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Line 6 JM4 Looper: First Impressions September 17, 2008

Posted by Ben Rivet in : Digital home recording studios, Editing, Live Sound, Preamp, Reviews , trackback

Hey all,

Your man about town here with a first (second) look at the Line 6 JM4 Looper.

Close up


As promised, I spent the extra time to read through the manual before busting open this beautiful machine. It was hard… but I got through it, and I am glad I did. There is so much to know about this station. I would have been very limited if I would have just fiddled with the UI for a couple of weeks.

After spending a couple hours getting to know the JM4 Looper I am very impressed.

Line 6 made a big leap from their past model,  M13 Stompbox Modeler, which featured a plethora of stompbox amp modules, but only 28 seconds of recording time. The JM4 has a completely streamlined designed, which makes tweaking your music a lot more intuitive. It feels much more like an actual amp unit than the drum machine layout of its ancestors.

The JM4 Looper seems to be designed for both the writer and performer in mind. While there are large number of features and effects that can be adjusted, saved, and recorded, the looper can also be set up so only a few features are easily altered. This makes performing with the station a much less complicated experience.

Line 6 also increased the usability of the station by featuring 4 separate inputs.

-guitar

-mic

-Aux

-CD/MP3

Back

The player is able to switch between these channels on the fly with simple tapping commands. This allows for each channel to have its own level, EQ, effect settings for a performance. Switching between them takes a little practice, but works really well once you have the technique down. You can use SD card to save your recorded loops and bring in music from other recordings. I have yet to do this, so I am not sure how well this feature works. I intend on recording music to be sent back and forth with another musician using reason, so I hope it works as well as it sounds.

The JM4 features a bank of nice drum grooves and full songs to jam to. There are a wide variety of genres recorded by well known musicians. When choosing a full song to jam to, the station will automatically load an amp module that fits with the style of song being played.  From there you can tweak the levels to jam with whatever sound you want. I had some fun playing around with the drum tracks. I think they will come in handy when trying to write an upbeat guitar part when I am away from an actual drummer. My only complaint, however, was that the drum tracks only have one tempo setting. I spent a bunch of time thumbing through the manual, but couldn’t find a solution.

There is an ON BOARD TUNER … sorry, I was really excited about this. When you want to tune your guitar, hold the tap tempo button, and it mutes to signal and displays the tuner. This is a very convenient feature that I am sure a lot of people will appreciate.

That is all I have for now. I still have a lot more noodling to do with it, but I thought I would share my first impressions. There are soooooooo many capabilities with this machine that it will take some time before you can really fluid with the UI.

Stay tuned for more about the Line 6 JM4 Looper as I learn more and get some recordings up.

BJSR

Comments»

1. hashed - September 29, 2008

Once you’ve selected a drum beat or groove track, hit the drums/songs button again and you will see the menu for changing key and tempo. I love this thing.

2. Johnny - October 10, 2011

what a real shame u cannot have a facility to be able to change tempo on drum trax…shame!! thats due to rear recordings, get it sorted qwik

3. Jamie - November 9, 2013

I haven’t tried the JM4 yet but personally, I chose the Boss RC-3 when I was in the market for a looper. I’ve also used my friend’s Ditto looper and it’s AWESOME at what it does. My looper has drastically improved my skills – I highly recommend them to everyone that asks.

What I did was I scoured Amazon’s best seller list and really weighed the features as well as the pros and cons before plunking my cash down and deciding for myself.
http://amzn.to/16K5DXl

Whether it’s the Ditto, Boss, or DigiTech…they’re all solid loopers it’s all about what you need and what you do with them. Cheers!

4. Kenneth Spencer - March 17, 2014

This is a great unit from intermediate to professional. No itdoes not sound like a 2290 sample processed by a DSP 4000 but there is $ 10,000 difference in price. Having said that, it is close and for creating and developing songs it is a genius tool. As a pedal the effects are superior to most and very stage worthy. Alone, this pedal is capable of so much that its scary; technology is moving fast and this looper is a great example of that.. a must have for writing ideas on the go. I can not see anyone dissapointed with this device. WHAT A PEDAL!!!


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