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REposting: reviews of EH 2880

I am sure a former colleague of mine at MTV wrote a sizeable piece to the list, or to me which I then forwarded, back in mid-2006 when he had my 2880 & footswitch on loan. if it can't be found (& I've trawled my own archived mails) then this will have to suffice, from the same era, & from the inestimable mr zwicky:


From: Charles Zwicky [mailto:cazwicky@earthlink.net]

Sent: 27 July 2006 16:31

To: Loopers-Delight@loopers-delight.com

Subject: My thoughts on the ELECTRO HARMONIX 2880

I'll post this to the LD website after we've answered any of your questions.


Fantastic audio quality.

Physical knobs and buttons for every function.

All level, pan, tempo and click track levels are knobs... you never lose your settings when resetting a loop, like the Repeater...

Separate foot controller keeps the knobs near your hands and the timing functions near your feet, uses standard guitar cable to connect to 2880.

Each button has one function only, no menus, no double clicking, no "7 footswitch presses to get to insert mode" (ala BOSS RC-50).

Separate feedback control over each track, you can simultaneously perform 'looping' and 'echoing' in the same performance simply by selecting the appropriate track.

STEREO MIXDOWN TRACK: Great feature! You can bounce the 4 basic loops to a stereo pair, and in addition you can vari-speed the 4 tracks independently of the mixdown. While you bounce down you can manipulate the level, pan and pitch in real time, including the feedback level of the mixdown track! This feature allows a whole new type of performance:

Realtime audio manipulation.

Physical knobs to control feedback and pitch allow for some entirely new performance possibilities, including DJ type effects...

Speaking of which... the MIDI synch (in and out) is really interesting.

The unit handles tempo changes by vari-speeding the audio, no glitching or garbled audio as the Repeater does. If you press reverse while synched to MIDI the device responds with the ballistics of a big tape machine, even in record. This can generate some very interesting pitch sweeping effects. ( when the unit is the master, or not synched it reverses instantly) Also, if you record an initial pass while synched to MIDI and the external tempo is set quite high (300bpm, for example) then slow the tempo way down (to say 20bpm) and get some incredible aliasing, ala the original EH 16 second delay... try it!

The audio interface is very practical and well thought out:

Stereo audio inputs with individual left and right input level control and clipping indicators.

In addition, there is a stereo input pan knob which has some very clever functions. When set fully counter-clockwise, the Left Input is monitored at the Left Output and the Right Input is monitored at the Right Output. When Pan is set to the CW position, the Left Input is monitored at the Right Output and the Right Input is monitored at the Left Output. When Pan is set to the middle, both Inputs are mixed to both Outputs. The setting of the DRY OUT Fader and the Pan Pot have no influence on the signal that is recorded.

AUX input: This is a purely analog through path which is mixed with the signal from the D/A converter and output to the main audio outputs. This AUX input allows you to mix any other audio source without recording it to the 2880. This makes parallel looping easy, you can use two other mono loopers or a stereo looper and feed the outputs into the 2880 AUX input. This can really open up some sonic ground!

Nice sounding headphone amp with level knob.

USB 2.0 interface and CF card reader.

Never an issue with card compatibility (ala Repeater).



The ability to store multiple loops on one card would be a great addition, since the device allows so many great performance manipulation options it would be nice to have someplace to keep and access these creations within the unit. You can do so with a computer, but that sort of misses the point. At the moment the workaround is to carry several CF cards, not such a bad option to have.

Loop multiply function. It would also be great if the mixdown track could be an independent length, to record evolving loop mutilations.

The ability to respond to Midi PC and CC input for the normal front panel functions. (Electro Harmonix have told me that this may be possible to add)

Signal present indicators over each channel would be nice, I am spoiled by the Repeater's metering system!


I wish that the "Octave" button would work without halving the Midi Clock rate.

I wish that smaller capacity Compact Flash cards could be used. Since the current OS only allows one loop to be saved to a card at a time, smaller cards would be perfect for those of us who rely on smaller loops for ambient looping. I typically use loops much shorter than 30 seconds, and this amount of data would fit on a 16MB CF card. These smaller cards are also very inexpensive.

I wish that the "New Loop" and "Track Select" buttons were physically swapped on the foot controller (and the unit...) the "New Loop" button is used very infrequently compared to the "Track Select" button. Once underway the "New Loop" button is really more of a panic button. (EH have explained that they built a failsafe into the NEW LOOP function, you can back out of that selection by pressing play: to create a new loop you must press 'new loop" a second time)


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