Boss RC-50 Loop Station
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- 7 footswitches for intuitive control; real-time control of playback speed
- Play up to 3 stereo phrase tracks simultaneously, all synced to an internal or MIDI clock
- Ultra-long recording time (up to 49 min., mono), 99 patches (3 master loops per patch)
- Undo/Redo function for recording and overdubbing
- Center-cancellation feature, flat amplifier simulation feature
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For those awaiting the arrival of the ultimate looper, the wait is finally over. Introducing the RC-50 the most feature-laden Loop Station BOSS has ever built. It's the best live looping tool ever built for that matter. Housed in a spacious seven-footswitch floor unit, the RC-50 lets you manipulate three stereo phrase tracks simultaneously. Each track supports multiple overdubs, so phrases can be stacked one by one on each track, resulting in a monstrous layer of looped phrases. Guitar, bass, keyboards, vocals - whatever instrument or input device you chose to plug into the RC50, it can record it, loop it, synchronize it, and put it all under a feature-filled, user-friendly control surface. Stereo input, dual stereo output, XLR phantom-powered mic input, stereo mini-jack Aux input (for recording from an MP3 players, etc.) USB port for data/audio backup, import/export of loops as WAV files Dimensions - Width - 18-5/8 inches, Depth, 7-13/16 inches, Height, 2-9/16 inches Weight - 6 lbs. 7 oz
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For instance, having 3 separate phrases means you can not just build up a loop (which you can with any looping pedal) but deconstruct and reconstruct it by switching out parts. A popular trick is to mute one of the phrases for a while and then bring it back in with great dramatic effect.
Further features: using the the 3 phrases in single mode, where only one plays at a time. Store verse, chorus, bridge in three phrases of a patch, and just switch between them with the pedals. Option to have phrases fade in/out rather than immediately start/stop; great for ambient stuff. Multiple outputs: I have it set up so that the guide beat only goes to my headphones, but not to the (stereo!) out. You can even have the input not go to the output, so you can build up your loops without the audience hearing it.
This unit has several advantages over the EH 8080 which also has multiple phrases. 1. Undo pedal. That's a life saver. You've played something on top of a dense loop, and you can just say "nah, not good enough" and that's it, rather than being commited to your error for the rest of your performance. 2. Phrases can be independent; on the 8080 the first phrases determines the length of the rest. Here you can play a one bar drum loop in phrases 1, loop it and play a two bar rhyhtm over it in the next phrases, et cetera.
But much as I like this unit, there is room for improvement.
1. The phrases always have 100% feedback. A gradual degeneration of the earliest layers would be so cool.
2. I could really use an effect send/return, preferably per phrase. Right now there is no way to use effects other than setting them on the input or on the master output.
3. Removable storage. True, loops are repeated so the 50 minutes recording time corresponds to much more performing time, also you can dump/load the memory over USB, but still....
4. Further small niggles: loops can be quantized, but only to measures. I with they could quantize to beats, for really irregular polyrhythm stuff.
Here's how it works: There is a tap tempo pedal, where you can tap your foot to set the tempo, or you can actually hit the tap/tempo button to set the exact bpm (this is very useful for me, because I want to do electronica music, and having the loop at, say 90 bpm, makes it much easier to sync other instruments like a drum machine or a synth to the loop). The little light on the pedal blinks as a metronome, and it can play drum loops as a guide, which makes thing a bit easier. You hit the record pedal to obviously record, and hit it again when you want it to loop. If you made a mistake, there is an undo/redo pedal for the most recent loop made. There are three pedals all the way to the right title "Phrase 1", "Phrase 2", and "Phrase 3" and you can choose which of these to record the loop in, and you can alter the volume of each in case you wish to have one loop louder than the other(s). And then there's the "Stop" pedal, which will stop whatever phrase is selected. There's a lot I've left out, these are just the basics, the manual has everything you need to know.
Drums loops: There are plenty of drum loops available, varying different genres.
Reverse: If you're like me, you will LOVE this feature. My favorite band is Boards Of Canada, so obviously I enjoy the sound of music backmasked, which they do in a ton of their songs. You can record a loop in a phrase, and then reverse whatever is being played in that phrase. You can make some really dark moods, or create a very unique sound of drums (Ex. The Beatles "Strawberry Fields Forever" has some drum sounds played in reverse).
USB Connector: Exchange data between RC50 and computer.
Again, more stuff I've left out, but I don't want this review to be too long. These are just the features I mainly use.
*Easy To Use: I didn't really have any huge problems with it, and got it down kinda fast.
*You can use multiple instruments: Like I said, I bought this because I want to do more with Electronic music, and I planned to use with with a synthesizer, drum machine, computer, etc.
The rest of the pros I'm sure I mentioned earlier. Now on to why it didn't get a perfect 5/5 stars for me.
*I could use more phrase pedals: Call me greedy, but I would find it so much more useful.
*Placement of knobs and buttons: I kind of wish this could detach and have a cable to the pedal board. I can't operate all the knobs and buttons with my feet, and I hate having to bend down in order to do that. This is my biggest complaint.
Other than that, I'd recommend this looper. For the stuff I want to do in music, I couldn't do it without this.
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