[sdiy] OT: Guitar FX - Loopers & prices - what magic is in there?

sleepy_dog at gmx.de sleepy_dog at gmx.de
Tue Sep 3 02:04:47 CEST 2019

Hello list,

I recently looked at some of those loopers that are apparently
especially popupar among guitarists, but also other instrumentalists.
I was also more specifically looking for one with +48V XLR input to use
it for both, instant feedback for practising singing without messing
with computer software, and also actually practicing instruments /
jamming, experimenting. The handling (or rather, "footling"?) of the
looper for this "sing a line, step on it, hear it" seems even simpler /
less distracting than just using my litte old portable recorder - nice
for concentrating on self monitoring/correction in this regard.

So I found e.g. the Boss RC30, which has 2 foot switches, a display, a
few more small buttons, evidently some RAM and some not too complicated
DSP stuff.
Costs about 200 $.

Or the RC300, 3x or so as wide, more foot switches.
This costs ~ 500 $ and doesn't even have stuff like time stretching,
which *cough* pedals for ~ 1000 $ I've seen have.

Now, in my hobbyist imagination, who has done some projects roughly
involving the things I imagine to be involved here, but not exatcly the
type of product, it seems like this stuff should neither be exactly
rocket science, the R&D shouldn't be too tough on those, nor special
super duper hardware to make it happen (also hinted at the fact that
some of the products are out there for ~ 10 years, unchanged).
While I see that the rugged cases & switches do cost something - 500 or
more? Get real. My age old laptop which cost less than that back than
could do a lot more than what those things do, apart from being stomped
on hard and still work.

What am I missing, what magic is in there to justify those kinda prices?
Let's not forget that those aren't boutique synth modules, but rather
mass produced pedals for one of the most popular musical instruments.

I almost was about to slap something together involving a Raspberry Pi
Z, an audio codec, and some cheap thomann stackable foot swtiches.
But that'll probably result in not-so-low latency with the Linux audio
stack in the background :)

I will probably bite the bullet for the RC 30 for ~ 200, one of the few
smaller ones with XLR mic in, albeit some reported usability issues and
paying also for some absolutely pointless built-in effects... (FX are
cool, just not those)

- Steve

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