Free The Tone has put together an intriguing new offering, the Motion Loop ML-1L. It’s one of the company’s more unusual pedals, a short looper with short-duration sampling and real-time effect processing, including pitch-shifting, delay and filtering.
Free the Tone Motion Loop ML-1L
Hailing from Japan, Free The Tone makes some pretty amazing effects pedals and have a reputation for high-quality reproductions and versions of classic vintage gear. That makes this pitch-shiftable short looper all the more unusual for a Free The Tone pedal. The compact Loop ML-1L has a eye-catching green housing with a small display screen. The controls consist of Rate, E Level and Filter as well as a Parameter dial, plus mini switches for Home, Left/Right. The two footswitches are labelled Preset and On/Off.
Real-time loop effects
The pedal incorporates a combination of 32-bit fixed-point high-speed arithmetic processing and 32-bit floating point high precision arithmetic processing. The system lets you manipulate short loops in real time with pitch-shifting, delay and filtering effects. It also uses a special waveform smoothing process which its maker says will prevent noise that can arise though discontinuities in spliced waveforms.
The pitch shifting features extend up or down 2 octaves and include manipulation of the pitch speed. Free The Tone describes the delay as a “high quality sound with subdivision function”. Finally, the filter section includes both high-pass/low-pass with a filter curve effect, letting you mess around with the attack.
128 user presets, along with 35 factory presets, give you plenty of options for building and storing your favourite patches. The looper can be synced to a bpm, letting you build motion sequences with your short loops that follow your chosen tempo. The functions for the knobs and any connected expression pedal are freely assignable and are saved per preset. That’s makes for a very versatile unit you can tailor to your liking. The pedal can handle CV input as well and has a MIDI input via a stereo mini jack that lets you sync the tempo.
The designers have implemented soft clipping to add some character as well as a Reverse and Retrigger function for the loops, giving you a lot of ways to play with them. Loop level sets the loop’s volume for each repeat of loops, while Slowdown slows the pitch speed and lowers the pitch. Finally, Random divides waveforms randomly, but will also rejoin the split pieces.
The Free the Tone Motion Loop ML-1L sounds pretty strange and is hard to describe with just a list of parameters, so the official video below is well worth watching. This unit mangles waveforms beautifully and makes some seriously strange short loops.
RRP – USD 350