Please note this user guide is a work in progress. For any unanswered questions email Jack or visit the GTL community.
Group the Loop is a section bassed audio looper. Group loops together and switch between song sections in real time.
Loops are short repeating clips of audio. They are often used to create backing percussion tracks or chord sequences during a live performance. They are great for sketching out ideas and building layered intricate soundscapes. You can either record your loops directly into GTL or import audio files.
There are three main recording modes:
CUE Recording - Recording is started and stopped automatically. You set the bar length before recording and the loop automatically syncs to the session tempo.
Manual Tempo - Allows the user to manually punch in/out the recording. The session tempo is automatically calculated from the length of the loop.
Instant Recording - Recordings can be punched in/out instantly. Loops are automatically truncated/extended to remain in sync with the session tempo.
Muting silences a loop's output.
It's also possible to schedule mute events by turning on the 'CUE Mute' setting. This can be found in 'CUE Settings' or by long pressing the main CUE button at the top of the screen.
See Group Mute to mute an entire group.
Soloing will mute all other loops so you can hear an indiviual loop in isolation.
The metronome and drum machine are not affected by soloing. It is only possible to solo one loop at a time.
Overdubbing layers a new recording over a previous one. The two recorings are mixed together in real time. Overdubs allow you to add multiple layers without taking up valuable loop spaces. You can perform an infinite number of overbubs on any loop.
NOTE: Once overdub layers are mixed together during the recording process they cannot be exported individually.
Deletes then re-records the audio of a loop. Useful for correcting mistakes.
Each time you overdub you create a layer. These layers can be removed by the UNDO function and restored with the REDO function.
The loop options view is where you will find advanced options for individual loops. It can be accessed by swiping down on any occupied or empty loop space.
Audio effects can be added to any loop. GTL comes with a selection of built in effects including reverb, delay, low pass filter, high pass filter, noise gate. You can also add 3rd party Audio Unit v3 extention effects.
You can add up to 3 effect on each loop and they can be applied either before or afer recording/importing audio.
Adding effects uses processing power, adding too many may cause audio drop outs (clicks & pops). If you encouter this, try increasing the audio buffer size in the audio settings. You can also add effects to the audio input. This approach uses far less processing power as the effects are printed to the loop during recording.
On any loop space, tap the options button (...) followed by the 'Mix' button to bring up the mix matrix view. Volume is adjusted by moving up or down and pan is adjusted by moving left to right.
The mix settings can be quickly accessed by swiping up on any loop space.
To help identify loops you can set a custom label.
Loop labels are stored to the loop space which means if you delete a loop then the label will remain. This is particularly useful when re-recording parts.
Loop spaces are automatically labeled when you import an audio.
In addintion to recording you can also import audio. There are several ways to do this, the easiest being drag and drop.
You can also import audio files from AudioShare and the documents folder.
Import Options View - This is the final step when importing an audio file. These settings are used to calculate the length and playback speed of the loop.
Number of Bars - How may bars is the loop you are importing? This is needed for syncronising to other loops in the session. If the session is empty this setting will affect the session tempo.
Tempo Algorithm - When loops are imported they may need to be stretched to fit the session tempo.
The tempo algorithm is the method used to stretch the audio to the correct tempo.
PITCH - stretches the audio by altering the pitch. Works well on drums & percussion.
TIME STRETCH - stretches the audio but keeps the pitch the same. Best for harmonic and melodic instruments.
If this option is greyed out then the audio file does not need to be stretched.
Session Settings: (For empty sessions only).
Tempo - The desired tempo for the session. By default this is set to the original tempo of the audio file being imported.
Changing the tempo will require the audio file to be stretched.
Time Signature - The desired time signature for the session. For best results set this to the time signature of the audio file being imported.
There are several ways to export a loop. The easiest is by using IOS's inbuilt drag and drop feature.
You can drag and drop to the IOS Files app or any other drag and drop enabled audio app.
To export multiple loops simply tap them after dragging the first loop. Loops exported via drag and drop will be in the CAF audio file format. This is a widely supported uncompressed linier format much like a WAV file.
Loops will be exported in their original audio file format. If the loop was recorded within Group the Loop then this will be CAF format.
TIP: You can also move loops between sessions and out to other drag and drop enabled apps.
It's possible to combine two or more loops by merging them. This can be useful if you need to free up loop spaces for other instruments.
NOTE: Merging can not be undone.
Groups can be used to arrange loops into song sections and then switch between them in real time. Each group can contain a total of 4 loops and only one group can be played at a time.
A unique group designed for percussion. Plays throughout your song independent any other group. For example, you may want to record some percussion to the master group to play along to while recording each section of your song.
Deletes all loops and removes the group.
Deletes all loops but keeps the group.
To play a group tap the group play button to the left. This will toggle play all loops contained within the group. With CUE turned ON groups will play/stop after the longest playing loop. To play a group instantly, turn off CUE or double tap the group's play button. NOTE: By default, if CUE is turned ON, a group will wait until the end of the longest playing loop before playing/stoppping. To change this behaviour, you can adjust the 'Sync Quantum' setting found in Settings -> Clock Settings -> Sync Quantum.
Both volume and pan controls are availible for groups. Adjusting a group's mix will affect all of the loops in that group.
It's possible to label each group to help with navigation and workflow. For example, you may wish to label groups after song sections e.g. Verse, Bridge and Chorus.
To the left of each group there is a handy mute button. Use this to silence all of the contained loops. Group and loop muting is independent, so you can mute a group but also retain each loop's individual mute state.
The unique tempo option allows you to set a specific tempo for each group. This is handy for creating song sections with different tempos. When a group is played the session's tempo will change to the group's unique tempo and remain at that speed until a new tempo is set. Any loops in the master group will change playback speed to keep in time with the new tempo. If you want to switch back and forth between two groups with different tempos make sure you set a unique tempo for both groups.
You can also use 'Manual Tempo' recording to set a group's unique tempo. This involves manually punching in/out the first loop recording for each group. If multiple groups are recorded to, Group the Loop will automatically detect the different tempos and set the unique tempo values accordingly.
The main play button in the top left corner plays and stops all loops in the session. It's also possible to trigger the playback of other apps with by enabling 'Sync start/stop' in the Ableton Link settings.
CUE keeps loops in perfect sync with each other. If CUE is enabled recording will start and stop automatically at the beginning of the next sequence or phrase. This means you can keep your hands free for playing your instrument. Playback of groups will also start and stop automatically. By default, this takes place after the longest loop in the active group finishes playing.
Turning CUE off will enable Manual Tempo or Instant Recording mode. In these modes recording and playback starts/stops instantly. Although recordings can be started/stopped instantly, the resulting loops will be automatically synced to the nearest bar keeping them in time with the rest of the session.
Resetting a session is a quick way to clear all your loops and effects. This maybe useful in a live situation where you need to quickly move onto the next song. NOTE: Resetting a sesison permanently deletes your loop's audio data and effect settings and it cannot be undone!
You can export sessions to share them between devices or with other musicians.
You can export sessions as a collection of audio files for processing in another app. Or you can export as a complete session file which stores all your mix and effect settings. Great for backing up and collaborating. Session files can be shared with other devices running Group the Loop via iCloud or Airdrop.
You can use external MIDI device to control Group the Loop. You can either connect your device via the lightning port or wirelessly via MIDI over bluetooth. Just make sure your MIDI interface or bluetooth MIDI device is compatible with iOS. PLEASE NOTE: AirTurn devices do not work with GTL as they send out key commands not MIDI over Bluetooth.
When Group the Loop is connected to AUM you can still record from the system input or microphone although there are some important limitations to consider.
Usually, while recording, GTL compansates for any latency introduced by the hardware to acheive perfectly syncronised loops. However, when GTL receives audio from AUM there is no way to tell where it originated from (i.e The system input/microphone or another app) and therefore hardware latency is not compansated for.
To avoid this problem, and potentially out of time loops, there are several solutions.
1. Enable 'Latency Compensation' in the 'Audio Input' settings in Group the Loop. This option is only availible when an Inter-App audio app is selected as the 'Input Source'.
2. Set a low buffer size in AUM to minimise to amount of latency incurred.
3. Add GTL to an input slot in AUM so GTL remains in control of the input source.
If you are only recieving audio from virtual instruments (other apps), there is no latency to consider and the above does not apply.
1. Check you have allowed Group the Loop access to your device's microphone. You will find this in your device settings: Settings -> Group the Loop -> Microphone.
2. Unplug any external hardware such as usb hubs and audio interface's. Does the microphone work now? If so there could be a problem with your interface setup.
1. Check the the volume on the side of your device is turned up. Sometimes after connecting an audio interface the device's volume is reset to zero.
2. Unplug any external hardware such as usb hubs and audio interface's. Do you have sound now? If so there could be a problem with your interface setup.
1. Use Headphones. When recording through your device's microphone it's best to use headphones otherwise the audio coming from the speakers will spill back into the microphone and record onto your loops.
2. For audio interface's connected to loud speakers: DI your instruments when possible and use close mic techniques with dynamic microphones.
Generally dynamic microphones have better rejection than condenser mics which means they pick up less background noise/spill.
Also take care when positioning your speakers, where possible point them away from your microphone.
When speakers must face the musician i.e fold-back monitors, select a mic with good back rejection (e.g. a cardioid dynamic ) and angle it away from the speaker towards the instrument.
Main website: www.grouptheloop.com
Feel free to send me an email with any questions: firstname.lastname@example.org
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