Loopstyler

What can you do?

Program multi‑track compositions using sample based sounds and other sound engines (e.g. FM, Karplus‑Strong, subtractive) for leads, bass & drums

Record sounds from other devices or the environment and store them on micro‑SD card for use in your tracks

Define sequences, arpeggios, scales and chords using the stylus or generative algorithms

Add sound effects and modulation driven by pre-programmed rules or cues from the environment, record the results back to the SD card, use it as a MIDI controller or plug in an external MIDI keyboard

4 PLAY MODES

Choose your favourite workflow or find a perfect challenge to suit your musical prowess:

Loopstyler

Easy PLay

Begin your musical journey here. Similar to the classic Stylophone, you'll select sounds, choose a scale, and then use the stylus to play. Each tap generates a delightful sound. Explore the vast library of timbres preloaded in your unit.

Tape Loop

Activate the looper, and let the endless tape weave beautiful harmonies and interesting rhythms. The accelerometer will control the speed of the tape if you want, or activate the light sensor to add glitches. You can mix your voice into the loop too.

Multi-track Sequencing

Build the track in a more precise manner, note by note using the polyphonic sequencer. Experiment with pre-defined or generated patterns, and let your imagination flow freely.

Expert Programming

Here you can fully customize anything - every pattern, sequence, arpeggio, and reprogram rules for behaviour of effects, LFOs and modulators. Rest assured, a comprehensive manual will be provided to guide you through the internal workings of the sound engines.

Control Interface

There is a lot going on under the hood. We designed the controls so they are easy to use and can be learned quickly, while allowing access to the deepest levels of the synth.

Loopstyler
Loopstyler

Audio interface

The Loopstyler sports a hi-fi audio codec capable of playing 32‑bit samples at 192kHz, however for practical purposes we run it at 48kHz with 16-bit resolution. Both DAC and ADC are crystal clear, however the microphone inevitably adds certain amount of noise. Line input is monophonic, but you can import samples easily over the USB cable or by removing the SD card and putting it into a computer. We include a reliable 32GB card with each unit.

Loopstyler

MIDI and recording

The switch on the left selects direction of MIDI data. Control Loopstyler with a MIDI keyboard, or use it as a MIDI controller for other devices. DIN5 adapter cable is supplied with the unit. Audio output can be recorded to a WAV file on the SD card, so your work and happy accidents are never lost to the ether. Or you can record the audio signal from the HP-out connector, plug it into the mixer or amplifier, same as you would do with any other device that has a headphone output.

Demos

While the firmware is under development, we are excited to share glimpses of what we are working on. Check the short videos below showing the concept and first sound tests, and stay tuned for more!

Sequencer, live recording mode: A quick intro into how the sequencer works. There are two modes, in this one the track starts running and then note events are added in real time (as opposed to step sequencing, where you enter all notes and rests one by one).

Sequencer, step sequencing mode: The sequencer can also work in step sequencing mode, where you enter all notes and rests one by one (as opposed to live recording, where the track runs and events are added in real time). This demo only shows the very basic functionality, but there is more: you can enter multiple events at the same position, to create chords or combine samples. Also you can navigate back and forth and fix incorrectly entered notes. And these two modes can be used alternatively in one song, to help recording each track in the most suitable way, for example step sequencing for drums and live recording for leads.

Tape loop mode with synthesized and sampled sounds: This mode is accessible under 2nd yellow button. Sounds can be added to the one of the 4 loops, which can be individually enabled or muted. Accelerometer controls tape direction and speed (but precise controls by stylus will be added too). All sounds are coming from the device. The keyboard is a MIDI controller, Arturia Keystep.

Sampled drums with Euclidean Rhythms: This demo shows how a group of sampled sounds (preferably drums) can be controlled by Euclidean Rhythms generator. Here you can see a nice interactive visualization to help understand how it works. If you are interested in learning the theory behind, check this and this article.

Synthesized sounds, stylus control options: In this short demo we are showing a patch that uses continuous sound engines (without envelope control that would eventually stop them). Supersaw is configured to run on rows 1 to 3, dual FM oscillator on row 4. There are 3 sustain modes, that can be set up per row, group or even per key.

All sound engines (so far), controlled by MIDI: Here we are showing a patch that is configured to use a few sampled sounds, however all other sound engines are playable as well using an external MIDI controller, for example Arturia Keystep (or any other that can transmit on an arbitrary MIDI channel).

FM sounds, controlled by MIDI: The synthesized sounds in Loopstyler can have various internal parameters, either driven by LFOs or by external MIDI controller, for example Arturia Keystep (or any other that can transmit pitch bend and continuous control MIDI messages). It is useful it if can also switch to an arbitrary MIDI channel for notes, however if your one only transmits on channel 1 that's fine - you can select which sound engine listens to which MIDI channel.

This demo shows a patch where 4 samples are assigned to 4 rows and all share the same octave and mode. After activating the arpeggiator, you can change key, octave, mode, or instrument that the arpeggiator controls. We also hear complaints about incorrectly entered command sequence; this prototype lacks texts on some pads, and LED lights are not yet showing cues about what is going on, which makes it harder to control. We will record an annotated video explaining these controls in detail, once the first production unit arrives from the factory.


Another demonstration of a patch with 4 different samples, and a short sequence with changing keys, octaves, modes and instruments. It may be hard to follow what commands are entered to achieve these changes, as this prototype (although final when it comes to circuitry) is still missing some texts and labels. This will be updated once we have first production units in our hands.


This patch opens a folder full of files imported from Tascam handheld recorder, mostly field recordings from the seashore and forest. Arbitrarily long files are supported, and dozens of them can play in parallel. They get assigned to individual pads and by mixing a couple of them by selecting a few pads, interesting combinations appear. After switching to another patch, sounds from previous one are not stopped automatically (this behaviour is of course configurable). You can overlay new sounds over the soundscape. Here the old sounds gradually died off as they were not set to loop forever.


This patch shows a more complex configuration: first two rows play a sampled vibraphone sound over a range of octaves, while last two rows use one sample per pad. Setting up a patch like this can be done by editing a text file, or by assigning the sounds to pads (or ranges of) using the stylus and a few commands through the Loopstyler's interface. You don't need a computer to manage patches, everything can be configured on the device itself.

FAQ

Let us explain a few things about the Loopstyler which might not be obvious.

IT IS VERY SMALL

You may be thinking it is larger as it is hard to tell by the photos, but the Loopstyler is only as wide as one's palm, or 9 x 5.5cm / 3.5 by 2.2 inches (exactly the same as Loopsynth in the plastic version).

WORKS WITH SPEAKERS AND HEADPHONES

The headphone connectors is very standard 3.5mm jack, you can also connect the output to an amplifier or active speakers. There is no built-in speaker like in the classic stylophone. Given the complexity of sounds that you can get, the quality of such speaker would be inadequate.

RUNS ON USB POWER

You can power it from any standard 5V sources, power banks, computer's USB ports and various adapters. There are no special requirements, the current drawn is low (at most 150mA). The power connector is of micro-USB type, we know this is not ideal in today's world but for practical reasons and complexity of manufacturing we need to stick to this standard at least in the first production run. A reliable cable is supplied with each unit.

There is no rechargeable battery included because of the shipping restrictions, however if you can solder, you have an option to disassemble the device easily (two screws) and install a rechargeable battery; then it will be charged via USB. The modification required is the same as shown here and here with the Gecho Loopsynth circuit board. The battery must be a 3.7V Lithium Polymer (Li-Po) with protection circuit (like this one).

FIRMWARE UPDATES

To not cause any delays, early adopters will receive firmare as is by the time of shipping (which will do at least as much as shown in demo and described in the user manual. Updates are very easy to install. All you need to do is plug the Loopstyler to your computer via USB cable, it will show up as a removable disk drive, you download a file from our website, save it to that drive, and power cycle the unit. Getting new sounds for your synth, or transfering recordings to your computer, is just as simple.

ACCESSORIES

In your package you will get:

 
 

 
 

GALLERY


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Loopstyler

€175 (+VAT) SHIPS IN 2-3 WEEKS

We are nearly done with shipping the preorders and will build more units for you soon.

Loopstyler: programmable, polyphonic, multitimbral pocket synth with a couple of sound engines, controlled by stylus or MIDI.

+ Accessories: protective pouch ♦ USB & MIDI cable ♦ SD Card ♦ two stickers ♦ manual

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