If you’re a singer and want to create compelling solo performances, choosing the best vocal looper pedal for this purpose is of paramount importance. These intuitive devices allow you to create repeating sections using your voice.
Many looper pedals are designed to use with instruments, but there are several that are solely dedicated to vocal performance. In this guide, you’ll find a range of pedals that suit all styles of singing and boast an abundance of useful features.
Best Vocal Looper Pedals for Singers
TC-Helicon is amongst the most prolific manufacturers of vocal effects pedals. Their range spans from conventional vocal processors, like reverbs, delays, and harmonizers, to more experimental pedals like the Ditto Mic Looper.
As far as vocal loopers go, this pedal is remarkably simple to operate. It is designed to streamline the process of looping your singing voice in real-time, leaving you to concentrate fully on your performance.
The controls included on the Ditto Mic Looper feel instantly familiar. There’s the stop/erase and loop buttons, which provide the platform for unlimited overdubs. Then you can use the undo and redo buttons to correct any mistakes that occur.
In addition to being a highly capable vocal looper pedal, this TC-Helicon offering also performs commendably for percussive purposes. With a built-in metronome and timing monitor, it’s a great way to stay on time whilst playing decorative percussion tracks.
Another handy feature included with the Ditto Mic Looper is its compatibility with the comprehensive TC-Helicon app, VoiceSupport. You can connect to the app via USB, and access its array of tips, presets, and new sound designs.
Although the Ditto Mic Looper appears to be a standard stompbox at first glance, it’s much more than that. A studio-grade pedal, it cases a low-noise mic preamp and high-end A/D conversion to ensure the cleanest sound possible.
2. Boss VE-20
The Boss VE-20 is the perfect hub for your vocal processing needs. Boasting flair and eccentricity in abundance, this stompbox allows you to quickly add vocal layers and adjust them using the onboard editing controls.
Boss are well-known for their generosity when it comes to adding processing effects to their pedals and amplifiers. The VE-20 is packed with a blend of vintage and modern effects for altering the tone of your singing voice.
If you’re looking for a subtle, retro sound, you can use the lush-sounding reverb, delay, and harmonizer that create up to three additional vocal tracks. Or, for more futuristic sounds, you can use distortion, strobe, and radio effects.
The Phrase Looper feature allows you to record up to 38 seconds of mono vocal audio. This is more than enough time to lay down a verse and chorus of a track, then trigger the pedal to repeat it accurately.
To add to the impressive list of capabilities housed within the VE-20, you also gain access to a responsive pitch-correction facility that smoothens out the notes of your vocals as you perform.
The pedal can either be powered by an AC adapter, or for impromptu performances, you can use six AA batteries. There’s also phantom power which caters to the use of condenser microphones.
The Lil’ Looper by Vox has a striking appearance that evokes memories of retro processing units from the ‘70s. Despite this vintage look, it is overflowing with modern features and capabilities.
Designed to offer the maximum amount of vocal looping and processing options while taking up as little space as possible on your pedalboard, the Lil’ Looper utilizes rotary controls for mode selection.
The pedal essentially offers a pair of loopers in one, with two independent units that can be synchronized with each other or used as a standalone. This allows you to be more adventurous when creating loops with your voice.
These two loopers are controlled using separate footswitches. There are also a dozen high-quality effects that allow you to color your loops retrospectively. These include overdrive, octave, reverb, delay, chorus, and even amplifier emulators.
If you want to loop instruments along with your singing voice, the ¼ inch inputs facilitate this. There’s also a quantization function that locks your loops in perfect time with the tempo that you select.
Finally, the Lil’ Looper belies its small size by offering a generous maximum of 90 seconds recording time. This means you can use it for the most complex of vocal and instrument loop sections, or as a tool for enhancing compositions.
Electro-Harmonix certainly knows a thing or two about vocal effects pedals. Their classic stompbox design is instantly recognizable, and their devices are known for combining smooth operation with flawless sonic quality.
The 1440 Vocal Looper performs excellently. Whether you’re looking for a simple device to create short loops with your voice, or need a platform for building immersive layers of melody and harmony, this pedal can do it all.
Perhaps the best quality of the 1440 is how astonishingly simple it is to operate. It features a pair of footswitches – one for starting the loop function, and the other for stopping it.
Then four distinctive modes change the tone and function of the looper. By turning the rotary knob, you can choose from Reverse, Octave, 1 Shot, and EXT CLK settings.
The pedal offers up to 24 minutes of looping time, making it one of the longest loopers on the market. The looped audio is played back at a high quality, uncompressed 24-bit conversion at a sample rate of 44.1 kHz.
Onboard the 1440, Electro-Harmonix has created 20 onboard slots for saving your loop sections. This is very useful if you’re working on new material and need a quick way to store ideas for later access.
To complete this excellent vocal looper pedal, there's the option of connecting it to a computer via USB so that you can incorporate your loops into recording software or store them on a hard drive.
5. Boss RC-1
If you’re looking for a straightforward vocal looper, the classic RC-1 by Boss is worth considering. Providing up to 12 minutes of continuous looping, it takes very little time to figure out the various control.
Offering mono and stereo connectivity, you can use the RC-1 in conjunction with your other stereo effects pedals and amps, or hook it up to line-level electronic instruments to accompany your vocal tracks.
The pedal is housed in Boss’ signature robust stompbox chassis. Their pedals are known for being exceptionally roadworthy, and long-lasting. If you’re likely to use the looper pedal often, you can guarantee that it won’t crumble under the pressure.
One interesting and useful feature of this minimalistic vocal looper pedal is that when you turn it off, it remembers the last recorded loop for recall upon reactivation. This can be a real lifesaver if you accidentally switch off the pedal before saving your loop.
On the face of the RC-1, you’ll find a Level control. This is useful for ensuring that the volume of your loops is consistent with those of your other accompaniments and effects pedals.
What Makes a Great Vocal Looper Pedal?
You’ve probably noticed from the featured pedals in this post, that there is a lot of variation between vocal loopers. Some aim for simplicity, offering only start/stop and level functions, while others are bursting with additional processing options.
The main advantage of choosing one which also has onboard effects is that it saves you from purchasing external pedals and overcrowding your pedalboard. Effects such as reverb, delay, distortion, and harmonizers are commonly included with loopers.
Another thing that you should look out for when deciding on which vocal looper is best suited to your needs is how long it can record for. If you want to create long, complex loops, you’ll likely need at least ten minutes of loop recording time.
On the other hand, there’s no need to overcomplicate things if you only want to create short-lived loops. Some pedals offer around a minute of recording time, which makes them easier to operate.
Vocal looper pedals provide the perfect platform for expressive solo performances. In the modern age, you don’t a backing group of musicians to perform your songs. Hopefully, you’ve identified the looper that will provide countless hours of fun experimentation!