Recording vocals and then replaying them in a loop to sing over the top of can involve a complicated mix of hardware and software, and some technical know-how to bring them seamlessly together. UK-based Sonuus is looking to put loop control in a singer's hands. The Loopa is billed as the world's first microphone that puts loop and overdub controls on the mic itself.
At the heart of the Loopa's circuit board is a custom looper engine that makes use of a 32-bit floating point processing courtesy of an ARM Cortex M4 processor, 24-bit digital-to-analog converter and Toshiba NAND flash memory with built-in error correction. The circuit is powered by a single AA-sized battery (not included) for up to 10 hours of continuous use.
Recorded audio is written to, and read from, the onboard memory with the promise of instant response, and vocalists can look forward to up to 12 minutes recording time. Proprietary algorithms offer unlimited overdubbing to build up a sophisticated layered sound, there are 16 levels of undo and redo and controls are positioned to the top of the mic for ease of use, including loop level playback and recording.
Looped playback can be stopped at any time and the Loopa used like a normal cardoid condenser microphone (with 130 dB SPL and 100 Hz - 16 kHz frequency response). Both recorded and live vocals are output via a cable running from the 3-pin XLR port.
Sonuus is currently at the prototype stage of development, with working Loopas having been created using 3D printing, first a desktop extruder and then an SLS printer. To get the looping microphone from working prototype to production, Sonuus has launched on Kickstarter.
As of writing, pledges start at £75 (about US$105) and, if all goes to plan, shipping is estimated to start in July. An XLR to 6.4 mm jack microphone cable will be included, together with converters to connect the Loopa to smartphones, headphone amps or powered speakers.
The campaign pitch video below offers more on the Loopa.