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nanoloop megathread
tips and tricks for all versions

nanoloop

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#1 juiceciuj

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Posted 28 June 2016 - 09:29 AM

so i've recently gotten back into nanoloop in all it's variations. i had put it aside for many years after my original nanoloop 1.2 cart battery died and scrambled all my files.

 

i starting a while back with the android version, then (after getting a new phone) the iphone version. more recently i purchased the nanoloop 1.7.x cart for classic gb and this week received a 2.7.x cart for gba. i'll also more than likely purchase the nanoloop mono when it releases next month. 

 

 

anyways i just thought maybe some of you guys could post some of your favorite tips for nl in all of it's forms.

 

i was a honestly quite surprised at some strange differences in features between the newest nl1 and 2 carts (namely how limted the arpeggio function seems to be on the 2 compared to 1) and also that some of my favorite features from 1.2 had been removed in 1.7 (portamento is gone but it seems like you can fake it pretty well with the pitch envelopes).

 

i have a classic gb for recording my nl1 cart, and just picked up a micro for nl2 . wish i had read up more on the micro as it's noisy as hell even though it has decent bass output. i also have a ds lite with a dead top screen that i'll probably actually use for recording the 2 as it's way cleaner signal and still puts out bass. i also have a gba sp that i can use for composition of both the 1 and 2. the bass is shit but it's way easier to see than a classic gb. 

 

right now i'm by far the least familiar with nl2 as i've only had it for a few days. still trying to wrap my head around how the fm stuff is supposed to work. is there no wave shaper for the s channel like there is for nl1?



#2 modey

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Posted 28 June 2016 - 06:50 PM

oh sweet, your cart turned up!

 

I love nanoloop 2. It's very close to being the perfect tool for the kind of music I want to make. The wave designer (and cool stuff you can do in general with the wave channel—like hard sync!) in 1.7.x is cool but imo the sound design capabilities between the L/R and S channels are amazing. I've been really getting into crazy modulated FM using detuned tones on the S channel lately; I don't have anything uploaded yet but I have an EP coming out soon that has a really crazy LP5-ish track on it.

 

One thing I don't like about nanoloop 2 since 2.7.7 or so is the noise channel. It seems a little bit less diverse/warm than the noise channel in 2.7.2; I think oliver changed it to be more like the original gameboy's noise channel. The new one is kinda cool for pseudo-melodic stuff, but the old one is great for EBM-ish snares.. luckily I have one 2.7.2 cart and one 2.7.8 cart; I can sync both and get the best of both worlds :D

 

Some general tips for 2.7.x:

 

The arpeggiator on the L/R channels is a lot less limited than you might initially think—in its default mode it's a standard 4-note chippy arpeggio, but in the secondary mode (press L after pressing START) it becomes a one-shot micro-sequence. This is really useful if you're using the LFO but still want an envelope on pitch.. and also, if you put the pattern into half/quarter/eighth speed mode the arp speed slows down as well. This way it's possible to get up to 64 steps per pattern, though it's a bit more limited since step parameters affect groups of 4. Still, it's a cool feature.

 

Chords on the S channel are another thing I use all the time. Once you start playing around with weird note combinations and even the secondary "detune" mode, the FM mode starts to get really wacky. For great LP5-ish percussion sounds, try a short amp decay, discordant chords in various octaves, varying LFO speeds/depths, and varying locations in the filter screen for FM mode. Coupled with the note delay/doubler settings, and using A+dpad to change all note lengths/filter settings at once, this can get suuuuper wacky.

 

I discovered some very menacing bass sounds recently, when using high speed LFOs on the L/R channels, even in the non-FM modes. It's a little hard to control, and the notes are very limited, but once you find the sweet spot it's prime material for bangerz.

 

Speaking of bangerz, it takes a bit of work to develop a good kick sound, especially if the rest of your patterns are pretty busy. It helps to bring the volume of everything else down, and use the sine wave sound (FM mode in filter screen with the dot in the bottom left corner). With the right pitch envelope settings, it's possible to get something really deep. Of course, square wave kick sounds are great as well, especially with the lowpass filter. Try also using an arpeggio on your kick/snare sounds to give them a bit of "wibble".

 

Also, in regards to volume, I love the way nl2 subtly distorts when everything is going at full blast. Especially the noise channel, it kinda tends to get a bit obliterated sometimes. It almost sounds like analog distortion imo.

 

I should probably put together an "advanced nanoloop sound design" series of videos or something. I've learned a LOT in the past few months that I haven't heard in anyone else's nanoloop stuff, even the guys in the chip scene who initially inspired me to get into nanoloop..

 

 

edit: oh and one more thing, regarding the micro's noisy output. I've noticed that too, and my micros seem to be getting worse. I have three and they all have their own specific pitched whine. I've started using the multi-point EQ in Reaper to carefully subtract those frequencies.. it may help to develop an EQ preset that can be applied for your micro. I wish the DS/DS lite had a link cable port, since I agree, it really is the best sound for nanoloop 2. 

I might look into getting a second original GBA at some point for recording use, as I've heard it's better after the prosound mod. For live use though, and composing on the go, you really can't beat the micros imo.


Edited by modey, 28 June 2016 - 06:57 PM.


#3 sweepstakes

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Posted 28 June 2016 - 07:03 PM

oh sweet, your cart turned up!

 

I love nanoloop 2. It's very close to being the perfect tool for the kind of music I want to make. The wave designer (and cool stuff you can do in general with the wave channel—like hard sync!) in 1.7.x is cool but imo the sound design capabilities between the L/R and S channels are amazing. I've been really getting into crazy modulated FM using detuned tones on the S channel lately; I don't have anything uploaded yet but I have an EP coming out soon that has a really crazy LP5-ish track on it.

 

One thing I don't like about nanoloop 2 since 2.7.7 or so is the noise channel. It seems a little bit less diverse/warm than the noise channel in 2.7.2; I think oliver changed it to be more like the original gameboy's noise channel. The new one is kinda cool for pseudo-melodic stuff, but the old one is great for EBM-ish snares.. luckily I have one 2.7.2 cart and one 2.7.8 cart; I can sync both and get the best of both worlds :D

 

Some general tips for 2.7.x:

 

The arpeggiator on the L/R channels is a lot less limited than you might initially think—in its default mode it's a standard 4-note chippy arpeggio, but in the secondary mode (press L after pressing START) it becomes a one-shot micro-sequence. This is really useful if you're using the LFO but still want an envelope on pitch.. and also, if you put the pattern into half/quarter/eighth speed mode the arp speed slows down as well. This way it's possible to get up to 64 steps per pattern, though it's a bit more limited since step parameters affect groups of 4. Still, it's a cool feature.

 

Chords on the S channel are another thing I use all the time. Once you start playing around with weird note combinations and even the secondary "detune" mode, the FM mode starts to get really wacky. For great LP5-ish percussion sounds, try a short amp decay, discordant chords in various octaves, varying LFO speeds/depths, and varying locations in the filter screen for FM mode. Coupled with the note delay/doubler settings, and using A+dpad to change all note lengths/filter settings at once, this can get suuuuper wacky.

 

I discovered some very menacing bass sounds recently, when using high speed LFOs on the L/R channels, even in the non-FM modes. It's a little hard to control, and the notes are very limited, but once you find the sweet spot it's prime material for bangerz.

 

Speaking of bangerz, it takes a bit of work to develop a good kick sound, especially if the rest of your patterns are pretty busy. It helps to bring the volume of everything else down, and use the sine wave sound (FM mode in filter screen with the dot in the bottom left corner). With the right pitch envelope settings, it's possible to get something really deep. Of course, square wave kick sounds are great as well, especially with the lowpass filter. Try also using an arpeggio on your kick/snare sounds to give them a bit of "wibble".

 

Also, in regards to volume, I love the way nl2 subtly distorts when everything is going at full blast. Especially the noise channel, it kinda tends to get a bit obliterated sometimes. It almost sounds like analog distortion imo.

 

I should probably put together an "advanced nanoloop sound design" series of videos or something. I've learned a LOT in the past few months that I haven't heard in anyone else's nanoloop stuff, even the guys in the chip scene who initially inspired me to get into nanoloop..

 

 

edit: oh and one more thing, regarding the micro's noisy output. I've noticed that too, and my micros seem to be getting worse. I have three and they all have their own specific pitched whine. I've started using the multi-point EQ in Reaper to carefully subtract those frequencies.. it may help to develop an EQ preset that can be applied for your micro. I wish the DS/DS lite had a link cable port, since I agree, it really is the best sound for nanoloop 2. 

I might look into getting a second original GBA at some point for recording use, as I've heard it's better after the prosound mod. For live use though, and composing on the go, you really can't beat the micros imo.

How does the nanoloop sequencer compare to the Monomachine sequencer? Or are they too different to warrant any comparison?



#4 modey

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Posted 28 June 2016 - 07:32 PM

It's actually quite similar to the monomachine. Some key differences I've noticed:

 

Nanoloop's sequences can be any length up to 16 steps, and can be divided by 2, 4, or 8, played in random or forward/backward modes, and each note can be set to trigger once per 1, 2, or 4 repetitions of the pattern, with various different settings for this. This is independent for each channel, so you can have a half-speed 3-step pattern playing alongside a full-speed 7-step pattern and an eighth-speed 16-step pattern, and so on..

 

The patterns per channel can also be separated completely, so you can change pattern for one channel individually, even to a pattern from a different bank altogether. This, along with the above features, actually make it somewhat better than the monomachine, since it also incorporates the equivalent of parameter locks.

 

The disadvantages compared to the monomachine lie mostly in the sound design capabilities (mostly that there's only one LFO per channel, and it's hardwired depending on which channel you're using), but I don't think it's fair to compare the sound of a GBA to a purpose-built machine.. it does hold up pretty well though.

 

Sequencing-wise though, the monomachine has the advantage of being able to control a lot more at once than nanoloop.. though nanoloop has the A+dpad feature on pretty much all of the sound design pages, which will move each "parameter lock" around relatively. I find that a lot of my nanoloop jams tend to fall into the habit of controlling one thing at a time, slowly, then moving on to the next. It's perfectly fine, but usually results in everything else remaining static while one element slowly evolves.

 

I've gotta say, I have a lot more fun just randomly jamming on nanoloop than on the monomachine.. that really says something for oliver's UI design; a lot of people have trouble learning nanoloop but it clicked with me pretty much right away. Don't get me wrong, the monomachine is a powerhouse of beautiful, deep sound design.. but if only it had an interface like nanoloop :D

 

 

edit: ALSO, with the right cables, it can sync to volca/pocket operators, MIDI, another copy of nanoloop, and anything that can accept one pulse per step. There is also an optional USB device for it which can sync with MIDI over USB, as well as transfer banks to/from a computer using a web app.


Edited by modey, 28 June 2016 - 07:36 PM.


#5 juiceciuj

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Posted 30 June 2016 - 09:23 PM

well... still only used it intermittently during the work week but have a 5 day vacation coming up. printed all the manuals for nano 1 & 2 and plan to put in some work this weekend during the evenings. i think i've worked out a decent kick but yeah, it does seem that you need to turn the other channels down to get it to fit evenly in the mix.

 

re my nanoloop 2 cart shipping fiasco. so after my initial order got rerouted to australia for no reason, oliver shipped me a new one. about 1.5 weeks later i get a nano 2 cart and then a couple of 5 days later a second one shows up. somehow the one that went to australia actually made it to me first ;O

 

anyways i contacted oliver and went ahead and paid for the second cart. i may just hold onto it. may sell it to a friend for cost or maybe wait until they sell out again and sell it for a profit?

 

btw i hate the start and select buttons on the micro :(



#6 modey

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Posted 01 July 2016 - 12:42 AM

Keep it, and get a second micro. 2x nanoloop2 synced is amazing. Dedicating one entire gameboy to percussion means it can get a bit more punchy without having to turn anything down.

 

Hope you have a good time learning it! I found that once I grasped the basic concepts, the rest just fell into place. Just don't be afraid to experiment.. and don't get too attached to your patterns, because if you're anything like me, you'll spend the first couple of weeks accidentally deleting them :P

 

As for the micro's buttons, yeah, the start/select are a bit crappy.. I found the L and R buttons worse though, at least at first. I'm used to them now and find the layout very fast to work with.

 

btw check out these guys, they chained SIX copies of nanoloop for massive techno ridiculousness.

 

listen to that fkn kick, so insane


Edited by modey, 01 July 2016 - 12:44 AM.


#7 Guest_bitroast_*

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Posted 01 July 2016 - 01:50 AM

yum yum. running something thru the sherman filter it seem ? 



#8 modey

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Posted 01 July 2016 - 02:33 AM

yeah I reckon it's gotta be the squelchy acid stuff

#9 modey

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Posted 29 July 2016 - 07:49 AM

PSA: nanoloop mono now available for preorder:
http://nanoloop.com/shop/index.html

#10 juiceciuj

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Posted 29 July 2016 - 08:03 AM

PSA: nanoloop mono now available for preorder:
http://nanoloop.com/shop/index.html

gripped it and a midi adapter preorder. thx!


i didn't get an email about it or see a tweet... were you just mashing f5?



#11 Guest_bitroast_*

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Posted 29 July 2016 - 08:11 AM

okay. the mono sounds WICKED. gonna have to bite. *bites* 



#12 modey

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Posted 29 July 2016 - 08:34 AM

PSA: nanoloop mono now available for preorder:
http://nanoloop.com/shop/index.html

gripped it and a midi adapter preorder. thx!

i didn't get an email about it or see a tweet... were you just mashing f5?
I didn't get an email either, interestingly. I saw it come up on the nanoloop facebook group, and also on chipmusic.org. maybe the mailing list isn't working correctly..?

#13 juiceciuj

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Posted 03 October 2016 - 12:52 PM

hey remember when we ordered these a couple of months ago? 

 

:(



#14 juiceciuj

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Posted 03 October 2016 - 02:57 PM

well... ask and ye shall receive:

 



#15 modey

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Posted 03 October 2016 - 03:27 PM

Yeah he's been working on the software implementation; he's been posting updates (and audio) on chipmusic.org, I'm fine with waiting but I'm also pretty keen to try it!

#16 juiceciuj

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Posted 04 October 2016 - 08:36 AM

ah. didn't know to look there and was just checking twitter/nanoloop.de so i thought there had just been radio silence

 

also, am i crazy or did you not post sttc here? is that all nano2? 



#17 modey

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Posted 04 October 2016 - 01:39 PM

I posted it here in the 0F.digital new media thread. And yeah, it's all either one or two instances of nl2, with some minor processing (mostly reverb).

#18 Ragnar

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Posted 05 October 2016 - 10:52 AM

could a kid pick up/learn to use nanoloop? My nephew in particular, I let him lay down some beatz in buzztracker the other day. Would be a cool/unique christmas/whatever gift



#19 juiceciuj

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Posted 05 October 2016 - 11:11 AM

how old of a kid? i would tend to think so. you can try a demo in an emulator to see what he interface is really like: http://www.nanoloop.com/one/

 

although if he liked the tracker interface he'd probably feel more at home with lsdj. 



#20 Ragnar

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Posted 06 October 2016 - 08:33 PM

how old of a kid? i would tend to think so. you can try a demo in an emulator to see what he interface is really like: http://www.nanoloop.com/one/

 

although if he liked the tracker interface he'd probably feel more at home with lsdj. 

 

 

oh ok, I thought both were a tracker interface. I just downloaded famitracker as well. lsdj site was down when i checked



#21 modey

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Posted 06 October 2016 - 08:46 PM

I personally find nanoloop a lot easier to navigate using a gameboy than lsdj. I don't think a tracker interface works well with anything other than keyboard + mouse. It is possible to connect a keyboard to the gameboy for lsdj but I don't know how deep the controls go..



#22 robotrobot

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Posted 12 October 2016 - 11:36 AM

I love nanoloop as I enjoy the challenge of having some limitations and a non-conventional sequencer and synth ui. I use the Android version. Nanoloop inspired me to make a whole dedicated project called RECT FM NOISE which features experiments using only the rectangle fm and noise synthesis channels. https://m.soundcloud.com/rect-fm-noise

as far as tips... hm..off hand, LFOs can be used to make delays.

Edited by robotrobot, 12 October 2016 - 11:37 AM.


#23 Guest_bitroast_*

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Posted 12 October 2016 - 12:18 PM

nanoloop mono has SHIPPED 



#24 Boxus

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Posted 12 October 2016 - 12:24 PM

I've only used the android version as well, but I fuckin love it. Great interface. I'd be all over the game boy carts if I still had a game boy



#25 Guest_bitroast_*

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Posted 05 November 2016 - 04:50 PM

hnggngngg. 

 

nanoloop mono arrived.

it sooooo good. 







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