This page refers to the older LADSPA plugin version of SooperLooper, it has been superceded by the in development standalone JACK client version here

SooperLooper is a looping sampler very much like the Gibson/Oberheim Echoplex Digital Pro (EDP). In fact, it is a downright emulation of an EDP, with some additional features and a silly name. I figured that the EDP feature-set is powerful, proven, and popular -- so why not implement it as a LADSPA plugin we can all use? It is a true realtime software looper if used with a low-latency Linux kernel and the proper audio buffer configuration. Please let me know if you have any problems...

Download the source:   sooperlooper-0.93.tar.gz

Changes for 0.93:
    now includes PD patches!

Changes for 0.92: now supports ecasound 2.2

Changes for 0.91:
    Now uses officially allocated plugin ID
    Minor error checking fixes

Author Contact:   Jesse Chappell --   jesse at essej dot net

I have never used an actual EDP, but all the features are described in the user's manual, which was an invaluable resource. Take a look at to get the manual and other tips. It all applies.

Features of SooperLooper shared with the EDP:

Additional features of SooperLooper:

There are a few differences in functionality on the alternate endings of certain functions, but for the most part I tried to match the EDP manual for the LoopIII version. The primary difference is the mechanism of control, as it is a LADSPA plugin and not hardware :) See the parameters page for a detailed description of the LADSPA input and output parameters for this plugin.

How to get it working for you

Now included with SooperLooper are PD (Pure-Data) patches which let you control it manually or by MIDI program changes. The patches use the plugin~ external to wrap the SooperLooper LADSPA plugin. However, because of bugs and missing features of plugin~-0.2 you will need to apply this source code patch to use it. This patch fixes the output control parameter messages, and extends them with an additional element (the output index). This patch is already integrated into the latest maintained version of PD 0.37.

Once you have a patched plugin~, fire up PD making sure that it and 'sooperlooper~.pd' and 'sooperloopermanual_midi.pd' files are located in your PD path (or specified via the -path argument).

Open 'sooperloopermanual_midi.pd', you will need to get audio in and out. You can open up a new window to 'throw' and 'catch' the data from the audio hardware to 'sooploopin' and 'sooploopout' as seen in this screenshot. Or do it your own way....

You can control it via the buttons, or via a MIDI program change messages ideally sent by your MIDI footcontroller. The values are:

0     UNDO // UNDO ALL in mute mode
1    REDO // DELAY TAP, if REDO_TAP_MODE is true
2    REPLACE // QUANTIZE TOGGLE in mute mode
3    REVERSE // ROUND TOGGLE in mute mode
4    SCRATCH // UNMUTE from Top in mute mode
8    INSERT // ONE SHOT playback from mute mode
9    MUTE // UNMUTE continue in mute mode

The value of the tens digit (well, 0-12) is used to match the value of the "Multi Tens" parameter set for a given instance of the plugin. This way you can use the same hardware controller to control several independent instances of the plugin.

Install the plugin and try the python demo

If you just want to try it out without investing the time and effort to do it with your feet or learn PD :) I included a sample curses-based console program to let you try it out with the keyboard. It also has some nice feedback from the control outputs to let you know the state of the plugin and time info about the looping.

Here is a screenshot of the console demo is a Python script using curses and pyecasound to handle the audio. You must have Python 2.x, the LADSPA header file and Ecasound (with pyecasound module (including properly installed). Ecasound is fantastically useful and well designed for a wide variety of audio applications, you should already have it if you don't. Get them respectively at:

Compile SooperLooper by possibly editing the Makefile, and running 'make' and copying into your LADSPA_PATH (or 'make install').

Run the python script like this:

./ 2> error.output

And in another window tail the file to see the debugging output:

tail -f -s 0 error.output

If you don't do this the stderr will screw up the curses display. And its useful to see the debugging output, if you compiled it in. Sometimes tail might peg the CPU at 100%, if yours does, just use tail -f -s 1 error.output .

Make sure your mixer is set to record the input you want to use, and everything except PCM and master is muted. If you don't have a good full-duplex soundcard and/or low-latency kernel you may want to increase the -b:128 in the ECASTART variable near the top of to -b:256. However, with a low-latency patched kernel and running as root (to get SCHED_FIFO) you should have no problems (you could even take it down to -b:64).

Have at it... note that the usage portion of the window changes a bit depending on what state the plugin is in. The updating time status is turned off by default, but if you have nice low-latency stuff enabled you can turn it on without any overruns.... (press 's').

Inadequate Usage Tips

Start here. If Threshold > 0 the loop recording doesn't start until the audio data is greater than the threshold. The same goes for when you finish a loop by pressing RECORD again, the loop doesn't end until the audio goes above the threshold. It might seem strange, but this really helps get clean seams on your loops. For instance, in silence press RECORD the first time. Then play a measure or two in proper time, and just _before_ you hit the downbeat (it must be below threshold) press RECORD again and play the downbeat in time, don't stop. The loop will take over and if you did it right your last downbeat will be louder, but not out of time. If the Threshold is 0, it starts and stop the moment you press RECORD. See the tips in the EDP manual, it works best if you stop and start recording the moment you hit the downbeat, not before. Trust them.

If you end a RECORD with another function it will finish the loop immediately (threshold ignored) and start doing the new function. A special feature: ending with REVERSE stops recording and plays the loop backwards once then goes into MUTE mode.

This just keeps playing the loop and keeps adding whatever you play until you stop overdubbing. Very useful.... this is the main tool.
This similar to overdub, except the original loop is repeated underneath you "multiplying" the loop length until you stop it. Thus it can turn a 1 measure loop into a 2,3, etc measure loop. QuantizeMode and RoundMode affect how the overdubbing starts and stops. See if you can figure it out. Keep in mind that the original loop length is a "cycle" and the loop length will be a multiple of that. You can actually make an already multiplied loop have fewer cycles with the right combination of options.

If you end a MULTIPLY with a RECORD press it ends the loop immediately and resets the cycle length to the whole loop, if you want that.

It insert new input in place, but always one "cycle" length... QuantizeMode and RoundMode have effects (RTF EDP Manual).
Is like overdub without keeping or playing the underlying audio. So it's not like overdub at all.
Reverses playback direction. Can be used in play mode, and even during an OVERDUB, which makes for some pretty interesting stuff. Can also be used in DELAY mode. If QuantizeMode is on, the reversal doesn't happen until the next loop boundary, thus keeping the loop in time.
Undoes the last operation and immediately plays the previous loop maintaining the current time position if the loop you are undoing was based on the previous loop (usually is). You can go all the way back to the first one.
Redoes the loop if it can (if you haven't done a new operation since your last undo). Taken together UNDO and REDO allow you to do some neat things: record a verse part, then hit record to do a chorus part. To get back to the verse, press UNDO... to get to the chorus press REDO... Pressing UNDO while in MUTE mode undoes all the way back (can be redone).
To continue playing the loop in time press MUTE again. To continue playing the loop from the top press SCRATCH. To play back the loop once and return to mute, press Insert/OneShot.

You can toggle some of the parameters while in MUTE mode, see the usage panel. QuantizeMode and RoundMode are described in the EDP manual... the semantics in SooperLooper are almost the same, there is a subtle difference in MULTIPLY mode when QuantizeMode is on, more description to come.

If you set the REDOTAPMODE parameter to non-zero, the REDO button will become the trigger for the tap tempo delay mode. Or you can use the dedicated control input on the LADSPA plugin for the tap trigger (any change is considered a trigger). The time between the most recent two presses is the new delay time. While in DELAY mode, you can toggle Hold Mode, or Reverse at any time for a cool effect. To get out of delay mode press any other function or UNDO. You will probably want to adjust Feedback down from 1 before you enter delay mode or you'll build up a nice cacophony fast.
By default the Scratch Rate Active is toggled off which means it ignores the Scratch Rate parameter. Changes in the Scratch Position input parameter over time define the rate of playback (position unit is ratio of current loop length). Pressing the Reverse command while in Scratch mode toggles the Scratch Rate Active flag. Then the loop is played back at Rate input parameter (which can be +/- anything) unless you're actively scratching.

You can't test this feature in the console demo, but it works great with a hardware controller patched in through midi and Ecasound. I personally use a Theremin (the PAIA Theremax) with CV output through my MIDI pedal, very cool.

Jesse Chappell --   jesse at essej dot net
Get the latest SooperLooper at