Here at Keeley, we love effect pedals, but we also recognize that a great guitar plugged directly into a great amp can be a magical thing. In fact, that’s the starting point from which our pedals are designed to work—they play off that foundation of great tone. And yet there are a number of effect pedals, some highly sought after including the vintage Univox Uni-Vibe, or the Mu-tron III, that don’t sound too great in bypass. What the Keeley Looper actually does is to add true bypass function to any effect pedal, or series of effect pedals, without requiring any modification to the pedals themselves. It creates a signal path to your amp, with whatever pedal or pedals you attach to the loop, completely out of the circuit.
One of my favorite uses for the Looper is to use it as an EFFECT PATCH. I can switch on my “Eddie Van Halen” lead sound by putting an Overdrive, Phaser and Reverb pedal in the Send/Receive loop of our Looper. Simply one click and you have a lead sound ready to inspire! – Robert Keeley
Without getting too deep into the electrical engineering side of things (if you’re interested in that stuff a good place to start is by understanding impedance and maybe even mastering Ohm’s Law), we can, for our purpose here, define an active circuit as any circuit that requires electricity to pass signal.
“Active Device: A device that requires a source of energy for its operation and has an output that is a function of present and past input signals. Note: Examples of active devices include controlled power supplies, transistors, LEDs, amplifiers, and transmitters.”
Active circuits can be excellent, but they’re not all created equal, and some designs cut corners enough to negatively affect the way your pick ups interact with your amp. An ideal active bypass signal might be one that is extremely well electrically isolated, to the extent that a player cannot hear or detect the pedal negatively altering their guitar tone at all. Yet, the effect could also be switched on and off with no noticeable switching noise or popping. Active switching can be made to sound really good if a wide range of design criteria is handled with care.
The Keeley True Bypass Looper’s passive 3PDT switching circuit is sonically transparent, preserving that all-important tone. Because there’s so little under the hood, we’re able to make the thing quite small at just 1.5” wide and 3.67” long, allowing it to fit in tight spaces and provide all kinds of connectivity options. That said, there is an active component to the Keeley True Bypass Looper—by adding a DC power supply to this unit, you get two LED indicators, letting you know if the loop is active, or bypassed. This of course does not affect the tone or true-bypass switching in any way.
People also use our Looper as a GUITAR SWITCHER. By connecting one instrument to the lower right input jack and an additional instrument to the upper left return jack you can use the Looper to switch between the guitars without having to unplug and plug in instruments on stage. – Robert Keeley
If you suspect one or more of your favorite pedals might be messing with your tone in bypass, simply compare the sound of the bypassed pedal with the sound you get plugging straight in. If you’re not happy with the bypassed pedal, the Keeley True Bypass Looper might just let you have your tone-cake and eat it too.