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Looper comparison chart

by Jane is K.O. - 11.05.15

Below you’ll find a hardware loop machine (looper) comparison chart solely based on what we tried out ourselves, mainly reflecting our personal experiences and views. It is a tiny start for a chart, growing upon experience.
Supplied data might be incomplete or accidentally false.
For older models see Per Boysen’s chart.
For anything looping related we generally recommend Loopers-Delight – this oldest looping mailing list is worth a ton of gold – just be aware, that it’s more for players than playbackers.

Close chart

10.06.15. To be expanded.
 
Dedicated loop machines
  • model, sound/ verdict, issues, channels, loop time, bit depth/ sample rate, undo/redo, loops/ presets, memory, battery, footswitches, reverse, pitch, time stretch, USB/MIDI/ SYNC, special features
  • BOSS RC-300 – 2012, converters sound harsh / mostly a (comfortable) playback machine, difficult WAV import or upgrade from RC50 – no ext. app for file conversion – bitdepth downgraded from RC50, Mic in – stereo in – aux in – 2x stereo out – loops 3x stereo, 1.5 sec. – 3 hours, 16/44.1, , 99×3/99, permanent – USB, -, 8 – silent – plus pedal, ??, ??, yes, yes/in-out through, unsynced looping possible – requires to switch loop & tempo sync off on already existing loop
  • Electrix Repeater – 2005, sounds hard / good for multitrack playback experiments, vintage – Not for live! CF cards go bad/hard to get – faders crackle, stereo in – 4x mono out, 0 – 49 mins (CF 256 MB), 16/44.1, 1/1, 999×4/999, permanent – CF card, -, Digitech FS-3X – FS300 – MIDI foot control, yes, -12 to +12, down to 1% – tap tempo, no/ in-out-through/ MIDI SYNC, extreme time stretching reminds of early AKAI samplers
  • Electro Harmonix Nano 360- 2014, good / USB missing, not known yet, mono, 6 mins, 24/44.1, 1/1, 11, permanent, yes, 1-silent, -, -, -, -, -
  • LEXICON JAMMAN – 1993, warm (if slight loss of HF) / very fast looping, vintage – power supply 9V AC, loop mono – through signal stereo, 0 – max. 9/32 sec. w/ memory expansion, 12/32, -, up to 8(9)/0 – seamless change, volatile, -, 2 – silent, -, -, -, no/in-out/ MIDI SYNC, perfect MIDI slave mode
  • NUX LOOP CORE – 2015, loops may run cut off slightly at end / cheap, 16bit / bass suffers / digital sound, stereo, 6 hours, 16/44.1, 1/1, 99 – seamless change, internal mini SD, 9V, 1 – silent, -, -, more a slice than a stretch but yes/tap tempo, USB backup, 3 stop modes (stop now/ stop at end/fade out 10secs
  • Oberheim Echoplex Digital Pro – 1998, sounds good (bit dusty) / features are among best ever produced, stereo, 0-198 secs., 16/44.1, no redo/ undo scales off layers depending on memory available, 16/16, volatile – backup only via MIDI sample dump, , 7 – silent (w/ optional footswitch), yes, half time – half speed – also in record mode, -, no/ in-out through/MIDI sync and Brother Sync, loop slicing – insert new audio into loop
  • TC Electronics DITTO -2014, pristine – excellent / fast looping, Not for live! footswitch can go bad quick, mono, 0 – 5 mins, 24/44.1 – 32bit internal, 1/1, 1/1, permanent – USB, -, 1 – silent, -, -, -, yes/no/no, smallest looper known to us
  • TC Electronics DITTO X2 – 2014, pristine – excellent / fast looping, Not for live! footswitches can go bad, stereo, 0 – 5 mins, 24/44.1 – 32bit internal, 1/1, 1/1, permanent – USB, yes, 2 – silent, yes/also in record mode, half time – half speed – also in record mode, -, yes/no/no, –
  •  
    Delays with looping (or “looping” ;)
  • model, sound/ verdict, issues, type, channels, delay/loop time, bit depth/SR, mode, battery, hold button, tap, reverse, USB/MIDI/ SYNC, special features
  • Electro Harmonix Stereo Memory Man with Hazarai – 2014, sounds great – ehx typical filtered – modifiable , unknown yet, digital, stereo, 3 secs delay – 30 secs loop, 24/46.88 – internal 32bit, hold down, -, not needed, yes, yes, -, pitch & speed -12/0.5x to +12/2x – separate overdub level – restarts at beginning of loop – incl. EQ
  • Seymour Duncan SFX-10 Deja Vu 2010, BBD sound, vintage – input always on, Bucket Brigade Device, mono, 3200 ms, -, hold down, yes, no – feedback near 15h, yes, -, -, BBD sound – lovely dirty – true bypass
  • VESTAX DDG-1 1996, clear / analog input can be distorted nicely / good for special fx, vintage – potis and switches break – _very hard to replace (ALPS special kinds), digital, stereo, 1-4 – 4-16 – 16-64 – 64-256 256-1024 ms, 16/unknown, tape mode – hold button, -, yes, -, -, -, delay in 5 different ranges – table device
  • Some thoughts
    We like loopers as instruments. Features such as reverse looping, pitched looping, quick looping (BOSS and most time stretchers can’t do anything under 1.5 secs), extreme time stretching (Repeater-style, down to 1%), slicing etc. are interesting to us.
    We rarely use playback machines to replace missing band members :D
    We are musicians playing with others, therefore the machines we try and support shall be quick, versatile, good sounding and practical (regarding storage for instance).
    As the technical situation gets more advanced today we feel a need to get in-depth and as well point out defect or maladvertised products as well as companies *downgrading sound/features_ of older products in their newer versions (like Boss from RC-50 to the RC-300).
    We don’t use machines with a harsh & out-of-phase sound originating from bad signal conversion (16 bit are not enough, 24bit to be prefered, 44.1 KHz sample rate minimum, internal 32bit depth ideal). Good sound on big systems matters, and conversion ultimately shows their insuffciencies then.
    Quality of conversion is yet not just something to be measured in technical specs only – even a Lexicon Jamman sounds marvellous with it’s 12bit/32KHz – faster isn’t automatically better and a good analog signal chain helps the sound a lot, too.
    Finally we’d like to monitor mechanical parts for quality and endurance. We need no loud foot switches (they disturb low volume performances) nor any quickly failing mechanical parts, switches, faders, plugs and sockets. Manufacturers: Use quality parts only, please.

    Check out lots of our loop-based music here.



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