsive to any controls and needing reboot to get it working again. It should be noted that while these problems exist many artists are still able to use the LP1 to full extent without encountering problems, and by the time you read this those problems may already be solved.
Midi sync has been an issue for a while, with hopes currently pinned on v1.4 to solve problems.
…and the features the LP1 lacks? There’s no dedicated Record button available ( a hangover from the DL4 ). There’s no quick easy way to select a group of tracks for control. Feedback isn’t dropped slightly during Overdub (a standard technique to prevent overload distortion). Let’s face it, that’s a lot shorter than the list of features that arepresent, and of course these things can be fixed in software upgrades.
Sound quality is pretty good, but not pristine. There’s slight loss of high frequencies in the circuitry, and some of the later software versions have a regular and annoying click every minute or so (that last problem known about, and should be fixed by now ). Output level is a little underpowered for a profession line level setup, expect to need to add a bit of gain into the signal path. In all, there are 6 Outputs for audio, a main stereo pair and two auxilliary stereo outputs (route each loop to your choice of output)
Overall, for most people this is simply a dream machine in a class of it’s own.
Review by andy butler.
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