Electro Harmonix 720 Stereo Looper Review

This simple-looking looper from EHX hides a great deal of powerful looping functionality under its basic-looking surface. The build is similar to that of the Ditto X2 in both dimensions, robustness, and design. The most important distinction is the pop-less design of the footswitches. When it comes to looping, however, that the 720 goes a step or two farther.

To start with, you receive 10 banks for storing your loops. Each loop may play forwards or backward at normal speed or half speed. Shifting these playback results on and off is as simple as clicking the footswitch. If you’d like to have more control, you can plug in a 3-button foot controller and use it to scroll through the memory banks, in addition, to undo and redo actions on any of the 10 independent channels with ease.

It is possible to record up to 12 minutes of audio onto 10 separate loops and then play them back in some ways. As a result of its trails circuitry, loops will fade out in a natural manner when you flip them off. The 24-bit stereo audio quality is excellent, recording at 44.1 kHz without compression for an beautiful sound. The drawback is that there is no USB or SD card slot, so it’s not simple to do anything with this recorded material. This pedal has a straightforward controller interface with only two knobs and 2 foot switches. The lights let you understand just what’s going on with your audio. In general, it offers incredible simplicity of use because of its size and vast capabilities.

 

Pros:

  • Simple, user-friendly design
  • 10 channels and up to 12 minutes of audio
  • Very sturdy build
  •  Simple operation, excellent sound quality, plenty of useful effects and extras, and a good price to boot.

Cons:

  • Limited control over loops
  • No sync or tap tempo

Put briefly, the pedal is of typical EHX quality. Fantastic sound quality and overall design. If you’d like as many characteristics as you can cram into as little of a stompbox as possible, this one is for you.

So far as stomp-boxes of the size proceed, we’ve gotten accustomed to much more basic possibilities, and the intricacy of this fella has struck us as a pleasant surprise.

Quality-sounding, easy to use, sturdy and reliable, this is a product we can’t complain all that much about. We played about with it a bit, you can find our conclusions in the full review below.

 

Electro-Harmonix’s Nano Looper 360 saw the company moving away from the large, multi-track looping options they attempted with the 2880 and 45000 and towards the streamlined and easy approach epitomized by TC Electronic’s Ditto. Where many loopers cram as many footswitches, dials and buttons as they can onto increasingly large boards, the Nano Looper 360 went for one footswitch and two dials on a pedal a touch smaller than most single-function stomboxes. The only problem was that this limited the potential of this looper, putting up roadblocks to live use and limiting the feature-set available.

Now Electro-Harmonix has released the 720 Stereo Looper. This doubles the memory and number of footswitches but retains the heart appeal and the stripped-down simplicity. But does it do enough to compete with the growing number of compact loopers on the industry?

A Little Fatter; A Little Better
The big difference of the 720 Stereo Looper compared to this Nano Looper 360 is the size and number of footswitches. The pedal is about the same length from top to bottom — at 4.75 inches or 121 mm — but the diameter has been increased from 2.75 inches (70 mm) to 4 inches (102 mm), allowing a lot of space for a whole additional footswitch and more.

The design takes certain cues from the original, with the footswitches occupying the bottom half of the pedal and dials and buttons along the top half. However, it’s fatter nature means there’s a”Stop/FX” footswitch along with the core”Loop” footswitch, and there is a simple display screen in the top right, in addition to a”Level” and”Mode/Loop” dial. Under those dials, there are also two push-buttons backed by red LED lights, which allow you to activate the reverse and half-speed consequences.

The upshot is that the 720 Looper provides just a tiny bit more than the older version, both in operation and in user-friendliness.

The Features Every Looper Needs
The core looping function works in precisely the same way: with an empty memory location chosen, you hit the”Loop” footswitch to begin recording, play the base loop you’ll build the rest on (as an example, your baseline, riff or chord progression), hit”Loop” again when you’re done to begin playback and repeat the process for any overdubs. As with the majority of loopers, you can record as many overdubs as you like. Also, if you want, you can set the 720 Looper up to go straight into overdub mode when you hit the footswitch for the second time.

The main footswitch also lets you control the vital undo/redo function on the loop, which allows you to erase and subsequently bring back your final overdub layer. This is activated by pressing the”Loop” footswitch and holding it down for two seconds while your loop is playing back. After undoing, it is possible to bring back the layer in by doing the same thing, and it is going to even stay stored in memory (ready to redo) after changing memory locations or turning off the 720 Looper. Not only does undo/redo let you correct mistakes, it may also be a useful essay instrument, so even though it is on virtually every looper these days, it’s still a fantastic feature.

The second footswitch controls stopping and the onboard effects, depending upon your setting. You can actually stop playback using a double-tap of the main”Loop” footswitch, but the”Stop” footswitch does it with a single press, and a double-tap also lets you pause your loop’s playback so you can restart (by pressing the”Loop” footswitch) from where you left off. Holding the”Stop” footswitch for 2 seconds when playback is stopped erases the loop in the currently-selected memory slot.

Effects and Mode Settings: Enhancing Your Loop
Although you can trigger these directly through their dedicated buttons, you can control the effects using the”Stop/FX” footswitch too. The two options for effects on the 720 Looper are half-speed and reverse playback, which are fairly standard across loopers. The half-speed alternative is undoubtedly more useful for many players, since it allows you to put down a bass-line without an actual bass or octave pedal (since the procedure also shifts down your playing an octave), which is vital for one-man ring type playing a loop pedal.

If you want to be able to trigger one or both of these effects hands-free, you can press and hold the”Mode/Loop” dial for 2 seconds. This removes the dot on the display screen (labeled”Stop”) and suggests that the”Stop/FX” switch is in FX mode. Now the buttons to the effects simply enable the effects, and you control if they are busy or not using the footswitch. By way of example, if you want the reverse function active, you make sure it’s button is selected (which is evident as it glows red) and then hit the footswitch when you want it to come on. If you need both effects to work in the same time, you select both buttons before enabling them by hitting the footswitch.

Ultimately, there are three different modes accessible through the”Mode/Loop” dial. Loop Select mode lets you cycle through the 10 loop locations on the 720 Looper by turning the dial. You have, since the looper’s name implies, 720 seconds (12 minutes) of stereo recording time to disperse across these loop places however you see fit. This still doesn’t compete with the memory offered by larger units, but 12 minutes is enough looping times for a lot of players’ purposes, so it isn’t really too bad at all. An SD card slot or USB port to enlarge this could have been nice, though.

The rest of the options from the”Mode/Loop” dial are Loop Progress style and Fadeout mode. For Loop Progress, the screen changes to a count showing how much you’re through your loop. This can help you understand where you are if you start an overdub mid-way through playback, and if you turn the”Mode/Loop” dial, you can fast-forward or rewind the loop. It also counts backwards when you’re reversing your loop, and at half-speed when you play it at half speed. The Fadeout option permits you to place your loop to gradually fade instead of stopping unexpectedly, and you can fade out for anywhere from 1 to 60 seconds, depending on the setting that you dial in.

Sound Quality and Connections
The other big improvement over the Nano 360 is that the 720 Looper currently supports stereo looping, with two 1/4 inch ins and outs on the sides of the pedal. The audio quality is excellent, with a 44.1 kHz sample rate and 24-bit depth, and it doesn’t affect your tone noticeably at all, even with multiple overdubs — perhaps you’ll notice some impact when you have a more attuned ear than mine, but for me there are no complaints.

The rest of the jacks on the 720 Looper are for the supplied AC adapter and an optional foot controller. They indicate the Digitech FS3X 3-Button Footswitch, which gives you the options of an instantaneous undo/redo and changing the memory location hands-free.

How Can the 720 Stereo Looper Stack Up?
Overall, there is very little to complain about with what the 720 Looper does. If you can take the limitation on storage space, it does everything you want it to, may be operated pretty well hands-free, the sound quality is great, there are a couple of cool effects and the choice to do things like quitting your loop and fade out over a predetermined period of time are convenient extras.

The only downsides are that it doesn’t do. There is no MIDI sync. There is no”quantization” or other helpful features that will help you remain in time. There is not any one-shot, sampler-style manner or the ability to transition seamlessly between loop slots in a performance. There’s absolutely no multi-track functionality. There’s no option to adjust the speed of playback without adjusting the pitch. You get the picture.

The decision you have to make is if any of these things matter to you. For people looking for a looper to use live, particularly those who depend heavily on loops, it might not be ideal. If you’re trying to play live every so often, especially if you just need one loop each song, then it may just have what it takes. For more casual players looking to have some fun at home or at jam sessions, or anybody just searching for a practicing tool that doesn’t come with unnecessary bells and whistles, it is downright excellent.

Features
The system offers 12 minutes of looping time, and it is more than sufficient for just about any player out there, along with a series of 10 independent loops, which is once more likely way more than enough to pay your requirements. Apart from that, the gizmo provides overdubs, unlimited undo and redo edits, as well as a couple of unusual features — Reverse and Half Rate.

Spinning on the Reverse button can result with the loop that you just recorded being played in reverse and generating some bad noises; the 1/2 Speed button can be also rather self-explanatory, as it cuts down the speed of the loop by 50 percent.

This is a stereo device, meaning that two Two Out plugs are given at your disposal, allowing you to connect some instruments into the loop, in addition to rock the pedal utilizing a stereo rig. Additionally, another input was supplied for connecting an optional footswitch.

The item includes an included EHX 9.6DC/200 AC adapter and may also operate on a regular 9V battery.

Controls
The most important aspect of the pedal’s control segment is a pair of footswitches.

This means that instead of tap dance across the pedal in an attempt to nail the right tapping combination for the feature you want to be implemented, you’ve got two individual controls which can commence the loop tape on one side and prevent it on the other.

Additionally, you can use the Mode control to select the desired performance style and use also use the standard Level knob to adjust the precise amount of this looping effect that will be injected into the sound output.

Performance
As expected, the audio quality of loops is topnotch, authentic to the original and natural. But we’re pleasantly surprised by how good the audio signal remains when these two novelty features are switched on. Even in reverse, the audio signal isn’t digitalized or artificial, which merely deserves kudos.

However, we still believe that the original audio quality and ease of use are the two features here. While 1/2 Speed is exceptional, attention-grabbing options, it’s in our opinions that many players will forget about these after the first few days of tweaking the pedal. Apart from that, the amount of durability and reliability is high, this is unquestionably a roadworthy item, and we dig the identifying, somewhat industrial looks.

Let’s say this 1 directly from the get-go — that the price is reasonable. You certainly get your money’s worth, and we see this loop as a pro-level option. They say that this fella is similar to TC Electronic’s Ditto pedal, just better and more improvements, and we kinda agree with that sentiment. Fantastic stuff!

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