Alright guys!!! I am super excited to be putting together this review for the best loop pedals on the market! Loopers have a special place on my pedal board and not just physically. Reason being is that I occasionally play solo as well as in a band. Loopers give me the ability to expand my sound as a solo artist and increase the potential of what I can play.
The loop pedal is as simple or complex as you want it to be depending on how you use it. When looking for the right effect, I would suggest understanding what you are going to use it for and how complex you want your loops to be. As well, it is good to note what other effects you are using. Are you looping really fuzzy effects or cleaner more ambient effects like a chorus pedal?
In this review we will take a look two of the big hitters when it comes to manufacturers and their looping brands, we are talking about the TC Electronic Ditto Loop Pedal series & the Boss RC series. We will do our best to explain the features, but with some of these behemoths it might be tough to capture everything they can do within a medium like this!
The way we will format this article is in the way of a Mexican standoff, well not really Mexican but definitely a standoff. The pedals that are in play are below, and we have paired them together with their equal, or not so equal, counterparts. Each unit is rated based off of the relative price point and overall quality, basically our perception of the value you are getting:
The above competition is basically grouped by complexity from the simplest to the most complex version. It should be noted, that an increase in complexity also comes with an increase in price; so keep that in mind when you are drooling over the complex pedals… but if you have some cash, they would be the ones to take a serious look at as the looping capability is truly endless.
This group is the simple to use group, don’t have too many controls and will loop the hell out of whatever you want to repeat. They both have storage and are true-bypass so your signal isn’t effected when the pedal is turned off. However, if you are looking for something that will allow you to get really experimental with your looping, then feel free to skip this section as these pedals are better for adding a bit of colour to your playing.
This little guy is a great option for those who want a simple to use and easy effect. It has 5 minutes of storage time in it and basic controls for dialling in the level/volume of the loop. It also has a click button to start and stop the loop and to control the loop options explained below.
The controls are pretty intuitive but can be a bit touchy since you are controlling everything with on single button. One-click to start recording a loop and the next click stops the recording and begins the playback. Any click after that will add in a layer on top of the original loop. Double clicking will stop the loop all together. A simple single click again will start it back up again. To erase the loop you just need to double click and hold.
A really cool feature of this pedal for its small size is the undo/redo function. If you record a loop over the last layer and don’t like it, you can hold down the button while it is playing and it will undo it. If you want the part back in you can hold it down again and it will add it back in which can definitely come in handy if you are learning how to use this effect.
One other thing to note is this looper pedal is great at keeping your tone intact. It was specifically made for guitar players and tone was a huge consideration for these guys when they made the pedal. Sometimes these kinds of pedals will take your tone and alter it a bit, which isn’t really the most desirable aspect of a pedal when it comes to looping.
The Boss RC-1 is a simple but effective effect that is built like an absolute tank. Like the Ditto, the RC-1 has a volume/level control knob and is activated by the stomp pad button.
Where it surpasses the Ditto though is in its visual indicator. It pretty much counts you into your loop and helps ensure proper timing. The RC-1 also has more storage than the Ditto. You will be able to store up to 12 minutes of one track so you can really create some long songs!
The controls basically the same as the Ditto. Simple one button control that is very intuitive after plugging it in and experimenting for a bit. It also has a great sound quality and was designed specifically for guitarists and bassists. However, I would have to say the Ditto is a bit better in terms of tone.
Check out the RC-1 in action in the below video:
This next group gets a bit more complex and if you opt in for one of these guys you will be able to experiment a bit more than with the above two. This is because they have more features, options and effects to let you loop your mind away.
The Ditto X2 is an interesting pedal to say the least. It is not your typical “more complex” effect that stores more tracks, or has better memory and display settings. Instead the X2 includes an extra click button and an effects switch that can help create some really interesting sounds.
Just like the regular Ditto, the X2 has 5 minutes of looping memory, unlimited overdubs, the undo/redo function, and true bypass for keeping tones in mint condition. But it is definitely not the same pedal.
The X2 builds on the original Ditto by offering the effects switch mentioned above, a USB port for uploading and downloading backing tracks, stereo input/output, a battery pack that holds 2 batteries (pretty cool idea for extra battery power) and also a hidden extra switch by the batteries that allows you to switch between two different loop control modes.
Most of the extra features are pretty straightforward additions that we don’t really need to go over. However, the effects switch feature should definitely be explained, as they are pretty cool.
The effects switch, which is controlled by the additional button, can switch between a stop function, reverse loop and ½ speed loop. The stop feature is absolutely great because it provides a simple and precise way of stopping your loop, without having to double click. The reverse loop is like a reverse function on a delay pedal, however, this time it will reverse a whole loop not just what you play. The ½ speed function is a little weird in my opinion. When you engage the ½ speed effect and record it will record/play at ½ speed and drop down an octave, however, as soon as you disengage the effect button it will speed everything back up and what you recorded will be up an octave. It is kind of cool but would take some getting used to.
Take a listen below:
The RC-3 is a very different to the X2 in the sense that instead of including different kinds of effects within the pedal like the X2 did, the RC-3 improved upon the memory and controllability of the RC-1.
The RC-3 has a different output knob than the RC-1. The outer ring of the knob controls the volume and the inner ring of the knob controls the rhythm track volume. Which leads us to another added feature: the rhythm track. The rhythm track will add a beat to the background of your loop. This feature can be really cool to practice to, but they do sound a bit hokey in my opinion for using it live.
Another great upgrade to this pedal is the ability to store multiple loops as well. The RC-3 allows you to store 99 different loops for later use and is easy to control with the write/delete button and the arrow buttons. With the added memory comes some other added tech such as quantization so if you mess up your timing a little bit the quantization will make it right so you don’t have to re-record the loop section.
All and all I really like the additions and upgrades on the RC-3. It still is really simple to use and has the ability to be a band in the box by allowing you to store multiple loops. I personally would pick the RC-3 as the best loop pedal in the middle grouping.
The changes on the X4 can be put pretty simply. It is basically two regular Dittos, mixed in with the effects button and effects of the X2 plus extra effects and they have added an additional stop button that enables you to have a stop button and play effects.
The two separate loopers can either be synced with the original loop or be in “serial” mode to be able to control separate timings. This means the two loopers can be mutually exclusive or stacked on top of each other.
There is also a decay knob that can control how an overdub fades over time. With this knob you can either have the new overdubs be stacked one on top of the others infinitely or you can have them decay and
It also has a midi control input as well so you can control the sound, as well as sync with any other effects. Like all of the Ditto pedals the tone of your guitar stays intact and every loop sounds amazing.
The RC-300 is a behemoth and not just in its physical size. It has a huge amount of creative potential and is probably the best loop pedal on the planet in my opinion due to the fact it is hugely popular with some of the some of the top artists out there. Its functionality and ease of use is consistent with all other boss pedals but it has endless capability.
This pedal is almost more of a station than it is a "pedal". It has a ton of variables that can be messed around with to ultimately rock anyone who uses it. But beware, as this thing can be kind of confusing when you are first getting used to how it plays. The first time I tried this loop pedal I had to turn it off due to a major headache from concentrating so hard! Well... thats an exaggeration but you get what I am trying to say.
The RC-300 offers 3 hours of recording space within the pedal’s memory so you can record a ton of songs and store them within the pedal. There is also 99 phrase memory settings so you can store entire set lists in the pedal for any live applications.
The RC-300 also takes a page out of the Ditto’s book by including 16 on board effects to modulate the input sound. There is also an expression pedal so you can accent your effects the way you want them to sound and add a bit more flare into your playing.
The biggest reason I like this pedal the most is the fact that it has 3 different tracks with individual record/play buttons and individual stop buttons for all three of the tracks. However, there is still a switch to control all of the tracks at once.
Honestly though, the best way to understand this pedal is to watch it in action in the video below. It can be used in so many different ways it is unreal.
In this article, we will take a look at some options for the best tremolo pedal. Now, like all of our articles, this review is based
The tremolo is an effect that has been around for a very long time, dating back to the 1940’s. It was first manufactured by DeAramond which was also the company associated with inventing the guitar pickup. These guys weren’t kidding around when it comes to top inventions!
This pedal, known for its warm and round pulsating sound, is a very simple effect in terms of the electronics inside. This means as a guitar player you can get away with sourcing more affordable options. It is a an effect that is pretty hard to muck up, meaning the cheaper designs often are passable if not comparable to the more expensive designs. I don’t know about you but saving few dollars on new gear is definitely a big win for a hungry musician like myself!
The list below includes five of the most popular and best pedals on the market, including a cheap option that we think is pretty awesome! If you are building your pedal board, make sure to check out our articles on the chorus and reverb pedals as well, here and here. All three of these pedals pair really well with each other in our opinion, and from what we have heard, the opinion of a lot of players out there.
The Voodoo Labs Tremolo Pedal is one of the most popular pedals out there, and for good reason. This pedal replicates a vintage effect played through a tube amplifier, like one in this article. When strumming it with a Fender Stratocaster, like in the video below, you can really hear how warm it sounds. Kind of reminds me of being in a hazy 60’s bar or something like that.
The pedal itself is fairly straightforward and due to its four control knobs it is really customizable to get a good sound and dial in the perfect tremolo sound. The four knobs control intensity, slope, speed and volume of the effect.
The speed and volume controls do pretty much exactly what you would expect of them, volume controls level and speed controls how fast the tremolo is. One thing to mention and something that we feel deserves praise is the range is for the speed function; it has quite a wide range so you can get a reaalllllyyy slow or extremely fast effect.
The intensity function controls how much of the effect is mixed in with the dry signal, the higher you go the more tremolo effect you will hear. Then there is the slope, which is a cool function as it changes the slope of the waveform. This enables you to control how sharp or round the tremolo will sound, when you dial in the knob to sound sharper, you can get some really cool helicopter type of sounds to occur!
Take a listen to the effect below in the video from our friends at Sweetwater!
Ahhhhhhhh… the TR2, another strong pedal from the engineers over at the Boss shop. If you have read my reviews before you know I like Boss. They may not be the most unique pedals out there and some critics may be very harsh when it comes to these pedals (a lot of these critics will only buy non big name pedals, which are great if you can afford them but they are not for everyone). From my experience, Boss pedals are pedals that do not break the bank account, have a good sound and are really built to last… all good things in my humble opinion.
The TR2 is no exception, coming stock with the standard body shape of all Boss pedals and three dials to control the effect, the TR2 is a great tremolo pedal for anyone who is looking for a pedal that will last the test of time and produce a great sound.
The three knobs (rate, wave and depth) control the following:
· Rate: Speed adjustment of the tremolo effect
· Wave: changes the waveform from triangle to square
· Depth: strength of the effect
The EHX Stereo Pulsar is a solid pedal that creates a very rich, warm and vintage effect. I pretty much think of it as surf meets the bayou. I really like the look and feel of this pedal as well, really makes it seem as though the pedal is a vintage old pedal from back in the hey-day of psychedelic rock.
It is designed simply and the controls on it are fairly familiar to the previous two pedals we have reviewed. There is a rate knob, depth knob and a wave shape knob and a wave shape switch. The LED indicator light is tied to the rate knob that comes in handy as a visual way to see the rate speed.
The rate knob adjust the speed of the tremolo effect, the depth knob adjusts the amount that will be applied to your signal, just like the TR2. Where this pedal sets itself apart though is in its wave shape functions.
It has two ways of changing the wave shape; the first is the switch that is kind of like an override that changes the overall shape from triangle to square. Then there is the knob that will effect the type of rise and fall of the wave form, going from a slow rise and fall to a very intense rise and fall. Best heard in the video below:
The Joyo JF-09 would be a great example of the best cheap tremolo pedal out there. Like a lot of the Joyo pedals, the JF-09 definitely does not break the bank account. However, since this pedal is a Tremolo, and we already discussed that these pedals are so simple you can get away with a cheap version, it is still a pretty solid option.
The pedal itself is extremely simple and has less customization options than the pedals we have reviewed above. It has two knobs, a rate knob and an intensity knob. Since we have discussed what a rate knob and intensity knob do then we won’t go into too much more detail then the rate knob is the speed and the intensity is the depth.
I would suggest buying this pedal if you want to test out this effect and have never played around with it before, or if you cannot afford the other pedals listed above. Where this pedal lacks a bit is in its warmth, it is a bit more tinny then the other pedals but what can you really expect since it is a fraction of the cost.
How does this effect function? Presumably the most widely recognized and least complex (with current innovation) is to adjust input voltage by means of circuit. This is the way your ordinary Manager tremolo works. In this situation, a voltage controlled enhancer (VCA) alters flag adequacy with a particular waveform to make the tremolo sound.
These tremolo pedals frequently stable decent and work dependably, yet like listening to vinyl, there are numerous individuals who incline toward a portion of the flaws of other innovation.Different sorts of innovation includes a low-recurrence oscillator, which bolsters the flag again into the amp in-stage, bringing on a tremolo sound. The low-recurrence oscillator makes impact by controlling the speed and to the extent I know, just delivers a sine wave.