Hotone Wally Looper Review

Editor’s Rating
Rating

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Summary

Pros: Tiny! Separate input and output volumes, more recording time than the Ditto.
Cons: Double-tap to stop; no battery option; sensitive to noise; quality-control problems with units manufactured in 2014 (see comments below).
Overall: The Wally Looper competes with the the TC Electronic Ditto for simple looping functionality and high quality sound, but at 1/3 the size!

Full Review

I didn’t even know there was a category of micro pedals until I discovered the Wally Looper by Hotone. It makes sense. Why are most pedals so much larger when all other technology trends towards smaller and more powerful? Laptops and cellphones have all gotten smaller, but effects pedals seem to have been the same size since the 60s. The Wally Looper has all the power of much larger loopers, but packed into a body reminiscent of a matchbox car (74mm x 44mm x 44mm). It even has the quality metal construction of an old matchbox car to boot. Obviously, if you’re traveling with pedals, the small size and bulletproof construction is a huge advantage.

Who Is It For?

Hotone Wally Looper ReviewThe Wally Looper seems to be aimed at musicians who want a looper that just loops, and not much more. For years, it seemed that all the major looper manufacturers were competing to pack more and more features into their loopers, like backing tracks, metronome and drum beats, quantization, on-board effects, and unnecessarily long recording times. The problem was that these units get pretty difficult to use out of the box, and a good percentage of musicians have no need for that many bells and whistles. TC Electronic was one of the first manufacturers to bring things back to basics with their Ditto Looper, and the feedback has been almost all positive. The Wally Looper joins the category of loopers aimed at just looping, without the extra baggage, and does it in style!

Recording Time

The Wally Looper can record up to a 15-minute loop, with as many overdubs as you want. Significantly, the Ditto and Ditto X2 only allow you to record up to a 5 minute loop. Then again, loopers like the Digitech Jamman XT allow you to record up to 35 minutes in stereo. Do you need a 35-minute loop? Do you need more than a 5-minute loop? My guess is that 90% of people using a looper pedal record no more than 12 bars, so lengthy loop times aren’t as much of a selling point as manufacturers make it out to be.

How it Works

Hotone Wally Looper ReviewTo record, just tap the footswitch once. To play your loop, simply tap the footswitch again. Subsequently tapping the footswitch will record overdubs on top of your loop, making it more layered and complex. There is undo/redo functionality for the last recording by holding the footswitch down. To stop the loop, you have to quickly double-tap the footswitch. You can clear your loop after stopping it by then holding down the footswitch.

What’s nice about the Wally Looper is that, unlike many other pedals (such as the Ditto), the Wally lets you control both the input and output volume. For example, if you are playing a previously recorded loop and want to turn the volume up or down, use the big knob on the front end of the pedal. If you want to control your input volume for an overdub, just adjust the recording level knob on the top-right.

On the top left of the pedal, there is also a knob called “Effect” which adjusts the loop speed. It’s pretty fun to play with, but like most built-in effects on looper pedals, I never really end up using it.

Any Negatives?

Hotone Wally Looper ReviewWith such a tiny looper, some of the funtionality is less than intuitive. For example, the process of clearing loops is a little hard to figure out at first because holding the footswitch down acts as the undo/redo before you double-tap to stop, but also acts to clear the loop after you have double-tapped to stop. After playing with the looper for a while, I had to go back to the Operating Instructions to figure this out. Furthermore, if you double-tap to stop, then take your foot off the pedal, then tap again and hold it down to clear the loop, you get a second of loop playback before the loop clears. Fortunately, you can clear the loop without the second of playback if you double-tap and hold on the second tap. All of this takes a little practice.

A related problem is that you have to double-tap to stop the loop, which can make timing a little tricky. In fact, adding a dedicated stop footswitch seems to be the primary reason that TC Electronic issued the Ditto X2 a year after releasing Ditto.

I did notice that the pedal added a barely perceptible hiss to my overall tone. Nevertheless, the sound quality of the Wally Looper is 44.1kHz, which is on par with the likes of all the much larger and more expensive loopers by manufacturers like Boss and Digitech. It’s not quite as good as the Ditto, Ditto X2, or Pigtronix Infinity which record at 48 kHz, but it still sounds pretty darn great, especially given that its all packed into such a tiny package. The Wally Looper also features digital buffered bypass circuitry.

Some might also complain about the lack of a battery compartment, but that’s just another trade-off for the small size. Personally, I plug all my pedals into a Voodoo Lab Pedal Power 2, so its a non-issue for me.

Finally, there seemed to be some quality control issues in the way these devices are manufactured in 2014. My demo pedal worked great, though some users have experienced extremely loud noises coming from the pedal. As of 2015, however, Hotone Audio claims to have resolved the problem.

Conclusion

The Wally Looper is almost too cool not to own. I love the tiny size and it always sparks a ton of conversation. Honestly, I unplugged my Boss RC-50 Loop Station and Ditto X2 to test out the Wally Looper, and left the Wally on my board for months. It’s perfect for daily noodling, etc. Of course, you may want something with more features if you’re really into looping, or something with a bit higher sound quality for recording and/or live situations. Still, the Wally will be perfect for a lot of guitarists just looking for a space-saving basic looper for practicing at home.

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Hotone Wally Looper Demo

Hotone Wally Looper Review3.5Peter2017-04-29 00:40:40I didn’t even know there was a category of micro pedals until I discovered the Wally Looper by Hotone. It makes sense. Why are most pedals so much larger when all other technology trends towards smaller and more powerful? Laptops and cellphones have all gotten smaller, but effects pedals seem to have been the same size since the 60s. The Wally Looper has all the power of much larger loopers, but packed into a body that’s reminiscent of a matchbox car (74mm x 44mm x 44mm). It even has the quality metal construction of an old matchbox car to boot. Obviously, if you’re traveling with pedals, the small size and bulletproof construction is a huge advantage. Check Amazon Price…

39 thoughts on “Hotone Wally Looper Review

  1. Hi! great review, however it would be nicer if you include some specs as sampling rate, bit depth, analog thru / bypass type, power consumption, size (you mention this one), weight, etc… For us tech geeks 😉

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    Feedback: 4 positive, 1 negative
    • *I realized you actually mention almost all that specs.

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      Feedback: 3 positive, 2 negative
      • Weight is 190 grams and current consumption is 37mA. I think I got everything else. I could call out the specs more obviously next time though. Thanks for your comment.

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        Feedback: 1 positive
        • Hi admin. NEED HELP! I just bought this looper, and I’m not sure if I’m just stupid in using this. I just noticed that when I record something, let’s say a short riff, then it plays the first time (which is normal) but the second time it’s taking a pause for like 1 to 1.5 seconds and plays again. Thus, timing is affected. On the videos, I saw the ideal cases wherein after recording one riff, it will playback and then without a “cut” (or pause, described in my sentence above) it continously plays. Not really sure if it’s my operation which has the problem. Hope someone can help me understand this. Thanks

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          Feedback: 4 positive
  2. Hey, thanks for all the info. Just wondering when you go to clear the loop by holding the footswitch down, does the loop start playing back for a few seconds before it clears? Thanks again.

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    Feedback: 2 positive
    • It just clears if you double tap and hold on the second tap. If you double tap to stop and take your foot off the switch, then it will play the loop for a second the next time you hold your foot on the switch to clear it. So, if you want to clear without playback, double tap and hold on the second tap.

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      Feedback: 2 positive
  3. Mine just came in last week… really fun to play with! I’m curious what “digital buffered bypass circuitry” means though. Never heard that term before. Since the input volume is also active when you´re not looping, I´m guessing you always get a digital output signal, right?

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    Feedback: 2 positive
  4. I really loved this pedal, I first bought mine back in late april, the pedal worked fine for about 3 weeks before it started making very loud noises mid overdub and froze in audio. You can only imagine how that sounded through an amplifier and started to do it consistently. I had it returned and replaced within a couple weeks and I was so happy to have it back again until BAM, 2 days later it does the exact same thing. Returning it again and getting my money back this time. The pedal works great it you can keep it working.

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    Feedback: 4 positive
    • I had a similar experience. Enjoyed this pedal for about a month till it began malfunctioning and producing the loudest and most eardrum-shattering sound I’ve ever heard. The noise was so abrupt and loud that it actually damaged my classic Bassman 50. Now it is three days later and my ear is sill ringing. Even when it was new and fully functional, I noticed that it would produce very quiet R2D2-like noises, which instantly made me distrusting of it for live use. I deem this pedal unsafe for both everyone and everything.

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      Feedback: 5 positive
      • That sucks. I wrote to Hotone to see if they are aware of any similar issues and, if so, what they are doing to fix it. Thanks for your feedback!

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        Feedback: 2 positive
    • It will loop whatever you put into it, but there is no mic input and it only records a single loop, so you would not be able to control two loops independently. It sounds like you might want something with more options. Check out the Pigtronix Infinity.

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      Feedback: 1 positive
  5. Hi, very helpful review! I’m strongly considering buying one online this week. Just one question — after you record, when you double-tap to stop, does tapping it again (after some rest) cause it to play the previous loop again or has it been cleared that way?

    Thanks!

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    Feedback: 1 positive
  6. After you double-tap to stop, you have two options. If you single tap again, it will play the loop again. If you hold the footswitch down for a few seconds, it will clear the loop. Once you have cleared the loop, tapping the footswitch again will begin recording a new loop. Hope that helps you decision!

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  7. Loved this penal when it came in. However a month after owning it I noticed some sound degradation and a slight buzz. Thought it might be a grounding issue, but after many attempt it got louder and louder. I called sweetwater and they had me send it in for repairs. I just got it back and from the second I plugged it in I got the noise. I’m calling tomorrrow and I will update at if progresses. I hope if is just a dud and a new one will be sent.

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    Feedback: 4 positive
    • Yeah, you’re the third person to comment with this type of issue so my guess is that there is a quality control issue in the manufacturing process. These pedals seem quite sensitive. Mine seems to be holding up so far.

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      Feedback: 1 positive
  8. The same issue with the loud noise and hum has just happened to me. I was just about to sell this crap, and when testing it suddenly appeared and almost left me deaf. Anyway I am glad it happened to me and not to the new client, so it means I threw the cost of the pedal to the trashcan. Avoid this crap, simple doesn´t mean it works. I am disappointed and will NEVER purchase anything from Hotone, ever again.

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    Feedback: 4 positive, 1 negative
  9. Just got it, and within 15 min it did the loud noises, out of a new sealed box. I’m not risking my mesa using this thing. Waited 2 weeks for delivery and wasted $100.

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    Feedback: 4 positive
  10. I got same problem that everybody,bought this pedal in September.Can anybody tell me how to call this company?I am thinking about started internet forums about this. Even retailers don’t know how to contact them ,only email.

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    Feedback: 2 positive
  11. I got exactly 25 minutes out of my sample until it started making the electronic noise described. I made sure I had the proper power supply etc.. Hotone needs to step it up or these things will kill their line. Most disturbing is no phone number, no warranty and no one to speak to except a web site. That mit fly in hong kong but word of sketchy gear spreads fast. If I had not pur hased it on amazon, I would have an expensive paper weight. I will not purchase any of their items again.

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    Feedback: 1 positive
  12. Seems that this pedals have not that good comments about it, ppl always think that it’s effects are not as good as its out look…but I still like this so much,..will try to get one,,,

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    Feedback: 2 positive
    • Unfortunately, when you pay good money for an item, we all want it to work. We all knew the limitations of the pedal and it’s mostly good for home use, when it works, that’s the crapshoot here, some are fine others crater within minutes… Take a chance, you might get a good one. I still have an issue with no support, no phone within the US or elsewhere, and no warranty either expressed or implied. That in itself will keep me away from their products from now on.

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      Feedback: 1 positive
  13. Mine made loud buzzing noise right out of the box. I will be returning it to Amazon tomorrow.

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    Feedback: 2 positive
  14. Guys…STAY OUT OF THIS CRAP!!!! I got one last summer and randomly makes this infernal noise…send it back to get a refund, because I think they are beyond repairing

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    Feedback: 1 negative
  15. Bugger, just bought one from GAK (Brighton, UK) and take delivery on Monday. Same price as the smallest BOSS looper pedal but got it to save space on my board. Hope I didn’t make the wrong choice :/

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  16. NEED HELP! I just bought this looper, and I’m not sure if I’m just stupid in using this. I just noticed that when I record something, let’s say a short riff, then it plays the first time (which is normal) but the second time it’s taking a pause for like 1 to 1.5 seconds and plays again. Thus, timing is affected. On the videos, I saw ideal cases wherein after recording one riff, it will playback and then without a “cut” (or pause, described in my sentence above) it continously plays. Not really sure if it’s my operation which has the problem. Hope someone can help me understand this. Thanks!

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    • Hi OE. I haven’t heard of that “feature” before and didn’t have that issue with my Wally before I gave it away. I have been in communication with Hotone Audio, however, due to some of the issues you’ll see in the comments above. I believe there were some defective batches of these pedals which they are willing to replace if you contact them. Best of luck!

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  17. I’d like to make a battery pack to run this while I’m outdoors. One nine-volt battery doesn’t pack enough mA to start the looper, so is there a way to wire multiple 9V batteries together so that they will?

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    • Hey, Dove

      No need to tinker. Just grab a Pedaltrain Volto (which would also double as a phone charger, btw).
      http://www.amazon.com/Pedaltrain-PT-VT1-Volto/dp/B00FGUPE9G.

      ***

      And for the rest of you:

      Please, stop crying like little girls and just man up and call Hotone and say you want your faulty looper replaced (as already advised!).

      In this day and age of outsourced manufacturing and diminishing returns, quality issues will become the new norm (if they aren’t already). Yes, even for the biggest players.

      I raise my imaginary hat for Hotone for what they’ve managed to accomplish here. Watch DigiTech or Boss do better job at this minutive size. I wouldn’t hold my breath, that’s for sure…

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      Feedback: 1 positive
  18. Owned this pedal, very cool and size also is neat but had some issues with volume and over dubbing down the road upgraded to a Boss RC3 but gave a heavy look into the rc20xl.

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    Feedback: 1 positive
    • Did you try and contact the manufacturer? If so what was their response?

      Not trying to defend a faulty product just wondering whether this could be an issue of faulty early batch… As is the case with even the biggest players (e.g. Yamaha’s THR portable amps). Granted Yamaha later remedied the issue.

      With hese “cheopo” chinese manufacturers I believe they’d rather send you a working product instead.

      With this price range it would – unfortunately – make no sense to pay for the shipping costs to and fro plus the time and effort it would take to fix your faulty pedal.

      My advice for all of you having problems with modern gadgets is: don’t give up so easily, always pay with Visa or PayPal (so that you can at least get refunded), and let both the vendor and manufacturer know. That’s the only way to solve these kinds of problems.

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      Feedback: 2 positive
  19. So, what are your thoughts of this pedal for bass players? Im looking for a simple loop and this one looks great,

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    • For a simple looper, I would personally choose the Ditto X2 for the slightly better sound quality and dedicated Stop footswitch. A lot of people lover the Wally though.

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  20. So, it’s almost 3 yrs, later and I took another chance, it works every time, no noise nada. They admitted they had an issue with chips, and the size of the enclosure sometimes touching the chips.. It got sorted.

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