Electro-Harmonix 22500 Looper Review

Editor’s Rating
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Electro-Harmonix 22500 Looper Review
Amazon: Electro-Harmonix 22500 Dual Stereo Looper
Newegg: Electro-Harmonix 22500 Dual Stereo Looper

Summary

Pros: Dual stereo loops that can be played in parallel or sequentially; mic input.
Cons: No MIDI sync for external drum machines; large footprint.
Overall: The Electro-Harmonix 22500 has everything you need in a looper pedal, so long as you don’t care about MIDI sync and don’t mind a slightly larger footprint.

Full Review

Electro-Harmonix announced its new 22500 dual stereo looper at the NAMM Summer 2015 trade show, and seems to be just what the doctor ordered. As the publisher of this web site, I get a ton of questions from people looking for a looper pedal that can record both guitar and mic input, that has at least two independent loops that can be played both in parallel or sequentially, and with sound quality that’s good enough for recording and/or live performances. For some reason, most of the pedals on the market today simply don’t cut it, although they may have some of these features and be suitable for certain uses. But is the 22500 the pedal we’ve all been waiting for? For many musicians, the answer is a resounding yes.

Putting the 22500 into Context

Let’s begin by putting the Electro-Harmonix 22500 into context. Five to ten years ago, pedal manufacturers were racing to pack looper pedals with features. For example, you had the gargantuan Boss RC-50 Loop Station (predecessor to the RC-300), which was a massive pedal with three independent loops, 99 memory slots, built in drum patterns and backing tracks, MIDI sync, and more… For many guitarists, these huge pedals with all their features were simply too complicated to use, too big to lug around, and too expensive.

TC Electronic changed the game with its Ditto Looper, which was the exact opposite of what Boss and Digitech were doing at the time. The Ditto was simply a one-switch, one-loop, looper with amazing sound quality and a tiny footprint. And people loved it! In fact, it was so successful, that many other manufacturers followed suit and began producing stripped down loopers that basically just recorded one high quality loop so that a guitarist could lay down a backing track, add a few overdubs, and solo over it to his or her heart’s content.

Despite the success of stripped-down, simple-to-use, looper pedals, the pendulum may have swung too far in the direction of simplicity. Many guitarists found themselves wanting more features, but with the same improved sound quality and ease-of-use that attracted people to pedals like the Ditto. With the Electro-Harmonix 22500, we are seeing a return to feature-rich looper pedals with improvements in sound quality over the older, feature-rich loopers. In my opinion, it’s a good thing.

Electro-Harmonix 22500 Features

• Dual stereo loops (2 uncompressed audio tracks)
• Sequential Looping for Verse/Chorus Switching.
• 100 loop banks
• SDHC card slot supports 4GB-32GB cards (8GB card supplies up to 12 hours of recording)
• 16 drum patterns
• Quantize or free form looping
• Octave switch halves or doubles loop speed
• Tap tempo or tempo shift without changing pitch
• Auto trigger function that starts recording when you start playing
• Mic input with phantom power
• Reverse function
• USB port for backup/restore to Mac or PC
• Optional bank up/down foot controller

Electro-Harmonix 225500 Photos

Loop Modes

The Electro-Harmonix 22500 has four loop modes which are set using the Mode Knob. You can adjust the following settings: Loop Lock/Freeform, Quantize, Parallel/Sequential, and 1-Shot. These modes can also interact with each other. Unfortunately, adjusting these modes is far less than intuitive and requires you too read the manual, so don’t think you can just plug in your guitar and go nuts. Undoubtedly, this is where many guitarists may throw up their hands, though its not to difficult to learn how to adjust the settings with a few minutes of reading.

22500 Mode KnobThe Loop Mode Knob allows you to manage all of the settings for the 22500, and here we are discussing the various Loop Settings. Once you are into the Loop Menu, the digital display on the 22500 will show four numbers and/or letters. Adjusting these letters and numbers is what puts the pedal into its different modes.

22500 Loop ScreenBy adjusting the Loop Lock/Freeform mode, you can choose whether or not your loops will be set to equal lengths, or even multiples of equal lengths. You accomplish this by setting the first digit in the Loop menu to either an “L” for Loop Lock Mode, or “F” for Freeform mode.

When set to Loop Lock, Loop B’s length will automatically be set to be equal to Loop A. To use this setting, you would first record a loop into the Loop A slot, and then Loop B will automatically be set to be the same length as loop A. This is useful so that your loops stay perfectly synched when played. Furthermore, you can adjust the Loop Lock mode so that Loop B is .5x, 1x, 2x, or up to 9x the length of Loop A. To change this setting, you adjust the second digit in the display screen when the first digit is an “L” for Loop Lock mode. So, for example, if the first two digits are “L2” (as shown in the picture above), the pedal is in Loop Lock mode and Loop 2 is set to be exactly twice the length of Loop A.

Alternatively, you can set the pedal to Freeform mode so that the loop lengths of Loop A and Loop B will be totally independent of each other. To do this, you adjust the first digit in the loop mode screen to be an “F” instead of an “L.” Adjusting these settings probably sounds more complicated than it is, and you’ll probably be fine setting things up once if you’re averse to reading the manual. The nice thing is that this is a looper pedal that you can explore and experiment with as you get more comfortable using it.

In the quantize settings (adjusted by changing the 3rd digit in the loop mode screen), you can set the looper to quantize loops to exact bar lengths, synchronized to the 22500’s Rhythm. If you’re unfamiliar with quantization, it’s basically just a way of snapping your loop lengths to exact lengths. This is really useful when playing with 2 or more loops because if the loops are not equal lengths, they can obviously get progressively out of synch and create what is known in the DJ world as a “train wreck.” You definitely don’t want that, so the quantize feature is extremely useful unless you have near perfect timing or you’re just recording 1-shots (described below) where slight timing issues aren’t so catastrophic.

By adjusting the Parallel/Sequential mode, you can decide whether the two loops will be played simultaneously or sequentially. For example, if you are recording guitar into both loops, you may want to record one loop for the chorus and a different loop for the verse. In this setting, when you tap the Loop B footswitch it turns off Loop A and plays Loop B. You can then tap the Loop A footswitch to turn off Loop B and play Loop A. Alternatively, you can set the loops to play in parallel, allowing Loops A and B to play at the same time. For example, you may record guitar into Loop A and your voice into Loop B. You can then turn either loop on or off by tapping the appropriate footswitch.

Lastly, in 1-Shot mode, the loop audio is played one time through and then stops. Your loops will not continue looping in this setting.

No MIDI Sync

Noticeably missing on the Electro-Harmonix 22500 is MIDI sync capabilities. For many guitarists, this isn’t really a deal breaker considering all you get packed into the 22500 already. Still, some musicians, including myself, like creating their own drum loops and it would be nice to sync this pedal up. So why didn’t Electro-Harmonix include MIDI sync and make this the ultimate looper? My guess is that they didn’t want to make the much larger Electro-Harmonix 45000 obsolete just yet, and perhaps wanted to keep the pedal at a lower price point than, for example, the Pigtronix Infinity which does have MIDI sync. So, if you aren’t experimenting with making your own drum loops, the 22500 is pretty hard to beat.

Electro-Harmonix 22500 Looper Review
Amazon: Electro-Harmonix 22500 Dual Stereo Looper
Newegg: Electro-Harmonix 22500 Dual Stereo Looper

Electro-Harmonix 22500 Looper Demo

Electro-Harmonix 22500 Looper Review4.5Peter2016-03-12 06:10:10The Electro-Harmonix 22500 dual stereo looper was announced at NAMM 2015 and seems to be the pedal many people have been requesting. For example, it has two stereo loops that can be played either in parallel or sequentially for verse/chorus switching. Plus it has a mic input with phantom power and built in drum patters. These features alone take it to the top of many guitarists wish lists. It has just enough features to do about everything you could want in a looper pedal, without becoming a monstrosity on your pedal board. Check Amazon Price…

26 thoughts on “Electro-Harmonix 22500 Looper Review

  1. Excellent pre release review Thank you! if it had midi,and a headphone socket it would be perfecto for me personally, however the amazing flexibility with those 2 stereo loops is a winner at this price.

    Can you comment any further on the raw sound 16 bit 44.1 sound quality?I have the excellent ditto 2 if it’s as perceivably good as it’s 24 bit s q then that will be awesome indeed.

    Did you find this review helpful? Yes   No

    Feedback: 14 positive, 3 negative
    • Hey James. I haven’t used a Ditto 2, but compared to my Boss RC-2, and my old RC-20, the sound quality is much, much better. I’m extremely happy with the sound quality of the 22500.

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      Feedback: 14 positive, 2 negative
      • Really great to hear your endorsment on the sound quality of the 22500 there Mike, appreciate you sharing that with me/us thank you!!!!

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        Feedback: 4 positive, 4 negative
    • Bought one. It’s going back. The erase function and clipping control didn’t work. The mode switch worked part of the time. Loops on A side would stop for no apparent reason. Basically a paper weight. No response from Electro Harmonix despite calling several times a day for a week.

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      Feedback: 16 positive, 1 negative
  2. I got it a few days ago and its going back. The menus are too cumbersome and the quantize feature is no good if you have to dig through menus and know how many bars your loop needs to be. That’s just ridiculous when the boss rc20xl which is several years old, automatically quantizes your loops AFTER you record it and sets the beat to the appropriate speed. Sound quality is good, although setting the levels of loop playback and input gain can be very touchy. My main problem with it is the menu system though. Way too entailed… You have to dig through menus to set the volume of the rhythm. I had high hopes but overall poor execution and not a good solution for live playing.

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    Feedback: 26 positive, 4 negative
  3. A question: It seems to me that 22500 doesn’t have the option to record both thru mic and instrument input at the same time. Am I right?

    To clarify: if i have a guitar and a mic plugged in, can I first record a loop with the guitar and then (or simultaneously) record a vocal line (without flipping the mic/inst switch)?

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    Feedback: 4 positive
    • Pat, Yes you can… Not sure if you have purchased it yet, but that seemed confusing to me too before I saw a specific review (I forget which) that cleared it up for me. One of the inputs is only for a 1/4”, and the other can be 1/4” or xlr.

      I have since returned it for other reasons (see above), mainly the menu system and its controls are cumbersome, and the quantize feature takes planning instead of being automatic.

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      Feedback: 6 positive
      • JF1, thanks for your answer! I didn’t purchase it yet and I doubt I will – you named the main issues. But knowing that using mic and guitar at the same is possible makes it a bit more appealing.

        I do regret the quantize feature is usually so complicated in loopers. I think Boomerang might have the best system for that, but it costs a lot and is not available in my country. Any other suggestions?

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        Feedback: 2 positive, 2 negative
      • Hello, I purchased the 22500 a few weeks ago and I love it for guitar, but now starting to use it with a mic. The switch on the back lets us choose instrument OR mic. This deems the mic basically unusable as I always play guitar. How did you manage to get both working at the same time? Thanks!

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  4. I’ve had mine for a couple of days, and I’ll agree with JF1 – the menu system is cumbersome. However, after spending a night using the pedal alongside the instructions, I feel much more comfortable navigating the menu. I haven’t played with the quantize feature much (that’s more of an in-studio thing for me), but I’ve been using the loop-lock function and it works really well. Basically, whatever length loop A is, the pedal will automatically cut loop B to match. This means your two loop tracks won’t go out of sync on you, which is a huge issue I’ve had in the past. You can also set it so that loop B can be a multiple of loop A (x .5/2/4/etc.). For example, say I have a repetitious picking part. I only need to record a bar of that. But say the bass line I want to loop is four bars. Instead of having to record four bars of the picking, I can record one bar of that, then set loop B to 4x that length so that it’ll give me exactly 4x times the length of loop A to record on loop B. All said and done, you have a short loop on A, and longer loop on B, and the loop-lock function keeps them both synced. It works really, really well. I’m also loving the fact that if you’re half-way though a loop on A, and you hit the switch for loop B, it starts the loop at the same position as loop A – meaning you’re not starting loop B at the beginning half-way through loop A. The octave and reverse functions work well, although I’m not sure how often I’ll use them.

    Anyways… the 22500 is absolutely the type of pedal you will have to learn to use. If you just try to start using it out of the box you’ll be lost. To be honest, I’m still a little lost and there are some quirks I’m trying to sort out (not sure if it’s the pedal or me!). One other thing I should mention to players who are tight for space on their boards – the SD card and switches on the back stick out about a quarter of an inch. They’re small and fragile. Make sure you don’t cram the pedal into your board somewhere they could be damaged.

    If you have questions, feel free to ask and I’ll respond if I know the answer.

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    Feedback: 14 positive
  5. The 22500 arrived on Wednesday. As with any new toy, i have been playing with it for approximately 5 hours a day. In the first day, it wasn’t so fun. The primary reason being because i wanted to try to get started without knowing much about operation from the manual. Here i have to say, the manual is very important as it will guide you through most operations. On day two, things got a lot more exciting as I finally got the hang of using the looper and things got very fun. I’m a percussionist and play mainly hand played drums of all sorts. I purchased this unit for live stage play. Once you learn how to queue the loop and use the all the buttons, it becomes a whole lot easier. one tip i have is, to ensure you stay in time, choose one of the preset drum loops, then turn down the volume of the drum loop and the rhythm and tap buttons will stay on and act as a silent metronome. i love the fact that it has an xlr connection with mic trim, gain input control, and phantom power. The build quality and sound quality are great. for those that want to use their own drum loops and wanted the midi-sync function, one work around that is that you can create your own drum loops and copy them to the existing drum loops bank and take them wherever you like. i also purchased the additional foot switch as it allows you to flip through the loop banks, although that’s its only function. So if you don’t need to flip through the loop banks on stage then you can just bob down and change it on the spot. i love this looper and would recommend it to anyone.

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    Feedback: 13 positive, 1 negative
  6. How does this compare to the Boss RC-30? They seem to have similar features but the Boss has some effects (which I don’t really need) but it’s 4 years old. I’d like to choose one or the other soon.

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    Feedback: 3 positive
  7. I have seen some video reviews of EHX 22500.I like at lot because of the reverse features that i like so much.
    I have some questions before deciding to buy it.
    I see is not simple and fast programming it for quantize-mode ecc ecc.
    For me is not a problem because when we are in studio we can lose time for programming it.
    But i’ll use it also for live performance so I want to set as fast as possible.
    the questions are:
    Could I save loops in bank slots with personalized quantization sets and all the other parameters so when switching from a banks to another I can recall them automatically?
    If not when I imort WAv. from a Pc could set them in order to the EHX recognise the number of beats per bar so I can avoid to set the quantization everytime I switch from banks loops?
    Switching from banks to banks is immediate or it add little delay?

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    Feedback: 1 positive, 1 negative
  8. I was so excited to buy this pedal. It seemed like the exact thing I was waiting for to push my 1-man-band to the next level. As I eagerly awaited its arrival, I downloaded and read the user’s manual. Straight out of the box, the MODE/VAL knob doesn’t work. It makes the light flash when you push it, but won’t change the value. Like a reviewer above said, basically a paper weight. And when you call for customer service, you leave a message that goes unanswered. Better to try your luck with a different company/pedal.

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    Feedback: 6 positive, 1 negative
    • Once you push the button to get it flashing, did you push it again to change the value? I didn’t notice that at first but that’s how it works.

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      Feedback: 2 positive
  9. One feature that needs to be on more loopers is solid midi sync support. Many people want to play to an external click or drum pattern but there will of course always be drift no matter how good your timing.

    I love my super simple Ditto for 99% of looping (and I’ve had most of the Boss ones over the years) but it seems the only looper that’s got a reputation for being truly solid on MIDI sync is the Pigtronix Infinity.

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    Feedback: 6 positive
  10. Although this looper doesn’t have midi sync , it does have the facility to load another 84 drum loops as rhythm tracks from the PC . This can be performed with a card reader or by connecting the unit to the PC with a USB cable. Full instructions can be found at the back of the manual. ( p36 ).

    Using the looper with your own loops this way has to be more reliable than midi sync , although a small amount of effort is required to load the rhythm loops.

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    Feedback: 6 positive
  11. Can anyone answer my question here? Is there a designated way to undo a loop, if so please let me know. Also, would it be recommended to get the other pedal that comes with it?

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    • The 22500 allows for one level of undo and redo

      Press and hold the footswitch associated with
      the loop for which you wish to perform undo. For example, hold down the LOOP
      A FSW for 1.5 seconds, after which the display shows “undo” or “redo”. At this
      point undo or redo has been carried out on Loop A

      Undo and redo are only available at the
      time you are creating the loop

      Taken from the manual

      As I understand the footswitch only scrolls up/down thru saved loops called banks,future revisions may incorporate new features
      so a limited foot pedal but a very capable unit out the box I don’t own it as of yet.

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  12. …and the worst part is when you’re playing and want to erase a loop on the fly…simply you can’t do that with your foots but you must scroll through the menu searching for the erase fuction…doing that with your hands…That’s the best way to complicate your life on the stage…Do they really think before launching a product like that?

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    Feedback: 3 positive, 1 negative
      • Yes it’s true. I wrote to Ehx in order to understand how to delete a loop on the fly because the manual wasn’t so clear and they told me via mail that the only way to do that is by scrolling the menu manually looking for the erase function. No fsw erase option. That’s a good reason for not buying a looper like that at least for me.

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        Feedback: 7 positive
  13. I’m looking for a loop station for live use. (sorry for my English mistakes), I’ve seen Boss RC 30 and electro 22500. Could you say them differences and what is better for live use?

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  14. I have owned both the Boss RC 30 and the Electro Harmonix 22500. I liked the RC 30 box, but I had to return it and get the EHX 22500 because the RC 30 does not allow asynchronous looping. On the RC 30, Loop A and B must be the exact same length, and they must start and stop at the exact same place. The EHX 22500, on the other hand, allows “freeform” looping between Loop A and Loop B. In other words, in free form mode, each loop is truly independent: they can be different lengths, and they can start or stop wherever you want (see page 5 of the owner’s manual: http://www.ehx.com/assets/instructions/22500.pdf).

    Not too many loopers offer asynchronous looping: the Boomerang III being one notable exception; however, the Rang III doesn’t allow any saving of loops at all, whereas the 22500 essentially allows unlimited saving through SD cards that hold 100 loops each. Also, the Rang III is easily twice the price of the EHX 22500. My biggest concern with the 22500 is that you need to double click the loop button to stop it from playing. (A single click puts it into overdub mode.) That’s awkward to do while performing live. (The middle foot switch, Loop B, is the hardest to get to.)

    I love the features you get for the price on the EHX 22500, but the box itself is the biggest concern for me. I would have liked this pedal to have been bigger, with more space between foot switches, and also with bigger, fatter, quieter foot switches.

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    Feedback: 5 positive
  15. I understand that this does not have precise midi sync but you can set the looper to a specific BPM correct?

    I think as long as it has this capability then it should be very possible to get this pedal in sync with something like an external drum machine.

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