Insta Looper is a freeware VST plugin developed by Audio Blast, a software company based in the tropical island of La Reunion. You can download this effect as a VST plugin for Windows (x64 and x84) and Linux.
Unfortunately, Insta Looper still isn’t available on Mac, which is quite a bummer since I don’t know many producers or DJ’s who are using Linux or even Windows during a live set. It’s quite a shame really, because Insta Looper is a very good plugin that I highly recommend.
Basically, Insta Looper lets the user set short loops (maximum 1 bar) very easily. There are four different loop channels to play around with. Each channel loops the original audio signal from the track, not the previous loop that was created.
Available settings per loop channel:
- Length of the loop (from 1 bar to 1/32 beats)
- Effects: Bit Reducer (a type of bit crusher effect) / AutoPan / Hipass filter / Phazer / Time Expand
- Speed (from double time to Half time)
The thing I really loved about the plugin is how Reverse and Loop effects can be activated and deactivated instantly. In other words, you can hold down a button to activate the effect and let go to deactivate it, which is perfect for use during a live performance. This can be done with a mouse left-click, as well as via MIDI (although I had to do a bit of setup in Ableton Live for it to work well with my MIDI controller). These buttons can also be used as a normal on/off switches if you right-click them.
What bothered me was the process of selecting different effects. You need to right-click and choose your effect, however there is no information on what FX is currently active. You can also map a knob (via MIDI) to switch between effects, but selecting the desired effect is purely a question of luck, considering the fact that there’s no visual indicator about the currently active FX. This is why I find the four channels option very useful. I set up a different effect on each channel in order to be able to launch a loop with a specific effect when needed.
I had a lot of fun creating easy transitions in Ableton Live using this plugin. It takes a bit of time to get used to setting your loops correctly, but the overall workflow is very easy and the plugin is fun to use. You can create some really cool sounds with it and it’s also perfectly suitable for use during live performances.
From a producer’s point of view, though, I haven’t found much use for this plugin. On the other hand, I have managed to create some cool loops with it, as well as some processed pads and atmospheres that I’ve re-sampled from the plugin’s output. It’s definitely quicker then using your DAW to edit loops and certainly more inspiring to do by playing with a MIDI controller than clicking around with a mouse.
Insta Looper is available for free download via Audio Blast (5.68 MB download size, ZIP archive, 32-bit & 64-bit VST plugin format for Windows & Linux).