As digital memory became cheaper, it became possible to create digital delays with longer and
longer delay times. That meant you could play a long passage of music, play it back, and play along
with the playback. What was once the province of multitrack recording became a job for a phrase
looper. Today’s loopers can record hours of material, in multiple memory slots, for instant
playback and recording. Many units allow you to save your loops to memory cards or to your PC or
Mac. Some have built in drum patterns, quantizing (so you can automatically loop on the beat),
effects, even microphone inputs so you can record vocals and acoustic instruments.
Here are some Phrase Loopers for your consideration:
For good basic phase looping, the
Digitech Jam Man
Boss RC-3 Loop
are top choices. The Boss RC-3 provides three hours of stereo recording in its internal
memory, built in drum patterns, 99 memory locations, and a USB connection to save your creations to
external devices. The Digitech Jam Man Solo can store an incredible 35 hours of loops in 99 memory
slots, expandable to 16 hours by using its SD memory card slot. The Jam Man Solo also features a
USB connection for storage to external devices.
Boss RC-30 USB Loop
is perhaps the most in demand of the more sophisticated units. Featuring rhythm guides
with real drum samples, true stereo input and output, two synchronized stereo tracks, three hours
of stereo recording in 99 onboard memory slots, dual pedal control, XLR microphone input, and built
in effects. The effects include pitch bend, step phaser, sweep filter that syncs with the current
tempo. The rhythms include rock, pop, funk, shuffle, R&B, and Latin all settable with tap
tempo. You can not only store tracks via USB, you can record them onto the RC-30 via USB as well.
is another sophisticated looper that is much in demand. This great unit features Auto
Quantized looping, reverse playback, selectable time signatures, time stretch so that you can slow
down playback without changing pitch, and an XLR input. You get 35 minutes of onboard recording
time and 99 internal memories, expandable to 16 hours with a total of 198 memory locations using
the SD memory card slot. There is a rhythm output to send the click track out to you whole band and
you can load up the Jam Man with bass lines, drums, harmonies, and more. You can also get free
JamManager software to transfer and organize your loops by computer.