VOX VDL1 Dynamic Looper – Review

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VOX VDL1 Dynamic Looper Review – based on Question/Answer format so you can skip around to what you care about.

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VOX VDL1 Dynamic Looper - Top

VOX VDL1 Dynamic Looper – Top
(image from www.voxamps.com)

Looper Category: Type 2 (category definitions)

Target Setup: live performance

Competitive Position: The price of the VOX VDL1 is comparable to the BOSS RC-30. We believe the VDL1 is better suited for live performance due to the increased hands-free control over the two individual loops, the built-in expression pedal (no option for exp pedal with RC-30), and the wide range of FX.

Warranty: 1 year

 Hint: Due to the proximity of the four footswitch buttons, you may want to use shoes that have toes.

These shoes, from Fila, can improve your ability to work with the Vox Dynamic Looper.

These shoes, from Fila, can improve your ability to work with the Vox Dynamic Looper.

  • What is the price I should expect to pay for the VOX VDL1 Dynamic Looper and how does that compare to other loopers?
    • Good question – please see our price tracker that we update regularly. Here, the various looper stations are categorized and the price is tracked over time as indicated.
      VOX VDL1 Dynamic Looper - Back

      VOX VDL1 Dynamic Looper – Back
      (image from www.voxamps.com)

       

 

  • What is the main function of the VOX VDL1 Dynamic Looper?
    • The main function of the Dynamic Looper is looping, specifically for live performance. It includes many looping features, dual-track looping (two loops in parallel/serial) and a decent set of effects, which can be preset and/or adjusted via a built-in expression pedal.

 

  • Can I record sound, continuously play a loop of that recording, and then layer additional tracks over the loop/phrase with the VOX VDL1 Dynamic Looper?
    • Yes, the Dynamic Looper has basic looper functionality with unlimited overdub (sound quality degrades once you reach above 15-20 layers), controlled via footswitch. The process is to select one of the two tracks to start recording, then < press REC/PLAY/OVERDUB> again to begin looping what you have recorded. You can then overdub by pressing the pedal a third time. You can continue to add layers or to stop the playback.  You can also switch to the other track and start recording while the first track is playing or stopped. Also, there is a footswitch button called TRIGGER/TAP that allows you to quickly re-start the loop with a single tap.

 

  • How long can I record with the VOX VDL1 Dynamic Looper?
    • The Dynamic Looper can record for 90 seconds between the two tracks (or loops). The minimum record time per loop is 10 seconds and the max is 80 seconds.

 

  • How many memory locations (slots) are included in the VOX VDL1 Dynamic Looper?
    • There are no memory locations in the Dynamic Looper.

 

  • Using the VOX VDL1 Dynamic Looper, can I learn by having an instrument teacher play something and then slow it down and work on matching the notes and gradually speeding up?
    • Yes, the Dynamic Looper has great tempo control, which is controlled via a built-in expression pedal.

 

  • Can I practice soloing with the VOX VDL1 Dynamic Looper?
    • Yes, you can lay down your own rhythm tracks and then play over the top of them, quite easily.

 

  • Can I use the VOX VDL1 Dynamic Looper to capture quick song ideas to review later?
    • No, there is no storage in the Dynamic Looper and it does not have a USB or other connect to your PC.

 

  • Can I switch to a different loop/slot while performing with the VOX VDL1 Dynamic Looper?
    • Yes you can, but you are limited to the two tracks of the VDL1. You can play each track by itself or play them at the same time.

 

  • Can I perform loop-to-loop queuing with the VOX VDL1 Dynamic Looper?
    • This feature is not straight-forward with the Dynamic Looper. You are able to set the stop mode of the current playing loop (hands-free) so that it ends at the end of it’s phrase even if you press stop early. That gives you time to switch to the other loop after you pressed stop. Then once it stops, you can start recording on the new loop.

 

  • Can I switch back to the previous loop while performing with the VOX VDL1 Dynamic Looper?
    • Yes you can. Again you only have two loops to work with at any given time, with a max of 90 seconds between the two. What you can do once you have a phrase recorded in each loop (or track), you can select the X-FADE setting of the Loop Effects dial. Then you need to select “L1.2” with the Edit dial, and you can use the expression pedal to turn the volume of one loop to 0 and the other loop to 100 and then switch it the other way, as needed.

 

  • With the VOX VDL1 Dynamic Looper, can I record and play different parts of a song (verse, chorus, bridge) all during a live performance while not using my hands (pedals and footswitches only)?
    • The Dynamic Looper does have the functionality for you to play two parts or a song on the two tracks and then switch between the two. However, you may need to adjust some dial settings by hand if you can’t do all of your recording without use of the expression pedal. If you don’t need the pedal for building your loops, then just select X-FADE/“L1.2” at the beginning. Note, you will not be able to use any other Loop Effects without hand-dial adjustment.

 

  • Can I go from recording directly into overdub with the VOX VDL1 Dynamic Looper?
    • You can, but it requires two tabs of the REC/PLAY/OVERDUB footswitch button.

 

  • Can I undo/redo the last overdub to change the song or eliminate a recording error with the VOX VDL1 Dynamic Looper?
    • With the Dynamic Looper, you can undo the last overdub and also redo the last undo.

 

  • Can I set previous layers to go quieter or fade out while overdubbing new layers with the VOX VDL1 Dynamic Looper?
    • This function is called “Decay” by Boomerang, “Recorder Overdub Level” by Line 6, “Loop Aging” by Pigtronix, and “Feedback Decay” by others.  It is used to gradually or quickly transition a song without stopping or switching your ongoing loop. However, it is not available on the VDL1.

 

  • Can I adjust the volume or effects of individual overdubs with the VOX VDL1 Dynamic Looper?
    • Yes, with the Dynamic Looper, there are two effects processors. One controls the live signal effects (Pre Effect) and the other controls the effects applied to the looper playback (Loop Effect). The expression pedal can be assigned to control parameters for either set of effects or input volume.

 

  • Can I record individual overdubs/layers as individual WAV files with the VOX VDL1 Dynamic Looper to then work with in a DAW?
    • You are unable to record your loops with the VDL1.

 

  • Can I use the 1/8” MP3/CD input to play song into the looper and incorporate it into my loop with the VOX VDL1 Dynamic Looper?
    • There is no 1/8” input on the VDL1.

 

  • Can I pre-record tracks, edit them in a DAW, load them into the VOX VDL1 Dynamic Looper as loops and then trigger them with the footswitch when needed?
    • There is no way to load tracks onto the VDL1 or save them for future use.

 

  • Can I trigger a one-shot playback (a.k.a. single phrase) with the VOX VDL1 Dynamic Looper? In other words, can I set the loop to only play one time when triggered?
    • We are not aware of one-shot functionality on the VDL1. You would need to manually stop the loop after a single iteration.

 

  • Can I play multiple loops simultaneously with the VOX VDL1 Dynamic Looper, and turn them on and off? For example, play drums on one track, base-line on the other, and guitar on another and bring them in and out of the song?
    • Yes, you could record some of the parts on loop 1 and other on loop 2 and then play each loop individually or at the same time.

 

  • Can I play a loop or overdub in reverse with the VOX VDL1 Dynamic Looper?
    • Yes, you can trigger reverse playback of a recorded loop on the VDL1. This can be varied with the expressional pedal.

 

 

  • Does the VOX VDL1 Dynamic Looper have stereo sound or just mono?
    • The Dynamic Looper has only mono.

 

  • Is there anything in the VOX VDL1 Dynamic Looper that reduces the clicking sound that can occur when tapping the footswitch during overdub?
    • Not that we are aware of, but these types of footswitch buttons are very quiet compared to the other footswitches or pedals.

 

  • Is the VOX VDL1 Dynamic Looper a good looper for live performances on stage?
    • The Dynamic Looper is great for live performances. The fact that you have hands-free control over the two loop tracks and many other parameters makes this a good option on-stage performance. There are other loopers that may be better for live performance, but not at this price. However, we don’t think the Dynamic Looper is very good for home use beyond practicing and jamming. In terms of composing new songs, editing, porting to a DAW, etc. the functionality is lacking.

 

  • Are there multiple stop modes in the VOX VDL1 Dynamic Looper?
    • Yes, there are four modes that you can enter into via the STOP footswitch button.  You can either stop normally, where you press the button and the phrase stops. Alternatively, you can stop with a delay applied. Another stop mode is a gradual fade out. Finally, you can set the loop to stop only after the phrase completes.

 

  • Can I stutter start with the VOX VDL1 Dynamic Looper?
    • Yes, you can stutter both the pre effects and loop effects. The expression pedal (or control pedal) allows you to set the duty cycle of this effect.

 

  • Can I resample with the VOX VDL1 Dynamic Looper? In other words, can I take a loop and modify it by multiplying it, cutting part of it out, adding a different effect to it, etc?
    • Yes, this is a unique feature for the VDL1 and something that Andy Butler (who is active on many looper-related forums) talks a lot about. In his words “it’s one of the most useful loop techniques available and this is the first time it’s been seen on a device at this price point.”

 

  • Can the VOX VDL1 Dynamic Looper be set to auto-record when I begin playing?
    • Yes the VDL1 has auto-record.

 

  • With the VOX VDL1 Dynamic Looper, are there any issues with droning (playing the same note, chord, repeated sounds, or tone-clusters continuously) at the boundaries of the loops – such as noticeable change in volume?
    • We have not experienced or heard of an issue with droning using the Dynamic Looper.

 

  •  Does the VOX VDL1 Dynamic Looper have a built in metronome?
    • Yes there is a built in metronome in the VDL1. You can adjust the time signature and adjust the volume of the metronome. When the metronome is on, the quantize functionality is on.

 

  • Is there any software that comes with the VOX VDL1 Dynamic Looper?
    • No, there is no PC software that is made available specifically for the VOX looper pedals.

 

  • Is quantize functionality available on the VOX VDL1 Dynamic Looper?
    • Yes, the Dynamic Looper has a quantize mode. You can disable by holding down TRIGGER/TAP for two seconds before recording.

 

  • Will the VOX VDL1 Dynamic Looper interface with my DAW (digital audio workstation)/computer through USB?
    • The Dynamic Looper does not function as an audio interface.

 

  • Will the VOX VDL1 Dynamic Looper interface with my computer through USB to transfer sound files?
    • The Dynamic Looper does not have a USB port.

 

  • Can I save and recall loops with SD card with the VOX VDL1 Dynamic Looper?
    • There is no SD card slot on the Dynamic Looper.

 

  • Does the VOX VDL1 Dynamic Looper have effects (FX)?
    • Yes, the Dynamic Looper has 11 categories of Pre Effects (on the live signal) and 11 categories of Loop Effects (active on the playback). There are 27 variations of these categories. You can save the settings in what are called “Programs” which can then be selected via the “Program Up” footswitch button. Basically “Program” is another word for “preset” for the VDL1.

 

  • Can I bypass the effects (FX) with the VOX VDL1 Dynamic Looper?
    • Yes, there are buttons with which you can bypass both the Pre Effects and the Loop Effects. Also you can set the Pre Effects to only affect the Mic or only affect the 1/4” input.

 

  • Can I turn off or mute the live signal that is fed through the VOX VDL1 Dynamic Looper (for use in parallel effects loops of an amp or in Aux Send/Return of a mixer)?
    • No, there is no way to mute the live signal.  This may cause sound quality (phasing) issues when used in parallel effects loops or send/return aux of a mixer.

 

  • Can I save presets for effects with the VOX VDL1 Dynamic Looper?
    • Yes, there are 50 presets that come with the Dynamic Looper, and you can program another 50.

 

  • Does the VOX VDL1 Dynamic Looper have an XLR mic input? Does it have phantom power for a condenser microphone?
    • Yes, the Dynamic Looper has an XLR input, however it does not have phantom power so you can’t connect a condenser microphone that requires phantom without an added mic pre-amp (like a Tube MP).

 

  • Does the VOX VDL1 Dynamic Looper function as a mixer with multiple inputs?
    • Yes. There are two audio inputs: Mic XLR (no phantom power) and a single 1/4” mono input. They can be used together.

 

  • Can I re-assign footswitch functionality with the VOX VDL1 Dynamic Looper?
    • The Dynamic Looper has four footswitch buttons and a built-in expression pedal. Only the expression pedal functionality can be changed to control the many effects. However, VOX does a very good job of making most of the looper functionality available via footswitch combinations.

 

  • Does the VOX VDL1 Dynamic Looper have a headphone jack for playback and monitoring?
    • No, the Dynamic Looper does not have a dedicated jack for headphones.

 

  • Can the VOX VDL1 Dynamic Looper be connected to an external MIDI device?
    • No the Dynamic Looper does not have MIDI ports.

 

  • Does VOX release firmware updates for the Dynamic Looper?
    • We are not aware of any ability for the user to update the firmware.

 

  • Is there an optional footswitch that I can add to the VOX VDL1 Dynamic Looper to increase functionality?
    • No, we are not aware of any optional footswitch that can be used with the VDL1 to expand hands-free control. Nor do we see an input jack that would accommodate one on the unit.

 

  • Is there an optional expressional pedal that I can add to the VOX VDL1 Dynamic Looper to control effects(FX)?
    • No, there is not a way to connect an additional expression pedal to the VDL1.

 

  • What is the sampling rate and bit depth of the A/D/A conversion?
    • For the Dynamic Looper, the A/D/A conversion is specified as 24-bit, 44.1 kHz.

 

  • Can the VOX VDL1 Dynamic Looper be battery powered?
    • The VDL1 cannot be battery powered.

 

  • How is the warranty for the VOX VDL1 Dynamic Looper?
    • According to the VOX site, the warranty is 1 year.

 

  • What size is the VOX VDL1 Dynamic Looper?
    • The Dynamic Looper is fairly compact, considering that it has a built-in expression pedal. It weighs 2.2 lbs. It’s footprint is 10.4” x 9.7” and is 3” tall.

 

  • Why is using a VOX VDL1 Dynamic Looper better than just using computer software? Or why should I use a stompbox looper instead of something that is software based?
    • Ease of use – when you have a looper pedal setup, you just sit down and play (just like picking up an instrument). This makes spontaneous fifteen minute jam sessions happen all the time.
    • Control and reliability – especially during a live performance. Has your PC ever frozen or started running slow all of a sudden? There are a lot of processes that can occur in a computer that are unrelated to your music, and you may not have control over all of them.
    • Ability to interface hands-free with a dedicated stompbox/pedal/footswitch
    • The software usually has a much steeper learning curve. Nothing puts me out of the music-playing mood faster than trying to figure out how to work with the recording software and getting stuck on something.
    • If you managed to setup a reliable, hands-free computer based system then it’s still difficult to go on stage and have the performance feel “live”. People are used to seeing pedals on stage, but once you bring out your laptop then it starts feeling like a DJ performance. Nothing wrong with that, for some.

 

  • Why is using a VOX VDL1 Dynamic Looper better than just using an iPhone or iPad application?
    • There is very limited functionality with the iOS based loopers compared to the VOX VDL1 Dynamic Looper. However, these apps are quickly improving. With added hardware (microphone, Bluetooth control pedal, etc.), these setups may start to look attractive. Please see our iOS app setup information.
    • With regards to live performances, bringing an iPad or iPhone on stage may feel more like a DJ performance, but it’s not going as far as bringing a laptop. Also, the OS may be more predictable and stable compared to an entire computer or workstation. Therefore, we think that iOS based loopers will be more stage-friendly than laptops, but not as stage-friendly as pedals/stompboxes in the foreseeable future.

 

  • What company makes the VOX VDL1 Dynamic Looper and where are they located?
    • VOX Amplification Ltd is located in London, England. They have a long history and the first product with the VOX name was introduced in 1954. In 1992, the company was sold to KORG Inc. KORG is based in Tokyo, Japan.

 

  • How is the support from VOX on any issues that arise with the unit?
    • There is a main manual on the Dynamic Looper that is very thorough. Specifically, they include a lot of information, such as the functional block diagram that many other manuals do not include. Further, VOX is very responsive to questions that are sent to their technical support team. Also, there is a forum on their site where you can discuss the products and functionality with other users. However, the forum is not well-attended yet for the looper products.

 

  • How long has the VOX VDL1 Dynamic Looper been in production?
    • The VOX Dynamic Looper (Dynamic Looper or VL1) was released in January 2011. This was the first looper product by VOX.

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