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The vocal looper is an equipment that allows you to loop back your vocals creating impressive vocal effects. This equipment may come in the form of vocal loop pedals. The vocal loop pedals allow you to have your vocals input repeated in real-time. This type of effect is frequently used by many contemporary musicians like that of Matt Corby.
A century ago, most musicians played actual and live music and did not have the privilege of using any electronic musical gadget like loop station. Gone are those days. Nowadays, anyone can push his/her musical capabilities using loopers to create fantastic music. At one end of the spectrum, there are the ultra-simple one-button loopers which will allow you to record an “ostinato pattern” and play over them to create musical depth and nuances. At the other end of the spectrum lie those loopers that are equipped with multiple engines, each engine capable of functioning independently. These high-end loopers allow you to mix different instruments in a single performance. There are also those loopers that are specifically designed for solo artists who want to be distinctively unique in their musical craft. Moreover, there are loop stations for beatboxing.
More often, you would see looper pedals for guitars. Yet, not often would you see loop station for beatboxing and singing. So, you may be asking: “What is this so-called looper for beatboxer or singer? So, let me explain it further!
Looper Station for Beatboxers Explained
A looper allows you to engage in live looping. Live looping is the recording and play-backing of your musical piece in real-time. You can engage in live looping via the use of dedicated hardware gadgets or devices called “phrase samplers” or “loopers.” You can also use software that runs on a computer that is equipped with an audio interface. Musicians—like guitarists and even beatboxers, singers and vocalists—can loop using their loop station or loop pedals.
Audio looping devices for beatboxing and singing on the other hand, can readily record while you play. It can play what you have recorded back for infinite number of times. These digital loopers for singing and beatboxing are very useful for adding depth and nuances to your music. Some models are placed on the table; hence, they are called “tabletop loopers.” On the other hand, there are also those pedal loopers or stomp boxes which are placed on the floor and operated by one’s foot.
Loop Station Buying Guide
When working with a looper, the footswitch is the main control. Think of the footswitch like a television remote. You can play, pause, delete and record right from that one single pedal, but you have to decide how many you want. One pedal can get you through, but it becomes complex when playing or singing to remember when to hit the pedal and how many times to hit it in order to successfully produce the sound that you want. More than one pedal gives you more control over your loops, but many people find success with just a single footswitch, as it alone can get the job done.
If you’re not sure if you want more than one pedal, then you may want to consider a looper that allows for external pedals to be connected. This simple addition can make your life a lot easier if you decide to use another pedal later on. If you get this option to connect another footswitch it can save you from needing to purchase another pedal if you don’t get enough from the looper that you originally purchase. Versatility is never a bad thing when it comes to loopers.
Another important factor when choosing your loop station is deciding how many inputs you want available to you. If you want to record more than one instrument or vocal, then you will definitely want a looper with more than one input slot available. Multiple inputs help with adding more in-depth loops because it allows multiple instruments to play together and overlap to create a more complex sound to be looped.
Loop stations allow for different loop recording lengths. Loops normally give about 30 to 60 seconds for recording. So, the length you need will completely depend on what you want to do with your looper. For more basic recording use, you can very easily find a looper with enough recording time available, but you should always pay attention to how much time you are given before buying because you don’t want to be stuck with a loop station that doesn’t have the ability to record everything you need.
Loop stations frequently do not save your recordings after they are turned off. This means that you will need to re-record your loops later. While experimenting with sounds, this feature isn’t a problem, but once you find a loop that you want to keep, this can be a major inconvenience. If you want to be able to save your recordings, then you need to purchase a loop station that can save your work to itself or even an SD card. If your looper saves to an SD card, then you can move it to your computer pretty easily. Whether you are using your loop station for writing music or live performances, having a way to save your recordings can be vital for your loop station to include.
We all love to get something new and play with all the different special effects that we now have at our disposal, but loop station special effects can cause you to pay a lot more for something you may never use. Being able to play your recording backward sounds really cool and it can certainly help get your creativity flowing, but how much will you really use that feature. Even though a feature may sound cool, you have to consider how much you will be using it and whether it is worth spending extra money on. The thing about special effects on a loop station is that most of them are probably going to go to waste. Once you start recording or writing music, you will have effects that you know work great for you and those you would just never bother with. So, don’t pay extra money for something you probably won’t ever use. If you want some extra bells and whistles with your new loop station, then make sure you will get your money’s worth out of it.
Best Loop Stations For Beatboxing, Singing & Vocalists
There are, however, myriads of brands and models of looper stations and it would do you well if you are familiar with the most popular and most feature-packed models on the market. Hence, to help you in finding the right looper station for your beatboxing needs, we have delineated here the best and most popular models you can ever find in year 2020. Here are the most recommended vocal loopers on the market today:
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1) The TC-Helicon VoiceLive 3 Extreme
The TC-Helicon VoiceLive 3 Extreme is a powerful gadget that you can use to backtrack your vocals and produce vocal loops. It provides incredible multi-effects, and it is equipped with many features. It comes with a quite great looper processor. Using the TC Helicon VoiceLive 3, you can significantly enhance your vocal recordings and outputs.
It is a multi-effect solution for your vocal enhancement’s needs. If you want to transform your vocal performance, you should never dilly-dally in buying this fantastic looper. This lopper is more suitable for the singers or rappers who want add more professional vocal effects to their looping performance.
2) The Boss RC-505
You can spot this Boss RC-505 model in most of the beatbox loop station battles and competitions around the world. In fact, this is the ultimate beatboxing loop station that most professional beatboxing loopers use. I think the long-awaited feature-packed loop station for beatboxers, club performers, and singers is already here in the form of Boss RC-505. This tabletop looper station comes equipped with all the necessary features that you would want of a station looper. First, it has five simultaneous stereo phrase tracks equipped with dedicated controls as well as independent volume faders. It also comes with a wide array of Input FX and Track FX for cool processing of loops. It also features DJ and sampler-style effects.
The Boss RC-505 is surely a breeze to use and very user-friendly. You simply need to plug in the instrument that you would like to record or play. Afterward, you can mix some amazing loops using its intuitive panel controls. You can also connect the RC-505 to your computer using its USB port. Furthermore, you can operate it using external pedals and MIDI.
You can make use of the vast array of effects afforded by the unit to enhance the input signal. You can also apply effects on specific tracks. Afterward, you can save your configurations and settings in its phrase memory location. Furthermore, it comes with 99 phrase memories that individually contain five phrase tracks along with playback settings, custom effects, and other possibilities. It also comes with 85 onboard rhythm patterns along with odd-measure beats. Although many of the options are mainly designed to amplify and enhance the vocals, some options are specifically designed for guitars and beatbox sounds for recreating the feel of a whole band setup. Lastly, the Track FX controls and the Input FX come with three buttons for activating and deactivating effects; each also comes with a dedicated knob for tweaking the parameters.
3) Boss RC-202 Loop Station
If you are a tyro or beginner in performing beatbox and singing with loop station, you would basically need something like the Boss RC-202. This tabletop looper comes with myriads of features. It features two simultaneous stereo phrase tracks equipped with dedicated controls along with loop status indicators. It also comes with multi-effects for awesome looping and added nuances. This loop station is indeed very compact, yet powerful. It is perfect for electronica and club electronica performers and beatboxers.
The Boss RC-202 Loop Station comes with four input FX and four track FX that are simultaneously available for continuous processing of loops with sampler-style effects. Moreover, you can utilize its 64 phrase memories and customize the effects. With the abovementioned features, together with 17 onboard rhythm patterns, you can satisfactorily configure your sound.
You can surely create entire tracks of awesome loops and spruce these loops with individual effects to create a fantastic performance. You can further facilitate the looping process by using optional expression pedals or a footswitch. In this way, you can create a complete and greatly enhanced loop for live performance.
On the downside, since this track only supports a dual-track recording system, if you are someone who wants more, you may find this looper station a bit of disappointment. However, as I’ve said earlier, if you are just a beginner, you will surely find this looper station a great help in learning the rudiments of looping.
4) Digitech JMVXT JamMan Vocal Looper and Microphone Preamp
The Digitech JMVXT JamMan Vocal Looper is a very compact looper pedal that is quite a user-friendly one. It comes with a 10-minute looping time. It also features a built-in mic preamp and 48V Phantom Power. Moreover, it features an XLR input and output.
It also features JamSync that lets you automatically synchronize with the JamMan pedals. With this loop pedal, you can readily clear its loop memory without doing playback first. It also comes with separate LEDs for recording, playing, and overdubbing status. Out-of-the-box, it includes a 9VDC Power Supply metal chassis together with a footswitch.
This looper pedal is a good choice. However, one distinct advantage of this looper pedal lies in the manner it stops the loop. You need to double click it to end the loop. This double-clicking process, however, may put you out of timing.
5) TC Helicon Ditto Mic Looper Pedal
The TC Helicon Ditto Mic Looper Pedal is a very portable looper pedal for both the microphones and vocals. This type of looper pedal is best for singers with great looping ideas and beatboxers who want to record and experiment with different beats.
The design of the TC Helicon Ditto Mic Looper Pedal is quite simple with a single loop button and a stop button together with volume control that allows you to project your live performance to the foreground. With this looper pedal, you can easily overdub and undo layers. Using this looper pedal, your loops are immediately stored even if you have already turned off the unit.
Although this looper pedal appears to be full of great features, it is also fraught with one disadvantage. This disadvantage lies in the act of deleting a specific loop. If you try deleting, for example, a loop, the processor immediately plays the loop for a second. This could be a bit annoying for you and the audience during your performance. Hence, you should first tone down your instrument before attempting to delete a loop when you are onstage.
Buying a loop station can seem overwhelming when you look at all the options available to you, but if you follow our guide, you’ll be sure to get the one you want. Pay attention to features that you know will come in handy, but don’t get lost in the special effects. Having a bunch of cool, new options sounds great, but it’s too easy to waste money on effects you’ll never use. So, get what you really need without spending too much time focusing on the extras.