Introduction: Looper

About: I'm a college student enrolled at Boston University, pursuing a chemistry degree. Hailing from Minnesota, I developed a keen interest in music, especially the experiemental side of it, so I began making my ...

Make an audio looper for under $20

Step 1: Gather Your Parts

Get all these parts, available from your local Radioshack:

1. 20-second recording module, part #276-1323
2. Two output jacks of your choice (I used 1/8" mono phone jacks)
3. 1 SPST toggle switch
4. 1 (or more) N.O. momentary pushbutton switches
5. 1 9V battery
6. A cool box/container to put it in
7. Suppplies that I assume you already have: wire, wire clippers, solder, a soldering iron

Step 2: Explore and Prepare the PCB

This is a drawing I made of the small circuit board that is the entirety of the recording module. It has a little speaker, 9V battery clip, pushbutton switch on an attached mini PCB, another pushbutton switch attached to the main board, a black-blob IC, and various resistors, capacitors, and a transistor.

Step 3: Surgery!

Pry the little tabs up which keep the pushbutton on the main board. They are on the back of the board. The button itself should come off really easily.

Cut the wire leading to the speaker at point A, or you can simply desolder where they join to the PCB.

Locate R3, which is labeled on the board itself. If you can't read the numbers on the board, it's the resistor at the top, if your board is oriented like the picture above. The lead on the inside, point C, is where you will solder one wire. Attatch the other end of that wire to one lug of an SPST toggle switch. Attach another wire between the other lug and either one of the points where the speaker attatches to the board; mine is at point B. This is the loop connection.

Step 4: I/O

Here's where you give your looper ears and a voice. Solderin two wire at each point where the speaker wires were. At the end of each, attatch the audio jack of your choice: 1/4", 1/8", RCA, etc. I used 1/8" minijacks.

Some optional steps:
1. Detatch the existing pushbutton switch on the smaller PCB at SW2. I did this and replaced it with an easier-to-mount N.O. momentary pushbutton switch.
2. Make a new one-shot switch by soldering directly to the exposed traces where the button on the main board used to be.

Step 5: Finished (almost)!

And there you have it, a finished looper. All that's left is to house it in something. I put mine in a Fossil company watch tin. These are great for smaller projects like this; they're compact, easy to drill, and are funky-colored. Of course, spray paint is always an option.

To record, hook up some sort of input device to either jack, hold down the momentary puchbutton switch you either did or didn't wire into SW2, and speak/puch play/press a key/whatever you're doing to make sound. I wired the headphone jack on my laptop to it and play clips of recorded audio. When you're done recording (up to 20 seconds), let go of the button, and flip the toggle switch (after plugging a speaker up to the other jack). It will loop continuously. Some cool percussion loops can be made using this simple method.

The looper has some quirks associated with it, but i'll let yoou figure them out, it's more fun that way.



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    103 Discussions

    Hello!!! I am novice yet!!! where can i find the istructions? where is the PCB circuit? I must be PRO??Thank you!!


    3 years ago

    Anyone managed to this using multiple tracks? Thanks

    Hey I tried to do it and it works but i dont know how to make it loop continously any help?

    What camera did you use for the instructable pictures?

    Hi there Nice hack, I was wondering if you could post a video of your looper in action?

    I ordered 2 of these  (A96010) a while back and tried to build a looper for some fun with my guitar based on this very cool instructable. Here is the link where the spec sheep is available for the parts I have.
    I had built a working model. I didnt mind the pause between loops, or oscollation that would build up after a a handfull of loops, the only thing that it lacked was the ability to have a live signal get through at the same time a loop was playing back, so I could play overtop. Maybe he on/off (single pole) play button iscolated the signal? I also tried having the input connected to the input terminal as well as the output jack simoultaneously with no result. I would be glad to build an instructable if any of you could take a look at the chip and throw ideas at me to troubleshoot. I have dismantled the pedal since (and stupid me didnt evan get one pic while it was assembled) but now I have an opportunity to start from square one, and record my progress to share it with all. + I plan on building 2 of these.

    DSC01922.JPGDSC01928.JPGDSC01933.JPG20 second loop module info.jpg
    1 reply

    I've been running into the same issues with loop and playback. I was thinking of trying some diodes where they connect, so the signal can't travel backwards (Ithink thats where the problem is). 

     Is there any way to get a longer recording bit or multiple tracks? 

    1 reply

    I would suspect you need multiple circuts for multiple tracks connected to the same output, and a shared power supply maybe? As far as longer recording time on the A93010 module you can swap the 52k resistor for and 89k resistor for 30 seconds total rec. time. The rec. quality will be reduced from 6.4KHz to 4.0KHz. I would just keep the 20 seconds IMO.

    also wanted to mention parts most of you are using are not availabe in Canada. The parts I ordered and the site I found to order from online was the only place that would ship these type of electronics here. Sadly Radio Shack turned into "The Source" ...same store different name but the parts availibility for this kind of stuff became very dismal. The modification is essentally still the same across the board.

    hey! AWESOME project... thanks so much for this! I got a similar version of this board, I'm not sure if it will work with this or not, but I certainly hope it does work. I will find out tomorrow. Does anyone know if I could get the LED that is on the board to shine through the enclosure I'm putting it into? This would be a great help! THANKS!

    4 replies

    Okay, so the revised board DOES NOT WORK!!!! It will play back once, but I can not find a way to make it loop. Check your local radio shack, mine had one of the older boards in stock... good luck!

    Just found this circuit for looping the newer radio shack sound module. 


    today I bought a little 16 sec voice recorder (5 EU)
    First it did not loop but when I bypassed the playbutton and accidentaly conneczted it to mic + it suddently looped... Don´t now why. To start the playback I now have to connect the playbutton to ground.. Still experimenting.

    Problems still to solve:

    When the looper power is set to on the Looper imediately starts to play...
    ther is a little sound gap (time seems to fit) between the loops

    has anyone experimented with differant caps to change the the rate of the reapeats?

    AWESOME!!! By the way, I did mine inside a Rubbermaid container I got for $2 at Target. I can stand on this thing and it holds up, it was super-easy to drill out, the rubber lid grips the floor pretty well, and it's easy to replace the battery!


    Has anyone made one from the new radioshack recorder? (As mentioned the schematic is different) I would really love to still be able to make the looper... Thanks!

    1 reply

    I just bought the new circuit. It is possible, but it is going to be much harder to get to work. The new one uses micro resistors and micro capacitors... so it'll take some time to figure out. I've been working on figuring it out, and I got it to loop while the playback button is pressed down; however, there is a Sawtooth LFO added to the sound as it progressively loops. As soon as I figure this new circuit out, I will make an instructable about it.