JohannLooper V2–a granular looper/arpeggiator

Using a series of cascading loops, the Johann Looper warps time, making sound seem to coalesce out of nothing, arpeggiate of its own accord, and change its nature from moment to moment. At its default settings, it sounds rather like an orchestra that accompanies your melody.

Johann Looper 1.1 revision notes

The revision mostly fixes what firmware 1.02 broke. In the new firmware, you can’t save the forward/reverse state of a looper. If you heard Johann before 1.02, this is the same patch, sonically.

But I also used it as an opportunity to redesign the front page. Now, it has a pretty light show that tracks the loops, and some of the controls are more accessible, and others have better representation.

Front page:
….[Mix]….[Pad mix]……..[M2][M4]

Mix: wet/dry mix.

Pad mix: mix of pad loops to regular loops.

M1, etc.: indicator lights for when using the right footswitch to mute loops. If a light goes out, it is muted.

L1, etc.: forward/reverse state of each loop, latching pushbutton. It loads in the “default” condition of L1, L2, & L4 reversed.

P1, etc.: forward/reverse state of each pad loop, latching pushbutton. It loads in the “default” condition of P2 being reversed.

Original patch notes

Using a series of cascading loops, the Johann Looper warps time, making sound seem to coalesce out of nothing, arpeggiate of its own accord, and change its nature from moment to moment. At its default settings, it sounds rather like an orchestra that accompanies your melody.

The loops fade in and out, thanks to a quadrature LFO set-up, making sounds seem to rise and fall out of nowhere. Different tracks run at different pitches, some are reversed. They are all fed into a hall reverb, set fully wet, which smears them. At fast tempos, looper arpeggiates quite nicely. At slower speeds, it seems to stretch time, as the loops trail behind their source, echoing it at odd intervals and pitches.

Beneath the main loops, another set of loopers allows you to create a “pad” of sound to play over by capturing the output and cycling it. Depending on how you capture it, it can sound quite lush, or it can sound like an eerie soundscape, or rhythmic.

Named for the late Johann Johannsson, because picking random arpeggios reminded me of his score for Arrival for some reason.


0:00-0:31–Guitar. 50/50 wet/dry mix.

0:32-0:54–Guitar. No dry signal.

0:55-1:32–Guitar. Pad employed. Slow tempo tapped in.

1:33-2:10–Electric piano. Default settings.

2:12-5:16–Drum machine. Playing with mutes, changing loop speed & direction. (Probably would have been more interesting if I hadn’t matched the tempos.)


Starred parameters:

1. Loop/pad mix. This is a pre-reverb mix. I tend to keep the pad mixed low, because it can become rather obnoxious.
2. Wet/dry mix. (Although I think I set it up as dry/wet mix….) For anyone who downloaded the work-in-progress patch and wants to return to those settings, just kill the dry. The rest of the signal path from there is unchanged.


Left–tap tempo (self-explanatory)

Middle–pad record. This is a momentary footswitch, so the longer you hold it down, the longer the pad loops will be.

Right–loop mute. Quasi-momentary. Tapping this will mute various loops: 1, 2, 3, 4, 1 & 3, 2 & 4. If you get lost on what loop is muted, or you want to return to the default settings, hold down the footswitch for ~2 seconds. The next time you tap it, it will return to default (no loops muted). Muting loops can help create variations in the arpeggios, but I have to admit… if I do another revision, it will probably be to using this footswitch in another way.

0th page–the loops, audio in and out, tap tempo.

There are four loops, each one cascading into the next. Try experimenting with different pitches and reverse/forward combinations. Changing these, and the tap tempo.

1st page–reverb & mixes.

The mix between the main loops & the pad loops is on this page.

Below it is the wet/dry mix. The dry signal passes in and out of the pedal, unaffected.

As all of the looping passes through the reverb, the tone controls for the reverb itself can be quite useful for shaping the sound of the effect.

2nd page–vcas & lfos. They look pretty as they cycle around, twinkling.

Each loop and its VCA/LFO counterpart are color-coordinated. You might try different LFO shapes for a (wildly) different sound, as the LFOs effectively function as cycling envelopes.

3rd page–pads.

The two loopers which form the pad are set to an octave below and five semitones below the sound they gather. One is set to cycle in reverse. They also listen to different loops: the top one is connected to loops 1 & 3, the bottom to loops 2 & 4.

4th page–the loopers’ sequencer.

I threw a clock divider in, if you wanted to try some (much) faster or (much) slower speeds.

5th page–muting.

This page is really not that interesting, unless you want to change the muting options. Basically, the way it works is the CV switch sends a -1 value to whichever destination is attached to that channel.

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  • Category: Effect Sound
  • Revision: V2--See comment
  • License: CC BY-SA
  • Views: 8,832
  • Modified: 2 years ago
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9 comments on “JohannLooper V2–a granular looper/arpeggiator
  • shikawkee on said:

    Dude, you did a killer job. This is an awesome patch. Kudos!!

  • Christopher H. M. Jacques on said:

    Thanks! If you have any ideas on how to describe it, I’m all ears. I know what this thing does sonically and how it’s built structurally, but getting that into words….

  • [WZ] on said:

    Tagged “Hard to explain” XD

    Glad I could help out!
    It sounds very orchestral in the soundcloud bit, feels very unique, and I really like the little fragments repeating briefly (and no worries about sound quality; I wish more people would put small snippets like this, it’s very helpful to understand the nature of things.. I actually just use my phone often, it’s just to give an impression and point out the knobs/buttons anyway)

    I really REALLY should upload my first few things soon! Hope to have time this weekend!
    Also, this site has PM function as well, right? Cause I think I might need your help/advice/experience on dual loopers for an issue I have with CV loopers!


  • natron_mn on said:

    Hot damn. You’re creating some of the gnarliest patches. You’re also a great resource on the ZOIA Users FB page, so thanks!

  • Luke_Jones on said:

    would you be able to do a video of how you use this patch properly? id be lying if i said i understood any of it

  • Christopher H. M. Jacques on said:

    JohannLooper V2:

    So, I started messing with a bunch of things and changing this patch around a lot and doing what I do when I destroy something that works…. (this is a parable or perhaps a parabola; maybe both)

    Then I stopped myself.


    Same everything, except:

    — The front panel controls have names! Things have been starred!

    — On the second page (page 1… it’s called “clock”) there are controls to switch JohannLooper to MIDI clock and there’s a clock divider that was always in the patch, tucked away, doing nothing! By default it still does nothing, but now it could potentially also do something!

    And… that’s it. If you liked the minty-fresh flavor before, you’ll still like it now. It will just be that much easier to appreciate and fit in your flow (hopefully).

    Here is a video where I use it as a prop to talk about MIDI clock and how to approach modifying a patch:

    A special thanks to my patrons on Patreon for their support: Rob Flax, Stepan Grammatik, brockstar, Mats Unnerholm, D Sing, Will Scott, drew batchelor, Miguel, Steve Bragg, Joab Eastley, Tomi Kokki, Mitch Lantz, Ben Norland, Daniel Morris, Roman Jakobej, Mark Crosbie, and Steve Codling, and Timothy Cleary!

    If you would like to support my work on ZOIA, please visit

  • Franky on said:

    A masterpiece!

  • rjschrei on said:

    How do you record the various loops? do you do it all from the footswitches or press a button for the various loops? Apologies, i am brand new at this.

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