LAST year Ed Sheeran was wrongly accused of using a backing track during his Glastonbury performance.
Ed actually relies on a loop station, a music device which allows artists to build layers of music. Here’s how they work…
What is a loop station? How much do they cost?
Live looping is the method of recording and playback of music in real-time. This can be done either with loop station devices or using a special computer software.
Ed, as well as other musicians, uses a loop station which he controls with pedals.
Ed could be clearly seen tapping his foot during his performance at Worthy Farm in 2017, which instantly records and plays back his melodies.
The method allows him to enhance and layer his vocals during live performances.
Each loop station allows users to store digital audio files which can then be later played back.
Pedal operated loop stations can sell for over £400 online.
Why was Ed Sheeran accused of miming?
Many Glastonbury viewers rushed to Twitter to accuse Sheeran of short-changing fans during his 90-minute set.
At points, the singer took his hands off his guitar yet his melodies continued to play out across the stage.
One viewer tweeted: “Watching Ed Sheeran at Glasto. Why is he bothering with a guitar, it’s carrying on in the background when he stops playing! #miming”
Another said: “Ed Sheeran just using loads of pre-recorded stuff, miming and not even pretending to play his guitar half the time.”
An angry Sheeran used Twitter himself to respond to his critics. The 26-year-old wrote: “Never thought I ‘d have to explain it, but everything I do in my live show is live, it’s a loop station, not a backing track. Please google x.”
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Why does Ed Sheeran use a loop station?
Music retailer Roland explains why artists use loop stations in their acts.
It allows performers to build layers of music until it sounds like an entire band is on stage with them.
On their website a demo explains: “It is interesting to look at the equipment used by Ed Sheeran throughout his career. You could probably list it on one hand.
“Acoustic guitar? Check. Loop pedal? Check. That’s about it.
“Ed’s songs, particularly in a live setting, are built upon a foundation of acoustic guitar melodies, percussive use of the guitar’s body and little else.
“The glue holding everything together is the loop pedal, which allows Ed to build up these layered soundscapes, providing the base on which he can lay his unique vocal and lyrical stylings.”
Do other musicians use loop stations?
Yes, loop stations have been used by many other high-profile performers.
Guitarist and singer KT Tunstall regularly uses one, while professional beatboxers also use the technology.