Little Looper Shootout

In the past year, and especially very recently, we’ve seen several new loop pedals hit the scene.  All of them boast a very small footprint and super simple operation.  Oh, and low prices!  With each pedal seemingly so stripped down you might wonder what the difference there is between them.  We’re here to help sort that out.

Boss RC-1 Loop Station ($129)

Boss RC-1 Loop Station

  • Loop Time: 12 minutes
  • Stereo In/Out: Yes
  • Overdub: Yes
  • Undo/Redo: Yes
  • 24 Bit: No?
  • Unique Feature: Connect an FS-7 footswitch for easier start/stop/undo/redo function.  LED indicator of loop status

Verdict: I’ve searched and searched, and can’t find any reference to what sort of ADA converter is in this thing.  If it’s compressed, that stinks.  But that also sounds about right for Boss.  Chances are you won’t be able to hear the difference, but why risk it?  It’s not like it’s a big cost difference at this point.

The super long loop time is nice.  I can’t imagine needing 12 minutes, but I’m sure there are some folks who do and will appreciate a lower cost pedal to get that kind of performance.

Stereo operation is also nice, and it makes me think this will take off with electronic musicians because of it.  That or some folks in the psych rock scene.

Electro-Harmonix Nano Looper 360 ($135)

EHX Nano Looper 360

  • Loop Time: 6 minutes (360 seconds)
  • Stereo In/Out: No
  • Overdub: Yes
  • Undo/Redo: Yes
  • 24 Bit: Yes
  • Unique Feature: Divide and store loops across 11 presets (360 seconds combined loop time available)

Verdict: A little too clever?  You might think the preset option is great if you play loops live.  In some cases, you may be right.  But if you’re a guitarist looping, chances are that half the fun of your music is creating the loops as the song progresses.  If you’re going to show up on stage with loops ready, why not just go with pre-recorded music in a more reliable format?

TC Electronic Ditto Looper ($117)

TC Electronic Ditto Looper

  • Loop Time: 5 minutes
  • Stereo In/Out: No
  • Overdub: Yes
  • Undo/Redo: Yes
  • 24 Bit: Yes
  • Unique Feature: Cheap, small, simple

Verdict: My favorite of the bunch.  It’s so inexpensive and just stays out of the way.

Winner – Ditto Looper

It’s hard to find a fault with this little guy.  Whether looping is part of your playing or you’re looking for a really simple practice device, the Ditto has you covered.  It may be tempting to throw down the extra $60 or so for the Ditto X2, but unless you’re really hardcore into looping, I strongly encourage you to resist the urge!  The beauty in this thing is it just helps you create music.  Features are for suckers in this case.  Just ask Paul Gilbert…