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Re: Boomerang is at Guitar Center!

At 4:36 PM 12/19/96, The Man Himself wrote:
>I was in the Hollywood Guitar Center last night, taking a passing glance
>at the footpedals on display, when what should I see but a Boomerang
>Phrase Sampler sitting there.  I gave it a fairly quick run-thru, and here
>are some thoughts:

Thanks for the Boomerang review Andre, I've only seen demos and haven't
gotten to play with one yet. I know some little bits about the beast that I
can add, though. Also, Guitar Player did a review of it a few months back
that was pretty favorable. I don't remember which issue, anyone know?

>-- The overdub function only seems to work while the button for it is
>being held down; this is a fairly significant limitation in my opinion.

One complaint I've heard about the overdub is that it dramatically reduces
the loop level while it is on, effectively giving a feedback control.
Problem is you can't adjust it. So your older overdubs are continually
being faded as new ones are added. The guy demoing at last year's NAMM said
that after about six overdub passes, the first pass is completely
inaudible. He had them change the software so that his didn't reduce volume
at all during overdubs. That can also be a problem, since loops can easily
build up to where they clip. I don't know if they have adjusted this since
then, hopefully they have since that would be pretty irritating to me.

>-- I didn't see any feedback control on the unit.  There may have been one
>lurking on the back panel next to the input gain, trim, and other
>controls, but once again, I think I would have noticed running across it.
>The volume control can be used to fade a loop in or out, but there's a lot
>more to using feedback than simply fading in or out, and if this isn't an
>available factor, then that's another fairly substantial drawback.

You use the overdub, but its still really limited.

>-- The sound struck me as very good.  I was running a guitar (with a
>still-affixed, broken top string -- see, it really *was* at Guitar
>Center!) direct into the Boomerang, then straight out into the
>standard-issue Fender combo, and heard fairly little difference between
>the actual input signal and the looped sound.  If someone's hoping to
>loop higher-fi sounds than an electric guitar, they should spend more
>time checking it out, but it seemed quite passable to me, especially
>given the Boomerang's obvious slant towards off-the-cuff live work.

I think its fine for electric guitars and maybe bass, but that's about it.
The boomerang's sample rate is 16khz (compared to 32khz on the jamman and
41khz on the echoplex). This means that the audio bandwidth is only about
6khz, probably. This will be fine for a guitar with humbuckers (unless you
are real picky), maybe a little noticeable with single coils. In the half
speed mode the sample rate is dropped in half to 8khz, meaning a likely
frequency response of 3 - 3.5khz. You would probably notice that, but it
could still be fun to use.

Still, as a cheap and easy to use looper for guitars, its probably worth
taking a look.

Another feature of the Boomerang is a large amount of loop time. It can
give you something like 400 seconds in the 1/2 speed mode. (does anyone
know the exact amount? I lost my brochure for it) I'm not sure if a 400
second loop is really that useful, but that's up to you. The boomerang
doesn't have any features for dividing the memory in different loops like
in the plex and jamman.

>This is a very happening box; GC was selling it for somewhere around $350
>(one of those year-end Holiday deals, ya see).  The half-speed function is
>awfully cool, though I'm not sure it's $350 worth of cool for someone who
>already owns one of the other Big Three.  There were some things, such as

It's that much on sale? $350 seems high. Its just a simple sheet metal
enclosure with some fairly simple electronics, I can't imagine it costs
much to manufacture. Jamman's are around that price aren't they?


Kim Flint                   | Looper's Delight
kflint@annihilist.com       | http://www.annihilist.com/loop/loop.html
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