Surround Sound Worship Loops

Hey community!

I’m in Cincinnati with my good friend and very talented worship leader / songwriter, Zak Stegman.

Zak is leading worship this week for the Summer of Service conference at the Vineyard church in Cincinnati (where I used to work).

He is running his loops this week in Surround Sound, which I thought was pretty cool. Basically, he exported two different stereo tracks. Each track
has different instruments panned. Track 1 is set to play through the center array speakers, and Track 2 is playing through a set of speakers set up in the rear of the auditorium.

Check out this video to spark some creativity in your looping and multitracking!

Anyone else out there doing this?

-Matt McCoy (@mattmccoy)

Interview with Gary Sexton

Gary Pic Lc


So while I was attending the Seeds conference in Tulsa Ok I had the privilege to meet Loop Community Contributer Gary Sexton.  He is a great guy and he has some killer loops here on loop community.  I used Gary’s God’s Great Dance Floor Loop at Easter and it was fantastic!  Check out this interview with him and also go take a listen to his work.

Tell us a little about yourself?

I am currently 23 years old.  I grew up in Mattoon, IL at Broadway Christian Church where my dad is the pastor.  I went to college for worship ministry at Lincoln Christian University.  During my last semester of college, I married my wife, Michelle.  We’ve been married for 2 1/2 years and have a consistently cute and lazy english bulldog named Toby.  In my spare time, I enjoy music production, video games, sports, and watching TV shows.

Where do you lead worship at?

lead worship at Elevate Church in Morton, IL.  It is a 6 year old church that averages 800 people a weekend.  I am privileged to work alongside a lot of talented people & play with an incredible band.

How long have you been using loops in Worship?

I’ve been using loops in worship since 2006.  For the first 2 years, I used GarageBand.  Then I found Reason.  And a year after that, I found Ableton.

What Program do you use to create your loops?

I use Ableton for hosting VST’s, recording, editing, & playback.  Occasionally I’ll use Reason for a couple of sounds.

How would you say loops have helped your worship experiences?

Using clicks & loops have helped give consistency to our worship experiences by providing the band with a foundation to quickly learn & perform new songs at a high level.  Because we are often learning a new song a week and only have 2 hours to practice together, loops have helped by giving the band the underlying structure to follow in terms of song arrangement.  Also, it’s helped our live sound tremendously by giving us a lot more instrumentation than a normal 6 piece band (drums, bass, 2 electrics, acoustic, keys) can do on their own.  In ministry, I’ve walked the balance between excellence vs. getting newer people involved.  As I’m sure most worship leaders have realized, the more people that you get involved, the more work you have to do on the front end to arrange parts so that the final product is one that helps lead people musically.  Using loops has enabled us to do this because I know I can throw an important part on a track if needed while letting a newer person be onstage to get more reps.

What does it mean to you to be a contributor at Loop Community?

I enjoy seeing other high quality work that I can compare my own to.  I found that when loops were being given away for free, the quality often wasn’t there and you had a lot of people in the community who were always asking for things but never contributing.  I enjoy LoopCommunity because I can see that my work is being valued when another worship leader chooses to invest a part of his budget in buying my work.  Not only does that save him time and his church money (because it’s cheaper for the church to spend $20 on a loop that someone else has made than to pay their worship leader to make one on church time), but it invests back into worship leaders from other churches who are rewarded for their hard work.  And when loop makers have an incentive to create excellent loops, the whole community benefits.

What music are you listening to that inspires your creativity?


Elevation Worship – Nothing is Wasted

Hillsong – Zion


Paper Route

Tell us about your music experience?

I began playing bass guitar in middle school jazz band and started to play at church shortly after that.  In high school, I began to play electric guitar and lead worship.  Since then, electric guitar has been my primary instrument.   But when I create loops, I’m primarily using a mouse and a MIDI keyboard.  I had a few semesters of piano in college but most of what I’ve learned has been learning on my own and figuring out what I like.

Why should people check out Loopcommunity?

LoopCommunity is a great resource for quality loops at a good price.

Go support Gary and buy his loops!  You can follow him on twitter @garysexton or on facebook

How to use Propellerhead Figure iOS app with Ableton Live

Mixer section of Propellerhead Figure - makers of Reason, Record, and ReCycle.

I have a strange affection for iOS audio apps. I think it is largely related to the newness of the platform. Each new app seems to take the platform a step further down the digital audio frontier. Propellerhad’s Figure is no exception.

I really like the app. The interface is simple and interesting. It provides just enough functionality to tweak and tweeze the available sounds to make me happy. The app’s audio engine is built from  two of Reason’s Thor instruments and  and one Kong drum designer, which is to say it sounds great. Like most audio iOS apps it is fun, but that’s about it – generally no serious audio sound design.

With this particular app you’re locked into two bars of audio and you can’t export your sound. It is designed to have fun killing time while riding the train home from work. But what about the moment when you make a killer little groove with this app and you want to use it as the basis of your next song or as a loop in your next live set? They key and tempo function of the app allow you to do this type of sketch, but how do you get the sound out of the app? And what if you wanted to hear each track individually?

Propellerhead made a very cool mixer function (see image above and to the left). The mixer function allows the user to mute any of the three sound engines mentioned above, and it is this little gem that allows you to use this cool little time killer for actual concept design.

To get the audio from the phone I used the following signal path.

Once you have your signal path setup, open a live set and set the global tempo control at the same bpm as your Figure song. Next create three audio  tracks and name them drum, bass, lead. Once this is done you simply mute the two tracks you don’t want to record and record the remaining track to your Ableton session. In the picture above I have muted the bass and lead track and I am preparing to record to my drum track in Ableton.

Individual Figure tracks recorded into a clip with loop in and out points set in the sample editor.

Next you want to begin recording a new clip in Ableton and then start the playback in Figure. I let Figure play through the 2 bar loop about 3-4 times to ensure I could easily identify the beginning and end of the loop both visually and audibly. Once recorded to a clip you adjust your loop points in the Sample Editor window of live. Do this for all three loops respectively.

Once this is done, you can trigger each loop individually, add effects, and continue sculpting your sound. Thats it.

The app will run you a whopping buck in the app store and in my opinion, the sound quality and functionality are well worth the spend. If you want a fun little app to make a legit loop then check out Figure. Coupled with Ableton, this little time killer can become a viable loop creation tool.

Below is the quick little loop I made in just a few minutes. I simply launched the scenes you see in the image above.

[haiku url=”” graphical=”true” title=”Figure demo”]