For one candidate to challenge the reigning BOSS Loop Station line, there’s rival VOX. While they’re both loopers with some things to stomp on, the designs are quite different. The BOSS units can store up to three hours and 99 phrases; the VOX VDL1 stores two loops with a total recorded time of 90 seconds. Nor do you get the utility of the BOSS’ USB storage transfer. And the Vox is mono, whereas the BOSS is stereo.

In place of those features, the VDL1 focuses more on live looping and effects:

  • Live effects: Pedal/Wah (Clean/Comp/Crunch/Overdrive/Distortion), Mod (Chorus 1/Chorus 2/Flanger/Phaser/Tremolo), Bass (Electric 1-4/Synth 1/ Synth 2), Acoustic (four models). Pitch, stutter, EQ, delay, reverb, “sci-fi.”
  • Loop effects: volume, crossfade, reverse, “loop in loop” (no idea on that one), pitch, speed, scrube, stutter, mod, filter, delay.
  • Master limiter.
  • Mono input jack, mic in (no phantom power)
  • Undo and redo in overdubbing.
  • Infinite layers.

In other words, looping is about all these two approaches have in common. BOSS makes what’s really a looping sampler with stereo recording, tons of storage, and connectivity via USB, all in a mobile form factor. VOX makes a bigger box that’s mono, uses only enough sample length as you’d need in a live performance, and does effects. The BOSS is a stereo looping sampler; the VOX a mono multi-effects looper.

I have to say, in terms of what I’d want to play with or hear someone else play with, I prefer the BOSS’ focus on sampling to another box with loads of built-in effects. But the fact that you can choose between two boxes says that you as the musician really get to choose what you want in looping in the first place.

And in an industry in which you often have to choose between two pieces of gear that are nearly identical, here are two pieces of gear that are totally different, but each appear to be pretty good at being what they are. Kudos on that to both BOSS (Roland) and VOX (Korg).

I’m curious to hear your take. [Note: Vox’s site was very much up and down at press time]

  • As someone who primarily focused on live built-from-the-ground-up looping, where the Boss pedals tended to be too fiddly, this looks pretty great. This could finally replace my DL-4, if it includes a one-shot loop playback mode.

  • duke

    Looks real nice.

    Pity it only has 90 seconds, hopefully this is the start of their looper pedal line, i can envisage a bright future once they enable flash memory and or usb in the bigger model.

    Thanks VOX

  • Peter Kirn

    In fairness, in live performance, 90 seconds should cut it, unless you want to musically refer back to a loop you recorded at the beginning of the song, etc.

    At the same time, that's what's sort of interesting about Electro-Harmonix and BOSS have hours of recording. You could use those boxes less as live loopers as little portable idea recorders, which I find interesting, too.

    For anyone who finds the computer DAW to be creativity-sapping (and even the most enthusiastic among us has to get there every now and then), you've got no excuse for *not* getting away and coming up with something.

  • don't forget that the korg quad kaoss has a serious looping component to it, so you can throw that into the comparison when the next looping pedal get released this week. i hope there's a way to hook in foot control on the new quad kaoss. 

  • The Vox Dynamic Looper appears to have a lot more potential for capturing a creative moment than most of the looper pedals out there right now. True stereo loops are sometimes nice, but I think that possibly the most requested feature with this Vox device might be a USB connector. Maybe not. Then again, this device was apparently designed to be a "live performance" tool. In that arena, 90 seconds is plenty of loop time. I started with an original Lexicon JamMan with 8 seconds of loop time, and that could sometimes pose a challenge. An artist (and creative Looper) like Bill Frisell probably wouldn't complain about 90 seconds. Look at what he was able to do with a a Digitech PDS-8000 (8 second Delay) pedal. No, I think this is a good move by Vox. It's good to see that companies are implementing more creative features into small boxes now.

  • speelycaptor

    I'll take this over the Loop station any day- just for the pedal controlled Loop playback FX. Only thing i'm missing really are Stereo and Midi i/os and i hope there will be a bigger model that adds such features.
    The Loop crossfade feature can be a great thing for eg turntableists and resampling with onboard multi Fx is a most welcomed addition to any Looper. đŸ™‚
    after the rapid decline of the rack FX market it is nice to see manufacturers are focussing more on creative Live fx for the performing musician rather than the studio wizard. Also interesting to see typical DAW FX like stutter or rhythmic gating being adopted for guitarist and vocalists alike in the pedal format. We live in interesting times.

  • Being a small company, our loopers often get overlooked. The Boomerang(R) III has undo/redo, one shot playback, stutter, re-sampling, as well as 4 loops that can play one after the other or at the same time; when playing simultaneously, the loops can be synced or free to drift. The Rang(TM) III plays loops normally, in reverse, at 1/2 speed or both, and has a fade function & a built-in reverse lead effect. It records from 4 min 23 sec in stereo, sampling at 48KHz, to 35 min in mono, sampling at 12KHz. There's also a 24KHz option. All this and more in a 9" x 6" pedal. It's geared for live looping and has no permanent storage or USB port.

  • I have been doing solo jazz gigs with loopers for three years and own Boss RC-50, RC-20XL, RC-2 and RC-3, as well as Jamman and Vox VDL1. I play both guitar and piano in these performances and think this new VOX is really great for several reasons:
    1) Almost no one ever performs on guitar without reverb so if there is only one effect that a looper should have verb is it.
    2) All of the multi effects units that have both reverb and looping do not have a long enough loop to play jazz with.  You need up to 32 measures, and rarely more, and at a slow tempo that is 90 seconds.  This eliminates all of the multi effects units.
    3) VOX has warmer effects than Line6, Roland and Zoom so even if their multi effects boxes had reverb and long enough loops to p;lay they do not sound as good when you want a warm fat tube-like pretty tone not a harsh overdriven overly compressed thin one. This unit sounds really good. 
    4) I still do use my Roland and Jamman loopers for the keyboards but this VOX always wins for guitar.
    5) Many of the other effects are really useful as well: volume pedal, derived bass from guitar, and some warm distortion are all pluses as well as having more than one part which is why I love my Roland RC-50.
    Bottom Line: when setting up the less boxes and cables you have the better and this lets me get good sounding guitar effects along with long enough loops to stretch out over some complex changes not just a two chord two measure or ambient thing.  You can really play jazz with this.

  • ARG

    Wrong.  Many slow ballads can go over 90 seconds easy.  This would be the perfect pedal if it had just another 90.  Seriously VOX, this is 2012.  I can buy a 16 gig flash stick for 15 bucks.  I can't imagine how many potential customers, besides myself, that you just sent across the street.