Effects pedals are really fun to use. They open up a whole new world of possibilities, whether you’re using them with an instrument such as a guitar, or with your voice.
While it’s probably the hardest one to master, it’s the effect that gives you pretty much unlimited possibilities.
But what’s the best looper pedal you could get?
In this article, we will go over some of the most important specs and features you should look for, as well as looper pedal reviews of the best models currently on the market.
So, let’s get started!
- Best Looper Pedal 2018 Buying Guide: The Basics
- 6 Essential Features to Look For
- Top 9 Looper Pedal Reviews
- Best Looper Pedals from Different Price Ranges
Best Looper Pedal 2018 Buying Guide: The Basics
First of all, let’s take a closer look at what exactly a looper pedal does.
Otherwise, it’s pretty similar to other effects pedals.
When does a looper pedal come in handy?
Chances are, that if you’ve clicked on this article, you already have at least a rough idea about why you would need a looper pedal.
However, if you’re just curious, and want to learn a bit more about this kind of effect, don’t worry!
Let’s see a couple of examples where having a looper pedal is convenient.
Home Practice Sessions
Let’s say you’re practicing a guitar solo.
While you could try and learn it to a backing track or the original song, having a loop station can make the whole process much easier.
You can simply record the rhythm guitar, loop it, and have it playing in the background while you’re trying to figure out those arpeggios and sweeps.
Sure, getting a pedal just practicing may not sound like a good investment, but trust me, once you find your way around using this kind of effect, experimenting with it gets interesting pretty fast.
One Man Band Device
Many one-man band performers and street musicians use this kind of pedal, and for a good reason.
Because you can easily put together different layers of riffs and melodies, an idea that requires multiple people can become a reality in no time.
Whether you use a loop station with only one instrument, your voice, or multiple devices, you can truly make a masterpiece by combining various layers and applying different effects.
Take a look at Jacob Collier, and how he utilizes looper pedals, making music that’s at a whole new level!
Combining the Effect With the Rest of Your Band
While this is probably the most complicated application of the looper pedal, it can lead to very interesting results.
No matter what the instrument may be, as long as it can send a signal to an instrument cable, you can use it with this kind of pedal.
So, even if your band only uses, for example, 2 guitars, with a looper pedal you can give your songs a whole another dimension.
Whether it’s subtle and discreet effects, an additional layer of rhythm guitars, or out of the world noise you need playing in the background, a good looper pedal does it all.
Just make sure that you have a good sense of rhythm, as the multiple audio layers can be pretty hard to handle, and can cause just a wall of noise, but the bad kind!
Different Circumstances Call for Different Kinds of Looper Pedals
You might be wondering, what is the best looper pedal I can get?
With that in mind, let’s see the main features and specs you may want to consider given different circumstances.
If you plan on using a looper pedal for live performances, there are a couple of things you should consider.
First of all, the model you go with needs to have easily accessible controls, like footswitches.
Having to bend over every time you want to use it is not only inconvenient but may get in the way of your actual performance.
Other features such as an LED screen or big and bright labels all help you with finding your way around on the pedal, on a poorly lit stage.
Simple Practice Sessions
Using your looper pedal at home, either for practicing or just fooling around generally means that you don’t need anything too professional and expensive.
In this case, simplicity is key, with no unnecessary bells and whistles.
Most of the times, you will be able to reach down and play around with the controls without any pressure.
So, if you’re looking for a straightforward looper experience, going with an entry-level budget pedal should do the work just fine!
Besides these factors, there are a couple of others that play more or less an important role when we’re talking about pedals in general.
Size of the Pedal
This one is pretty straightforward.
You can either go compact, leaving you with more room on your pedalboard/bedroom floor, but this also means you will have to sacrifice a feature or two.
Unlike other pieces of musical equipment, pedals are used with your feet.
What I’m getting at, is that a good looper pedal, and any other type, should be durable enough to last you at least a couple of years.
No matter how carefully and delicately you handle your equipment, a flimsy and cheap pedal will inevitably break.
Unlike other pedals, looper pedals get stepped on and used with your feet much more.
While all of the previously mentioned factors are definitely important, unfortunately, the price can often be a dealbreaker.
So, you might be wondering, how much does a good looper pedal cost?
While there isn’t a definite answer to this question, we will go over some of the best models coming from various price ranges, so you can choose in accordance with your actual budget!
6 Essential Features to Look For
Okay, we’ve gone over the basic specs and features that are important when buying any type of effects pedal.
But what makes one looper pedal model stand out from the rest?
What can you expect from the best looper pedals on the market?
1. Number of Footswitches
This is a very important feature if you plan on using a looper pedal on stage.
Some models with other built-in effect utilize the different switches for operations such as toggling the effects on and off.
However, there are even some models that have only one footswitch but offer a feature of connecting additional ones for a more smooth user experience.
Do have in mind that you will have to factor in that extra cost!
Most entry level and inexpensive looper pedals only give you the ability to play one loop a time.
If you spend a little bit of extra money, you can get a model that features multiloop, meaning more than one loop can be played simultaneously.
Building an entire song around a looper pedal definitely requires a pedal that has this feature, so if that’s your main goal, make sure you get the appropriate model.
3. Reverse Looping
While this feature may be considered as more of a gimmick by some, it can be useful in certain situations.
It gives you the ability to record a sample, and have the pedal play it back in reverse. Pretty straightforward.
There were only a couple of older pedals that offered this feature, but newer models have it in most cases.
So, if you’re all about making and using crazy sounds and effects, definitely consider this feature.
As the samples you feed into the pedal need to be stored for a certain period of time, memory is an important factor you should consider.
Of course, all models have a certain amount of memory built-in, but if you want to record either multiple samples or really long ones, having not enough memory can be an issue.
There are many looper pedals on the market now that offer SD card expansion or even a USB connection for external drives.
5. Input and Output Type
While most other pedal types have your standard mono output, some chorus and looper pedals give you the ability to use a stereo output for a more emphasized effect.
This can come in handy on stage, as well as in a recording studio if you plan on using actual pedals and not effects in your DAW.
Dual inputs can be very practical as well. You can then easily use two instruments, or an instrument and microphone, and use the looper with both inputs at the same time, or separately.
In terms of one man band performances, it’s pretty much a must-have.
6. MIDI Synchronization
Otherwise known as MIDI Synch, this feature allows you to sync your loops with MIDI devices.
This is once again very convenient when you’re playing alongside your band, or simply use MIDI devices for your performances.
Top 9 Looper Pedal Reviews
Now that we’ve got all the specs, features, and details covered, it’s time to take a closer look at the best looper pedals you can find on the market!
Best Looper Pedals from Different Price Ranges
So, as you’ve had the chance to see, there are so many different looper pedals on the market, ranging from budget ones with simple features, to more advanced ones with loads of unique and convenient specs and options.
In order to keep things simple to the very end, let’s take a look at some of the best looping pedals from different price ranges and categories.
Best Looper Pedal Under $50 – Ammoon AP-09 Nano Loop
Sure, this may be the only model that costs less than $50, but it’s still one of the best looper pedals you could get if you’re on a really tight budget.
With up to 10 minutes of recording time and the ability to import and export your loops via a USB cable makes it very convenient and fun to use.
Best Looper Pedal Under $100 – Digitech JMEXTV JamMan Express
This was a tough one, as it really depends on what exactly you’re looking for.
Personally, I found the JamMan Express as the winner in this category, mostly because of the noticeably higher level of audio quality it provides.
It’s amazingly simple to use as well, so it’s great for beginners.
Best Looper Pedal Under $150 – Electro-Harmonix 360 Nano Looper
While this model is pretty limited in terms of features it has to offer, once again, the build and sound quality just make it stand out from the rest.
With 11 separate banks and 360 seconds of loop time, the Nano Looper is the best guitar looper pedal in this price range.
Best Looper Pedal Under $200 – Boss Audio RC-3 Loop Station
This one was tough as well, choosing between the RC-3 and the Vox VLL1.
I went with the RC-3 purely because it had a stereo input.
Sure, some of you will find that having 2 footswitches and one input is more convenient, but all things considered, I think the RC-3 is a better option.
Best Looper Pedal Under $300 – Digitech JamMan Stereo Looper
This model is without a doubt the best loop pedal for guitar you could get without spending way too much money.
If you feel like you need something extra, but aren’t really a professional musician, the JamMan Stereo Looper is the way to go.
That pretty much wraps our article on the buying guide and best loop pedal reviews!
I hope that you found it informative and that it helped you in choosing the right model for your particular needs.
Thank you very much for reading, and I’ll catch you in the next one!