Best Looper Pedal – 2020 Reviews & Buyer’s Guide
Alright guys!!! I am super excited to be putting together this review for the best loop pedal 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!
In a hurry? Here are our top 3 recommendations…
|BOSS RC-3 Loop Station Pedal||Check Price|
|MG-100 Professional Guitar Pedal||Check Price|
|Digitech Trio Band Creator Looper||Check Price|
- 1 Our Top 10 List – Looper Pedals in 2020
- 1.1 1. BOSS RC-3 Loop Station Pedal
- 1.2 2. NUX MG 100 Multi-Effects Pedal
- 1.3 3. DigiTech Trio+ Band Creator and Looper Pedal
- 1.4 BOSS RC-1 Loop Station Looper Pedal
- 1.5 5. Electro-Harmonix 720 Stereo Looper Pedal
- 1.6 6. Donner Tiny Looper Guitar Effect Pedal
- 1.7 7. Pigtronix Guitar Looper
- 1.8 8. TC Electronic Ditto X4 Looper Pedal
- 1.9 9. TC Electronic DITTO X2 Looper Pedal
- 1.10 10. BOSS ME-80 Multiple Effects Pedal With Looper
Our Top 10 List – Looper Pedals in 2020
The BOSS RC-3 Loop Station pedal is a monster for the stage or the studio. It offers up to three hours of stereo recording time, which is more than enough for an entire gig – even if you were headlining Madison Square Garden! It’s also ideal for getting all of your ideas down whenever inspiration strikes.
When you go beyond the impressive recording time, you can see that it’s versatile, too. A 1/8″ input allows you to connect your MP3 player or smart device to record from other audio sources, so you aren’t limited to instruments.
The three hours of recording time can be split between 99 user presets. So, if you’re performing live, you have up to 99 easily recalled loops.
On the other hand, if you are recording loops as ideas rather than for performance, you can save them externally to your computer via USB. The USB 2.0 port also lets you import audio files to the looper pedal.
If your timing needs some work, the built-in drum patterns will keep your loops in check. The BOSS RC-3 is high-quality and versatile, which is why we make it the best guitar looper pedal on our list.
The MG 100 is the first of two multi-effects pedals that made it onto our best looper list. What you get with the MG 100 is a 40-second phrase looper. So, you are recording short phrases and layering them to build a bigger sound. While 40 seconds doesn’t sound like much compared to other loopers, it’s plenty for the average looped performance.
The looper itself isn’t very detailed; it’s a pretty straightforward start/stop/record/overdub setup. It doesn’t come with any dedicated effects, but you can take advantage of the many onboard effects to shape your tone before you record your loop.
The 58 onboard effects and built-in drum machine is why we included the MG 100 on our list. It’s a multi-effects pedal that won’t break the bank, and those effects can be harnessed to create some unique loops.
If it was more expensive, it might not have made the cut, but as it stands, if you want a basic loop function and lots of effects, it’s well worth checking out.
This pedal from DigiTech is the ultimate band in a box. Not only is it a fantastic looper pedal, but it’s also your drummer and bassist, too.
The Trio+ function lets you choose a musical genre and style setting to match what you are playing.
Genres range from blues to jazz to hip hop and metal; it has five more genres than the previous Trio pedal. There are 12 style setting or variations in total, going between 4/4 and 3/4 timing.
Choosing the genre and style is just the start of creating your accompaniment because the bass and drums knobs let you dial in how prominent you want each to be. You can even alter how busy the playing is. So, rather than a standard backing track, you get a pretty controllable rhythm section.
The looping part of the pedal is just as impressive, allowing you to create up to five different parts. Rather than a bunch of random loops, you can start to think more about complete songs, split into sections like intro, verse, chorus, bridge, etc.
For example, if you record guitar parts for each song section, you can arrange/trigger them as you like, and it gives you the feeling of a band on stage with much more flexibility than a simple backing track.
Between the loop, bass, and drums control, you have a nice little mixer to get the perfect blend. The Trio+ Lopper pedal has a Micro SD card slot and comes with an 8GB card that can store up to 12 songs. DigiTech has made a pedal here that is an absolute dream for singer-songwriters.
Here we have another BOSS looper pedal, this time it’s the RC-1. At first glance, the RC-1 appears to be a watered-down version of the RC-3, which sits at the top of our list, and it is, but that’s no bad thing.
Instead of the three hours of stereo recording time you get with the RC-3, the RC-1 offers 12 minutes. That might seem like a massive drop, but if a typical loop lasts for 30 seconds, that’s still 24 loops available at any one time.
The other significant difference between this pedal and the RC-3 is that there is no USB connectivity here to let you save your work to your computer. Instead, the last recorded phrase stays in the pedal’s memory after power is turned off so you can still use it to develop ideas for songs.
Despite lacking USB connectivity, it does offer both mono and stereo inputs, so you can plug in any of your instruments, synths, effects, and so on. It has a 24-segment LED loop indicator that changes color and speed, so you always know exactly where you are in the current loop.
The keyword here is simplicity. It doesn’t offer you the massive memory time of the RC-3, but it does provide the same high-quality looping in a simple package. If you just want a straightforward, reliable looper to put on a funky show, this is it. For our money, the BOSS RC-1 is the best looper for beginners.
Electro-Harmonix creates some of the best effects pedals around, and that creativity is evident in their 720 Stereo Looper pedal.
The first thing you notice is that it’s a very compact unit, so it’s not going to eat up much space on your pedalboard at all. Despite being so small, it has stereo inputs and outputs. Why is that important? Well, apart from delivering a broad sonic spectrum, the stereo inputs let you loop with two instruments at the same time.
In terms of recording time, you get 12 minutes of uncompressed, true stereo recording, which is shared between 10 loop slots. The 720 Looper has simple undo and redo functions, along with unlimited overdubbing, giving you full control over what your audience hears.
You can cycle through the current loops via the loop knob or even add another 3-button footswitch to stay completely hands-free.
One of the things we like most about this pedal is that it has reverse and half-speed functions. Looping can be very cool, but it can also become very mundane if it’s not used correctly. These functions add something different to your performance to keep the listeners interested.
In our opinion, the stereo inputs and onboard functions are what sets the 720 Stereo Looper apart from most other pedals.
The Tiny Looper pedal is something new from Donner, who are known for their budget-friendly effects. While it isn’t the best looper pedal on our list, it’s a very deserving addition. True to its Tiny Looper name, it’s quite possibly the smallest looper pedal you will ever find.
What we loved about this pedal straight away is that it has a three-stage speed switch; half speed, normal, and reverse. We didn’t expect to see that on a pedal of this size and price. The only other controls are the level knob and the footswitch, so it has a clean and simple look.
The Tiny Looper gives you up to 10 minutes of looping with unlimited overdubs and redo/undo functions. Recording time might be slightly less than the average pedal, but you have to remember this is a lot smaller and cheaper than the average looper pedal.
Another unexpected gem we found is the USB port on the side of the pedal that lets you update firmware and import/export audio files.
We have to say; when it comes to value for money, this pedal kills it, it’s unreal. Just to play devil’s advocate for a moment, it’s not the same quality as some of our other choices, but what you get for your money is nothing short of amazing. Actually, it might be the best looper pedal for practice, because it’s cheap, simple, and has enough to experiment with.
The Pigtronix Infinity Looper is a more in-depth looper than the typical pedal. The most significant difference between the Infinity Looper and the most common ones is that you can run two loops at the same time. The loops each have a dedicated footswitch for triggering, recording, stopping, etc.
Having two simultaneous loops could potentially cause mayhem if you get it wrong, but the Sync Multi feature lets you set loop two to be one to four or six times the length of loop one. Sync Multi mode means the loops always have synchronized timing, but if you are feeling brave, you can turn sync off and get creative.
Along with sync options, there are a few other ways to play with two loops. The loops can be used at the same time in parallel mode, or one after another in series mode (great for song structures).
The Infinity Looper has two inputs with a selector switch to choose which instrument or audio source is being recorded at any time.
There are nine preset loop slots and one user slot to fill with stereo audio for latency-free looping. This pedal isn’t just built for the stage; it can sync with your DAW via MIDI to match timing.
Pigtronix has been really thoughtful in terms of the various ways this pedal can be used. For example, when you finish recording loop one, then arm loop two, the second one will start recording at the exact point loop one begins. Another example of their thoughtfulness is the loop stop options, which can be to stop dead, stop when done, or fade out.
The Infinity Looper is relatively expensive; it’s not for newbies. But, if looping is a big part of your music, this is a polished, easy to use, professional looper with some lovely features.
The Ditto X4 Looper pedal has been one of the most popular on the market ever since it was first released. The reason people love it so much is that it has the right blend between ease of use and advanced features. For us, it might be the best dual looper pedal available.
On the surface, it’s a two-loop setup with some onboard effects. The beauty of this pedal is that the basic functions like record, overdub, start, stop can all bee controlled by a single multi-use footswitch (per loop).
So, unlike some pedals with onboard effects, you don’t need to be a good tap dancer to use it! Loops one and two can be triggered at the same time or in series mode. There is a decay knob, so you can set exactly how you want one loop to transition into the next.
The downside for some users might be that it only records up to 5 minutes of stereo audio. The issue with recording time is that it depends entirely on how you are going to use it, because the shorter recording time might not be a problem for some users.
There are seven onboard effect types in total that create some fascinating soundscapes. MIDI Sync lets you record loops in perfect time to music from your DAW, so this is very much a studio and stage pedal.
Adding to the connectivity, a USB port lets you import/export audio easily, and stereo inputs/outputs provide extensive routing possibilities. On top of all that, you get access to a massive backing track library, courtesy of JamTrackCentral.
So, we just covered the Ditto X4; it makes sense that we throw in the Ditto X2 right after its big brother.
The easiest way to describe the Ditto X2 is that you get around half the ability of the Ditto X4, for around half the money.
It offers the same stereo recording time of up to five minutes, with the same one footswitch control. One difference is that TC Electronic has added an internal dip switch so you can change the configuration of the play/loop/overdub commands.
Everything else is almost identical, just on a smaller scale. You can connect to your computer via USB, but there is no MIDI Sync option. Instead of two loops, you get one; instead of seven effect styles, you only get two.
One thing we were glad to see wasn’t cut down from the Ditto X4 is the stereo inputs/outputs which are still present on the X2 model.
If you love the Ditto X4 but don’t need quite so many features or don’t have the budget, this could be the best option for you. Because of its simple workflow and clarity, many bassists consider it to be the best looper pedal for bass. It even gives you access to the same JamTrackCentral library.
We are rounding off our list with not only another multi-effects pedal but another BOSS pedal.
The BOSS ME-80 is an excellent all-rounder that is perfect for anyone who wants a looper as a feature rather than a dedicated pedal.It’s built on BOSS’ Multi-Dimensional Processing (MDP) effects. If you have ever used BOSS pedals before, you will know that the effects are usually very consistent in quality.
Despite everything this pedal is capable of, we are here to focus on the looper. So, it’s a phrase looper, but what does that mean? It means that rather than getting minutes of continuous recording time, you get a maximum of 38 seconds and build loops by layering small phrases.
The 38 seconds of phrase recording isn’t really that much of a problem; most loops are short anyway. The problem is that the looper is a small part of this pedal, and that makes it less intuitive to use than a dedicated looper. Another disappointing aspect of the ME-80 is that the loops can’t be exported to your computer or saved internally. So, once you switch the unit off, your phrases are gone permanently.
As a complete effects pedal, the ME-80 is outstanding; as a looper, it comes with some flaws. Having said that, if you are more interested in multi-effects and just want a loop function for live use rather than songwriting, it more than does the job. You can check out more on the ME-80 in our top 10 multi-effects pedals!
Hope you enjoyed what I put together about the best loop pedals on the market! Please take a look at my recently updated guitar headphones post when you have a minute and share your experiences with my readers in the comments. Also in our pedal series – make sure to check out these pieces on tremolo pedals, distortion pedals (both high end and more affordable ones reviewed), bass compression pedals, and overdrive pedals for blues, metal and rock. Thank you!