Electro Harmonix 22500 looper: some initial thoughts

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by spiral, Aug 8, 2015.

  1. spiral

    spiral Member

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    [ This is a cross-post from jazzguitar.be ]

    I just got the 22500 a day ago so I can comment a bit on it. The Boomerang III is the looper I’ve used for years and landed on it after trying most of the other ones on the market at the time and feel it’s the best combo of size, features, usability, and sound quality. So, I do compare the 22500 to the Boomerang, just as a contrast, not because they are equivalent (the Boomerang is a $180 more), but because I think the Boomerang set the bar for a looping pedal. Both are made in the US and represent the top tier of loopers, IMO.

    Hardware
    The 22500 is the size of EH’s other pedals like the SMM w/ H, POG 2, Cathedral, etc. They packed lots of features into the face of it, with a focus on performance. It uses soft switches, which is very nice—long lasting and quiet. The two loop track switches are multifunction: press to record / overdub, double press to stop, hold to undo/redo. The Boomerang switches both click and creak (plastic) and they end up being quite noisy—drives me crazy.

    There is no MIDI sync and they included phantom power with an XLR jack so clearly this is aimed at solo performers and/or vocalists.

    One thing that is blowing my mind is that this pedal functions on a normal 9v power supply, with 240mA requirement. Most stereo pedals with lots of digital horsepower inside (Eventide pedals, Boomerang, Strymon) need lots of volts, AC, or big mA’s. The 22500 seems to give pristine signal quality and provide phantom power to a mic (though I’ve not tried w/ the mic). The Boomerang needs 9v AC, or 9v DC w/ 700mA!

    Like most EH pedals, it is a little rough cosmetically, but there is a hand-made charm to what they do, and I appreciate that. EH has the best service I’ve experience. IME They will fix any of their products, in a week, for $25 (includes shipping).

    Function
    I have mixed feelings here. They have done a great job on some things, and overcomplicated others. The good news is important performance functions are 1:1 w/ a button: record, overdub, undo, stop, stop all, reverse, & octave. The bad news is changing loop type is a little fiddly and is set for each loop. There is a little digital selection matrix you use with a turn / press encoder to set all the parameters for a loop: Locked / Free (ie. synced loops vs. independent), multiplier (if “Locked”), quantize (to the beat), and parallel / serial (simultaneous vs. sequential). If you change loop types often, there will be lots of knob twiddling, if not, then you will set it once and never again.

    The 22500 has an auto-multiply feature labelled inexplicably as “U” (“user”, maybe?) which sets it apart of the Infinity and gives the Boomerang strong competition. You can set a set multiplier so that loop B will be a multiple of loop A’s length, or you can set it to “U” to multiply automatically like the Boomerang. This is great news. (thanks for the headsup @celticelk)

    Loops automatically save to the SD card as you record them—no need to manually save—and you have 100 loop save locations (called “banks”). Erasing loops is a little tedious using the selection matrix. Saving loops is quite luxurious, since there is no saving on the Boomerang. :)

    There are built in rhythms on the SD card, and you can create your own (.wav files), which can be BPM-shifted without changing the pitch.

    I would like to reiterate they did a great job and making the pedal function like 2 small loopers, side by side, with minimal controls. The 1:1 controls, like the independent volumes, reverse, octave, and all the functions packed into the foot switches, are brilliant.

    Sound
    What goes in, comes out. Sounds wonderful, and in stereo. I wish the octave worked without time-shifting (low octave 1/2 time; high octave double time), but you can plan ahead for this. The rhythm time shift works fine with a short range of BMP shift, say 60BPM to 70BPM, but it obviously gets choppy if you go extreme, say 120 to 40.

    The Boomerang ($400ish) is still king of loopers with MIDI & ease of use. The 45000 comes close but is nearly $600 with the remote and would take up a whole pedalboard. The Infinity has the closest feature-match to the 22500, but at a much higher price, and a need to set your own multiplier ahead of time. There isn’t another looper that can touch the 22500 for size, sound quality, focus on performance, and price. I would highly recommend checking out the 22500 ($260ish) if you want to be able to save loops, only need 2 tracks, a simple / compact setup, and don’t care about MIDI sync.

    I suspect EH will sell a ton and I’m keeping mine.
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2015
  2. Garage Dog

    Garage Dog Member

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    I have been waiting on this for quite some time now.
    Glad to see that it was finally released.
    There is a good chance this could end up on my must have list.
    The one main gripe I have with EHX on this pedal is the remote switch is expensive.
    What is up with the price almost $90 for the most simple box.
    One TRS input and two momentary switches.
    What a ripoff!!!!!!
     
  3. celticelk

    celticelk Member

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    With respect to multipliers on the synced loops: there's a U setting that allows you to make the B loop any arbitrary whole-number multiple of the A loop. Check your manual.
     
  4. spiral

    spiral Member

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    Oh excellent. I did read the manual but it wasn't clear at all that was an auto-multiply feature. Thanks for the tip. I will edit my comments above.

    I don't know that it is needed. The footswitch only changes the loop.
     
  5. codetocontra

    codetocontra Member

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    The Infinity's second loop can be set to a multiple of the first loop in advance, but you can also end the second loop's recording on-the-fly by hitting the stompswitch before the end of the preset multiple. For instance, if you had it set to 4 times you could hit stop in the middle of the 2nd time and it will close that recording at the end of the 2nd cycle.

    I read the 22500 manual. I've owned the Infinity and the Boomrang III. The biggest differences between the Infinity and 22500 is the control for reverse and speed, requiring an external foot control on the Infinity while the 22500 requires a tactile switch press with your finger. Foot control seems easier to control while playing, not having to bend down each time. I have seen nothing on the 22500 that indicates any way to control the reverse and half speed via foot control.
     
  6. spiral

    spiral Member

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    That's good. What is the purpose of setting a multiplier manually—so it will close the loop automatically? The multiplier limit is still x6 on the Infinity? So you could just set it on x6 and it would almost function like auto multiply if you didn't go over 6. You said "owned". Did you jettison both?

    There isn't a way to control reverse and octave (.5x / 2x) on the 22500 with foot switches. If you play shoeless the buttons are big enough you can hit them. You can do reverse / octave on the Boomerang with your feet but you have to choose which 4 "effects" you want which includes undo, stop all, erase, etc.

    The reverse/octave controls, MIDI (Infinity has it), XLR input (22500 has it), and price (22500 = $276 vs. Infinity = $449) are the biggest differences between the Infinity and the 22500.

    One thing I forgot to mention, that is potentially pretty big, is that the 22500 lets you "drop in" to the middle of a loop that is already playing. So if loop A is already started, you can start loop B whenever you want and it will start, in sync, with loop A, instead of having to wait until loop A starts over. Does the Infinity work this way?
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2015
  7. celticelk

    celticelk Member

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    Or get a Sidecar.
     
  8. codetocontra

    codetocontra Member

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    Exactly. Hands-free end point. Sort of requires you to have your song structure planned out in advance to take advantage of that feature. But you could always set it high and close the loop at will.

    Yes. Actually owned the Boomerang III twice. They are both fine units. Pigtronix has offered a number of updates to the Infinity, not all smooth and some bugs had to get ironed out, and I am not up to speed on any current bug issues but I did experience my own with the newest (at the time) firmware. Huge difference between the workflow on the Infinity and Boomerang III, in terms of how you select and control each loop. They are both valid units for song style looping. I prefer to manipulate loops and went back to the DL4 since it offered the quickest and most flexible way for how I want to loop. The Boomerang offers more options to choose from than the DL4, but the DL4 can record speed changes and reverse in the middle of a loop in addition to having 5 "bonus" options available at any time (Erase, Once, Stutter, Reverse, Half Speed). I know the merits of using the Side Car increase all the options and really unlocks the full potential of the unit but it still waits until the end of the loop to reverse or speed change (EDIT: Correction, only in Sync mode does reverse and half speed occur at the end of the loop). The Infinity's stereo out can be setup for one loop to each output respectively, which is very cool for a stereo setup.

    That is the deal killer for me, personally.

    If the loops are synced I believe it will not allow mid-loop recording, it will just que to start recording at the start of the first loop. I could be wrong since it has been a while.
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2015
  9. celticelk

    celticelk Member

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    ^^^ Reverse and Octave on the Rang III only exhibit the behavior you're describing in Sync mode; in Serial, Serial-Sync, and Free modes, both functions take effect immediately when selected.
     
  10. spiral

    spiral Member

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    Sorry: I was meaning to ask about playback on the Infinity. For recording, both 22500 & Boomerang wait for the loop start to record—which totally makes sense. The 22500 can play back loops at any point whereas the Boomerang can only play loops when the loop point comes back around, so it will "wait", whereas the 22500 can start playback at any point and be in sync. Both methods are potentially useful.

    Has anyone else tried the 22500? Sometimes the pedal will "crash" and the audio will keep playing but the buttons will stop responding. It seems like it has something to do with undoing then stopping too rapidly on a track ... but I can't figure out how to reproduce it in order to ask EH about it.

    I'm still liking it what it offers more and more. They did a nice job. I'd love to see a "w/ Hazarai" version with MIDI sync and no XLR. They could really clean up.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2015
  11. scolfax

    scolfax Member

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    Unfortunately I would bet that is one of the bugs that Matthews briefly mentioned in one of the NAMM videos.
     
  12. chrisjnyc

    chrisjnyc Member

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    How is the tap tempo with the loops going? Does it move in time OK?
     
  13. spiral

    spiral Member

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    Yeah it works great. If you start with a tempo playing, record a quantized loop, and then either tap a tempo, or change the tempo numerically, the loop will stay sync'd and at the correct pitch. The more extreme you go in either direction, the more "fluttering" you get in the audio. You'd probably have to use a rhythm track (or click) to start if you want to align it with the tempo, and there is no separate out for the rhythm track. You could tap in a tempo if you are playing with a drummer and then record the loop, and the loop with auto close at the right loop point. I can try to post a video in the next few days.
     
  14. SixStringAxis

    SixStringAxis Member

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    Is anyone liking it better than the infinity? I am not going to be using MIDI so this could be a good alternative.. though I am still ready to pull the trigger on a used infinity.
     
  15. analogsystem

    analogsystem Member

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    I'm not really happy with my dittox2 and don't need MIDI. This looks like a winner. Will definitely grab one once the funds open up or when the used ones start circulating. Thanks for the review!!
     
    spiral likes this.
  16. chrisjnyc

    chrisjnyc Member

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    Anyone used the Jamman Stereo before? How does the 22500 compare?
     
  17. warren3333

    warren3333 Member

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    Anyone else got one yet ? This smaller size looks good to replace my RC3 (used for storage) and the Dittox2 (used for reverse).

    My RC1 will stay for that brilliant circular loop display.

    [​IMG]
     
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  18. tremolo3

    tremolo3 Member

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    Can anyone share 22500's external footswitch guts pictures?

    Just for curiosity. I'm wondering why is so damn expensive if only does bank up and down, right?
     
  19. SixStringAxis

    SixStringAxis Member

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    I'm wondering the same thing.

    Is it possible to just use a cheaper trs footswitch from another company?
     
  20. Gibs210

    Gibs210 Member

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    I would think so, TRS and two footswitches is pretty simple, especially with no LEDs. Maybe a couple resisters, but i couldn't imagine much more than that. You could probably build your own or $20 easily.
     

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