I have wanted to experiment with looping since I first saw KT Tunstall play “Black Horse & the Cherry Tree” on Jools Holland many year ago. I even went out and bought the same pedal that she used, but I never got very far. Fast forward to the COVID-times, and I finally had time to experiment and make it happen. So I planted the seeds and watched it grow over the course of many, many Facebook live streams. And now I’ve reached the point where I have some confidence with the new technology and feel confident taking it out of the woodshed.
I started with an integrated vocal / guitar / loop pedal called the Boss VE-8 Acoustic Singer. This allowed me to loop vocals, guitar, or both together – but getting the loops just right was tricky due to a lack of visual feedback. So I hit on the idea of using a separate loop pedal – a Boss RC-1 – to loop just percussion. That would allow me to readily control the balance between the loops and the live vocals and guitar.
But I wanted to be able to loop multiple percussion instruments (djembe, doumbek, bodhran, cajon, shaker, etc.), and build the loops in layers. Which meant I would have to route multiple microphones into a mini-mixer, and then pass that mixed signal to the loop pedal. For that, I hit upon the Mackie 402VLZ4.
But then I needed a way to balance the vocal+guitar signal coming from the VE-8 with the percussion loops from the RC-1. So I would need ANOTHER mini-mixer to handle that, and pass that mixed signal to my phone or computer as the audio source for my live streams via USB. So that’s where the Mackie ProFX6v3 comes in.
After quite a bit of head scratching, and a little bit of trial and error, I’m pleased to present “The Cockpit” v1.0!