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best loop switchers

Best loop switchers

Is controlling your pedalboard getting out of control? Do you feel that your playing time is more like a tap-dancing display than a musical performance? This is where loop switchers come in. They provide a lot of benefits to help you make sure you have the right pedals engaged at the right time.

Some benefits include only running your signal through a pedal when it is needed, or being able to use your pedalboard as you normally would with the option to switch back and forth between an almost infinite number of patches. This level of control makes sure you have the perfect pedal for each part of every song in your set.

Here are some of the best loop switchers available today.

Best loop switcher overall: Providence PEC-2 Programmable Effects Controller

providence pec-2 loop switcher
Best Loop Switcher Overall
Providence PEC-2 Programmable Effects Controller
A single contact, true-bypass loop switcher with great I/O.
Multiple looping combinations
Onboard buffer
MIDI routing

The PEC-2 is hands down one of the best loop switchers around. Put any pedal combination you can think of at your feet,  at the click of a button. It features 5 loops connected in series and 3 that are independent, all with Single Contact True-bypass. This creates maximum fidelity in the signal, especially when using high-gain pedals. 84 memory locations give you more recall than you’ll likely ever need.

An onboard buffer keeps the signal clean, and a tuner out lets you keep that out of your main pedal chain altogether. MIDI routing lets you use external processors, and if for some reason you need additional switching, the Link mode lets you connect two PEC-2s together for a total of 16 loops!

Best loop switcher for multiple amps: MESA/Boogie Head-Track

mesa boogie head-track
Best loop switcher for multiple amps
MESA/Boogie Head-Track
This unique loop switcher allows selection between two amps running through one cabinet. Two effects loops let you route your effects simply between them.
Switch between two amps
Remote switching through MIDI or onboard switch
Two effects loops
Pedal needs to be close to amps to maintain signal quality
Not a traditional effects pedal loop switcher

Almost every loop switcher on the market is designed to provide sophisticated effects routing and switching through a single amp. But what if you want to use two amps?

That’s where the Head-Track comes in. It lets you seamlessly switch between two amps that are running through the same speaker cabinet. Through the remote switch input you can use a MIDI or latching footswitch for amp selection, and the pedal has an onboard switch.

One of the downsides is that it requires a short cable to maintain signal fidelity. It’s not meant for traditional effects switching, but it does have dual effects loops so there is an element of customization.

Best analog loop switcher: Decibel Eleven Palette

decibel eleven palette loop switcher
best analog loop switcher
Decibel Eleven Palette
A great analog loop switcher with a lot of routing and preset options.
All analog signal path
Great amount of presets
Can be synced with other units via MIDI
Four loops might not be enough for some players

A lot of loop switchers rely on a digital heartbeat to accomplish things. Which is great, as digital adds a lot of versatility. Decibel Eleven’s Palette works a little differently.

It’s a combination loops switcher, router, and mixer. You can move effects around easily through the four loops. A fully analog signal path keeps things clean, and there is an optional input buffer so you don’t experience any signal loss.

There’s a parallel mix bus for blending in clean signal. But the coolest feature might be the Tails control. This lets the tails of your reverbs and delays ring out even if the looper is switched off.

It can store up to 128 presets. Being a smaller loop switcher, you can daisy-chain multiple Palettes via MIDI to expand your options.

Most versatile loop switcher: Voodoo Lab Ground Control Pro

voodoo lab ground control pro
most versatile loop switcher
Voodoo Lab Ground Control Pro
One of the industry standard loop switchers that provides multiple switching options and MIDI control.
Multiple number of banks
MIDI controllable
Easy-to-read display
Large footprint might be too cumbersome for some players
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Another model that a lot of professional guitar players have moved to is the Ground Control Pro. It is compatible with all MIDI controlled devices, this is a fine choice to integrate into a system that runs on one of the newer next-generation digital amp modelers.

The stompbox-style switches provide familiar control over engaging the Ground Control Pro. With simultaneous control over devices with assignability. The control scheme provides 12 switches for patches and 2 bank switches. The large display won’t give you visibility issues no matter what environment you might find yourself in.

Best MIDI loop switcher: Electro-Harmonix Super Switcher

electro-harmonix super switcher
Best MIDI Loop Switcher
electro-harmonix super switcher
The pedal giants at EHX do it again with this mono/stereo looper that features an onboard boost. It might take some time to set it up, but it’s highly versatile and well-made.
Mono and stereo loops
Boost control to combat signal loss
Can take some time to set up properly
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MIDI control lets you choose any combination of effects. If you need to tap in a specific tempo there is a dedicated switch for that. It can be set global or per patch. There is also a tuner out that also mutes output. The loops include mono/stereo send/return, mono/stereo out, and inserts.

Additionally, there are 6 mono loops, and 2 stereo returns, all relayed true bypass running across 128 presets across 16 banks with 8 presets each. And if you feel your signal needs a little more juice, there is a boost control on both channels of the output.

Best compact loop switcher: BOSS ES-5

boss es-5
Best Compact Loop Switcher
This compact, high-quality loop switcher brings the quality you would expect from BOSS.
Compact, high-quality loop switcher
Great amount of patches
Might not offer enough flexibility

This is the little brother of the ES-8, the professional standard from BOSS when it comes to loop switching. Each of the five loops runs through an analog signal path to keep the signal as pristine as possible.

Everything connects in a clean way through the back of the unit, and the parallel chain function gives you even more effect combinations. Two TRS control output jacks and a TRS control/expression pedal jack let you add more control to effects like delays and reverbs. It offers 200 patch locations that can save things like on/off state and more!

Best loop switcher for presets: One Control Caiman Tail

one control caiman tail loop switcher
Best Loop Switcher for Presets
One Control Caiman Tail
A small but effective loop switcher with fantastic build quality.
Great build quality
Streamlined enough to fit on most pedalboards
MIDI compatible
Small format might be a turnoff to some that want a larger unit footprint

The Caiman Tail is the most compact option on this list. It comes with 5 true-bypass loops that offer up to 150 preset combinations. There are 5 banks, with 5 program options each. The combination of analog and MIDI compatibility increases the utility of this pedalboard-friendly unit.

For the player that doesn’t have a lot of pedals going on, but still wants an increased level of control in a small footprint, this is a solid choice.

Easiest loop switcher to use: Acoustic LS6 Loop Switcher

acoustic ls-6
Easiest Loop Switcher to Use
u003cstrongu003eAcoustic LS6 Loop Switcher u003c/strongu003e
A no-nonsense loop switcher that streamlines things.
Easy to use
Compact but with a good feature set
Might not provide enough loops for all players

If you just need an easy-to-use analog looper, this might be the most affordable option around. There are 6 discrete loops with true bypass across 36 programmable patches. Live mode lets you operate your pedals as you normally would, while Program mode lets you recall your saved patches for infinite combinations.

A large display and illuminated switches make it easy to see even in the darkest environment. And the mute button, tuner out, and front or back end signal buffering add the finishing touches. All of this comes in an affordable package in an all-steel enclosure that can stand up to the rigors of the road.

Best small format loop switcher: Lehle 1at3 SGos

lehle 1at3 sgos
Best small format loop switcher
Lehle 1at3 SGos
If you don’t need a very elaborate loop switcher, and want one in a small format, this programmable switcher by Lehle offers useful features.
Programmable, true bypass loop switcher
Can route signal out up to three amps
Effects loop
Some players might need something more elaborate

Some players don’t need a complicated loop switcher, but still want interesting features. This programmable model from switching kings Lehle lets you split signal out to up to three amps and comes with an onboard effects loop.

It uses contact relays with gold plating to maintain signal quality. And if you do need to upgrade it at any point it can be used with external MIDI floor units just as easily as it can be used standalone.

There aren’t any gain or volume controls, so that could be a concern to some. But the 1at3 SGoS is a compact unit that offers a lot of programming features.


How do loop switchers work?

Loop switchers work by routing your signal chain into them and then setting up patches that determine which combination of effects are engaged at one time.

Should I use a pedal switcher?

There are a lot of reasons to use a loop switcher, but they’re not for everyone. Generally you’ll find guitarists with very large pedalboards using them because it reduces the amount of “pedal dancing” they have to do.

What are the best switchers?

The best loop switcher for you depends on your need. They all operate and integrate a little differently. The selections on this list are just a starting point. Buying a loop switcher isn’t as cut and dry as buying an overdrive pedal.

Consider how many loops and patches you need, if you need MIDI integration, and if you’re using multiple amps you need a loop switcher with stereo functions.

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