The Best Loop Pedal Roundup
Here is our presentation of the best loop pedals, top shelf stompboxes that will let you create complicated soundscapes or setup impressive one-man-band performances.
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Because of the many sonic possibilities that they provide, Looper pedals continue to creep into pedalboards and rigs world over. From being a mere effect, it has transcended into a true musical instrument, which lets you spawn clones of yourself to play for you, turning your clones into your virtual bandmates. As such, you will benefit greatly from a good looper pedal be it for practice, for songwriting, or for performance.
For one-man-band live performances, you should be looking for ones with more features like multi-track capability, longer loop time (above 30 seconds), good control flexibility and low latency. Pedals that are easy to setup and offer basic looping functionality are great for practice and for trying out musical ideas while songwriting. If you are playing in a band with a huge pedalboard, you should look for compact pedals because they don't take up too much pedalboard space. Whatever your preference, you'll find a suitable one in our top 10 list.
|The Boss RC-300 is the big daddy of all loop pedals, featuring best in class technology and connectivity options. This is the pedal of choice for many singer songwriters who utilize looping in their live performances.||See our detailed review below|
|The JML2 JamMan Stereo is the guitarist's looper, focusing mainly on providing top notch audio quality while providing enough depth and layering features to keep you inspired for hours.||See our detailed review below|
|This powerful dual stereo pedal works great both for practice and for performance, featuring Electro-Harmonix' brand of reliability and sonic quality with built-in drum loops and in-depth customization.||See our detailed review below|
|This is a feature-packed dual stereo pedal which allows for a wide variety of looping possibilities from basic overdubbing to Stutter, Vari-Speed, Reverse Playback and many more.||See our full review below|
|The pedal that started the compact looper craze, the single footswitch Ditto looper provides straightforward recording, playback and overdub functions with minimal gimmicks and distractions.||See the full review below|
|Singer songwriters will appreciate the balanced mic input and the basic rhythm patterns that are included in the RC-30. Solo performers who prefer a smaller pedal would do well to try out this popular looper from Boss.||See our extended review below|
|Here's another compact yet affordable looper with a wealth of features, including 90 Seconds of total loop recording, and 12 effects for guitars and vocals. Ideal for singing guitarists who want to test the waters.||Extended review below|
|This compact version of JamMan features straightforward looping with true stereo input/output connectivity and up to 10 Minutes of internal recording, a great choice for electric guitarists who want a reliable and lightweight looper.||See the description below|
|The Ditto Looper X2 is the big brother of the popular compact Ditto, providing the same straightforward approach with added loop effects that include half speed and reverse.||See our full review below|
Boomerang III Phrase Sampler
|The Boomerang III Phrase Sampler is a popular pedal that has a more intuitive approach, giving you the option to choose between four looping styles instead of providing bells and whistles that will rarely be used in actual practice or performance.||See our full review below|
Boss RC-300 Loop Station
Boss continues to be the boss in the upper echelons of the guitar pedal market, supported by big name artists like Eric Johnson, Marty Friedman, Jarle Bernhoft and many more. As expected their dominance has extended into the loop pedal category, and leading their domination is The flagship model RC-300. The best features that technology can reasonably provide are all packed in this pedal's multi-effect style form factor.
The RC-300 features three synchronized stereo tracks with dedicated volume knobs and transport-control footswitches for each track, each one being independently controllable with three hours worth of recording time! The RC-300 also comes with an XLR input for creating vocal harmonies that complete your guitar loops. The Boss RC-300 has 16 onboard guitar and vocal effects which you can control in real-time via the expression pedal. The only downside I see with it is its bulky size, but it is a necessary trade off to get a full featured loop station. Its big frame affords you 8 switches for smooth realtime control over your music. Finally you can easily export your performance via USB to your computer. The RC-300 as used by virtuoso's like Jarle Bernhoft - it's definitely the pedal to beat in terms of features, build and value. Retail Price: $549
DigiTech JML2 JamMan Stereo
Having up to 8 seconds of loop time was innovative back in 2005, when the original JamMan looper pedal was released. DigiTech has since improved on the JamMan, coming up with a number of JamMan releases that showcases their developing technology and the improved features they produce. JML2 JamMan Stereo provides the same focus on quality but with improved looping depth and layering features. Now you can store up to 35 minutes of CD quality loops in 99 internal memory banks, and if that's not enough, you can further expand via the SD memory card expansions - giving you up to 16 hours worth of recording!
Digitech stayed away from additional features and instead focused on providing essentials like stereo looping, reverse playback and a nifty mic input. It continues to have its traditional jam-centric features including a built-in metronome with a variety of time signature and rhythm sounds, rhythm output aux input and easy loading of jam tracks. From solo practice, to live performance - this pedal will deliver. Retail Price: $249.95
EHX 22500 Dual Stereo Looper
Electro-Harmonix built their reputation on quality analog stompboxes that cover almost every type of effect you can think of. But they're not just tied to analog pedals because the versatile EHX 22500 is doing quite well in the market, with majority of users and testers praising its versatility and quality. This dual stereo recorder goes beyond conventional loopers, adding extra features that give you more control and there's even 16 drum loops built-into the pedal.
With the 22500, you can adjust the tempo of your recorded loops without changing the pitch, allowing for dynamic build up that's not possible with conventional options. There's also reverse playback and octave function, expanding the sounds that you can produce. Quantizing, XLR mic input and SD card expansion are other features that make this a true workhorse that works both in practice or live performance situations. More importantly, the price tag is not that far off from other brands which offer less features. While the learning curve to use all these extras requires a bit more time, serious multi-instrumentalists and one-man-band musicians will find this pedal appealing. Retail Price: $276.40
Pigtronix Infinity Looper
The Pigtronix Infinity is another feature packed pedal that deserves a spot in this list. Built by a company that crafts premium pedals for artists such as Vernon Reid, Adrian Belew, John Scofield and more, this pedal has an unmistakably boutique look and sound. With virtually zero latency, it lets you precisely record, playback, overdub, undo and redo to your hearts content, and do so with striking quality.
"Sync Multi" is one of its many notable features, it lets you set the length of Loop 2 to be 1, 2, 3, 4 or 6 times the length of Loop 1. This will you to speed up or slow down certain lines while still staying relevant to the other loop, ideal for emphasizing certain parts of your music. Pigtronix' flair for the analog is also present in this pedal where digital technology is dominant, they equipped the Infinity with discreet analog limiter stages that allow for analog pass-through to the studio quality 24bit/48kHz recording engine. While it would've been nicer if it was a bit cheaper, the quality and versatility that it offers is more than worth the price tag. Retail Price: $449
TC Electronic Ditto Looper
Instead of battling it out with the many complex loopers in the market, TC Electronic went the opposite route and created this super simple design that's packed in a compact stompbox. The Ditto then went on to start the compact looper craze, which other manufacturers have now joined in. Guthrie Govan and Paul Gilbert are just a few of the many professional guitarists that have put this pedal to good use, and as expected, they helped advance the popularity of the pedal further.
Instead of complicating matters with more controls and features, this pedal focuses on providing the best possible audio quality and recording capacity. Instead of tweaking settings, the Ditto inspires you to make more music with its up to 5 minutes of recording, which is quite massive for its small footprint. It's also quite impressive how the Ditto pedal has undo and redo features while only having a single footswitch. True bypass circuitry and analog-dry-through circuitry ensures good transparency, making this an ideal discrete addition to any pedalboard or rig. My only concern for this pedal is that it requires a bit more concentration to accurately step on the switch, still this is the best choice if your are looking for a compact looper. Retail Price: $99.99
Boss RC-30 Loop Station
If you are looking for something lighter and smaller than the RC-300, then its smaller sibling, the Boss RC-30, may very well be the one you need. It features the same sonic quality as the bigger flagship model, only this one is packed in a smaller twin pedal form factor. As expected some of the features are stripped down, but it still has more than enough for one-man-band musicians and singer songwriters to make great music with. Ed Sheeran is one of the many professional artists that have performed with the RC-30
The RC-30 has two synchronized stereo tracks with built-in loop effects and true stereo outputs, and each track have dedicated controls and faders that make them totally independent and easier to mix. For its size, this pedal gives you up to three hours of stereo recording time, which you can then store in one of its 99 onboard memory presets. Extra effects were not totally ruled out, leaving this pedal with nifty pitch-bend for changing the pitch, sweep filter for changing texture, step phaser, tempo delay and a cool Lo-Fi effect that can add analog character to your signal. Because of its smaller form factor, the controls are not as spread out and intuitive, but they will become second nature with a bit of practice. Retail Price: $299
Ed Sheeran is one of the many artists that use the RC-30:
Vox Lil' Looper
Think of the Vox Lil' Looper as an inbetween, providing most of the features found on bigger options while retaining a compact form factor, and more importantly an affordable price tag. It's impressive how Vox was able to stuff two independent loops inside this compact pedal and still have room for essential features like record, playback and overdub. It even comes with advanced features like quantize making beat matching easier even for those that are just starting to use loopers.
Vox did not stop at just providing essential features, they went the extra mile and added an entire suite of guitar and vocals effects, which includes overdrive, octave bass (for creating bass line loops), stutter, chorus, delay and many more. Notably, this small pedal comes with a mic input for creating vocal loops that can combine with your guitar. Some are concerned that the pedal may not be as reliable and sturdy as others, but with proper handling the Vox Lil' Looper will give you the most value for your money. If you are just starting to experiment with looping and budget is a bit limited, this is a good one to start with. Retail Price: $159.99
DigiTech JamMan Express XT
The JamMan Express XT is DigiTech's entry into the compact looper market, and as such it is the smallest and most intuitive to come out from their production line. Following the current "less is more" trend, DigiTech successfully stopped themselves from stuffing up this pedal with extra features as they normally do with their pedals. By puling their punches, they ended up making one of the best looper pedals in the market today.
Focusing on quality and connectivity, the JamMan Express XT is equipped with true stereo input and output jacks making it work for stereo rigs and other instruments like keyboards. Another notable feature is its 10 minutes worth of internal recording time which is more than enough for most uses. Three nifty LED indicators give you visual confirmation of whether you are recording, overdubbing or in play mode. Finally a silent clear feature lets you delete loops without nasty pops and noises. Like other small pedals, stepping on the switch may require some balancing skills, but if pedalboard space or budget is running low, this is a good pedal to consider. Retail Price: $99.95
TC Electronic Ditto Looper X2
After releasing the original Ditto, the company immediately got multiple requests for a more advanced version. This resulted in the new TC Electronic Ditto Looper X2, carrying over the same easy to use single footswitch control setup while adding in more advanced options and some cool effects. The most notable addition that this pedal brings is a dedicated stop button that doubles as FX switch, a feature that makes controlling your loops simple.
This pedal has up to to 5 minutes of recording time, and features high quality 24-bit audio, which is a step up from good old 16-bit CD quality audio. And like the original, it offers unlimited overdubbing. New to the X2 are reverse and half-speed effects for creating experimental soundscapes, and there's an internal DIP switch that lets you toggle the switch functionality from loop/play/overdub to loop/overdub/play. Finally, it lets you download and upload loops from your computer with its built-in USB connectivity. Retail Price: $179.99
Boomerang III Phrase Sampler
Instead of focusing on adding features, the Boomerang III Phrase Sampler takes a different approach offering four distinct play styles. The most familiar is the Serial Play Style which lets you create one loop after the other which is how most other loop pedals behave. This is the setting which you will be using most of the time, following conventional looper designs. The other three models give you more flexibility on where, when and how your loops are triggered and stopped.
The Serial Master Play Style lets you add rhythmic background to your loops, a nifty feature for one-man-band musicians. Sync Play Style lets you play all your loops simultaneously and in sync, allowing you to instantly create walls of sound. The fourth mode is called Free Play Style, which lets you play all your loops simultaneously but not in sync, letting you build more ambient style music. Other features include fade, stutter and DJ-scratch effects which allows for electronic style music. The price point for this pedal is a bit steep, but investing in the Boomerang III will give you a nice pay-off both in your music and creativity. Retail Price: $479.
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