Harley Benton Mini Looper - Test & Review

Small but nice ... and unbelievably cheap

Harley Benton, a brand of the music store Thomann, is mainly known for producing usable guitars and basses that are usually the lowest priced in their category. This is apparently made possible by low-cost production in the Far East and the avoidance of any middlemen.

But the brand is not only about instruments, Harley Benton has also been producing effects and other accessories for a long time. The Harley Benton Mini Looper has been on the market since 2016. In today's report we will discuss the question: What is a looper that costs less than 50 pounds good for?

Features and Specifications

The Harley Benton Mini Looper is not only small in price, but also in size. Measuring just 9.5 x 4.15 x 5.8 cm, it will fit anywhere - in a gig bag, for example, or even in a jacket pocket. And the weight? At around 290 grams, it's only slightly heavier than an iPhone 14 Pro Max. Despite the metal body.

Harley Benton's Mini Looper is no Monet, but it doesn't have to hide. It has a smart red, slightly glossy paint job. The top is emblazoned with the Harley Benton logo and the Looper lettering, which is decorated with a play, record and stop symbol. The (real) controls have a chrome finish. All in all, a very presentable unit. The underside is made of a material that largely prevents the looper from slipping during use.

However, in our opinion, the following is not quite so chic: The small print is on the side facing the guitarist, including an extra-large "Made in China". Why Harley Benton did not prefer to print the 'imprint' on the underside of the device is, to be honest, a mystery to us.

In terms of controls, the Mini Looper is deliberately minimalist, with just a footswitch, a rotary knob and a multi-coloured LED. The footswitch basically does everything on the unit - except for volume, which is controlled by the rotary knob. The LED shows you the current status of the unit.

Of course, you can't expect a display at such a low price. But it would be pointless anyway, because the functionality is so simple. The Harley Benton Mini Looper offers no extra features. There is no integrated drum machine, no metronome, no tap tempo, no settings for ending overdubs or changing speed. But this also means that beginners can get started quickly and get their first experience with loops without having to deal with any bells and whistles. There is simply no learning curve with this unit.

The Mini Looper's build quality is surprisingly solid for such a low price. Nothing wobbles or rattles, only the volume control could be a little more stable. But thanks to the metal casing, you won't have to worry about accidentally destroying it with your foot.

The recording time is also impressive: your loop can be as long as ten minutes on the Harley Benton, which should be enough for almost any song you can think of. There is no limit to the number of overdubs.

The sound quality of the Mini Looper is nothing to complain about. Only guitars with a very strong output signal (especially some active guitars that already amplify the signal) can cause slight distortion with a high number of overdubs.

Connections and Connectivity

The Harley Benton Mini Looper's connections are also limited to the bare essentials. On the output side, there's a 6.3mm jack and ... that's it. On the input side, the picture is the same: a 6.3 mm jack is all you get. There is no aux input and no USB port.

Apart from that, the looper only has a 9V DC power connection. Not even a power supply is included. So if you don't happen to have one lying around somewhere, you'll have to add a power supply to your Thomann shopping basket for 10 pounds. But even then, it is still cheaper than the competition.

Unfortunately, battery operation is not included, so the unit is not ready for use without the additional power supply. This is a shame, because in our opinion, battery operation would have made sense for a device of this design.

In our experience, these minimalist connections should be sufficient for beginners. One thing to bear in mind, however, is that there is no auxiliary input. So you won't be able to plug in an iPod or smartphone to play along with a backing track. And as the Harley Benton Mini Looper has no USB or other interface, there is no other way to use backing tracks.

Connection overview:

  • 1x instrument input (1x 6.3 mm jack, 470 kOhm impedance)
  • 1x output (1x 6.3 mm jack, 100 kOhm impedance)
  • 1x power supply connector (9 V, 94 mA, negative on inner conductor)

Operation

Riding the Harley Benton Mini Looper is really easy to learn. No wonder, as the foot pedal can only be used for the most essential functions. To start recording, simply press the footswitch. In recording mode, the LED above the switch lights up red.

Pressing the footswitch again in record mode will switch the unit to playback mode and the LED will light green. Press the footswitch again in Playback mode to start an overdub. You can switch from playback to overdub as many times as you like on the Mini Looper, as there is no limit to the number of overdubs.

If you want to delete your recording, press and hold the footswitch for at least two seconds while playing or recording an overdub. The LED will flash twice in quick succession to indicate that the operation has been successful. If you change your mind, you can press the footswitch again for two seconds to restore the last recording.

To stop playback, simply press the footswitch twice in quick succession. If you wish, you can then erase all recordings by pressing and holding the switch for two seconds.

Harley Benton does supply a manual, but it is only a short leaflet. This is where we would find fault with more complicated machines. However, the Harley Benton Mini Looper is so simple that a more detailed manual is not really necessary. By the way, Thomann also makes the manual available online.

All in all, the Looper is really very easy to use. As a beginner, there are no hurdles to overcome. The Mini Looper has no additional functions that you need to learn first. So you can concentrate on learning the basics of the Looper.

Conclusion

With the Harley Benton Mini Looper you get what you expect for 50 pounds: A looper with the usual basic functions and nothing else. A unit with only one input and one output. The Mini Looper has no XLR, no USB, no WLAN, no Bluetooth and not even an aux input.

But as a beginner, you probably won't need more than what Harley Benton has here. The only thing to note for beginners is that you cannot use a backing track due to the lack of connectivity.

We have no complaints about the sound quality of the Harley Benton Mini Looper for the price. If you use an active guitar with a strong signal, you might want to get the Ditto Looper from TC Electronic, which is around 30 pounds more expensive, because of possible distortion during overdubs.

Otherwise, we can recommend the Harley Benton Mini Looper as a first step into the world of loop stations. It offers everything a beginner needs without confusing you with additional functions.

This article is a subjective review. We are not liable for the accuracy, timeliness and completeness of the information provided on the linked sites. Particular content displayed on this website originates from Amazon. This content is provided "as is" and may be changed or removed at any time.

Author: Loopstation Team
Publish date: 01.07.2023
Last updated: 01.07.2023

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