Blooper + Expression - *NO* MIDI

Hi all!

Just trying this out here since it seems possibly very simple yet I can’t find a straight answer anywhere on the web/social media/etc.

I’m using my Morningstar MC6 to control a Blooper, which I am triggering using a Korg PS-3 footswitch (both go into the Blooper via the Hosa TSR Splitter). The clock is coming from a Beatstep Pro.

By design, Blooper is set up to begin recording a quarter note late when receiving MIDI clock. This is a bummer. I also have a Ditto and a Boomerang and neither have this issue. But, CBA very kindly reconfigured this to 1/32nd on my pedal (endless thanks to their top notch team!). This is better, but it still drifts.

Blooper is obviously capable of immediate recording response (i.e., no quarter note delay or any other kind of delay) when not synced to MIDI clock. Expression pedal doesn’t introduce any latency.

So, my aspirational solution is to stop using MIDI entirely with Blooper and instead just trigger it with expression, but with the expression pedal locked to MC6’s internal quasi/pseudo-clock. However, I’ve watched the official Morningstar videos, and the unofficial ones, looked through Reddit, FB, etc., and just can’t find how to set this up.

In other words: I want to send my expression pedal into MC6, MC6 out directly into Blooper (no more Hosa Y-splitter necessary), no official MIDI clock input, but with Expression just sort of following MC6’s internal non-MIDI clock. Is this possible and how?

that’s disappointing to learn! I was planning to get a blooper now that i’ve sold my Infinity Looper by pigtronix which actually clocks extremely well to midi.

not sure about your splitter set up. that sounds problematic. (perhaps you could provide pictures for further clarification.

your second option sounds more feasible ( exp > mc6 > bloop) but id imagine you’d still want to be using midi cc exp just with the blooper set the ignore the midi clock portion.

Hope this helps!

I really want a Blooper but its MIDI clock limitations are preventing me pull the trigger. So I’d be interested in hearing how you get along with it.

WRT to your suggested approach of triggering with expression - I think you might find it will quickly become out-of-sync (assuming you have other stuff that is clocked) because of clock drift. You won’t know unless you try though :man_shrugging:

Hi Ambient!

I did find some workarounds, but they were inconsistent at best. I don’t want to get too into them, because the information may be incorrect, but I will briefly outline my approach in case it inspires you to come up with an even better workaround:

You may be able to set up the Morningstar to fool Blooper into thinking it can ignore the clock when in fact it does not.

Here are the steps I followed:

  • Using Looper Mode and an external Korg PS-1 Momentary Expression pedal, code the first Press to Ignore MIDI Clock.
  • Set up the 2nd Press to bring back clock, for example, 16th note divisions.

For this to work, it will depend on a really precise 1st Press, which is simple enough - at least I didn’t have any trouble with it. I played with variations on that.

That being said, the workaround was inconsistent. When it would function (assuming it did, in fact, function), I was constantly asking myself: am I just an expert looper, or is this a strange run of perfect loops a coincidence? However, after several successful runs, it would stop working. Just to be clear: I am not sure it ever worked. And if it did work, I’m not sure why it would stop working. A power-cycle would help to restore it to functioning, but again, inconsistently.

The explanation at the heart of all of these issues is that Blooper doesn’t have a recording buffer. Loopers like the exquisite (but un-glitchy) Boomerang Looper, which I also own, will essentially retroactively adjust your loop when you are done recording it to make it sound close to perfect (on the MIDI beat). This is because Boomerang is always listening/recording. Blooper’s lack of a recording buffer will prevent it from doing this. I imagine Blooper v2 will have this improvement, but I would be surprised if we see a Blooper v2 before 2022, and if we do, will it have the same small footprint?

I’ve looked at other MIDI-enabled glitch-y loopers, and there are some out there, some pretty darn interesting - potentially moreso. For example, I haven’t tried it, but I was very interested, for a moment, in the Montreal Assembly 856 for Zellersasn, which has MIDI as well. I didn’t end up purchasing for various reasons, but I would love to try it. If you (or anyone else) have experience with this, please share.

Last, it’s worth noting that, if you watch YouTube videos like Fire Ghosting’s demo of Blooper, the preferred workaround is to come in just after you trigger Blooper. The little red button will always come on a few moments after you click it, but, once it does, it will be more or less locked to the beat. However, in my experience, I also found this to be inconsistent. Granted, it is possible that I just had bad luck, or perhaps I’m terrible at this, but I don’t think so, because I’ve been running my whole setup off a DAWless MIDI clock for over 2 years now and haven’t encountered any issues.

I love Blooper. It’s such a cool little artful device, and its very unpredictability can be a creative tool. However, I also have a Red Panda Particle and other glitchy pedals which can accomplish about 50% of the same things (with a reliable MIDI clock - and trails!). For me, MIDI precision is too much of a habit, and also too productive. Anything that throws a wrench in that disrupts my entire workflow. For more loose, ambient workflows, it might not be such a bad thing. I’m sure Eno would welcome some drift.

Sorry for that long answer. It’s the product of many many hours of troubleshooting and research, and hoping for the best. So hopefully it is helpful to someone out there.

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