Loopers under $200 - feature comparison

Discussion in 'The Buzz Box' started by Davis Sharp, Mar 21, 2017.

  1. Davis Sharp

    Davis Sharp Squier-holic

    Jan 7, 2016
    Maryland, USA
    I was looking up some info on loopers with drum tracks last night and fell down the rabbit hole. The attached chart should save you the trip. It's a brief comparison of features on loopers under $200 (USD, March 2017 new pedal prices). I used Amazon prices because it was convenient.

    I've left out a few things on purpose, mainly to keep it on one page:
    • More expensive loopers - this is, after all, Squier-Talk.
    • Many <$200 favorites and clones - I had to stop somewhere.
    • Links to merchants or demos - those may change.
    • Reviews. If you'd like those, send me the pedals (returns not guaranteed).
    • Other features that I didn't think of including.
    Anyway, if you have other suggestions (EDIT: or corrections), post them in replies with as much info as you can to help others out. Don't hold your breath for file updates.
    Looper Pedal Comparison.jpg
     
  2. so1om

    so1om Dr. Squier

    Age:
    51
    Feb 10, 2010
    Chicago
    This is really helpful.

    If I may add: Buying a looper, I have learned, is not exactly like buying a distortion or chorus. It can be used as an effect, layering up a solo. Maybe you're noodling around and play a quick passage and play a solo/second part over it. I view that in its most basic form. A distortion, we dial it in, -ok, that sounds cool. Play. From basic gain/level models up to those with notched filters, EQs, etc. Some very elegant and quite versatile, but again to simplify it's setting and liking the sound and playing.

    As I started looking into loopers, as @Davis Sharp has done as well and so well, I started to rethink my uses. I wanted to be able to store a few different progressions, not be limited in length of loop. I looked at a few performers like Ed Sheeran. Though not my first choice for daily listening, but wow. That guy can layer up a song. Melissa Etheridge too. That's a lot of possibilities.

    Also for the people like me, when layering parts and all that, features like auto-start, a little LED to watch can help, an external pedal to shift up, down, start/stop.. Makes sense.

    That raised the price but also narrowed the field down, and to include reliability, brand recognition, Added some drum beats, the ability to load in backing track files, thus the Boss RC-3 was what I chose.

    It's pretty good, does as advertised. There's a bit of a learning curve and timing coordination. I don't use it THAT often and will I remember I have to turn something "on" , I never remember how to so I always have the manual out!. All fine and dandy for a spaz like me. Some times with bass, I just plug the looper into the second input of the bass amp to play a little pattern, not even playing the bass through the looper.

    Where it really opened up is using it as an actual recording device. How so?

    Well it has storage and I can download it to a PC -check. I start these drum beats, put in bass parts. Being able to shift up and down between parts, I can do things like have the chorus of a song in recording slot 1, the main part in part 2, a bridge in part 3 and then shift up/down creating the song. A looper basic I figgered out all by myself! Ok, big whip. A lot of people do that and still a bit of work (in how my mind works and what I am hearing in my head).

    Now it with a Trio Band creator, well.. that filled in the blanks and made my life loads easier. Bass and drums are created automatically, so I get my parts in the Trio. Then I can set the looper to auto-start and then start the Trio.. and boom -save off the bass/drums of each part of the song and each to their own slot of the looper. If I want, I can layer/save the guitar part to those as well.

    Instead of dragging out and setting up all the instruments to record backing tracks or be limited with the 9 drum beats of the looper, or setting up a Teac 8-track, or all the other permutations of recording, I could spend 10 minutes connecting everything up, playing the parts of the song and recording them in another 20 and be done. That's a lot of bang for the buck. Yes, I know I am limited to what parts the Trio creates for me, but it's all in the trade offs. I suppose playing in a band allows me to get into the areas a Trio/Looper recording setup won't allow.

    YMMV!!
     
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  3. Stophy

    Stophy Squier Talker

    78
    Jan 18, 2016
    Darlington, England
    This is a great post. I only posted the other day about suggestions on affordable loopers.
     
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  4. Davis Sharp

    Davis Sharp Squier-holic

    Jan 7, 2016
    Maryland, USA
    I was thinking about your post while I was doing the search. I started a separate thread to have a descriptive title that would show up in searches for "looper."
     
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  5. radiotech

    radiotech Dr. Squier

    Apr 23, 2014
    Chicago
    Very nice Davis. I've noticed that most of the inexpensive loopers sell used, for not much off for what they sell new... but higher end loopers (excluding Pigtronix, and the Trio+), can often be got for a song (pun intended).

    I picked up my Digitech Stereo JamMan for $115 used (from GC), that's less than half price, and I see them selling at about that all the time… But yet the Ditto (even on CL), often lists within $10-20 of its price new... and there's the rub, the reason you can find the JamMan Stereo everywhere cheap, is because of the steep learning curve.

    Of course one thing about loopers versus regular pedals, is that there are often firmware updates on higher price models, which quite often have some revision of the device that the MFG has a cutoff for updating, thereby limiting the used market. Imagine trying to keep track of all that in the spreadsheet.

    I think you did a great comparison tool for affordable loopers.
     
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  6. so1om

    so1om Dr. Squier

    Age:
    51
    Feb 10, 2010
    Chicago
    Ok.. A Zombie thread, I know, but @Davis Sharp put together this nice bit of info (which at a year out is starting to get dated!)

    After having the Boss RC-3 for a long while, a few things come to mind with its use. It's a solid pedal and it's a Boss. No doubts about quality, reliability and thought-out design. I have the recording "slots" I can save and store things I create on the Trio or otherwise and with it's connectivity with the USB, a solo play can create a whole set.

    Yet after all this time and in my search for a reverb, I played around with the EHX Canyon. It's a digital delay and they threw in a basic looper, maybe for all the ambient players out there.

    In trying out the Canyon, I set it to looper, played a progression, hit the button and that was it -I started playing over the loop. Then it hit me.. That was so easy.

    With the Boss, if you've saved off a few things into a slot, you may have to move to an open slot if it's something you want to say. I guess it's meaningless as a $40 looper won't save anything. Mm.. ok.

    But to do a simple "hit button, record a part, it starts playing and you play over it" well the Boss makes you just through hoops. There is the default setting of: "hitting the pedal and recording instantly the at that moment, hit the button you are overdubbing a second part, hit it again, both parts are playing and you are adding a third"

    If you want autostart (start recording when you begin playing regardless of lead in time) you have to dig in to a few buttons to set that.

    Then to change the order of Record, Overdub, Play to something like Record, Play, more hoops.

    And the Boss doesn't save those settings. You have to dig in every time you want those changes which could be every time you used it. Well.. Ok.. but what if you are in the middle of a set and you're performing?

    I still like the Boss and I actually use it for recording and creating songs, so much faster than an 8 track or a DAW set up, but for a looper, it's almost over done. It's like buying a $2,000 computer to save word files of your cake recipes.

    I am starting to think I may look for a cheap used looper that can hold a few bars and notes.
     
  7. Triple Jim

    Triple Jim Squier-holic

    Feb 16, 2018
    North Central NC
    The Ammoon AP-09 Nano Loop I got for $38 delivered is similar to the JamMan Express and the Ditto, but without stereo. At least I don't think it does stereo, but I haven't tried. It's set up so that one press stops a recording, and two presses stop a playback. That works very well, since it's the timing of the recording that is tricky.
     
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  8. Davis Sharp

    Davis Sharp Squier-holic

    Jan 7, 2016
    Maryland, USA
    A monthly subscription to my spreadsheet LISTSERV will get you updates :)
     
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  9. duceditor

    duceditor Dr. Squier

    Age:
    72
    May 29, 2014
    The Monadnocks, NH USA
    Good thread. Thank you Davis for putting that material together in one place.

    I have three loopers -- one built into my G-DEC, one in my VoiceLive and a JamMan Solo pedal. I've never used any of them as a looper. What I do use them for is as a backing track holder/player. Thus the choice of the Solo with its 16 hours and 200 track capacity.

    Maybe one day I'll discover looping, but I haven't even been tempted to try it in the several years now I've had these devices in use.

    But as backing track players these are the cat's proverbial meow. Cooler even than that cat. :)

    -don
     
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  10. For a sec I thought I read Yoopers o_O ... then I remembered.

    Da Yoopers


    Cheers, Barrie.
     
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  11. DougMen

    DougMen Squier-Nut

    Age:
    64
    618
    Jun 8, 2017
    Honolulu, HI
    The Ammoon is just a rebranded Rowin, which has an app (downloadable from the Rowin website) you can use to store loops on your computer, and then load them back into the looper, all through USB. I think it only works with Windows, not Mac, and I don't know if the Ammoon version can use it. s-l1000.jpg
     
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  12. Triple Jim

    Triple Jim Squier-holic

    Feb 16, 2018
    North Central NC
    I think the Ammoon is similar in that respect. There's a Linux ap that used to work, but they changed the firmware recently and I'm waiting for the ap to get updated. Really though, I probably won't use the upload/download ability much anyway.
     
  13. so1om

    so1om Dr. Squier

    Age:
    51
    Feb 10, 2010
    Chicago
    I just located this video which is helpful to me with the RC-3, however I looked through the manual and some of these things are not notated in it (about the redo and keeping parts and all that).
     
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