Electro-Harmonix 22500 Dual Stereo Looper review

EHX’s new looper crams a vast range of functions into a compact pedal. We get lost in an infinite loop…

Electro-Harmonix’s 22500 does for the concept of looping what its Super Pulsar did for tremolo: takes all the functions you’d expect to find and multiplies that number by a factor of 10 ± then adds a few more for good measure. This dual stereo looper is packed to the metaphorical rafters with ingenious and useful features.

We get a pair of loop circuits that can be independent or locked together, parallel or sequential ± enabling you to switch between verse and chorus sections. Each has a volume knob and record, play and memory lights, and can be reversed or switched up or down an octave; there’s an overdub facility with adjustable feedback level and an undo/redo function that will, at least initially, be your friend. The 100 preset banks should be more than adequate for your looping needs, and a rear-loading 8GB SDHC memory card is included.

Not a bad start, and there’s more, including a rhythm section with 16 drum loops ± making the 22500 an inviting prospect both as a songwriting tool for solo artists and for players wanting something with a little more `humanity’ than a metronome to practice with. An optional external footswitch enables you to scroll through the loop banks while playing, and there are a pair of guitar in/outs and an XLR input with phantom power for microphones, and a USB port for transporting loops to or from a computer.

In use

The 22500’s 36-page instruction manual is a place where weekends go to die, so we just dived in. Within 10 minutes were lost in a huge, unsettling mess of chords, octave-up and -down arpeggios and reversed overdubs ± topped off by a very loud, out-of-time drum beat. The whole thing was reminiscent of a bad trip in a field in Somerset.

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So, you’ll need to read the manual, and the first thing you’ll have to get to grips with is the mode selection knob. Pressing it once engages it, and turning it scrolls through the eight modes: bank, loop, overdub, trigger, rhythm tempo, rhythm type, rhythm level and erase. Pressing it again engages that setting. This isn’t a very intuitive system and you can end up changing the rhythm tempo, or moving to another bank when all you wanted to do was tweak the rhythm volume. For live use, we’d have liked to be able to switch through the loops ± without shelling out for the external footswitch.

Explaining all of the looping modes would fill the rest of this issue, but in short they can be independent in freeform mode or locked together, and quantized in relation to the built-in rhythms, and parallel or sequential. There’s also a one-shot mode and a trigger function to start recording automatically when you play. Within quantize mode, you can have either 2/4, 3/4, 4/4 or 6/8 bar lengths or the `expert’ quantize to the beat setting.

While the rhythm sounds aren’t exactly like being backed by an electronic Steve Gadd, they’re a useful feature, and you can use the SD card to import your own.

We were massively impressed by the 22500 and lost a weekend exploring its huge range of functions. For those seeking a simple looper, it may feel like a complex and fairly expensive case of over-egging the pudding, and those needs may be met by EHX’s smaller Nano Looper 360. However, we can see the 22500 being enormously useful in a range of playing scenarios.

Key features
Electro-Harmonix 22500 Dual Stereo Looper
• Price £215
• Description Dual stereo looper pedal with reverse and octave functions, rhythm loops, tap tempo, USB port, 8GB SDHC card and optional external loop up/down footswitch (£69). Powered by 9.6V DC power supply (included)
• Controls Loop A and B, volume, input gain, mode and mic trim knobs, loop A and B and stop/tap footswitches, 2x reverse, 2x octave, rhythm and tap on buttons, phantom power toggle switch
• Dimensions 146x121x64(mm)
• Contact ehx.com
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