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New Member - Buying Advice and Opinions Sought

Hi all!

I'm a new member to the list, and I'm looking to expand my musical style by
getting into looping.  However, I find that my lack of knowledge and
experience with the equipment is hampering my decision-making process, and
I'm hoping that you all might be able to guide me a little.

I hope I'm not breaking any etiquette by asking for purchasing advice.  If
so, please simply ignore my newbie mistake.

I've tried reading up on the various products, and I tried reading the
reviews up on this site, but frankly I am still mostly in the dark.  Heck,
people keep referring to the "big three", and I'm still not sure which 
they're referring to!

While I'd appreciate any reading lists or advice for suggested reading you
wish to give, I really think that I'm just going to need to trust the
experts at some point.

So I thought I'd just come out and ask you what you thought I should pick
up, specifically, for my particular requirements.

My needs:  I play almost exclusively live, acoustic guitar and vocals at 
same time, and would want to loop either guitar or vocals or both (or other
instruments through the mike).  As a live player, I'd need something
portable, small, easy to set up, etc. (a rack-mounted unit is probably
inappropriate) and my hands will be unavailable while playing, as a
guitarist.  The loops would need to be at least the length of an entire
verse/chorus combination, so that could run up to 1 minute or more.  As a
live acoustic instrumentalist, it'd be nice if the sound quality was as 
as possible, and if there was little-to-no hiss from the looping unit.  
be nice to save a decent loop after the fact (off the unit onto a recording
medium of some sort) but this is far secondary to decent live performance.
Ease-of-use is a bonus, but I'm expecting a learning curve.  However, that
being said, the ability to remove the last layer (if a mistake was made,
'cause I make 'em!) would be a big plus!  Simple effects would be nice, 
as I own no effects pedals (and feel free to make suggestions there if you
feel they would enhance things).  I'd want to loop both guitar and vocal
lines at various times, perhaps even looping multiple different loops and
playing them in synch, or in sequence.

I looked at the new Boomerang III specs on a friends' advice, and from what
I could make of it, it seemed that it only loops one input (so I could only
loop the guitar, or the vocals, but not both).  Of course, I could be 
and/or there may be a workaround that is commonly used for this drawback 
this is a common state of affairs for many looping pedals).

I'm extremely interested in moving forward with this project, but sadly I
just seem to have run into an informational wall that I can't seem to 

So please, if you have a moment, feel free to share any advice, thoughts, 
suggestions that you wish.  And frankly, if you simpy want to come out and
say "I'd suggest buying Such-and-such" then that is fine by me!

Thank you kindly for your consideration.


Rob "Bodhi" Wolff