With the Loop Core, the Chinese brand NUX launched an improved version of its previous loopers in 2014. What can you do with the small yellow floor pedal available for less than $100? Find out in today's review.
The NUX Loop Core has a "land mine" format with an eye-catching yellow casing and a black control panel, offering a considerable number of controls for its small size. The device has a recording capacity of six hours and lets you store up to 99 loops, and you can record in both mono and stereo.
Besides its main functionality as a looper, one of the highlights of the device is a drum machine with 40 different rhythm patterns. A small display shows the current memory slot or the number of the selected drum pattern. At a closer look, the protruding knob turns out to be two knobs in one, allowing you to adjust the volume of loop and rhythm separately.
Inside the Loop Core's casing, you'll find a connection for your guitar or bass on the right side and next to it a connection for an external pedal to operate the tap-tempo function, for example. On the opposite left side, the device has two large jack connectors as a stereo output, of which the left channel is also used as a mono channel.
On the front side, the NUX Loop Core has a USB port to connect it with your computer, a small jack aux input, as well as a 9 V DC power supply connector. You can use the aux input for playing backing tracks from an external player as well as a stereo input. The USB mini-B port allows you to drag and drop loops from your computer.
Unfortunately, the matching power supply for the Loop Core is not included and must be purchased separately. However, the device can also be powered by a 9 V block battery. By the way, there is no power button on the Loop Core; instead, you switch it on by plugging a cable into the left output.
Here is an overview of the connections:
The NUX Loop Core starts recording into the displayed memory slot after pressing the central foot switch once. Pressing the foot switch again starts the playback, and pressing it a third time starts an overdub. However, the record-playback-overdub sequence can also be changed to record-overdub-playback by pressing a "key combination" found in the manual when starting the device. Pressing the foot switch twice stops the loop recording completely.
In addition to these basic looper features, the Loop Core also offers Undo and Redo. Holding the foot switch for two seconds will erase the last overdub, and holding it for another two seconds will restore the deleted overdub. Pressing it for two seconds while paused, on the other hand, will cause the entire contents of the current memory slot to be discarded.
In addition to the normal start of a recording, the Loop Core also has an auto-recording mode. When activated, the device waits with the start of the recording until you hit a string for the first time. You also have the option of setting various stop modes with a choice between stopping the recording immediately, stopping at the end of the loop, and a ten-second fade-out effect.
The memory management of the loops is very simple: There is an up and a down button, by means of which you can switch between the 99 memory slots, and you can always read the number of the currently selected memory slot on the display. A Save/Delete button is available for copying the contents of one memory slot to another one and for deleting memory slots.
When connecting the device to a PC via USB, the Loop Core appears as a mass storage device in the operating system. This allows you to upload loops and create backups using simple drag and drop in the file manager of Windows or other operating systems.
Pressing the Rhythm or Tap Tempo button on top of the device activates the built-in drum machine with 20 different rhythm types, all of which are available as 4/4 and 3/4 variants. The patterns are oriented towards different genres, for example rock, blues, swing or reggae. You can switch between the patterns by holding the Rhythm button for two seconds and then selecting a pattern with the arrow keys. In addition to setting the tempo, you can also use the Tap Tempo button to choose between the 4/4 and 3/4 versions of the selected pattern.
We found the overall sound of the drum machine to be decent and appropriate for the price of the device. Sure, you'll want to do studio recordings with something else, but for practicing, small solo performances, or even capturing song ideas, the built-in drum machine is very handy.
Operating the NUX Loop Core is, as with most pedal loopers, pretty simple and easy to learn. You handle the main loop control tasks with the device's central foot switch. The small buttons on the control panel are available for other features, including tap tempo and rhythm, but also for managing the memory slots. Adjusting the volume is done separately for loop and rhythm via a somewhat unusual two-part knob: The inner, longer part allows you to adjust the rhythm volume, and the outer ring allows you to adjust the loop volume.
You can find a PDF version of the Loop Station's manual online but it is only a small folded notebook and not a real book. Nevertheless, all features are explained sufficiently, since the handling is not complicated anyway.
We definitely recommend the NUX Loop Core for beginners. The handling is simple and the looper offers all the features that a beginner looper needs. Another positive is the integrated drum machine, which is a useful addition to the actual looper. It is a bit of a shame that no power supply is included but it's one component many competitors in this price segment save on.
The device can be connected to the PC via USB and does not require any additional software, which would be completely too much in our opinion given the range of features. Last but not least, the NUX Loop Core impresses with a very low price, even for the entry-level segment. Currently, you can buy the device for as little as $80 to $110. You really get a lot for your money and even some much more expensive models can't compete with that.
We can recommend the NUX Loop Core as an entry-level model if you are not put off by the blatant yellow casing. Otherwise, you can alternatively take a look at the Boss RC-5 (incl. drum machine) or the TC Electronic Ditto+ (unfortunately without a drum machine), which we also reviewed positively in previous posts.
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Author: Loopstation Team
Publish date: 23.03.2022
Last updated: 24.03.2022
4.85 of 5