Gear

Pigtronix Infinity Looper, second impressions…

So I’ve had the Pigtronix Infinity Looper for about a month now, and had numerous chances to air it out and see what it can do – and I’m both overwhelmed and underwhelmed.

Let me explain:  I know that there is a huge world of looping out there, of creative sounds, of clever uses, and of really intricate ways to pull off textures and patterns.  This looper certainly appears capable of that, and what I’ve gotten it to do sounds really, really good.

That being said, I’m almost entirely using it to lay down bass lines and then jam out over top of those, while it stays in sync with the BeatBuddy.  It does that REALLY WELL.  At some point I’ll put up some pictures of my pedalboard, but in general, when I want a bass sound, I run it through an octaving pedal.  That lets me get enough low frequencies that it sounds not terrible (pretty good, I think!)

One of the problems with this is that I have to lay down the bass-line first, before being able to play/sing/jam overtop.  The Infinity does have a ton of preset space, where I could track the bass lines ahead of time, but that seems dangerously close to just playing with tracks, which is something I don’t want to do, nor give the appearance of doing.  I know that when I’m working with a drum machine, and then using a looper, and a vocal harmony pedal, I can get a full sound, but I can also look like somebody who can’t work without their gadgets.  I don’t want to give that impression, so I’m always very careful to show and explain how I’m building the loops/beats/songs that I’m playing.  So I guess playing the bass line isn’t the end of the world, but when I’m playing a two part song, I frequently think I should track the second part ahead of time.  I don’t think the audience would notice, and I think that would smooth things out considerably, like if I lay down a verse, but then have the chorus already set up on the other loop.

I think I can do that with the Infinity, I just haven’t quite figured out how to yet – it’s a very, very complicated piece of gear.  For what I want it for, I think it will do very well, and having compared it to my old JamMan Stereo, it has waaaay more headroom, and a much clearer sound, especially when you get seven or eight loops in a texture on top of each other.  It doesn’t have an XLR in, which I never used that much, and it doesn’t have the ability to add storage, but again, I never used that either.  I mostly bought it because of the integration with the BeatBuddy, a tool I use at every show, and because I found a pretty good deal on reverb.com.

Now for a brief aside:  When I last talked about Pigtronix, I raved about their support.  Well, I had another chance to use that, when I went to plug in my MIDI cable for the second time, and felt the jack push all the way into the pedal.  The plastic inner insert of the MIDI jack on the Infinity had broken, and wasn’t connected to the rest of the pedal.  I was very worried, because I had just spent a decent amount on this pedal, and I didn’t want to scrub that, or to have to pay for a technician to figure it out.  Usually I would just open it up and see what’s up, but the sticker on the back said doing that would void the warranty.  Since I wasn’t sure if hat applied to me as the second owner, I gave Pigtronix a call.  They said, no worries, we’ll send you a new MIDI jack, it’s a simple install, just plug it in, no soldering required.

Huh.

They took my address, and told me that a new one was on it’s way.

That to me meant that the warranty wasn’t good, or that they were at least giving me permission to open it up, so I figured while I was waiting for the replacement jack to arrive, I might at least see what broke and what I was going to have to deal with to swap them out.  I took out the four screws, and found a fairly nifty little single board computer, along with a microSD card and a couple of relays.

And the midi jack, which had just been pushed out of the metal barrel of the housing, and was hanging by a couple of wires, and clipped into the mainboard.  I looked and found a small metal retaining clip which I suspected was the culprit, and so while trying to figure out how everything fit together, I accidentally fixed it…

Well, I pushed the plastic part into the metal part and everything stayed where it should.  I never did figure out where that retaining clip was supposed to go, but I figured, what the heck, it’s already fixed-ish, let’s plug it up.  That was three weeks ago, and it’s been mounted up on the pedal board ever since.  I figure if it had to be constantly plugged in and unplugged that might not be the most reliable ‘fix,’ but since it’s permanently mounted and the barrel fit in the housing pretty tightly, it’s probably fine.  This is good, because as of almost four weeks later, I still don’t have that part from Pigtronix.  Props to them for responding and offering to fix it, but they get a two from the Russian judge as far as execution goes.

Anyways, I’m still trying to find the fun ways to use this pedal and its features, and still discovering things I wish I could do and things that I suspect I might be able to do with a comprehensive manual, instead of a firmware 1.0 manual plus an ungodly number of firmware updates means that figuring things out can be a little tricky…

Updates soon on the rest of the pedalboard, plus I think I’d like to report back on my experiences using Reverb.com – I’ve sold four or five items on there now, and I’ve got some thoughts.

Thanks as always for reading,

 

-N

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