History Of Using Sampler / Loopers On The Stage: From the 80’s to 2017

E-mu Emulator II (sampler)
E-mu Emulator II (sampler) image from wikipedia

We first see samplers used in live performance as a secret piece of gear; like the  (E-mu Emulator ) at Depeche Mode’s Gigs in the 80’s. Some mistakingly say Depeche Mode was using a Synth on stage. Well Yes, but the E-mu was also a sampler, a sampler of synth!  Reproducing all songs Live on stage while performing, it’s difficult! If we have a short look into sampling history we can see why;

Phase 1 Discover: By the ’80’s we see many bands using samplers and/or sequencers to resolve the musical gaps created by either; the complexity of playing live and/or, difficulty of reproducing ‘unique’ sounds . One band who did this very successfully was Depeche Mode (a band I follow closely). The way Depeche Mode did it was to;  1. Produce beautiful synth sounds on their analogue synths, 2. Transfer these sounds onto the E-mu Emulator, 3. Play these complicated sounds in fx / partition Live by pressing a single key on the E-mu. This was the best solution for the time, but was not accessible for every musician because the gear was so heavy and expensive.

Alan Wilder by Depeche Mode explains how he uses Emulator II in live performance.


Phase 2 Transition: From 90’s computers were becoming cheaper than traditional music gear, the tech trickled down to less famous musicians; filling the music accompany gap that musicians previously experienced when playing Live. New audio cards with MIDI connectivity, and sampling capacity changed the music market. Musician could now access samplers and sequencers. E-mu saw these changes and released new products, like audio interface and sound libraries for computers. We started seeing musicians use computer(s) on the stage as sequencer(s) but this setup wasn’t (and still isn’t) desirable for many musician because of lack of improvisation ability; limiting their performance.

Phase 3 New Standards: After 2000 using a computer with a software synthesizer became the inevitable standard and method for playing Live. Spawning a new generation a musicians and DJs.

Phase 4 Mobile Age: Today, musicians are more free in their choices.  Access to hi-end synths, samplers, loopers etc, has changed the way we play. Quite every known synth or sampler in the music industry has created a software version for desktop computer; We can download and use virtually, as a virtual instrument of Virtual Studio Technology (VST). So what is the today’s challenge?


Many people are realising they need a portable version, to make live performance practical. The difficulties with a computer on stage is that it steals all the attention of a performer; who really wants to play/sing/ Perform to the audience. We thought this was ridiculous when we live in a Mobile age, that one would still need to take a computer as part of a musician’s gig equipment. That’s why we created Stage Looper App.

Stage Looper: It’s a Mobile solution in Mobile age!

Stage Looper is a new generation stage performance tool;  an App that you can download onto iPad or iPhone. It’s less looper, more audio sequencer, with jam/improvise ability central to its design.

Be one of the first to try it yourself by becoming one of our Beta Testers (completely Free), it is a hell of a lot more handy than dragging you laptop around with you to gigs; safer too!

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