Apple Loops cooler than U think

in Mac Software edited January 2014

Apple revolutionizes soundware

I've been poking around those innocuous-looking .aif files in the GarageBand loops folder, and I've realized something... these are FAR more than simple ACID-type files or REX2 (or pHATfiles) which simply store transient, tempo and key information.

It appears the Apple Loop file format can store the following

1. A rendered version of the loop (what's in the standard aiff file, and and the reason you can load it into any application that supports aif)

2. Transient, key, and tempo information. (like ACID, Rex2 and pHATfiles)

3. The midi information used to create the loop.

4. The EXS patch used to create the loop (including samples, it appears, but I'm not sure) (!)

5. A 'channel preset' with effects settings for processing the loop.

What's the practical application of this?

1. In GarageBand, if you drag one of these loops to an audio track, you get an audio-style waveform reminiscent of Logic's arrange with the added benefit of ACID-style time-stretching and pitch-scaling.

1. If you drag one of these loops to a MIDI track, you get the MIDI data used to create the loop (note that that midi track could be triggering a completely different instrument, allowing you to mix and match performance data with different sounds freely.) You could also quantize, change individual notes, etc.

2. If you drag one of these loops to an empty area in the arrange (i.e. where there is no track already) it will create a new track with the channel settings, sampler patch (aka 'software instrument' in GB) and midi data TO EXACTLY REPRODUCE THE LOOP. But with more flexibility than loop based soundware has EVER provided.

This is important: instead of 'slicing' up a rendered audio loop, these apple loops can be thought of as 'open source' loops -- you literally have the program material (sampler patch, performance data, and effect settings) the sound designer had when he created them! Also, because these are midi-based, they need not be drums, be ANY type of program material. (For example, the loop I used to try all this out was a pop ballad piano loop complete with chords and piano).

Forget ACID-style time stretching, this is the ultimate in flexibility for all types of loops. Imagine getting a drum loop and deciding it's too compressed. Simply turn it off. Or change the hat sound (or entire kits). Add to this the meta-tagging features of Apple Loops (the search engine is great, as anyone who has used Soundtrack can attest to).

While this puts an (unfruitful) end to a year plus of research and development for me (the death of MetaGroove?, I'm afraid), it's EXTRAORDINARILY exciting for me as a musician to see a platform vendor do something so right and so smart. While many of us scratched our head at the apparent anti-climax of Logic Pro 6, Apple slid a revolutionary new technology into their introductory audio application right under our very noses.

Mark my words. Apple Loops are big news.

Hats off to my colleagues at Apple. Brilliant.


Art is the talented programmer behind Phatmatik Pro and owner of Bitshift Audio

Very interesting concepts mentioned here. Apple Loops might just become pretty big.

OSXAudio thread here


  • Reply 1 of 6
    I have been playing in garageband since I got it 4 hours ago, and I noticed that the loops seemed to always fit exactly with what I was doing.

    I haven't really played with the loops a whole bunch so far, but I was really surprised at how well everything shifted and could be manipulated.

    I didn't think about it too much, but I figured it had to be more than just key correction, it's very cool to find out exactly what it *is* I'm very stoked about that, great news indeed.
  • Reply 2 of 6
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,354member
    WR yeah that's what i'm hearing. Apple Loops have excellent metadata in them as explained by Art's post above. There's really going to be many things that Apple can do with these. Forget "Acidized" files this is Acidized Extreme LOL

    Kind of explains why GB and Soundtrack require processing power to crunch these numbers for loops. I can't wait until I get my Mac. I'll be ready.

    BTW I'm hearing good things about the Guitar Amp simulator. All this for $49. Amazing.
  • Reply 3 of 6
    For those of you that haven't used Soundtrack (which GrageBand is basically a light version of with some different features) then you are missing out on the full extent of Apple's Sound Loops.

    Soundtrack comes with a program call the Soundtrack Loop Utility. It lets you create your very own sound loops with all the metadata included. It is a killer part of Soundtrack that most users haven't even played with, let alone know exists.

    You can set everything from Key, Scale Type, Time Signature, and Number of Beats to Descriptors such as: Single or Ensemble, Part or Fill, Acoustic or Electric, Dry or Processed, Clean or Distorted, Cheerful or Dark, Relaxed or Intense, Grooving or Arrhythmic, Melodic or Dissonant. You also get Bit Depth, Sample Rate, Channels, Tempo and File Kind info.

    If you setup your sound samples right using this utility then they work wonderfully in Soundtrack. I don't have GrageBand yet so I don't know how well they work with it.

    - G in the S
  • Reply 4 of 6
    666666 Posts: 134member
    will apple implement such smart pitch correction in Logic from any audio waveform?
  • Reply 5 of 6
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,354member

    Originally posted by 666

    will apple implement such smart pitch correction in Logic from any audio waveform?

    Yes but you will have to create the loop points yourself. There is a SDK for Apple Loops that you can download.
  • Reply 6 of 6
    akumulatorakumulator Posts: 1,111member

    Originally posted by hmurchison

    There is a SDK for Apple Loops that you can download.
Sign In or Register to comment.