DigiTech JamMan Solo XT Phrase Sampler/Looper Pedal Review
Meet the DigiTech JamMan Solo XT Phrase Sampler / Looper Pedal
A Brief Description of the Pedal
The DigiTech JamMan Solo XT pedal is a bit more than your average looper pedal. It has 200 internal memory locations with the capability of storing a total of 35 minutes of internal recording capacity and a slot for a micro SD card (up to 32GB), where you may store an additional 200 loops with up to 32 hours of material.
It also features input and output connections called the Jam Sync which allows you to hook it up to other Digitech products for the purpose of synchronizing them all. You could even sync two JamMan pedals with each other. That works great for situations where you may want to have one use stored loops and the other for loops you create right on the spot.
The unit includes an aux input that lets you import music from CD and MP3 players. You can also slow down or speed up any loop without changing pitch. There is a USB port that allows you to connect it to a computer and use the JamManager Loop Librarian software to organize and archive your loops. It comes with a power supply and a small printed manual.
Very Simple to Use for Live Performance
This pedal is so easy to use for live performance purposes. This was the one biggest plus to me. For a long time I have been wanting to work drum and bass backing tracks into my live performance as a solo artist. But I did not want to bring a drum machine or an MP3 player or CD player to do that. This pedal is really the easiest solution in my book. That’s because the pedal itself is so easy to hook up, it’s compact and very easy to use.
The simplicity in its use for live performance revolves around the fact that it has a foot switch jack where you can hook up a DigiTech FS3X Foot Switch. The DigiTech FS3X Foot Switch allows you to go from loop to loop by pressing the up and down buttons with your foot. The DigiTech FS3X Foot Switch sells for about $40 to $50, depending on where you purchase it from. I got one for free with the purchase of another Digitech product.
Another reason this unit is great for live performance is the fact that it has a lot of storage capacity both internally and externally with the use of a micro SD card. It allows me to store all of the loops I would need to use for an entire night of playing. You could even bring multiple SD cards with you. You could potentially have much more storage capacity than you could possibly need for an entire night just by having more than one SD card with loops stored on them.
Many Options for Creating and Storing Loops
There are so many ways you could create loops for and with this pedal. First of all, you can store loops in the form of WAV files. Using the JamManager Loop Librarian software, you could transfer those WAV files from your computer to the device through a USB connection. That alone creates so many possibilities.
One of the things I do is create a drum loop with the use of an old version of Fruity Loops software. It was an old version that I got for free years ago with the purchase of a Creative Labs Sound Blaster sound card. It was a scaled down version of the program but still has a lot of useful features. One of those very useful features was the ability to create loops and export them as WAV or MP3 files. It also allows you to import various WAV files to be used in the creation of the loops. I actually did samples from my old Roland R-5 drum machine and used them to create drum loops. So the quality of the drum sounds was just as good as what was in my drum machine.
After I created some drum loops in Fruity Loops, I added them to the library in the JamManager Loop Librarian software and transferred them to the JamMan pedal. The quality of the WAV files used was CD quality. Since it was merely a transfer of files, there was absolutely no loss in sound fidelity. It was still CD quality after the transfer of the files.
Even though I prefer to create most of my loops on the PC and transfer them to the JamMan, you still have the option of creating the loops the old fashioned way of playing a phrase directly into the JamMan pedal. You even have the option called Auto Record. That means that you could set it to begin recording only when you start playing into it. That’s a great feature because it prevents you from screwing up by not pushing the button at the right time to begin recording. Believe me, I've done that more than enough times.
Having the ability to store loops makes things easier in the sense that you don’t have to worry about accidentally recording a bad loop in a live situation. You could make it so that you have pre-recorded loops that are perfect. The only thing you will have to worry about then, for a live performance, is making sure that you are selecting the right loop and turning it on or off at the right time. Sure, you could still potentially screw that up but that mistake would not be as likely, unless you are completely confused as to how the pedal is used or if you are totally uncoordinated and miss the buttons when you are supposed to hit them with your foot. Or, maybe you’ve had a bit too much to drink at the gig. You really shouldn’t do that. Just saying.
Downloading, Installing and Using the JamManager Loop Librarian Software
Using the JamManager Loop Librarian software is relatively easy. It is compatible with Windows 32 and 64 bit operating systems as well as Mac OS X. I use it on my old Windows 7 laptop and it runs great. I can’t vouch for how it runs on a Mac, since I don’t own one. I’m a PC guy and I always have been.
The software is not included in the box. You have to go to Digitech.com and download it. You just click on the support tab and scroll down the page to find the link to the software available for download. All of the versions available (Mac and Windows versions) will be listed on the page it takes you to. Installing it is very easy on a PC.
One thing you will want to do is to connect your pedal, via USB, to the computer you are installing it one while you are installing the software. I didn’t on my first attempt and, as a result, the pedal was not recognized by my computer. I ran the installation program again, while the unit was plugged in and it recognized it and properly installed the drivers for it. Ever since then, the computer has not had any problems at all recognizing the device when plugged into the USB port.
If you have any problems at all using the software, there is a Help option on the main menu of the program that will take you to a web page where you can look up what you need help on. I did that once I started having trouble figuring something out. So you have to have Internet connectivity on the computer you are using the program on if you want to use the Help feature. Most of it I was actually able to figure out on my own just by poking around. I did not refer to the Help feature until I ran into my first problem.
To Sum it All Up
I love this pedal. I don’t generally do reviews on things I don’t like. So the fact that I did a review on this is sort of an indication that I was impressed by it. I have no problems recommending it. It retails for about $129, but the price will obviously vary depending upon where you purchase it. I purchased mine online from a site that does not charge sales tax for New Jersey residents and has free shipping. So I did not pay one cent more than the previously mentioned $129.
I have a lot of plans for this pedal and I am sure, as I use it, I will discover more possibilities for its use. I think it has more capabilities than some looping pedals that are much pricier. Given that fact, I think it is well worth the money spent. I could go into even more detail on this pedal but the article would then be ridiculously long. So I hope I have given enough information to help you in determining as to whether or not it would be right for you.
© 2017 Bob Craypoe