The Lehle D.Loop ($270 retail/$245 street) is a pro-quality signal router designed to control two loops of effects. Lehle (pronounced "Lee-la") only builds switching boxes, and the D.Loop is the German manufacturer's fourth and most recent design. As with previous Lehle switchers, the D.Loop features a rugged, powder-coated steel enclosure, extra-large "mushroom" buttons, and highly visible LED status indicators. To insure consistent, high-fidelity sound, switching duties are handled by seven Omron relays with gold-plated contacts. And dig this-the six 1/4 " TRS jacks accept both mono and stereo signals.
The D.Loop can also receive MIDI program-change commands via its 5-pin DIN MIDI In jack ($20 extra), and its internal Philips micro-controller chip can provide full programmability of the control button and loop assignments. In addition, the D.Loop features a selectable unity-gain impedance buffer circuit that can be activated with or without the loops. The D.Loop requires an external power supply, but its onboard rectifier and voltage regulator allow it to operate from any 9-20 volt DC or 8-14 volt AC power source.
Using the device to activate a chain of vintage effects, I found the D.Loop switched the group of pedals in and out of the signal path noiselessly, and it provided a bypass that was virtually indistinguishable from a direct connection. The buffer circuitry also enhanced the effected sound with hi-fi clarity, coherency, and detail. Also, while the D.Loop is primarily a loop selector, it can function as an A/B box, or as a selector for multiple instruments. An impressive feat of foot-pedal design, the D.Loop represents the pinnacle of switching and routing technology, and it receives an Editors' Pick Award.
Fender Neoprene Strap
Technically, this bad boy is a bass strap, but seeing as how a couple of GP editors regularly gig with scale-tipping Les Pauls, Fender's Neoprene Strap ($34 retail/$24 street) was too enticing to simply hand over to our bros at Bass Player. This thick, simple strap offers stellar nylon stitching, as well as a plush, elastic shoulder pad that effectively disperses the weight of your favorite 6-string boat anchor. The only problem with the Neoprene is, if you're over six feet tall and not accustomed to wearing your guitar under your chin ` la George Harrison circa-'64, the strap may be a little short for your liking. But damm, it's comfy.