Control your analog guitar pedals with this iPhone app and looper

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DC Pedals Bluetooth Looper will switch your pedals in and out using an iPhone app.
This box will switch your pedals in and out using an iPhone app.
Photo: DC Pedals

There are great guitar effects apps for iOS, apps which take the signal from your electric guitar and process it with weird and/or great-sounding effects. And there are also several Bluetooth gadgets that let you control those apps with your feet.

But what about the other way around? Is there a way to take a guitarist’s collection of old-school analog effects pedals, and control them from your iPhone? Well yes, now there is. It’s DC Pedals’ Bluetooth Looper and VirtualLooper app.

DC Pedals’ Bluetooth Looper

DC Pedals Bluetooth Looper sends and returns offer plenty of connections.
Plenty of holes.
Photo: DC Pedals

There are two kinds of looper pedals for guitarists. One is the kind that lets you record a snippet of your music as you play, and then loops it over and over. The DC Pedals’ Bluetooth Looper is the other kind of looper: a box that lets you plug in your other effects pedals, and then switch them in and out of the circuit with foot switches. The idea is that you can switch several effects in and out with one stomp1.

The twist with DC’s new looper is that you can control it from an iPhone app, via Bluetooth. The VirtualLooper app does two things. One is direct control of the loops, letting you switch pedals in and out of the circuit by tapping the screen. That’s neat for testing things out, I guess, but seeing as you can do the same thing by pressing the switches with your feet, the advantage seems minimal.

Remote control your guitar pedals

The other function is much more useful. You can program loop presets into the looper box itself. Instead of messing with tiny switches on the unit, or use some unholy, impossible-to-remember series of button presses that seem more like setting the time on an old digital watch, you can create and save presets on the phone, and assign them to banks.

Hopefully the app got a little more attention than this terrible promo image.
Hopefully the app got a little more attention than this promo image.
Photo: DC Pedals

For instance, if you play live, you could have a bank (a bank is a folder, more or less) for each song. Within that bank you could have several presets, each of which can activate several effects at once. You could have a preset for the intro, one for the verse, another for the chorus, and so on. That’s standard stuff with loopers, but being able program it all in from your iPhone is a nice, handy gimmick.

The five-channel looper unit will cost you $399, which is steep, but not crazy compared to other loopers. DC Pedals’ VirtualLooper app is free, and also quite ugly.

I’ve tested plenty of hardware with app integrations over the years, and almost all of it has turned out to be junk, or at best good hardware let down by shoddy, rushed companion apps. Here’s hoping that DC’s effort is different.

Price: $1.99

Download: VirtualLooper from the App Store (iOS)

  1. A looper also keeps the your sound nice and clear, because the signal from your guitar only passes through the pedals you’re using. The signal bypasses all the others, shortening its route, and therefore reducing the chance of signal loss.