Hotone Wally Looper Review
- Pros: Tiny footprint. “CD Quality” sound. Separate input/output volume controls.
- Cons: Double-tap to stop. No battery option. Sensitive to noise. Noise issues reported in early editions.
- Overall: All the functionality you need in a looper pedal at a fraction of the size.
The first thing you’ll notice about the Wally Looper is its tiny size. It easily fits in the palm of your hand at 74mm x 44mm x 44mm. If you’ve already got a crowded pedalboard and just want a simple, straight-forward looper to assist with a little rhythm guitar, then this might be the perfect looper for you. The Wally Looper follows in the footsteps of TC Electronic’s Ditto and Ditto X2 loopers, which brought simplicity back to looper pedals. Other manufacturers are also starting to jump on this bandwagon with the forthcoming releases of the Boss RC-1 and Electro-Harmonix Nano Looper. All of these loopers do away with built-in metronomes, drum-beats, dozens of storage slots, and hours of recording time in favor of a basic pedal to record a loop, overdub, stop, and clear. This simple functionality is really all you need to lay down a chord progression and solo all night. With the Wally looper, you can record 15-minute loops, which is more than enough for most musicians.
How It Works
The Wally Looper has four main controls. On the top of the unit, there is a footswitch and two small knobs. One knob controls the recording volume and the other controls the tempo of the loop. Adjusting the tempo up or down all the way raises or lowers the loop by one octave, respectively. There is also a larger knob mounted on the front-side of the looper for controlling the output volume.
Operating the Wally looper can take a little getting used as all of the looping functions are controlled with the single footswitch. To start recording, simply tap the footswitch once. When you tap again, you can add an overdub layer. Tapping again and again simply keeps adding overdub layers. If you tap and hold the footswitch, however, it acts as an undo/redo function so that you can add and subtract your last overdub. If you want to stop the loop from playing, you have to double-tap the footswitch. After the loop has stopped playing, a subsequent tap will start the loop again. If you want to clear the loop, you can hold the footswitch down after it has been stopped, although this will cause the loop to play for a second before it is cleared. If you want to clear the loop without the second of playing, then you have to hold down the last tap when you double-tap to stop. None of this is intuitive, but its not too difficult to master with a bit of tinkering.
The Wally looper records at 44.1 KHz, which is considered “CD Quality” and is on par with the most popular loopers currently available from Boss and Digitech (09/2014). If you’re a real audiophile and/or plan to use your looper for studio recording, you can get slightly better sound from the TC Electronic Ditto and Ditto X2, as well as the Pigtronix Infinity, all of which record at 48 kHz. Of course, those loopers are all significantly larger.
The Wally Looper did seem to add a barely perceptible hiss to my amp which was noticeable when not playing. Granted, my cables are probably overdue for replacement, but swapping out my Ditto X2 for the Wally did seem to add some noise that wasn’t as pronounced as before. I tried it again the next day and the hiss seemed about the same with or without the Wally looper. On a third test, I noticed the Wally made an existing faint hiss a bit more perceptible. My conclusion is that the Wally looper either adds a faint hiss and/or amplifies any noise upstream. These tests were all done in bypass mode. By the way, the Wally looper has digital buffered bypass circuitry. There are pros and cons to true bypass and buffered bypass. If you’re not familiar with the differences, here is an explanation of buffered bypass circuitry and its uses.
The Wally looper is a ton of fun to have on your pedalboard because of its tiny size. It always sparks smiles and conversation, and will certainly suit the needs of most guitarists just looking to lay down a backing track and jam away.