Ed Sheeran’s Chewie Looper Crashes Equipboard Gear Site

Ed Sheeran’s performance at the Grammys last night was low key compared to the stunning spectacles staged by Beyoncé and A Tribe Called Quest. But Sheeran’s humble performance is the only one that made gear enthusiasts rabid.

Last night, the loop–happy crooner put a massive pedalboard labeled “Chewie” front and center during this performance of “Shape of You.” An overhead camera gave us a glimpse of the coffee table-sized device decked out in green lights and four volume meters.

Curiosity about “Chewie” inspired many gear heads to flock to Equipboard, a massive collection of information about the gear that famous musicians use. The site met so much traffic that it went down during the performance and stayed down for 20 minutes. The few who found answers likely figured out that Chewie doesn’t exist—at least not on the market.

The pedalboard was developed by Sheeran and his team as the hardware side of a dynamic, Ableton Live–based looping system for Sheeran’s live shows. The full name of this system is the Chewie II Monsta Looper.

Ed Sheeran and The Chewie II at the 59th GRAMMYs

The first Chewie Monsta Looper was first described to Mix by Sheeran’s guitar technician Trevor Dawkins in a 2014 profile on the singer. The pedal you saw controls a Roland FC-300 MIDI controller off–stage, which in turn controls the free Mobius 2 VST, a looper plugin run on Ableton Live.

This system, allows Sheeran and his front-of-house mixer to have four separate tracks of loops dedicated to guitar, vocals, and percussion, which can be treated with different effects like reverb and a harmonizer.

With the board at his feet, Sheeran has complete control over recording, playback, and even undoing a loop if need be. The number of overdubs is limited only by the host computer’s RAM.

Dawkins described the current version, the Chewie II, to PMT Online last year. The second generation Chewie now has screens to “monitor the program’s record/overdub/playback functions as well as showing the time frame of the loop itself.”

The Chewie II also allows Sheeran to mute tracks, giving him better control over song structure. In other words, Sheeran’s looper gives him all of the tactile ease of something like a Boss RC-20 with all of the sophistication and flexibility of a computer.

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