Digitech Jamman Express XT Review

Editor’s Rating
Rating

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Summary

Pros: Intuitive operation, unlimited overdubbing, stereo ins and outs, “Silent Clear” function and the ability to multi-track loop with more than one Express (or Solo) XT connected together. Just set master/slave as desired and the loops automatically sync.
Cons: Not enough features to compete with other loopers; lack of internal memory locations or USB support; additional features like time-stretching, quantize, stop modes, reverse playback, aux inputs and MIDI would all make it better.
Overall: An affordable looper which is easy to use, but not packing the memory, features or additional footswitches you’ll find on bigger and more expensive units.

Full Review

DigiTech’s famous JamMan series of loopers has a new addition. The Express XT is a stripped-down looper, a simplistic model more easily comparable to the TC Ditto than to any previous stompbox-size JamMan models. For devout DigiTech supporters, the ability to connect multiple Express XTs together for multi-track looping may be a big selling point. Although the feature was also included on the Solo XT, the Express is cheaper, so it has the potential to be the first real taste of this feature for many loopers. Its small size and relatively limited functionality may be a concern for dedicated loopers, though, so it’s a good idea to see what it has to offer before you part way with your cash.

Feature-Laden or Too Stripped-Down?

The JamMan Express XT is pretty small – measuring just 4.5 inches long, 2.75 inches wide and 2 inches tall – but that doesn’t have to mean a compromise on the features on offer. The design is simple enough to be operated pretty much immediately by anybody with some looping experience. The central footswitch handles all of the core functions – recording, playing and overdubbing being the main three – and the single dedicated dial controls the level of the unit. There are three traffic-light colored LEDs to ensure you know what the unit is up to at a glance.

For inputs and outputs, the Express XT offers what you need without many of the additional options you’ll find on the larger loopers. The unit has 1/4 inch stereo inputs and outputs (the left jack serving as the mono option), a slot for the optional power supply (the unit otherwise running from a 9V battery) and two 1/8 inch jacks for the “JamSync” in and out. In short, this means you can plug in, send the output to the remainder of your signal chain and set the unit up as a master or a slave if you’re connecting multiple units together. There is no MIDI, no USB support and no auxiliary in – three useful features that you’d expect on a bigger unit.

The Express XT offers 10 minutes of stereo looping time – which is double that offered by the unit’s natural competitor (the TC Ditto), but less than a third of what is offered by the Solo XT. In addition – unlike on any other JamMan pedal – there are no internal memories, so your 10 minutes is literally all you have. You can overdub an unlimited amount of times, of course, and unless you need pre-prepared loops for a live show it’s unlikely to present much of an issue.

Digitech Jamman Express XT ReviewIf you make a mistake – and believe me, in the midst of a looping marathon there will be plenty – there is the expected undo/redo feature so you don’t have to scrap your entire loop. This can also be useful if you have an additional layer of sound you want to build in for some specific play-throughs of the loop but take out for others. One issue arising from the limited memory is that if your original loop is more than five minutes long and you add an overdub of the same length, it’s immediately combined with the original recording and you can’t undo or subsequently redo it. Realistically though, unless you’re laying down a full song with no repetition (or an absolutely epic looping masterpiece) you won’t run up against this issue.

One of the new features of the Express XT is the “Silent Clear,” which enables you to erase the entire loop without having to set it playing first. This is a great addition for live players, basically meaning that you first stop loop playback (giving the footswitch a double-tap) and then hold the footswitch down for two seconds to clear the current phrase. The red LED flashes to let you know the process has been completed. If you hold the pedal down for two seconds during playback, the previous overdub will be undone or redone.

The big selling-point of the unit is the continuation of the Jam Sync functionality introduced with the Solo XT. If you and the other guitarist in your band (or indeed, the bassist or keyboard player) also has an Express XT (or a Solo), you can connect your units together for synchronized looping. This makes it easier than ever to have the tonal core of your song set on loop so you can build up incredibly complex compositions. In addition, if you’re willing to pay out for more than one Express XT, you have a multi-track looper at your feet, and you’re free to set either unit as the master or slave. In addition, you can also set the slave to record when the master unit reaches the end of the currently playing loop, or have it automatically start recording after you’ve finished playing into the master unit. It might seem expensive, but technically speaking it’d be cheaper to spring for five Express XTs than a single five-track Boss RC-505.

Does it Stand Up to the Competition?

The limited size and affordable price make the unit less of an investment than most of its competitors and extremely easy to use (press once to record, another press to playback your loop, and another press to overdub), but it also means there are some compromises on features. Namely, you don’t get things like rhythm tracks, time-stretching, quantization, reverse playback or different stop modes, as well as the luxury of a second pedal for stopping, clearing and undoing.

The bare-bones features on the Express XT work just as expected, though. There is a minor element of pedal tap-dancing on occasion, when you’re stopping and clearing a loop before starting another, for example, but generally speaking you can focus on your playing and let the Express XT do its job. If you’re clumsy or have big feet, you may find yourself catching the volume dial from time to time, but other than that the looper is an absolute breeze to use.

Of course, the CD-quality audio and true bypass mean that the Express XT sounds as good as your axe and gear setup will allow, so the decision really comes down to want you want out of a looper. If you want a hardware-based practicing or songwriting companion for some at-home rocking, then it’s a potential winner, especially because of the reasonable price-tag and the easy operation. Additionally, for live musicians who are happy to record all of their loops on the fly, this could be an excellent option, especially if you have bandmates who are considering the purchase too. However, this unit really isn’t designed for much of the looping market – the dedicated looper looking for ultimate control and plenty of recording space for their favorite compositions.

Overall

If you’ve never purchased a looper pedal before, and you’re looking for something to have a bit of fun with that doesn’t require a freaking degree in electronic engineering to successfully operate, then this could well be the unit for you. Otherwise, the paucity of features and the better options available on the market (for example, the Solo XT has many of the same benefits in a slightly more feature-laden package) means that you’re better off looking elsewhere. It might cost you a little more, but if you’re serious about looping (particularly if you want to do it for more than 10 minutes and occasionally save some stuff) it’s worth getting a fully-featured unit instead.

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Jamman Express XT Demo

Digitech Jamman Express XT Review4Peter2015-05-10 02:06:14DigiTech’s famous JamMan series of loopers has a new addition. The Express XT is a stripped-down looper, a simplistic model more easily comparable to the TC Ditto than to any previous stompbox-size JamMan models. For devout DigiTech supporters, the ability to connect multiple Express XTs together for multi-track looping may be a big selling point. Although the feature was also included on the Solo XT, the Express is cheaper, so it has the potential to be the first real taste of this feature for many loopers. Its small size and relatively limited functionality may be a concern for dedicated loopers, though, so it’s a good idea to see what it has to offer before you part way with your cash.

31 thoughts on “Digitech Jamman Express XT Review

  1. I’ve seen some comments regarding power supply issues with Digitech products if you don’t use their proprietary power supplies. If I were to use a Danelectrode Power Supply, for example, do you think this would be an issue? Thx.

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    Feedback: 1 positive, 1 negative
    • Tom from DigiTech here, we no longer use proprietary power supplies. The JamMan Express is DC, you just need to make sure your PSU can provide 250mA.

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      Feedback: 14 positive
      • I just demo-ed the JMan Express and I have to warn everyone – I own a dtto and I use it on a pedalboard with 8 other pedals, I use an MXR DC brick and I have NO noise problems – I swapped out the Ditto for the JMan Express and was STUNNED by all the NOISE !! – the JM Express was useless on my pedalboard !!! – I’m guess I’ll have to stick with the Ditto… Sorry Digitech, I was looking forward to using the JamMan EXPRESS BUT – ” no can do”.

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        Feedback: 10 positive, 1 negative
      • Hi,

        I am a little lost now. Your manual says:
        POWER ADAPTER
        Model: PS0913DC
        Input: 100 VAC-240 VAC, 50/60 Hz
        Output: 9 VDC 1.3 A

        Now you suggest any 9V DC power supply providing 250mA will do?

        What is the mA range you recommend? Anything between 250 and 1300 mA?

        Thanks

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        Feedback: 5 positive, 1 negative
  2. How seamless is it to stop a loop? I’ve read that a lot of loopers (like TC Ditto) will either keep playing for a few seconds after you try to turn a loop off or there will be an audible gap. I’m hoping to do fairly simple looping for solos and such but I want to do it live and seamlessly. Thanks!

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    Feedback: 1 positive
    • I am finding no gap .. however,this was after figuring out that it’s the UP of the bottom push that provides the timing. Also, it broke after about 6 weeks .. and the lack of quantition makes it INSANE to try and nail timing … a total no-go for a live situation … so, luckily I bought an extra shop-based warranty … I’m taking it back … spending a LOT more (unfortunately) and buying a pro pedal.

      Rating
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      Feedback: 4 positive, 1 negative
  3. I just bought two units, and I can get them both to loop without gaps (independently, and in tandem). Just needed to get used to the timing, but that will be true with any looper.

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    Feedback: 6 positive
  4. it lacks the AUTO function, that starts recording when you start playing.

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    Feedback: 3 positive, 1 negative
  5. Just tried my new Jam Man express…. When I go to record my loop, it nearly doubles the output for some odd reason.. ( acting like a boost pedal)..If anyone knows why this is happening, let me know… Prob going to send it back otherwise.

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    Feedback: 6 positive, 1 negative
    • Im having the same volume problem when hitting the record button. I really like the rest of the pedal but i cant perform live with volume boosting everytime i hit record. Prehaps its a faulty one.

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      Feedback: 4 positive
    • I am having the same issue. As soon as I press record volume doubles at least. Has anyone figured this out?

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      Feedback: 2 positive
      • Thathappened to me also, but when I turned the volume to about 12:00, it worked out fine.

        But, I have another problem. All of a sudden, all the lights started flashing and I couldn’t get them to stop unless I unplugged the guitar cords. It’s happened more than once so I unplugged it to finish the gig. Any insights?

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        Feedback: 4 positive
      • I have the same problem with increasing of volume, wjen Jamman Express XT is not in the bypass mode. I´m going to send it back..

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        Feedback: 1 negative
    • I can’t comment on the XT, but for what it’s worth I had the same problem with my TC Ditto – had to send it back. And to make it even more baffling – it only doubled the volume on 5 of my 8 guitars. All 4 strats and 1 Takamine acoustic doubled in volume, but my other Takamine acoustic and 2 Fender acoustics worked fine. Figure that one out! To clarify – it was not the pre-recorded loop that played back too loud (there is a level control for that) – but rather the live guitar signal as you hit the switch to record. Kinda makes you wonder if TC & Digitech are both buying parts from the same inconsistent electronics parts house.

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      Feedback: 3 positive
      • I had the same volume problem – the guitar volume dramatically increases when entering record mode. I think this may be an impedance matching issue. The problem is evident on my Guild with a D-Tar undersaddle transducer but not on my other guitar with an LRBaggs Lyric microphone type pickup. When I use a PARA DI with the JamMan Express, the problem seems to stop.

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  6. I use the Express XT for live acoustic guitar sets and am very pleased with its performance. It took me about about two hours to figure it out, but once I got it down, i was pretty impressed. Seamless looping, excellent volume output, and the 9V battery option sold me on this one. I haven’t experienced any noise problems with mine, i play through a 2×12, with an adapter and it sounds great…although, the Express is the only pedal I use so I can’t comment on how it behaves on a pedalboard. Overall, the simplicity of this pedal has made my day, it’s perfect for live acoustic shows when you want to show off some real skills!!!

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    Feedback: 2 positive
  7. My JamMan Express XT was perfect for the first two days while. The Undo feature stopped working (!!!). And sometimes the playback keeps playing after I command it to stop. No noise – it is clean for me. (I only use three pedals.) It will loop any noise from other pedals – you can expect that. With all the mistakes I make, I really would rely on the Undo feature. Too bad this box only worked for two days. I liked the simple design – but not a trust worthy device for live settings.

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    Feedback: 3 positive
    • exactly the same with me .. worked for about a month .. no, won’t undo second loop .. have to press/hold and wipe the WHOLE recording… taking it back .. my shop will give $ back ..

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  8. Update–> Problem: With an “Archer Universal AC Adapter” it did not work 100%[9.0V Input 120V 60Hz 8W / Output DC300mA], Undo feature would not work. Playback would continue. ** Solution: use Boss AC Adaptor model PSA-120T [Input AC 120V 60Hz 9W / Output DC 9.6V 200mA]. I’m back to lovimg my JamMan Express XT! ** In a two almost-acoustic guitar, dou/trio setting this device is great.

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    Feedback: 4 positive
  9. Im trying to figure out if i need to take mine back for a refund as i was using it, everything was fine, when all of a sudden the lights all started flashing and it simply stopped working… Whats that all about?

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    Feedback: 3 positive
    • If all lights are flashing continuously, it may just indicate you need to change the battery. If that doesn’t fix the problem, I recommend that you take it back for an exchange. Normally the lights briefly flash to let you know when an overdub is done or undone, to let you know your pedal is in slave mode, etc. It shouldn’t stop working though.

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      Feedback: 2 positive, 1 negative
  10. The thing is brand new, but every time i plug a guitar in it does the same.

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    Feedback: 1 positive, 1 negative
  11. folks… you have a very serious problem going down. I love your company, bought some of your very first products years ago (still have a Vocalist.. still works fine) … but I’m taking this one back, and the next step up in your product line is TWICE what the competition charges for the same features. Unfortunately, Long and McQuade doesn’t deal with them, so I’ll have to dig around, but we are rehearsing NOW, so .. gotta do what we gotta do … show must go on. However, if you can get the thing to work … it would be a great product. Good luck .. hope you can fix it.

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  12. I got one of these for my birthday and after getting used to using it I fell in love with it but the day after i gotgo it I go to a play with it after recording a loop the the lights start flashing and it’ll stop working until I unpllug the guitar cable then if I plug it back in when I try to record loop the lights are flashing again and it will not work again.

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    Feedback: 1 positive
    • It could just mean you need to change the battery. If you’re battery is good or you are using an AC Adapter, then your looper might be defective and need to be exchanged.

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      Feedback: 1 negative
  13. I purchased this and at first I really liked it for the simple “one time” loop situation. My application is on stage with an acoustic guitar. If I have to use the same loop phrase again, the delay in starting the loop while still playing is off beat. Very hard to get the timing on a restart of the loop. It has caused me to stop looping in songs that require multiple uses of the same loop.

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    Feedback: 3 positive
  14. I have the Jamman looper with the loop down and loop up foot pedals that are just medal circles. For some reason, none of the lights on the foot pedals are lit up and whenever I try to use it, it doesn’t work. Nothing lights up except for the lights on the top panel and I can’t loop anything. I haven’t done anything with this pedal that could have broken it either. Can anyone tell me if I’m doing something wrong or what’s wrong with it? Thanks

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  15. I just got the optional FS3X foot switch and when I try to use a chord other than the one that came with the foot switch it continuously scrolls through the memory spaces? Are you not able to use any other cable to connect it?Thanks.

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