It’s no wonder that the electric guitar is still so popular among both music fans and those who want to get into the blissful world of music. And it’s more than just a few pieces of wood stuck together, along with some magnets and wires. With this amazing instrument, there are no limits to artistic expression. Aside from all the effects, looper pedals or loop stations can help you achieve the sound of an entire band, all while performing on your own.
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Best Looper Pedals
Boss RC-3 Loop Station
Pedal type: Looper
And is there even a better way to start things off than with a Boss pedal? While keeping the company’s famous simplicity and well-known compact design, the RC-3 Loop Station is one fairly potent tool for this purpose. And despite its small size, this little beast can store up to 3 hours of recording time. And what’s more, you can do all sorts of functions using its very simple controls and its only footswitch. The tricky part, however, is that you have to do all the overdubbing and other functions using fairly simple controls.
And even though small, RC-3 Loop Station can work either as a mono or a stereo looper. To make things “unconventional” in some way, there’s also an additional input for a standard 1/8-inch aux cable. With this auxiliary input, you can add a backing track or anything else that you need. The pedal also comes with 99 memory slots, allowing you to call them back into the performance whenever you want. And interestingly enough, it even comes with built-in drum presets for full-on live performance.
While it might take some practice to get ahold of its functions, Boss RC-3 gives everything a solo performer needs, all in just one simple, compact device. And as if all these features weren’t enough, the pedal comes with a USB connection, allowing you to export or import WAV files. This is a very potent tool and is definitely something that both beginners and professionals can use.
TC Electronic Ditto
Pedal type: Looper
Talking about simplicity, it comes as a huge surprise that there’s a device that’s simpler and more compact than the Boss’ RC-3 looper. Up next, we’re looking at TC Electronic and their Ditto loop pedal. What’s really exciting is that we have a fully functioning looper pedal in TC Electronic’s famous “mini” enclosure. And another pretty unexpected and unusual thing is that it only features an input, output, a footswitch, and the recorded loop volume level. Of course, there’s also a USB connection that can help you download firmware updates and keep this pedal functioning perfectly. This is one of the common features you find with TC Electronic devices and is something that they’re very well-known for.
Now looking into its functions, Ditto Looper is a pretty unusual yet very potent pedal. The main “problem” here is that you need to do all the functions using its single footswitch. However, it’s a perfect addition to your pedalboard if you favor simplicity over those big and complex devices. But nonetheless, with a little practice, it will be easy to use and implement to its full potential.
The pedal has 5 minutes of recording time, and all saved up on the device in 24-bit resolution. It comes with true bypass, meaning that your tone will be unaltered in any way when the pedal is disengaged. It can work with a battery or any standard 9-volt power supply that you’d use for other pedals. Overall, we would recommend this one if you’re a beginner or just new to loopers.
Donner Tiny Looper
Pedal type: Looper
But speaking of simple, it doesn’t get more impressive than Donner’s appropriately named Tiny Looper. Even smaller than the TC Electronic pedal we mentioned above, this one can shake things up with its 10 minutes of recording time with the sound quality of 24 bits and 44.1 kHz. And what’s really impressive here is that you can do unlimited overdubs as long as you’re within the recording time limit.
But this isn’t the end of the surprises that come with Donner’s Tiny Looper. First, there’s a switch that lets you choose between three playback modes. There’s the normal one, just like you’d find on any other device of this type. Then we have the other one that will replay your recording at half the speed, and there’s the third one that plays it in reverse. Just imagine the possibilities with this seemingly simple little pedal. The features become even more interesting with the utilization of its USB connection and import or export recorded audio files.
In the end, it’s really mind-boggling how such a super-small pedal can do a lot of stuff. In addition to all these features, it’s pretty durable thanks to its aluminum alloy casing. But the biggest surprise comes with its price. In fact, it’s more than two times cheaper compared to any other “famous brand” looper pedal of this size and with these kinds of features.
MXR M303 Clone Looper
Pedal type: Looper
For many decades now, the MXR brand has been conquering the hearts of many guitar players worldwide. Although owned by Dunlop now, they still do their best to bring the magic of their old pedals, like the Distortion Plus or those legendary old phasers. However, it was only recently that they jumped into the whole Looper pedal game. For this list, we’re looking into their M303 Clone Looper.
Once again, we have a fairly simple looper pedal on our hands here. However, the casing is a little bigger, making things much clearer compared to some of those super-small loopers. In fact, the pedal is much easier to use since it comes with two footswitches, one for recording and overdubbing and the other one for playing and stopping. In the middle, there’s a simple control that lets you set the volume of recorded loops.
The overall recording time is at 6 minutes and comes with amazing quality. Here, we have 88.2 kHz audio, and you can even use the pedal’s reverse and double playback speed features. One of the LED lights on the pedal even gives you that simple 4-count until the beginning of the loop so that you can make it all super-tight. Additionally, you can even connect an external switch for more functionality, and it also has another jack that lets you add an expression pedal and control the volume or a tap switch to engage its special “Play Loop Once” mode. In the end, we need to add that this pedal is built like a tank.
Electro-Harmonix 720 Stereo Looper
Pedal type: Looper
While everyone remembers Electro-Harmonix for their legendary Big Muff Pi distortion, the company has a lot of interesting devices in its arsenal. For this list, we can’t help but include their 720 Stereo Looper. As its name suggests, the pedal’s main focus is to work as a stereo device, giving more options in your sonic output.
And another thing in its name explains its features. The “720” part refers to 720 seconds of recording time, which sums up to exactly 12 minutes. This full potential can be spread into 10 individual tracks or overdubs. While some may require more tracks, it’s hardly ever the case, and we’d argue that 10 is just about enough for any guitarist who’s more or less experienced with looper pedals. Utilizing its two footswitches, you can even use undo and redo options and create a full performance experience where you can call back the dubs that you just recorded.
The audio quality is pretty great, with a 24-bit rate and 44.1kHz sample rate; you can even utilize its stereo input mode and record two different sources at the same time, be it two guitars or a guitar and a microphone. And with its additional jack, you can expand this pedal with Electro-Harmonix’s 3-button footswitches that allow you to switch between recorded parts more easily and to undo and redo much quicker without tapping on the pedal multiple times for different functions.
It’s just a classic looper pedal with the company’s famous design. Whatever the style of your music, you can’t ever go wrong with Electro-Harmonix.
TC Electronic Ditto x4
Pedal type: Looper
Knowing how well-conceived and extremely reliable their pedals are, we couldn’t help but mention another one by TC Electronic. The looper in question here is another one from the Ditto series, and it’s called Ditto x4. While there are a few other similar models that are great, we decided to include Ditto x4 due to the amazing combination of quality, features, and price.
But compared to the simple Ditto that we described above, Ditto x4 comes as a way more complex looper pedal. In fact, we would rather call it “looper pedalboard” since it features multiple switches and an abundance of features. The pedal comes with two individual loops, essentially dual-loop tracks. And these two can work either in a “serial” or a completely synced mode. Both of these loops come with individual volume controls that can also be utilized for different functions according to the set parameters. There’s also a “decay” control, which determines how much these individual loops fade with each regeneration. This can help you keep things under control, even with a large number of overdubs in there.
To add to all of this, the pedal also has an individual stop footswitch, as well as a section that can add unique-sounding loop effects. With these features, Ditto x4 comes as a great option for solo acoustic guitar performers. And let’s not forget that the pedal also comes with MIDI input and output, allowing for more complex syncing and functionality.
DigiTech JamMan Express XT Looper
Pedal type: Looper
For many years now, DigiTech kept its name way up high, along with other big brands in the guitar pedal game. But while many might remember them for quality distortion pedals or other effects, they are still making some pretty great loopers. And the one that caught our eye is the simple and compact JamMan Express XT Looper.
And this one is more in the vein of simple loopers, just like TC Electronic’s Ditto or Donner’s Tiny Looper. It’s essentially a simple stompbox with one switch and one knob. So all of the functions fall down to this one switch, including record, play, stop, and undo. The pedal also comes with unlimited overdubs, as well as a sound quality of 24 bits and 44.1 kHz. There’s also a so-called “Silent Clear” option that easily recognizes when you stop the loop playback and ensures more silent and smoother operation in these moments.
But its most advanced feature is the company’s so-called JamSync. This enables you to connect multiple JamMan Express XT looper pedals into one chain and have perfect synchronization between them. This way, you turn this simple looper into a complex looper pedalboard.
And these are all pretty advanced features for a seemingly simple stompbox. With its recording time of 10 minutes and pretty great sound quality (that also comes due to the pedal’s true bypass), you’ll be able to do more than just regular looping with 2 or 3 overdubs.
Pigtronix Infinity 2 Looper
Pedal type: Looper
While we don’t often see Pigtronix pedals among the most famous brands, they’re still one of the best manufacturers out there. And how underrated they actually are can be seen with their looper called Infinity.
The continuation of the original model comes with some amazing traits and features. Despite its seemingly uncomplicated design and straightforward functionality, the pedal offers some complex looping options. Firstly, we can see that it features two individual loops. Secondly, it features, let’s say, “smart operation” that lets you perfectly switch to a second loop after the first one has finished playing. It also has additional effects in there, including “stutter” and an octave shifter.
Infinity 2 also comes with two individual inputs and outputs, providing musicians with stereo operation when needed. The main controls on the top panel include two knobs, one for decay and the other one for the loop volume. In the end, it’s not the cheapest looper that you can get, but it’s definitely worth the price for the money. We’d argue that it outperforms its price tag, so you definitely cannot go wrong with it.
Boss RC-300 Loop Station
Pedal type: Looper
And now we come to the juicy stuff. While the RC-3 Loop Station presents a great combination of simplicity and a fair amount of features, the RC-300 is an ultimate looping machine capable of things you never thought were possible. In fact, we can’t really call it a “looper pedal” but rather an all-around looping workstation for the most obsessed fans of this very useful effect.
And it has so many features and functionalities that we don’t even know where to begin. Basically, RC-300 is divided into 3 individual stereo tracks. Each of these tracks comes with two switches, one for recording and playing the loop and the other one for stopping the loop. There’s also the main “killswitch,” or an all-start/all-stop footswitch, right in the upper left corner. Interestingly enough, RC-300 also comes with an effects loop. But in case you don’t want to bother with other effects pedals in complex chains, you can use one of its 16 onboard effects.
The features continue with individual volume controls for each of the tracks. There are also individual volume knobs for rhythm and the overall master volume. Of course, you can expand it with external expression pedals or control switches for more functionality and easier operation. In the end, it comes with 99 memory slots, MIDI connectivity, microphone inputs (XLR), phantom power for condenser microphones, and even an aux input. As we already said – this beast is a full-on looping workstation for professionals, not just some enthusiasts.
Electro-Harmonix 95000 Performance Loop Laboratory
Pedal type: Looper
Interestingly enough, Electro-Harmonix also has a similar type of complex looper pedalboard. This does come as a bit of a surprise since we’re mostly used to seeing very simple and “to the point” kind of pedals from them. But 95000 Performance Loop Laboratory is just something else. If you thought that Boss’ RC-300 was a beast, wait until you see this one.
With six individual mono tracks, individual channel controls for volume and balance, MIDI connectivity, instrument inputs, microphone inputs, and other very detailed controls; it’s pretty obvious how great this looper is. And, as if all this wasn’t enough, it comes with a micro SD card with a total memory of 16 GB, providing you with jaw-dropping 375 minutes of recording time. Then we also have USB connectivity and an option to import and export WAV files.
We could go on for days with its full features, but the fact still remains – this is pretty much the pinnacle of the looping technology. However, looking at its price and complexity, you should skip this one if you’re just getting into loopers. It’s a piece for full-blown professionals, not those who are just looking to have some fun busking out there in the streets.
What are Looper Pedals?
These devices became popular among artists, songwriters, and a lot of street performers. A musician like Ed Sheeran pretty much built his career on a looper, although his live system now is custom-made and pretty complex.
So what is a looper pedal? Coming in different shapes and sizes, with a lot of different features, looper pedals record what you play and then loop it over and over again. Additionally, looper pedals allow you to record additional tracks, ultimately creating a fully layered musical piece, with them either soloing or singing on top of it all. You can look at them as more complex versions of delay pedals that interactively help you add or remove recorded tracks.
The looper pedal comes in many different versions, but its purpose is always the same – to loop the sounds you feed it. A more complex device will give you more storage memory and, thus, more recording time, as well as features like undo, redo, and even adding up already recorded parts back to action with just one or two simple actions.
Needless to say, looper pedals require a lot of practice, no matter the complexity of a device that you have. If you’re planning to get one, be prepared for a new set of challenges, especially when it comes to perfecting your timing. Before getting a looper pedal, we recommend that you first practice with a metronome and get your rhythm skills really tight. If that’s still too much of a challenge, you might want to check out our list of other guitar pedals. The volume pedal, particularly, is considered a simple pedal to start with; it basically just allows you to control the volume with your foot.
But if you’re already set to explore these exciting new territories, check out our list above, and you’ll definitely find the best loop pedal. It took us almost a whole year to look into the many different features and categories while building out our list. Whatever the genre or whatever your preferences are, you’ll find something for your needs.
Best Looper Pedal According to Redditors
Whenever you’re trying to make a new purchase, whatever it is that you’re buying, it’s obvious that you’re going to look up what people on Reddit think about the issue. After all, it’s one of the few places on the web where people are honest about products and who usually don’t have any interest in hyping a product for no reason.
This is why we decided to dive into it a little and check out guitar-related subreddits. And it seems like the people’s choices are pretty close to what we’ve explained here. Electro-Harmonix’s 720 Stereo Looper comes as a great example, with people praising its simplicity and reliability. The same could be said about TC Electronic Ditto, which is another example of a very simple and potent looper.
Needless to say, their admiration of Boss RC-300 and Electro-Harmonix 95000 Performance Loop Laboratory is evident. However, it seemed like not many people on Reddit had any actual experiences with these units. From what we could see, the accent was mostly on simpler pedals, with TC Electronics Ditto x4 being pretty much the most complex one that they could explain in detail.
Looper pedals are not for everyone. It’s not that they’re too complicated for an average guitar player, but they require additional practice and impeccable timing skills. If you’re looking to get into this looping game, the best way to go start is to practice with a metronome. And not just practice half-heartedly, but really go all in and tap into your inner rhythm. Otherwise, you’ll have a hard time. Even the simplest of looper pedals require you to start or stop recording with extreme precision. This also goes for hitting the play and stop buttons over and over again, all while keeping the rhythm and timing spot-on.
So this is exactly why we would recommend something simpler if you’ve never had the chance to play through a looper. If you’re uncertain whether this whole looper thing is for you, we’d recommend a cheaper pedal, like Donner’s Tiny Looper. But if you’re really keen on becoming great at it and you’re an already experienced guitar player with impeccable timing skills, then you can easily go with RC-300 or Electro-Harmonix 95000. Just bear in mind that they’re not exactly the cheapest devices out there and cost as much as a quality multi-effects processor.