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Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups

Best looper pedal for solo acoustic gig?

Discussion in 'The Stomp Box' started by Del Pickup, Nov 19, 2011.

  1. Del Pickup

    Del Pickup Poster Extraordinaire

    Mar 24, 2008
    New Zealand
    I've been thinking of trying to get into some solo acoustic cafe style gigs but have always been a bit wary of doing them as I find I get bored listening to one man and a guitar playing more than 5 or 6 songs - regardless of how good they might be as a player or singer.

    So I was thinking that maybe using a looper would be a good way for me to avoid the 'boredom factor' for any audience I might find myself playing to.

    Anyone got any suggestions as to which to look at? I don't want to spend a fortune on it either!

  2. Lance

    Lance Friend of Leo's

    Mar 17, 2003
    Charlottesville, VA
    Probably the best of the best is the boomerang. It doesn't have any rhythm but it's interface is excellent for looping.

    If you need rhythms, the Boss RC30 and the Digitec Jamman are the next tier down. These have two pedals and that makes them fairly easy to control.

    After that are the Boss RC3 and Digitec Jamman Solo follow. They also have rhythms but only have a single pedal so they're harder to control than their larger siblings.

    I also have a Line 6 M9. It's got an excellent looper....but no rhythms built in and it won't let you store a recording.

  3. jeremypodom

    jeremypodom Tele-Afflicted

    Nov 5, 2010
    +1 for the boomerang. I just sold mine earlier today, actually. Fantastic pedal and easy to work with but I never found a practical use for it personally.

  4. Rolling Estonian

    Rolling Estonian Friend of Leo's

    Aug 23, 2009
    Bethesda, MD.
    I have a jamman solo, it's pretty decent. Got it before the Boss came out but have heard good things about it too. You could also look at modelling amps or even go through and AI and a computer.


  5. dragonfly66

    dragonfly66 Friend of Leo's

    Jan 14, 2010
    I have the Jamman Stereo and the two pedals does make it much easier to use. I had the original Jamman before I got the stereo.

  6. Del Pickup

    Del Pickup Poster Extraordinaire

    Mar 24, 2008
    New Zealand
    Thanks for that info, guys.

    I'd actually forgotten that I'd asked a similar question a while ago about the looper pedal that KT Tunstall uses. That's an Akai Headrush and it seems to be pretty good too.

    And by coincidence there's an Akai E1 Headrush on the local ebay at a very reasonable price (at the moment anyway). Anyone know what differences there are between the E1 and E2?

    There's also a Boss RC3 on ebay. Are they similar in function to the Akai?

    I like the idea of running a mic into the looper as well so that backing vox and tamborines, etc could be looped.


    HOBBSTER01 Friend of Leo's

    Nov 23, 2007
    Ringgold, Ga.
    For the money the RC=50 is the best out there.
    I do not own one but used one for awhile.
    It is so much better for multiple loops than the jamman.

  8. popthree

    popthree Poster Extraordinaire

    i believe the main biggie is loop time.. the 2 has a bit more of it.. .neither has a significant amount of loop time though. i had an e2 and i really loved it..except i kept hitting the wall on max loop time.. is somewhere around 18 seconds or something.. google it.

    if you want to create live loops, the aforementioned Rang 3 is the best thing on the market that is in a pedal format... if you want to spend a little less, try and find a Rang Plus on ebay.. you can sometimes get good deals on those.. sub $200ish.

  9. Lance

    Lance Friend of Leo's

    Mar 17, 2003
    Charlottesville, VA
    The Akai pedals have very limited loop times from what I know. Something like under a minute?

    The Boss and Digitech ones have practically unlimited loops (depends on the memory card). The biggest advantage these will have over the Akai and Boomerang is that you can pre-record a number of songs and they stay in memory. Also, you can upload music into the Boss and Digitech. For someone doing solo work, this could be pretty could load full progressions with rhythm tracks.

    If you've ever seen KT, she builds up her song from scratch on the fly using various instruments and her voice. It's impressive but not trivial to do. It takes quite a bit of practice. For solo gigs, maybe just load some pre-recorded stuff and play along with'd be less likely to flub it. Of course, you could always build up a song as KT does, but at least you'd have an option.

  10. Del Pickup

    Del Pickup Poster Extraordinaire

    Mar 24, 2008
    New Zealand
    I've only ever seen her on TV and vids but I like the way she builds the loops live as part of the performance. It makes it seem more 'live' to me rather than playing along to backing tracks which is something I hate with a passion!

    I realise that I'd need to practice doing this so as not to make a complete mess of it but I do think it's the way I'd want to do it.

  11. Lance

    Lance Friend of Leo's

    Mar 17, 2003
    Charlottesville, VA
    I get that and I usually use my M9 to build loops from scratch but just for jamming. I seriously recommend getting a looper that has built in rhythms so you have a drum track if you need it. Remember, KT is bringing microphone, mixer, tambourine, and other stuff to create the song....she's got a don't.

    If you don't use it rhythm track, no biggie. The memory is also very nice to have as you can record your performances.

    Personally, I'd recommend either of the Boss or Digitech two button pedals. In addition to my M9, I also have the RC3 which has one button. It's not as easy to control as a looper with two buttons. I'm actually going to build myself a secondary control pedal for the RC3 to add the "missing" buttons.

  12. popthree

    popthree Poster Extraordinaire

    if i was going to pre-record loops on something to play them back later, i'd use a computer.

  13. TeleSky

    TeleSky Tele-Holic

    May 31, 2011
    Highland, Utah
    Check out the boss RC-300, brand new, replacing the RC-50. It looks incredible!!! I've been using an RC-20xl for years and it has worked fantastic for me with both a mic and instrument input (i usually mic my cajon or bongos and loop those).

  14. jmcfender1

    jmcfender1 Tele-Holic

    May 6, 2011
    Appalachian Mtns
    I had a boomerang II a few years ago and it was awesome, my only complaint was it was noisy, it had a hiss that I never could work out. I don't think they all hiss, just something in my signal chain I think.

  15. nic'o'caster

    nic'o'caster Tele-Afflicted

    Apr 10, 2004
    Middle Earth
    I sold my Boomerang II to get my Boomerang III. No more hiss and a sound quality without degradation at all ! The only thing that I've regretted from the II was the volume foot roller. Now I just see they plan to release a Wholly Roller Volume / Expession Pedal for the III before the end of the year. :D

  16. aunchaki

    aunchaki Friend of Leo's

    Mar 12, 2006
    Central New York
    +1 I got the RC-3 for my birthday and am still trying to use it with some proficiency. I like the small pedal format, but if I were using it for live work, I'd definitely add the second pedal. If I were buying one specifically for live work, I'd just get the bigger double-pedal one from the beginning.

  17. jmcfender1

    jmcfender1 Tele-Holic

    May 6, 2011
    Appalachian Mtns
    Wish I'd know about the his before my purchase. The original boomerang didn't hiss so i ordered from MF or somewhere like that. If the boomerang III is cleaner I'd love to have one again, amazing songwriting tool too!

  18. C.J. Sutton

    C.J. Sutton TDPRI Member

    Nov 16, 2011
    Cape Coral, FL
    i can tell you that I had an AKAI Headrush E2, and while the operation was pretty intuitive, and the switches were smooth with no click, it was pretty noisy/hissy. also the length is 17 seconds on "high quality mode" and 34 seconds on "lower quality mode". but if you choose the longer looping time, you can only add layers if you keep it under 17sec (half the total loop time). pretty annoying. i sold it and got a Stereo Memory Man with Hazarai, and it operates a little differently, but it has controls for reversing the loop and changing the pitch/time, which is great if you want to get wacky (which i do tend to do)

  19. Del Pickup

    Del Pickup Poster Extraordinaire

    Mar 24, 2008
    New Zealand
    Thanks for all the info on these.

    Looks like the Akai E1 is to be forgotten about then. That's probably why it's on the auction site at a low price.

    I can't justify the price on these Boomerang pedals - whether they're the best around or not. I don't know how much I'll use the thing so want to keep any investment in it as low as possible. If I find that I use it a lot I guess I can always upgrade to a better model.

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