How to use the DigiTech JamMan Solo XT looper pedal
Yes, I bought one of these. And it's complicated.
Above is a video I made on basic use of the DigiTech JamMan Solo XT stereo looper pedal. If you want to know the basics on how to get up and running with that pedal quickly, watch that video.
Here's the written version of what's said in the video above concerning how to use it (there will be more info on how it compares to the BOSS RC-3 Loop Station after it):
Memory card stuff
The most memory capacity the pedal can support is 32GB, which for audio alone is a monster amount of space that can fit up to 32 hours of record time. The microSD card I recommend is a 32GB Class 10. It does not matter whether the card is UHS (ultra high speed) compliant or not, due to the fact this is just audio data. Remember that this pedal is not a digital camera, so it will take no advantage of UHS speeds. If you buy a card that is UHS compliant, the pedal will still be able to use it without a problem, but just know you won't see any access speed advantage between UHS and non-UHS.
Formatting the memory card
If the card already has a file system on it: With the pedal powered off, insert the card, then power on the pedal. After that, press and hold the STORE button for 6 seconds until the LED display reads For for "Format." Press STORE once and the display then reads F?, which is the equivalent of an "Are you sure?" Press and hold STORE for 2 seconds. Once the display reads buS (which means "busy"), let go of the STORE button. Once formatting is complete, the display will show the last memory number location you were on, indicating the card is ready to use.
If the card DOES NOT have a file system on it: With the pedal powered off, insert the card, then power on the pedal. If the display shows nF, that means the JamMan has detected there is no file system on the memory card and needs to create one. Press STORE and the display will show F?, then press and hold STORE again for 2 seconds. The display will show buS, format the card, and when finished the display will show the last used memory location number. At that point the card is ready to use.
If the card has audio data already on it but the JamMan won't read the card: The contacts on the card are probably slightly tarnished from oxidation and didn't make a good connection with the JamMan. Power off the pedal, pop out the card, pop it back in again, power on the pedal and that should take care of the problem.
Recording a basic loop
Press the SETUP button 8 times until the display reads Pdl for "Pedal." It will alternate back and forth between On or OFF. Use the down arrow button to switch to OFF, then press the pedal switch to exit. What this does is set the pedal to record when it detects audio instead of using the built-in metronome.
Turn the RHYTHM LEVEL knob all the way off.
Turn the LOOP LEVEL knob to 12 o'clock (half way.)
Press the pedal switch. The LED directly above the switch will start flashing red. This lets you know the pedal is armed and ready to record.
Play your guitar (or bass or whatever instrument you have plugged in to the pedal.) The LED will stop blinking, remain red and turn solid, indicating recording has started. When finished, press the pedal switch again to end the recording. If all went well, when you press the switch, the recording will start looping and you're finished.
I will be writing more on this later in a book
Yes, I do plan on writing a book on how to use this pedal because one definitely needs to be written. The manual provided with the pedal is adequate but could be improved upon, so I have one of those in the works. Watch for it here on my books page.
DigiTech JamMan Solo XT vs. BOSS RC-3 Loop Station
The RC-3 is the direct competition to the JamMan Solo XT.
These are the basics of what you need to know if trying to decide which to go with.
Are both pedals complicated?
Yes. Both are advanced looper pedals and they are complicated by nature. Tons of options exist in each. If you want a simple looper, then I strongly recommend skipping both pedals and instead getting a BOSS RC-1, which is a greatly simplified RC-3. If you want something even simpler than that, there's the TC Electronic Ditto. One knob, one switch. It doesn't get any simpler than that.
Advantages of the RC-3 over the JamMan
- Has slightly better drum machine
- Can operate by battery alone
- 3 hours internal memory record time
Advantages of the JamMan Solo XT over the RC-3
- Doesn't operate by battery, but does come included with power supply right out of the box
- Can be upgraded to 32 hours record time with addition of 32GB memory card
- Easier to back up. Just pop out the memory card, put into computer or tablet, copy files, done.
- Shows BPM (beats per minute). A major complaint about the RC-3 is that it does not display BPM. The JamMan Solo XT does, and yes you can set the BPM manually.
- Can fade in/out loops
- Has the ability to reverse audio... not that you would ever need to do that, but it's there
- Costs $50 less than the RC-3
In the end, the JamMan Solo XT is the better pedal. It can be upgraded for cheap, has more features, has rugged construction just like the RC-3 and you get more for the money.
Like the RC-3, the JamMan is also a major upgrade over any standard simple looper. You'll probably never use 100% of the features the pedal has, but that's fine, because better to have too many features than not enough.
The #1 complaint about the Solo XT?
This only matters to those who use loopers a lot.
The Solo XT does not have any way to separate the click track from the audio on a separate channel (and neither does the RC-3.) For that, the larger and more expensive JamMan Stereo is required.
This is best shown with a photo:
See the output jack in the middle that says "RHYTHM OUT"? If you want to separate your click track from recorded audio, that's what you need.
The vast majority of guitar players who use loopers don't need this feature. But in case you do, now you know how to get it.
JamMan Solo XT is a complicated pedal, but it is the best for the money
There is no other looper I know of that packs as much as the Solo XT does into a standard size floor pedal. It is the most and best you can get for the price, so if you want the best bang for the buck looper, get yourself one.
And again, yes a book is in the works for this. I'll have one released soon. [Edit: Book is available now, see books page!]