Here's a review of several loopers that I've used:
- Boss RC-50
- Short of going to a rack unit (a Gibson Digital Echoplex, for example) plus a floor controller this is pretty much the flagship of loopers. It's complicated with lots of options. It'll store loops with the power off, so you can do things like record backing tracks - up to three parts per song - and use the stomp switches to control which part plays. There are 99 programs, each of which can store up to 3 loops. Total loop time is 48 minutes in mono or 24 minutes in stereo, so don't look to go prerecording entire songs.
- Electro-Harmonix Stereo Memory Man with Hazarai
- This is a jack of all trades and master of many. It includes a built-in 30-second stereo looper. Unlike the other loopers which use a footswitch tap to begin recording and another tap to stop recording, the SMMH records while the footswitch is depressed. The looper can record the selected delay effect.
- Akai Headrush E2
- This is a combination delay and looper. It's OK, but the SMMH does everything the E2 does plus a lot more. The only reason to pick this as a looper over the SMMH is if you believe you can't deal with the push-to-start / release-to-stop recording "protocol" of the SMMH. Unlike the SMMH, the E2's looper is not independent of the delay - you can use one or the other.
- Eventide TimeFactor
- This is, like the SMMH, a jack of all trades. As an echo it's deep and complicated and, IMO, not as well suited for guitar as the SMMH. Even though the delay stereo, the TimeFactor's looper is mono-only and (unlike the SMMH) can't be used in conjunction with the delay effects.
- This is a dedicated mono looper. A nice features is the volume wheel that lets you control loop playback volume. The big downside of the Boomerang+ is that its converters don't have enough dynamic range. This means that you must carefully adjust levels for the best compromise between hiss and overload.
Note that most of these units include additional functions. The RC-50 has a drum machine; the Headrush, TimeFactor and SMMH have delays.
January 25 2009 08:18:43 GMT