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DL4 vs. RC20 vs Boomerang vs. JamMan

Discussion in 'Ask Steve Lawson & Michael Manring' started by Justyn, Mar 23, 2004.


  1. Justyn

    Justyn Supporting Member

    Jun 24, 2002
    Richmond, VA
    Hi all,

    I've noticed that my DL4 has begun making a bit of a popping noise at the point where the loop repeats. I don't know if this is something normal caused by the footswitch or if that same switch has just been stepped on too many times and needs replacing, but repair costs seem ungodly high ($45 intial bench fee plus $65/hr. for labor with an estimate of 2-2.5 hours of labor. For that kind of money I could buy a new DL4.

    So, while I'm considering that option I'm also considering other looping units. The Holy Grail, of course, would be an EDP, but that's not going to happen right this second. so I'm considering other options. I've read mixed reviews of the Boss RC20, but that one's still in the running though I'm worried about signal quality. A used Boomerang would be lovely, and I suppose I'd consider a JamMan as well, or another DL4, but I'm curious to try other units as well.

    Basically, I need opinions. Can you all help me compare and contrast these units?

    Thanks,
    j.
     
  2. TaySte_2000

    TaySte_2000

    Jun 23, 2001
    Manchester, UK
    Endorsing Artist: Mojohand, Subdecay, Overwater, Matamp
    *Steve Lawson Voice On* Buy The Echoplex and tell them I sent you *Steve Lawson Voice Off*

    What your saying does sound strangely familiar I think a few people had this problem and its just the way you stop the loop I think. Something about not letting it trail off. I recommend do a search on the Dl4 here because I'm sure I read something similar.

    Other than the popping noise what do you think about the DL4?

    Hope this helps
     
  3. I was actually thinking about getting a DL4 before, then seeing John Lester use one kinda pushed it from minor GAS to full on blowing-the-walls-down GAS. Is the DL4 any good? I mean it's only £189, which isn't too bad, so how good is it? Versatile, durable?

    Thanks for any help,

    Mark.
     
  4. wulf

    wulf

    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    I've found mine to be really good. However, I've found one quirk that I'd be interested if anyone has any comments on.

    I'm using the official Line-6 power adapter, which takes the AC mains signal and transforms it to 9V AC at 1200mA (so, AC/AC, not AC/DC like most adapters I'm used to). It works just fine except at church on Sunday mornings, where the lights will start flashing and then it will stop working. However, I've tried it in the church at other times and with pretty much the same level of other electrical equipment powered up!

    It seems bizarre - my current thought is to get an AC/DC adapter, which the manual says will also work, in case it's due to some kind of power fluctuation issue (on a Sunday morning I guess there are a couple of other things plugged in, including an OHP which might be enough to throw things off?). Or maybe Somebody is trying to tell me something about the wacky spaceship FX and backwards sliding harmonics that the little green box kept tempting me to throw in :D

    All in all though, a pretty good box.

    Wulf
     
  5. Steve Lawson

    Steve Lawson Solo Bass Exploration! Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2000
    Birmingham, UK
    Of the boxes listed, I think my fave is the DL4 - the option to control some of the parameters with the loop via an expression pedal makes the whole thing so much more 'performable'. I'm still amazed at how much Theo Travis managed to get his to do on 'For The Love Of Open Spaces' - He seemlessly blends from one loop to another, laying and pitch-shifting and generally being amazing with just that one pedal!

    The RC-20 has some cool features, though if you get one, superglue the metronome volume in the 'off' position - the quantise thing is a load of balls, and the knob gets turned up in your gigbag on the way to gigs... :)

    The JamMan has some very cool functions - particularly replace, which I'd only just begun to explore when I got my first Echoplex. there's a lot you can do with that. It's also runable in an AUX send cos you can have 100% wet signal coming out of it, which is v. handy.

    Boomerang I've never been that impressed with. I think it has a feedback control, which is cool, but it just never struck me as a particularly tactile unit to use for some reason. I know there are some people who love it, but the light hasn't come on for me...

    So in closing, BUY AN ECHOPLEX

    :D

    steve
    www.stevelawson.net
     
  6. Justyn

    Justyn Supporting Member

    Jun 24, 2002
    Richmond, VA
    I do love my DL4, so much so that I considered getting another one and I still might send this one off to be looked at. It's frustrating because sometimes I get that 'pop' where the loop repeats and sometimes I don't. Meanwhile I just sold off a bunch of my pedals having just gotten a GT-6B so I had enough money for a used Boomerang Plus which gives a few cool upgrades over the original, so I'll report back once I get a chance to play with that.

    I did do something I hadn't really done in a while and used the DL4 for something other than the looper and I'm consistently blown away with things like the Sweep Echo and some of the other delays, so I'm sure even if I don't use it for looping, the DL4 will remain an integral part of my The-Edge-Plays-Fretless-Bass setup.

    Full report on the Boomerang Plus as soon as I get it.

    And Steve...gimme another year and I'm sure this'll all be moot and I'll have an Echoplex...all things in time.

    Meanwhile, I note all of you missed my 30th birthday yesterday. I mean, sure, none of you knows when my birthday is and Steve and Michael were off doing some dodgy Bassturbation Tour '04 but still...no call? No card?

    (grin)

    Weeks ago I actually was looking into flying to Fanny-on-BumTiddly or wherever they were playing as a present to myself but rates from the Colonies are a bit dear currently.

    Back to my warm milk and adult-diapers...I could get into this 'being old' business.

    J.
     
  7. Justyn

    Justyn Supporting Member

    Jun 24, 2002
    Richmond, VA
    Note to self: consult English/American English dictionary of slang before using 'fanny' in a sentence.

    Eheh.

    j.
     
  8. Nah, it's all good, we quaint English (well, I'm Welsh, but y'know...) folk get your meaning of it, even though here it might be considered a little differently :)

    Time to try and get me some money for a DL4, methinks...
     
  9. Justyn

    Justyn Supporting Member

    Jun 24, 2002
    Richmond, VA
    One, after all, wants to gently satirize the events one is missing because one is stuck in Virgnia and not able to traverse the globe to enjoy the musicianship of our illustrious moderators, not offend them in the process.

    Oy, that was a bit overwrought, yeah?

    Just picked up a used Boomerang Plus in minty condition that cost me pretty much exactly what I made through selling off some pedals recently. Going home to try it out in a bit...full review to follow.

    j.
     
  10. Have you searched in the effects forum on DL4? I put a thread up there with some effects "patches". It might provide some inspiration for playing with it...

    I've also developed a rather screamingly good sweep echo patch that *almost* but not quite goes into complete feedback mayhem. It's very cool for layering over the top sounds on a loop.
     
  11. thrash_jazz

    thrash_jazz

    Jan 11, 2002
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Artist: JAF Basses, Circle K Strings
    I have a DL4 and really like it - the more so since it just got back from the repair shop. I had some switch troubles as well, which led to that "pop" as well as other, worse problems. The pop is gone now, though.

    The only issue I have with it is that you can't use the other effects when in looping mode, which is a pity, but it's definitely still worth the money.
     
  12. Justyn

    Justyn Supporting Member

    Jun 24, 2002
    Richmond, VA
    I'll be sure to do a search for some of those patches. Now that I've got the Rang I can utilize the DL4 for all those great delays and echos.

    j.
     
  13. Steve Lawson

    Steve Lawson Solo Bass Exploration! Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2000
    Birmingham, UK
    Mike's weird sounds with the DL4 are excellent, and well worth looking up. Some cool chorus and flange ideas he managed to squeeze out of it too.

    But stop all this DL4 talk, or I'll be wanting to buy one again... :)

    Steve
    www.stevelawson.net
     
  14. Justyn

    Justyn Supporting Member

    Jun 24, 2002
    Richmond, VA
    Right...because you're just running into such a brick wall coming up with new and exciting sounds with your current gear. :rolleyes:


    ;)
    j.
     
  15. Ahoy me hearties,
    Could anyone tell me how long the over-all memory is of the DL4? It says 14 seconds on the site, so does that mean you can record 14 seconds of loops?
    Thanks very much,
    Mark.
     
  16. Steve Lawson

    Steve Lawson Solo Bass Exploration! Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2000
    Birmingham, UK
    hi Mark,

    it's 28 seconds. I still have no idea why they keep putting 14 on their promo stuff - the unit has a half-speed function, and you can start recording in half speed, so get 28 seconds. Even in half speed mode, the sample quality is better than a lot of other boxes...

    steve
    www.stevelawson.net
     
  17. This is more posting for my guitarist now:

    "Is that really long enough to do much stuff?"

    My guitarist and I are doing two bands - one with him on guitar, and another experimentally sorta one with drum and bass with some funk guitar and him on a didgeridoo. Anyhoo, he's looking into getting a DL4 to use in conjunction with either his G-Force or one of his other colourful stampy things, and being the doubter he is, he doesn't think that 14 seconds is long enough :S

    Would he be right in thinking that? He's going for either a boomerang or a DL4, so which is the best option?

    sorry for the persistent questioning!
     
  18. Justyn

    Justyn Supporting Member

    Jun 24, 2002
    Richmond, VA
    First off, as Steve said, the DL4 will actually give you 28 seconds of looping time if you hit the '1/2 speed' button first. It means you won't be able to slow your loop down to half speed, but you will be able to speed it up to double speed if you like.

    As far as the 'how long is long enough' question goes, that's going to depend on how long the phrases/riffs/progressions, etc. you'll be playing are likely to be. I'd sugggest trying a little experiment and just have him jam on a riff he's likely to play while you keep and eye on the clock. Get a sense of the length of time your loops are averaging and then you can decide from there if the 28 seconds will be long enough.

    I've had my Rang now for about a week and though I'll probably be selling it to start the Echoplex Fund since I hear tell that it's the bees knees (and I'm looking at YOU Mr. Lawson when I say that) , I can recommend it as a useful tool that's fairly straightforward and has some fun features. The Rang gives you 1 min. 27 seconds of time which you can use either in one loop or split between A and B loops. If you need more time you can lower the sampling rate. An auxilliary send that only plays the looped phrase makes it a perfect monitor send for the drummer. You can program a number of the functions to suit your taste and the sound quality is pretty good (24khz sampling).

    Hopefully that helps. If your guitarist decides to go for the Boomerang, feel free to contact me. I'm not sure I'm ready to sell it just yet, but again, I am fairly convinced that I'm going to start putting away for an EDP.

    Cheers,
    J.