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Z. Vex Lo-Fi Loop Junky (Zvex)


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All Z. Vex pedals are hand painted and hand assembled, and each is unique. The pedal you purchase may vary in appearance from this stock photo.


The Lo-Fi Loop Junky is really low fidelity… the recording of your guitar is filled with hiss, moan, distortion and warped-record strangeness, but everyone will be able to tell the loop from your real guitar. Because the processing of your direct guitar is done with Zvex's bootstrap circuit. With the very highest impedance circuit Zvex has ever developed (even higher than the super hard-on circuit) your direct guitar will have detail incomparable with anything you’ve ever heard. The juxtaposition of your direct guitar against the smashed, distorted, shimmering/warbling recording of the loop mechanism will make it clear once and for all who is the guitarist and what is the machinery. There are distinct advantages and disadvantages to this tiny, battery-saving device. You may only record one loop. There is no sound-on-sound available with this technology for now. But, if you unplug your cables, take out the battery, and bury it for a hundred years, the last loop you recorded will still be there when you drag yourself out of the grave and plug it in for the centennial resurrection gig. That’s because it uses really bizarre technology that literally crams analog signals into static digital storage cells without a-to-d conversion. That’s right… THERE IS NO ANALOG TO DIGITAL CONVERSION. It’s pure analog storage, just like the old bucket-brigade technology, for 20 seconds straight. It would take 25 800ms analog delay pedals to hold the loop that this thing can play. For those of you who know how an a-to-d converter works: Inside the big fat chip, the voltage of the analog signal is sampled thousands of times per second and stored in sample-and-hold cells. The voltages of these individual cells are transferred using a horrifying silicon machine that squirts charge (something like a caulk-gun) into digital storage cells normally designed to hold ones and zeros. When the circuitry decides that the voltage in the cell is close enough to the sampled voltage (who can predict?) it moves on to do it again. It’s like some kind of electronic Russian roulette, where the recording may or may not be accurate when compared with the original, but at least no computer ever puts its paws on the signal. Dig? There are no computers and no a-to-d conversion chips in this pedal! How does it sound? Some people compare it to a warped, damaged 45-rpm record. Some say that the compression is immaculate, while some say it destroys any concept of the original dynamic. Some say that the noise is intolerable… some say it’s as precious as snow in the middle of nowhere. Some people have no taste. Luckily, taste is not the issue. Your direct guitar will sound impeccable. The loop may not sound good… you’ll have to make some adjustments to your concept of “good” to be sure of that. The loop will be different from any sampler you’ve heard.

What it does and features it has: 1] Records up to 20 seconds of your performance.
2] Allows you to initiate and finish a recording at any moment with a stomp switch, when activated.
3] Begins looping a few thousandths of a second after the record process is finished.
4] Remembers your loop even when unplugged or with the battery removed, for up to 100 years.
5] Has true bypass.
6] The true-bypass switch initiates loop playback from the sample’s beginning at any time.
7] Has vibrato with speed and depth controls, allowing a vibrato/chorus/Leslie-like shimmer.
8] Has very slow vibrato speed for warped-record effects, to very fast for jiggly playback.
9] Has real clocked-analog recording with no analog-to-digital conversion.
10] Records using velvety compression for a smooth organ-like sound.
11] Allows overdriven recording of storage cells using ‘record level’ control.
12] Has a tone control that rolls off hiss and other annoying artifacts for burbling, mellow samples.
13] Has hiss! Lots of it! It’s analog, remember, with no noise-reduction, and it’s lo-fi.
14] Has very limited frequency response. Nothing above 2.6 kHz. Brick-wall filtering.
15] Has a safety-switch to protect a favorite sample from being recorded over accidentally.
16] Plays back at any volume, louder than your direct guitar if you wish.
17] Has a gorgeously transparent guitar preamp built-in to give your direct guitar a glistening finish.
18] Really small footprint, like a fuzz factory.
19] Draws as little as 2 mA from the battery when in bypass mode, and about 12 mA when activated.
20] Smells great.
21] Features aliasing artifacts, distortion, hiss, out-of-tune effects, strange behavior, and long battery life.
22] Allows loop erasure during bypass, resulting in a looping hiss sample.
23] Never sounds like what you played into it. Always alters the original tone and dynamics.
24] No learning curve! Five simple knobs, two stomp-switches for bypass and record, and a safety switch.
25] Has simple LED status indicator. Lights up solid while recording, blinks once at the end of every loop. Stops in bypass mode.

What it does NOT do: 1] No sound-on-sound. No multiple layers, no overdubbing, just one simple loop.
2] No digital crispness. No dynamic preservation. No high-end detail except on direct guitar. No hi-fi.
3] No reverse playback. Sorry. the analog recorder chip won’t play backwards.

The controls: The buttons:
Vol: loop volume. Gets really loud if you need it.
Tone: cuts noise and distortion. Makes the final sound of the loop rolled off and organ-like if necessary.
Rec: record volume. You can decide how loud to drive the recorder… to overdrive if you like.
Depth: vibrato depth. Adjust for the level of pitch twisting that makes you happy.
Speed: vibrato speed. Adjust for the speed that spins the sound around in a way that fits the music.
On the left: bypass. When you kick this in, the loop starts playing. When you kick it out, you have true-bypass, pure silence, just like all other Z.Vex effects. On the right: the record switch. Hit this just as you start recording a new loop. Switch it off on the exact same beat when you finish recording your loop. If you’ve made a mistake, quickly hit it twice so you can hear the gentle hiss of nothingness instead of your bad loop. You can defeat this switch with the safety switch located between the two vibrato knobs. You will record silence if you hit the record button while the pedal is true-bypassed. At the top right: the safety switch. This tiny switch lets you save a favorite loop so you won’t accidentally erase it, no matter what condition you might be in while stumbling over your pedal.