December 5, 2023

Vongon Polyphrase as a looper.

The Vongon Polyphrase is a great pedal for creating short loops. There are restrictions (no undo, no octave function and a max length of 22 seconds) but the workflow can be easier than a conventional looper. And if you’re already got Polyphrase as your delay, you may not need to add a dedicated looper pedal. This article shows you how.

Working in multiples rather than a rigid loop length.

If you want to jot down musical ideas quickly, conventional loopers require you to you create a loop the full length and then layer and play overtop. So if you want to do an 16-bar loop, you have to tap out the beat for 16 bars, then the bass for 16 bars, then the rhythm for 16 bars before playing overtop. With Polyphrase you can tap out the beat for a bar, the bass for two bars, the rhythm for eight bars, all by multiplying loop length with the Time knob. The shorter loops will also be more consistent when multiplied since they’re copies. You can do this in one take if you like or use the Infinite function to defeat recording between parts. (You can also set loop length with tap tempo.)

Polyphrase setup for looping.

  • Tone knob to 12n.
  • Repeats knob to 100%. This is about 1-2p. It will keep the loop’s volume consistent.
  • Mix knob between 10-11a. This puts the loop volume slightly lower than live for playing over.
  • Time knob to a comfortable beat. I usually go for 682ms with the sliders all the way up.
  • Trigger Function to Infinite.
  • Sync button on.

A few tips for looping.

  • Keep Infinite mode on when not recording. In addition to letting you play overtop, it also prevents line noise from building up in the loop.
  • At any time you can double (22s max) or halve the loop with the Time knob.
  • When increasing the loop length with the Time knob, let the current loop pass through once for the range before tuning up or you’ll get glitching.
  • Modulation is non destructive, so warbles are not recorded.
  • To clear the loop, hold the Echo footswitch a few seconds until it blinks rapidly.

My take.

In addition to the Polyphrase being an insanely-long delay, it’s also excellent for layering down short musical sketches. While some of the conventional looper features are missing, you have some tricks other most loopers can’t do like, like unsyncing the two delays, as well as controlling glitching and pitch artifacts.

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