The price is probably one of the most controversial aspects of musical equipment. Yeah, we all know what affordable and expensive means and we can easily distinguish between various products based on that variable. However, the usability of each device relies on the package of features at the given price. Something that would have been considered as plain in case of high-end effects pedals, can be perceived as an all-encompassing set with cheaper models. And that is something we should always keep in mind while searching the market for the best stompbox out there. The interaction between the price point and available capabilities is something we can never forget. And if we do, our judgement will become rather poor and unconstructive. Today we are talking about one of the best loopers out there, JamMan Express XT from Digitech. This inexpensive fella has some features that you will not find with other brands. It packs a decent punch and offers wonderful experience no matter what you plug in it. Since I want you to have a thorough understanding of this product, I will discuss its features, controls and sound in depth. Without further ado, let’s begin our journey!
Even though I did talk a lot about the feature set of different units in the beginning, there is one more thing to mention: the properties available are always relative. We hardly ever judge a pedal on its own, we always tend to compare it to its rivals and we cannot avoid that due to the competition on the market. JamMan Express XT is an amazing stompbox on its own and can be extremely useful in various settings. However, it does lack some of the features that more advanced players might miss. With that being said, it still has certain perks that lure you into purchasing this bad boy. And I am sure you will not regret that decision unless you are looking for an extremely sophisticated looper.
Moving on to the actual features, JamMan Express XT offers 10 minutes of recording time, which is a typical deal you get with such compact units. It does not have internal memory, meaning that you cannot save your loops into the pedal. However, you do get the possibility to undo/redo and overdub as much as you want. It has true bypass switching, guaranteeing the maximum integrity of your tone. This baby has Silent Clear functionality, which allows you to clear your loop without any audible sound. The pedal mutes the output once you engage this feature and enables you to remove previous loop imperceptibly. What is more, JamMan Express XT has JamSync that allows you to route multiple Express XT devices and perform with them in sync. You simply have to choose the slave pedal and you will be ready to roll. This stompbox can be powered with a single 9V battery or an adapter, giving you access to the pedal regardless of the settings. Lastly, it has double inputs and outputs for stereo operation. As you can see, JamMan Express XT is extremely easy to utilize, as it has user-friendly interface and easy to grasp feature set.
When it comes to the controls of JamMan Express XT, there is very little to say. The simplicity of its interface does also mean that it does not have dedicated controls for each feature. We have a single knob in the middle and a footswitch that fulfills several tasks. You will have to dance around the stomp quite a bit, but that is what you usually have to do anyway. Separate LEDs for each function play a huge role, as well, and ease up your job by indicating what settings are selected.
Loop Level is the only encoder here. Though it is pretty self-explanatory, I will still tell you that it modifies the volume of the loop. The footswitch has several duties: it can record, play, undo/redo, overdub, stop and clear the loop. Three LEDs light up differently depending on what the footswitch is doing (you can see all the colors and their combination in the manual). You will have to memorize a lot of taps, but after some practice, your foot will know what to do. A single footswitch layout is rather common with loopers, so we cannot really complain here.
To start off I will say that Digitech JamMan Express XT has CD quality recording, saying a lot about its sonic capabilities. Whatever you record and loop will come out as clear as possible. Its true bypass guarantees that no frequencies will be lost when the pedal is bypassed. More importantly, the JamSync functionality is what diversifies this unit more than anything else. This feature enables you to route Express XT units together and perform with them as if they had a single body. All those loopers will remain in sync and give you the possibility to build songs and sophisticated pieces on top. JamMan Express XT will work amazing during practices, but might be a bit difficult to use live because of the single footswitch. However, if your looping is not too complicated, it will be perfect for stage as well. All in all, this bad boy is pristine clear and rather simple to understand, which is exactly how it is marketed. The quality you get exceeds the price a great deal, making this fella a great bang for the buck.
To sum up everything mentioned above, Digitech JamMan Express XT is a capable unit that has some interesting features to offer. Its JamSync functionality is very useful, especially if you consider the price of the single pedal that can do the same thing. This baby is affordable and will not empty your bank account, but its components are not cheap and the sonic quality is amazing as well. You might lack some features if you are picky, but if you keep an open mind, you will see that JamMan Express XT is enough for everyday looping experience. Good luck!
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