you want maximum control over multiple
loops/phrases in a live situation.
BY AL SANTANGELO
loop storage is of paramount importance.
Musicians always have tunes run- ning through our heads. Sometimes
though, we may not even know what’s in
there until something like the Vox VDL1
Dynamic Looper comes along and lets them
out. The VDL1 can unleash creativity in a
lot of ways. And though it has the capacity
for the simplest forms of looping, it’s also
packed with less common looping functionality and effects that can inspire tunes and
spice up a performance in unexpected ways.
CLICKHere… or scan this QR code with a mobile device to hear audio clips of this pedal at premierguitar.com/nov2011.
The VDL1 is built around two built-in
effects processors and an expression pedal.
It gives you 90 seconds recording time
between two independent loops that you
can split however you like, with a 10-sec-
ond minimum. By recording separate
phrases for each loop, you can play back
either, or both, or variably blend the two
and add effects, all with a tap of the foot.
You also can overdub repeatedly, layering
phrases onto the loops using Vox’s Sound
on Sound technology. Existing phrases can
be re-sampled and re-recorded using edit-
able loop effects, including Reverse, Speed,
Stutter, Volume and Crossfade. Aside from
the ability to layer multiple effects, it also
lets you make a loop with a different length
than the original.
Good Times on Top of Good Times
On early tests of the pedal, I recorded a sin-
gle-chord rhythm using a standard distortion
pre-effect onto the first loop. Using
the synth bass sim, I overdubbed a
simple bass line over that phrase on
the same loop. On the second loop,
I recorded a quick lead riff, then
overdubbed another, similar riff, but
with about half of it overlapping the
first. At that point, I was able to play
back the chord and bass loop while
using the control pedal with the
Volume loop effect to bring the lead
riffs in or out of the mix. Switching
to the Modulation loop effect, I put
a controllable phaser on the lead riffs,
which produced a very cool phased
wah/voice effect. It takes some practice
to get everything to flow just right, but not
too much, and the effect of all the loops and
effects running together is very cool.
The VDL1 has a lot of looping power for a
compact 10. 5" by 9" stompbox. The included effects sound great, the looping/overdub-bing ability are impressive, and if you’re
familiar with the basics of looping, you’ll be
able to navigate the basics with relative ease.
Getting started may be frustrating if you’re
not familiar with loopers and multi-effects
units, but some time learning the ins and
outs of the machine will yield a bounty of
sounds. The inability to store effects loops is
a considerable drawback. But if you’re more
interested in what you can accomplish on
the fly and the ability to alter your loops
drastically from a single unit, the Vox VDL1
Dynamic Looper is a very powerful tool.