EHX 2880 and tales of clipping

Hi all - new here, looking for some stories/opinions/thoughts.

TL/DR: I like the EHX 2880 generally speaking, but find that it’s very sensitive to signal clipping - wondering if it’s just me, or if other’s have found the same thing, wondering if a compressor would help, or looking for recommended alternatives for looping hardware.

I’m using the EHX 2880 as the sort of ‘master looper’ in a live looping set up. There are a handful of signal chains going on in the overall design:

  • Baritone electric guitar -> various effects -> Boredbrain Patchulator 8000 -> Art PRO MX822 Mixer
  • Nord Drum 2 -> MX822
  • MX 822 Aux Send (mono) -> BoredBrain Patchulator 8000 -> EHX 2880 (stereo out) -> TC Trinity 2 (stereo in/out) -> MX822 Aux Return (Stereo)
  • BoredBrain Patchulator has two DL4 units hooked in, which I dedicate to either just the guitar or the AUX send depending on the need. Guitar takes up one more input, then the AUX send. The rest are dedicated to whatever I decide to plug into there.

What I’m finding is that the 2880 seems to have mixed results on how it handles the signal entering it. It can be very sensitive to clipping and distortion, and it seems to be somewhat random - volume might make it happen, or just too much information coming in. It’s hard to tell. I’m wondering if a compressor just before the 2880 would be an approach. But I’m also curious, as it’s an old unit, if there might be just a better option for the ‘master looper’ in this chain. Does the 45000 solve this issue in that update? Would a Boomerang III be more stable?

I’m open to any feedback. And do let me know if I’m overlooking anything stupid or have been unclear - I’m always looking to learn.


Line level signals have always been dicey with the 2880.

Proper gain structuring in a setup like yours is already critical enough, without then having to worry about feeding a line level signal (from the MX822 in this case, which deals in odd impedances and unbalanced TRS outputs no less) into the instrument inputs on your 2880.

My best advice is to get yourself a Boomerang III and never look back. It is designed to handle +4dBu line level signals at the inputs, and it’s a far superior looper. :wink:


the manual suggests a briefly clipping led for the Input signal, but overall I think the 2880 handles everything quiet well, iam using it as a master looper on the Monitor Outs of my Ibanez RM80 mixer, this way I can send individual channels to the Input of the 2880 or even record a dry mixdown of all channels .
it’s clean and not distorted or broken etc

I would suggest to not go directly to the inputs, instead with a mixer with individual sends etc :innocent:

Thanks for this - yeah the gain staging is challenging as it is. The 2880 seems to always be the wild card. I like some of the features, and the split between having a desktop and foot controlled option for it. But I don’t know if the trade-off on the sound issues is worth it.

I’m no expert on these things - the AUX SEND would qualify as line level? And not instrument level? Is that partly why you think that the 2880 is struggling to manage it? Would a DI help?

Is what you’re suggesting different than the current process of using the AUX SENDs from the MX822 mixer? Just wanted to clarify - thanks for the response. There seems to be a mixed bag of results from the 2880 on this subject. I do sometimes get to stabilize it, but it’s never consistent…and annoying to have to keep appeasing it multiple times during performance.


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ART stuff has always been a little strange to work with. Don’t get me wrong, I actually use a few of their solution boxes myself, in my live rig, for basic patching and summing, etc. However, make no mistake, you get what you pay for.

To begin with, ART stuff is typically noisy at the outputs, which can accumulate and cause problems in and of itself. Beyond that, however, the performance of ART gear often falls awkwardly between -10dB consumer-grade line level and +4dB professional-grade line level: i.e. the outputs might be technically capable of +4dBu, but the output impedance and noise floor will be high by comparison. And there are other sacrifices made for the sake of combi-jacks and auto-switching, that can make downstream gear grumpy, etc.

Regardless, the 1/4" inputs on the 2880 are documented as high-impedance, instrument-level inputs, whereas the signal coming out of your MX822 (Main/Aux) is ART’s version of line level (yet still 1 kΩ, which is higher than optimal). On the other hand, the input impedance presented at the AUX IN Jack on the 2880 is 6.8 kΩ; so, technically speaking, it would be better suited for taking the Aux Send from your mixer. I’d start there.

Using a D.I., while not incorrect, would be gratuitous in my opinion. If you’re serious about this setup, you’re best just to use what you’ve already got and scrutinize your gain structure, or invest in better gear.


This was very helpful - thanks for the knowledge here. I’ll keep tooling around with it…might just be a quirk to manage until an upgrade is warranted in one way or another. Thanks again!

I’m afraid I’ve pointed you in the wrong direction here, Duff.

According the manual, the 2880 does not record audio from the AUX IN Jack. So, ya, in the short term, you’re going to have to put more scrutiny into your gain structuring if you want to avoid clipping. The good news is, I’m confident that you can make it work with a little finesse.

Sorry for the misinformation there. My bad. :grimacing:


All good! Thanks for the follow up :slightly_smiling_face:

One more question for you - as you’ve been very helpful. Noticing that there are the existing of line converters than can turn a line-level signal to instrument…would this be a potential solution? Or is that creating more harm than good?

Well, much like the D.I. solution, while not incorrect, I’m just not a fan of having adaptors for my adaptors. I see these kinds of solutions as just adding more potential failure points. As a general rule, no matter what the application, the fewer stages of conversion the better. In this case, you can make it work with what you already have, it’s just that the gain structuring becomes more critical. Find your loudest source—i.e. drums, leads, vocals, whatever—as it applies to your music, find the upper threshold for that signal with regards to clipping the looper, and work your way down in volume from there.

As I don’t know your music or your setup at all, it’s hard for me to speculate as to where exactly things are going wrong, but one thing to keep in mind is that live looping causes frequencies to compound: i.e. the more overdubs you do, the louder your loop will get, especially if you’re laying the same instrument. So, often a looper will start clipping internally, even though the signal coming in is at a responsible level. Advanced loopers have a feature called “Loop Decay” to address this issue, wherein each overdub causes all previous overdubs to decrease in volume by a user-specified amount. Other loopers allow for this to be done manually via an expression pedal input. I haven’t used a 2880 in a million years now, so I don’t recall if it has any of these features, so I’ll leave it to you to suss that out.

Lord knows, Covid rules in play, I’ve got time to answer questions; so, if you have any more, don’t hesitate to ask. :wink:


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Thanks John (do I call you John?). Yeah I figured you might say that…I’ve been doing some more noodling and it appears I can at least control it a bit - it’s not so sensitive that it can’t be managed. And you’re right - if I do some ambient compound layers into one of the DL4s, that tends to cause some trouble. By the same token, if I’m being honest, I don’t always mind it - sort of a lo-fi charm to it as long as its not too obnoxious.

That’s “Mr. The Savage” to you. :no_mouth:

Just kidding, John will do. Though, full disclosure, I’m not actually the guy Huxley wrote about… That guy died in the name of integrity; I’m just riding his coat-tails. :wink:


Just a crazy thought - if those are ambient guitar layers could you be picking too hard?

Hey! Good thought - but no. It’s a sustained note trail captured by a freeze pedal. I think it’s actually just the compounding layers…getting a little too aggressive with that. But you’re not wrong in theory - some finesse in my playing would likely also help.

Well…isn’t there something to living dangerously? Thank you Mr TheSavage haha

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Just as an update (as I’m sure you’re invested) - did some more tinkering. I bypassed the 2880 completely while doing some tracking to the computer, and found that there was distortion occurring even without the 2880 involved on some frequencies and passages. So I think there is more work to be done on the gain staging for sure. The DL4s (surprise suprise) may also be somewhat of a culprit, as some of the denser loop layers using just those guys lead to distortion…still figuring it out. Suffice to say the 2880 may be getting framed for crimes it did not commit.

To add, I learned that the EHX 95000 has “1/4” high impedance, unbalanced input intended for both instrument and line level signals […] can accept amplitude up to +9.8dBu." So if there was some sort of issue around this with the 2880 or 45K, the manual in the 95K has explicitly referenced the headroom.

I’m totally interested, so please do keep me posted. I do a lot of live looping myself, and have worked with several pedal manufacturers, over the years, on the finer points of their looping pedals. I’m all ears when it comes to plights like yours. :wink:

I’ve not used the EHX 95000 myself, but I’ve heard good things about it, and it’s been adopted by some of my more prestigious colleagues, so…

I’m just not looking for a new looping solution at this point. I’ve rested on a setup using two 'Rang III loopers, for which I’ve yet to see any real competition. Anyway, if you find the source of the clipping, let me know.