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Akai E2 Headrush Tape Delay Loop Pedal Reviews
I am totally new to this world so please help with how to connect the Akai up so that it can loop guitar and vocals/percussion. You say use an A/B box for mic, and a mini mixing desk, but please can you tell me what input/output conections to use on the mixing desk; for example; do the mic and guitar go into the mixing desk fader channels; and if so what output on the mixing desk do I use to route it to the Akai. Do I use the Main L & R outputs (or just one of these), or do I use the Control Room outputs (or just one of these)? Or am I totally wrong. You mention A/B box for Mic, and I have no idea how to connect this up to or from a mixing desk. It would be helful if you could email me a little diagram or description of the input/output connections to use and then can buy what I need.
As a performing singer/guitarist/songwriter of originals and covers I wanted to add live-looping to bring an extra dimension to a few songs, without using backing tracks. After a fair bit of online research, I chose the Headrush over the competition, the clincher being the various videos of K T Tunstall on YouTube using the pedal in her shows, and also doing demos of it.
First impressions out of the box is that it\'s a fair-sized, heavy-duty box of tricks, with four good rubber feet that prevent it skittering around onstage even under my size nines. Solid metal casing, bright LED\'s, no flimsiness in the knobs and switches. A good length of lead on the power supply too, for once.
Got it up and running in no time, though the manual is not of the best: to create a loop you hit the record button, then the play button - not the record button again as in the manual, which caused me a few anxious moment until I figured it out. To erase your \"song\" and start a new one, you toggle through the other two effects and back to \"loop.\" The manual doesn\'t tell you this, either.
Quibbles about the manual aside, it\'s not exactly rocket-science, and I was looping like a good \'un in minutes. Using an electro-acoustic, I set up rhythm patterns by tapping on various parts of the guitar body, and raking across muted strings to get a kick/snare/hi-hat kind of vibe. You can add basslines (with or without an octave pedal), chord sequences - whatever your creative instincts tell you. My tip, here, though, is don\'t overdo it - less is more.
The memory isn\'t enormous: just under 24 seconds at full sampling (44.1 KHz) although you can extend this by using the lower sampling rate of 29.4 KHz, and get yourself up to around 35 seconds. Both these figures are cut in half if you want to overdub (and of course you do), but in practice you have plenty of time in hand. No, you\'re not going to be recording complete verse and chorus parts, with all the chord changes (and would your audience want to wait while you did that?) but two, four or eight bar loops, or even longer, are fine, depending on your tempo.
It does test your timing; there is no quantize function here, so you need to be fairly accurate. You also can\'t delete one or more overdubs selectively: you can delete all except the first loop, though, which can be useful (by hitting record twice while in overdub). You also can\'t store your creations; there is no permanent memory on board, nor can you download to an external device. But that\'s not a problem for me: I want it to create live loops, and it does that very well indeed.
If you get yourself an a/b box for your mic, and a mini-mixer, you can add vocals, hand percussion, or just about anything else to your loops, a la the aforementioned K T.
The main use of this unit for me is as a looper, so I\'ve done no more than quickly experiment with the echoes: they sound wonderful, though, and very organic, no harsh digital sounds here, and the tap tempo is very easy to use. If you have more than one amp, you could probably easily create some Brian May type harmonies with the four-head simulating tape echo, for example.
I haven\'t noticed it adding any noise to the signal chain, and it has true bypass too.
Overall, I am very pleased with the Headrush. It does its job very well, and is simple to use: I took it to an open mic session after I\'d only had it a few days, and was confident to use it - it\'ll get its first proper outing at my next full gig at the end of the week. Obviously, as yet I have no real experience of its reliability, but it is, as I said, very solid and feels bombproof.
Full marks to Akai for this one.
This is an amazing pedal. I particularly like the ability to make the repeats muddy like an old analog unit. It\'s pretty easy to use with good colour coding on the controls for the 3 operating modes. The loop function is brilliant and very useful for soloing practice over short chord sequences and grooves. You have to be accurate with timing, not sure if I will ever get the timing accurate enough for live use, but check out KT Tunstall\'s videos on U-tube. It can be done! Unfortunately the instructions for the loop function are completely confusing. I think someone has their left and right mixed up! (This is why I have rated it 9 rather than 10) With a bit of intuition and trial and error its fairly easy to work out the correct functions. Sound quality is good even in extended loop mode and the construction looks sturdy with a pleasing design. As usual first class service and next day delivery from Dolphin.
I bought this pedal about 7 months ago and I have regrets. If one had a lot more money then there are plenty of other options but for its price the Head Rush is outstanding. Switching to a lower quality loop doubles the available record time and I can't really hear much difference especially when used in an effects chain. The only feature which took a while to get used to in live performance was that tapping the right pedal whilst over dubbing strips back to the original recorded loop only, it doesn't just remove the overdub you were recording. However I have found that actually this is a feature to be exploited.
The tape loop function is excellent allowing more flexibility than I have seen on many dedicated units.
The ridged edge to the knobs means that you can control them with your feet if you want; this is always a bonus for me especially with looping when I want a fade out of the looping unit only.
Excellent value for money
Without sounding too much like a converted rusher...oh my word! I had heard talk of the headrush after KT Tunstall bust out some grooves on hers, much to the delight of slack jawed watchers. It didn't stick in my head for too long though being as how I still stomp around on my old zoom 3030 and various boxes of noise. Until that is an encounter with a man called 'Son of Dave' in a friendly venue not far from Notts. centre. Up he popped frail but intensely insane and started hammering out the most brutal beatbox rhythms spliced by vocal squeals and the monster magic of his harmonica! Utter brilliance...Satans own dweeble! All from a little metal box sat betwixt his brogued feet! My musical life had changed! I rapidly purchased aforementioned Headrush box of madness and have since delved into a sonic world of bubbling sample loops and manic blabberings, and can honestly say I have developed and destroyed more musical ideas in the last week than in 10 years of musicality! I don't have the faintest clue of it's full potential as I am far from the greatest understander of what exactly all the options (because there are plenty) actually do (too excited to read the manual). Looping re-looping, splicing and bouncing sounds around the extremely user friendly set-up has been a breeze allowing me to concoct masses of layers which can interweave and create some blisteringly beautiful rhythms. Melodies and harmonies can get a little twisted if you're not careful! The sturdy construction helps it win some votes too as you tend to stomp just that little bit harder the more exited you get at the noise coming out of your amps! The only gripe I have is that there is only one input (am I asking a little too much from such a wondrous box?) and splitting signals whilst possible, with a signal splitter or just ingenious mixer desk fandangles, is a bit of a hassle when like me you have to dismantle your set-up to be able to sleep at night! But that said if you will it, it will happen...I would recommend anyone thinking of burning their brains with sonic sweetness and dissolving their bones with delay to purchase one of these fine beauties! The finest tape echo delay loop magician is waiting in your wallet to be born! Buy one and go nuts!!!! Bonus!