Creating and working with a setlist live

Hey all! First post here. I’m considering buying an OP-1, partially for experimentation and songwriting like most of the people here. But one of my primary needs is a device I can use with a band to add various electronic elements – drums, synths, samples, etc. This would vary by song, but it would mostly consist of a pre-sequenced looping drum track as a base and then sequenced (pre-recorded) and/or live played elements on top. So I have some questions about how the tape works. Apologies if these questions are answered elsewhere on the forum and I missed it.

1. Is it possible/convenient to have a series of independent loops recorded in series on the tape as songs, perhaps with some space in-between? So I could start at the beginning of the tape, loop through the first song, advance to the second start point and play the second song, and so on? Or would that be cumbersome to record and manage?

2. Assuming that is feasible, is it easy to advance through the tape quickly to get to the next start point (say my first song was 4 bars, then I added a bar as a spacer, could I easily get to bar 6 without playing through it)?

3. Is it possible to set multiple sections of the tape to loop when they are played? For instance, let’s say on one of these songs I had two two-bar loops, and I wanted to loop the first loop for a while, and then switch to the second loop and let that loop for a while, to create a complete song. Is it possible to have each of these sections loop when played but then switch between them manually? (Basically this would be normal looping behavior on something like Maschine, Ableton Live, etc.) If that is NOT possible, can I manually set a section to loop as I get to each song?

4. Once I’ve created recordings on the tape, and I back them up to a computer, is it possible to bring the recordings back into the tape again from the computer so they are set up as they were? Or is backing up your recordings simply a way of saving them as audio, never to return as tracks on the tape?

5. I assume the tempo is set globally for the tape, so if I had multiple songs with different tempos I would need to manually set the tempo for each one? Same with effects, the overall mix and other elements of the sound – are they set globally for the entire tape, or can you record changes to those things in the tape as you go?

This may not be how the tape is really intended to be used (or maybe it is), I’m just wondering if it would make sense. I recently got another well-regarded standalone device, the Novation Circuit, and I’m looking at the OP-1 as another unique device that could work in a band setting (they could work together as well).

Thanks for the info!
  1. Yes, i think most of OP-1 users do it all the time because there is no “projects”.

  2. When you switch tape sync button, tape has mark on each bar based on that bpm, so you can easily navigate between those bars marks with shift+right(left) buttons. It works when tape is stopped. If you have songs with different BPM, your task is little harder. You can for example switch to desired bpm, then go to some mark on tape, then record part, then switch to next bpm, go to some mark after first part, record second part, and so on. When you will need to come back to desired part, you will have to remember and switch to right bpm, or marks on the tape will not match with start of your recording. So it’s little fiddly, but possible.

  3. When tape is in play mode, you can switch between whole loops by same shift+arrow buttons, and it will switch to next loop only when previous loop is over. Length of loop you can easy choose when tape is stopped (choose start and end points), but you can’t so easy change it on the go live. So you can record 4 bars of loop A, then 4 bars of loop B (e.g with drum fill) after it, and switch beetwen them live, like some sort of clips in daw, and also since you have 4 tracks ot the tape and 1 “live” part, you can do some changes within one loop. E.g. you can have kick track, hihats track, snare track, toms track, and mute them separatly. Also you have a couple of sequencers, one of those (finger) have some sort of patterns, so it can be used to add some live looped sounds over the tape loop.

  4. I not tryed myself, but tape tracks are just aiff files, and i guess if you just replace those files on the op-1 by files that you backed up, it should work.

  5. I already wrote about tempo above:) You have 1 global effect to the mix. It is don’t affect the tape, actually if you back up the tape tracks to the computer then mixer settings (global effect and eq and compressor and track volumes/pan) are not applied to the files, they are “raw”. But you can resample op-1 itself, also with the mixer section applied (with the album track or to free track), so you can for example apply fx, resample to tape and add another fx, or resample back to sampler, or to drum sampler, make there some adjustments or apply lfo or other fx, then resequence from sampler to the tape, and repeat it untill you not recognize you initial loop at all, so there is some possibilities. But you should understand that op-1 not multitumbral and mangling sounds on op-1 are in most cases linked to tape resampling, it is destructive and non live, opposite to your Novation Circuit where you can just play all 3 parts and tweak knobs, and get some live sound moving.

Q2 you can switch loop points quick between different tempo sections by hitting shift and loop.That will set loop points to length of highlighted position of play of recorded track.
Q3 yes no prob…shift and arrows to move loop forward or back to adjacent section.
Q4 yes this works fine.
Q5 there is a tap tempo or manual.This sets tempo for sequencers live play and markers on Tape.But loops can be formed of different lengths as of answer 2, so tape isn’t restricted with loop point lengths set by tempo.
The effects have zero bpm settings…its all by ear.
There is 5 sequncers for synth and drums each, and Finger seq can store 14 patterns each with lots of jam varients and potential to have different jams ready to play with.

Here’s what I would do regarding the 5th question for song transitions. No BPM memory required, just a single digit number:

Turn on Beat Match/Link in the metronome screen

Record a 4 bar loop/song whatever @ 120bpm

Skip a little tape and turn the white knob until you see -3. Check back the metronome screen and you’ll see that the tape is now running at 100.9 bpm

Record your other loop/song @ 100.9 bpm.

So you have your two loops. Let the 120 loop play, then on the final bar, Shift and > to the 100 bpm loop to move the loop marker over it, and turn the white knob until you see -3 on screen(slight slowdown). It will start playing, but the loop will be too long/short, so quickly Shift/3 to make the loop marker the exact length of the clip. It will now be perfectly looping your slower track.

That all sounds ridiculously slow reading it myself, but practiced(like an instrument :wink: ) it could be a very fast thing in a live performance.

Yes shift and key 3 (loop) sorts lots for this OG post.
It’s a beast of a machine for jumping around audio on tape,dj style.