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Which looper to buy?

Discussion in 'Ask Michael Dimin' started by Basslover, Apr 5, 2005.

  1. Basslover


    Feb 3, 2005
    Hey Mike,

    I was hoping that your expertise could help me decide which looper to purchase. I am considering the Line 6 DL4 and the Boomerang. I am looking for the best sound quality, the easiest to use, and I would love to have an 'undo' feature. Money is of course an issue, but I would spend more if it would make a big difference.
    With either one I could create multiple loops right? I was just on the boomerang website and it said something about you can creat two different loops or two different channels. I assume this pertains to something I know nothing about and with either one I could get at least 5 or 6 layers going... Anyway, I would greatly appreciate any help! :D
  2. I have a DL-4 & love it. It's great having all those delays(which sound very good to me, though I'm not as picky as some)for home-studio wanking. The loop function was as much the reason for my buying it as the delays. It's very easy to use & you can layer pretty much infinitely. One drawback for me is the max recording time of 28 seconds- I've for the most part 'outgrown' it. I would imagine the Boomerang would be better in that respect, but the DL-4 is a good fairly inexpensive unit to get your feet wet with, & you could likely sell it later for not much loss should you, like me, want something more elaborate. I haven't played w/the Boomerang but there's lots of info on them out there. Another option would be the Boss Loop Station. There 's a website on looping, too- Loopersdelight.com, maybe, not sure. Steve Lawson is a big loop guy- VERY talented, and cool too.
  3. Mike Dimin

    Mike Dimin Banned

    Dec 11, 1999
    Although I find the 'rang so easy to use, especially in a live setting, it does not have an "undo". It has great loop time, is easy to create the loops and stack parts. It's sound quality is very good for live performance but I would hesitate to make CD quality recordings with it.

    I have had limited experience with the DL-4 but have found that it time wavers over the loop repeats. Some people I know have never found this and others it drives crazy.

    I had a Boss RC-20 for a while and I hear the new one has an undo feature. I found, however, that the footswitch had a rather long throw and was difficult to really get the loop exact.

    I know Lawson likes the DL-4 and is an Echoplex endorser. The echoples is much more complicated. Although it is very powerful - that power comes with the need for more technical expertise.

    For me, who is trying as hard as I can not to drool on stage, the 'rang works best.

    To hear/see a bit, check this out


  4. JazzBassvb


    Aug 5, 2003
    I thought I was the only one. I've been having some trouble getting it to end exactly. I have something new to try and get it right. Looks like I'll have to start pressing the pedal just a hair before the '1' and that should do it.

    Nice playing on Over the Rainbow also. I love playing stuff like that. It's so different than what the Bass is known for. It's a surprise to most folks to hear stuff like that.

    Thanks for the info Mike.
  5. ireidt


    Mar 6, 2005
    I have teh Line 6 DL4, and i can get it to end and loop without that happening. You just have to time it right. it is like that with most looping devices, except this one, I frogot what it is called ( i'll look it up ) but it has a delete button to delete the last loop.

    just takes practice.

    my problem with the boss ones, is that all the effects on it, you have to bend over or have it on a table to use it fully,m in my opinion. the Line 6 DL4, yea, if you awnt to use one of the deklay options, you haveta bend over and move it ( I use my toes for that, muhaha ) but at least it is quicker then the boss, in my opinion.
  6. jar240

    jar240 Supporting Member

    Well, this ain't Mike, but I am a loopist! I've owned the Line6 DL-4 ($220), the Line6 Echo Pro (rack mount version of the DL-4 with MIDI Sync, $250), the Boss RC20-XL($300), and the Gibson/Oberheim Echoplex Digital Pro ($800).

    None of these fully does what I want in a looper.
    - the DL-4 is nice as a layer tool for textures, but not much else (without MIDI sync or an accurate way to set the loop length/tempo, playing with a drummer is very tricky). No Undo. Doesn't allow you to store/recall loops.
    - the Line6 Echo Pro was pretty decent since it has MIDI sync and MIDI control, but it's clock wasn't very precise and would drift after "sync" was established. No Undo. No storing/recall of loops.
    - the RC-20XL is the same as the RC-20, but with 16 minutes instead of 5, and also has an undo function. Let's you save/recall loops. No MIDI sync or rpecise tempo settings.
    - The Gibson/Oberheim Echoplex Digital Pro was the coolest one I had, but also the most complex. Can be difficult to program, but has lots of features such as MIDI sync, loop insertion, and the newer version of the software (LoopIV) has an undo feature. Doesn't let you store/recall loops, but does allow you to save settings/programs.

    There's a software package for the JACK framework I've been itching to try called SooperLooper (http://essej.net/sooperlooper). It emulates the Gibson EchoPlex Digital Pro Plus, but it lets you store and recall loops. The only drawback for me is that the JACK framework runs only under Linux or MacOS; you have to recompile the Kernel to get it running under Linux, and so far my attempts have been unsuccessfull, and I can't afford a Mac at the moment. You said that money's an object, but if you have an older PC with a LOW LATENCY SOUND CARD kicking around and don't mind bringing it to gigs, Linux, JACK framework and SooperLooper are all free!

    Well, there's a quick lowdown (pun intended!) on loop tools. I've never used the Boomerang, but I'd like to one day.

  7. Mike Dimin

    Mike Dimin Banned

    Dec 11, 1999
    Thanks Chris, very informative

  8. Actually LoopIII allows UNDO as well

    Chris - Mobius is a software looper for Windoze that emulates the Echoplex (EDP). It works as standalone software or as a VST and allows you to store loops. It has up to 8 "EDP's" for you to construct loops on, so it's pretty versatile. At present the Sync facilities (syncing to an external or internal MIDI clock i.e. sequencer) isn't implemented, but that's hopefully coming soon. At present Mobius is on Beta version 12... But there are new versions coming out nearly every month as bugs get found and fixed.

    Mobius is freeware and available at www.zonemobius.com. There is also a Yahoo group with ongoing discussion and implementation of controllers like the Behringer FCB1010. You can assign MIDI controller and note on/off messages to trigger the "buttons" on the EDP and it allows you to work in both SUS and regular mode "at the same time". You can also store "scripts" that can be triggered by a single controller button push so that multiple EDP commands are executed together. Handy if you want to do some more complex stuff.

    I have an EDP which I'm trying to sell, because this software works really nicely and integrates beautifully with packages like Ableton Live.

    Once again it's hard to believe that software this good, and with this level of support and interaction with the programmer is available at no cost...

    All the best,

    PS. I'm not getting rid of my DL4 yet - I like the delays!
  9. Steve Lawson

    Steve Lawson Solo Bass Exploration! Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2000
    Birmingham, UK
    Mobius does look fab - I've just downloaded it and spent the last 20 minutes playing with it, and like it so far! need to get a foot controller hooked up to it next, and then run it on a laptop, but it's not bad at all! :)

  10. Mike Dimin

    Mike Dimin Banned

    Dec 11, 1999
    Now I need to get XP on my laptop
  11. A neat application that a lot of Mobius users use is Chainer(http://www.xlutop.com/html/chainer.html). This is a VST host virtual "rack" for VST effects. You specify an input at the top, load up your VST effects below and in my case Mobius at the bottom. You can edit the VST effects directly from Chainer. This means you can have a whole slew of effects going into Mobius, and the possibility of effects after. Saves having to open up a sequencer as a wrapper for Mobius.

    Another commonly used "wrapper" for Mobius is Bidule (http://www.plogue.com/index.php?option=content&task=view&id=21&Itemid=35) which looks even more interesting as a sound tweaking environment...

    I'll stop there before Mike's eyes glaze over... ;)
  12. winston

    winston Supporting Member

    May 2, 2000
    Berkeley, CA
    Wow, Mobius sounds really interesting. I haven't used Sooperlooper (yet) but I am a Linux enthusiast and plan on checking it out.

    Jar240--have you tried using a Linux music distribution like Agnula DeMuDi www.agnula.org or Planet CCRMA http://ccrma.stanford.edu/planetccrma/software/ that has optimized precompiled low-latency/realtime capability kernels? I'd recommend Planet CCRMA--which includes SooperLooper and another interesting looper, FreeWheelin--in either the Fedora Core 1 (stable) or Fedora Core 2/3 (testing/unstable) versions.

    They take a little while to download and install (though not too long if you're already familiar with Linux)) and you end up with the most comprehensive and well-maintained set of Linux audio/video apps in the world. Planet CCRMA is put together by Stanford's Center for Computer Research in Musical Acoustics, which has been exploring the frontiers of computer music for more than 40 years.
  13. Josh Ryan

    Josh Ryan - that dog won't hunt, Monsignor. Supporting Member

    Mar 24, 2001
    I have the old RC-20, it can be done, it just takes practice. There's some setting that you can put on the completely screws things up, IIRC, something like auto-quantize? I never touch anything other than the two pedals and the input/ouput levels at this point though.
  14. JazzBassvb


    Aug 5, 2003
    Thanks. Yep, that's it. I've tried it a few times with it on and it worked ok, but I don't always have the luxury of setting a tempo. I'll just have to practice up on starting and stopping.

    Thanks for the encouragement.
  15. Josh Ryan

    Josh Ryan - that dog won't hunt, Monsignor. Supporting Member

    Mar 24, 2001
    It always helps me to count in my head, just the last measure before I start the loop for some reason.
  16. jar240

    jar240 Supporting Member

    I messed around with getting SooperLooper running under Slack 10.0, Kernel for a few hours last night, and I *ALMOST* got it compiled.

    I'm definitely going to try out that CCRMA distro, thanks for pointing me to it.

    ...or, I could just buy a Mac... ;-)

  17. JazzBassvb


    Aug 5, 2003
    Thanks! I'm willing to try whatever I can to get it going.

  18. winston

    winston Supporting Member

    May 2, 2000
    Berkeley, CA
    Just the other night I tried SooperLooper for the first time in CCRMA. I ran a MIDI keyboard track through it and started piling up the loops...lotsa fun. Even with a whole bunch of loops going, processor usage on my 3 ghz P4 was really low. I need to wire up some stuff in my studio, then I should be able to plug my bass into SooperLooper and control its functions with footpedals.

    I haven't compiled any Linux audio programs yet--CCRMA provides the most up-to-date, bug-fixed builds available. I do have Gentoo on another partition and sometimes I'm tempted to compile the audio programs I use the most to see if there's a big performance gain. I've compiled a few kernels to be optimized for audio but so far the best ones I've found are from CCRMA.

    I used Slackware 10.1 for a bit. I liked it but the lack of a really solid, dependency-checking package manager made me look elsewhere. Dunno if you've checked the AudioSlack packages.

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