III Phrase Sampler review by Boomerang

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  • Sound: 10
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 8
  • Ease of Use: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 9.3 Superb
  • Users' score: 0 (0 votes)
Boomerang: III Phrase Sampler

Price paid: € 435

Purchased from: Godlyd.no

Sound — 10
Using it with a Gibson Les Paul and Orange Rocker 30 and Blackstar HT 5. The smart jacks allow you (if you have two amps) to send your loops only to one amp and your real time playing to another. There is no degradation of the sound in the recorded loops playing as far as I can tell but there are two sample rates the unit uses, 24K and 48K with the unit using the 48K as default. I have not tried the 24K sample rate yet so I cannot comment on that. The unit has absolutely no noise as far as I have been yet able to tell. Could do some Frippertronics style layering on this unit, that appears to be what it was geared toward. But also practicing in general. Loop quality does not appear to degrade when you stack new sounds on top of an already playing loop, everything seems crystal clear and I get the feeling that any degradation will happen in the amp's speaker being overloaded than from the unit.

Overall Impression — 9
This unit will give me alot of use as a dedicated practice tool besides anything else. At first it will show up your playing and force you to play better and more accurately and this is no bad thing. The reverse feature on the looper is great, playing loops backward and getting an psychedelic type drone sound. It would be nice if it had external storage for loops but I realise that would go against the design of the unit that it is meant for making loops on the fly and that is why I chose it over the Jamman and the Boss RC 50 because you can make loops on the fly, erase them on the fly and Switch between them with the most ease. If it were lost, would I buy it again? Well, it hasn't become an indispensable part of my setup yet but I would be galled because it costs quite a bit of money and I had waited a long time to get one.

Reliability & Durability — 8
Now the unit is made from Solid Metal so it looks like it could take a knock. Could it survive the proverbial fall from a third storey window? I don't know and don't want to find out, these units aren't exactly easy to come by. One thing and this is a bad thing to my mind is that no sound will pass through the 'Rang if it's powered down and there's no hook to secure the power lead into the 'Rang so if you're playing a gig and the power lead somehow comes out, you'll be getting no sound and that will be doubly bad if playing a solo gig. It's not something that should happen but a potential gig Killer if it did happen. Hopefully the Switch contacts won't wear out anytime soon. I'd like to think that since it was made in Texas and is essentially a boutique piece that they used tip top quality parts.

Ease of Use — 10
Made in Texas, 2010. This is a phrase sampler pedal. That means it records what you play and then plays it back, with the record, playback being controlled with footbuttons. Sounds simple enough but this particular incarnation of the phrase sampler has enough features that it is potentially a fully fledged composition and practice tool. The unit features three foot buttons for loops plus two bonus buttons, a green one and a yellow one (yellow button can also be assigned to fourth loop button). The bonus buttons control the special features of the unit that can be applied to loops such as half speed octave down, fade, reverse, stack. Each bonus button can be assigned to up to two different effects at the same time, one activated with a tap of the button and one activated with a hold. Effects can be assigned to the bonus buttons by holding the bonus assign button and then turning the yellow/green bonus hold/tap knobs highlight the one you want. One of the great things about the pedal is that the travel of the foot buttons is so low that it makes it very easy to get a loop dead on. This has good implications for live play, though I have not used it live yet but am planning on it in the future. There is a manual that comes with the unit that deals with everything comprehensively. It looks like it was printed out and stapled together and some of the attempts at humour in the booklet are a bit cringeworthy (more juice, Bruce). The unit has three play styles which deals with how loops play: Serial (one after the other), Sync (All loops can play together but are synced so they start together) and Free sync (All loops can play but are not synced). With the current firmware of the unit only Serial is available though, with promises of the firmware that will allow the other two being delivered soon. The unit also has something called smart jacks (two inputs, two outputs) which behave differently depending what is put where. The layout of the unit deserves some kudos. Obviously the people who designed this unit were afficianados themselves and were concerned about designing something that could be used intuitively.

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