A loop pedal has the power to complement your DAWless electronic setup, or it can become your main instrument as a performer. We’ve selected some of the best loop pedals that you can harness and incorporate into your workflow.
The range of loop versatile pedals available these days is broad, from basic sample repeating pedals to complete loop workstations with mixing capabilities and powerful integrated effects engines. Are you the next Reggie Watts? Let’s find out!
Choosing the best loop pedals
If you’re just starting out and experimenting with the use of loops as a musician, a simple mono looper will do the trick. A looper can improve your timing as a performer and it’s a really fast method to get ideas down when you’re in songwriting mode.
For those looking for something more involved, some loop stations provide effects processing as we’ve mentioned. So if you use your looper as a send effect from a compact mixer, you can add a whole new dimension to your live production workflow.
tc electronic Ditto Looper
The Ditto Looper is as straightforward as it comes, which is probably why it’s such a popular choice. The one-knob, one-footswitch interface gives you all the control you need to get into loop-based music performance.
The build quality is good, the sample playback is 24-bit, and the Ditto provides limitless overdubbing with up to 5 minutes of total loop time. If all you need is a single-track mono looper with no frills, you can’t go wrong.
The RC-10R combines a high-quality looping engine with a rhythm engine, equipped with 280 built-in rhythms. The idea is to help you create or perform entire music compositions from one relatively compact pedal.
The well-lit LED meters make it easy to keep track of your arrangement, and you can also control the amount of reverb on the drums on the rhythm track. Overall, the RC-10R is one of the most complete options for the price.
While the TimeLine is not technically a loop station, it does provide an incredible level of “sonic flexibility” as Strymon says. The integrated looper gives you up to 30 seconds of loop time, but you can send the looped signal through a choice of 12 delays.
You can shape your sound with the dTAPE, dBUCKET, DIGITAL, DUAL, PATTERN, REVERSE, ICE, DUCK, SWELL, TREM, FILTER, LO-FI algorithms, and there’s a loop-in input for external effects processing.
Boss RC-505 MKII
The RC-505 MKII is easily one of the most comprehensive loop stations available. Each of its 5 channels can store up to 99 phrases, which allows you to perform complex arrangements with ease as a solo artist.
In addition, there are 200 integrated rhythm patterns and 16 drum kits, as well as a choice of 49 input FX, 53 track FX, and 2 master FX. Whether you integrate it with your DAW or use it primarily on stage, the RC-505 MKII is a powerful creative outlet.
If you’re going through an existential crisis, the Cosmos could well be your way out. Rather than operating like a traditional loop station, it uses a network of interlinked delay lines with modulation to create constantly evolving passages.
Each of the 4 Different algorithms has three variations to play with, including 2 delay lines with relative shift, 4 delay lines with relative shift, Giant Reverb and Granular Delay. Overall, the Cosmos provides a more ambient approach with a focus on fluidity.
More about the best loop pedals:
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- Boss RC-10R: Boss
- Strymon TimeLine.: Strymon
- Boss RC-505 MKII: Boss
- soma-cosmos: SOMA