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Looper's Delight Review #2 of the
Boss RC-20
Loop Station

by Mark Woodford
June 2, 2001

I bought the RC-20 mostly for practice and so far it's been alot of fun. This is my first interactive looper. I usually record into my computer to make backing tracks, which works fine but isn't very spontaneous. With the RC-20 I can record backing tracks for a whole verse/chorus, rhythm guitar baseline and maybe a some rhythmic lead work, then solo until I get sick of it... probably old had to you loopers, but brand new to me.

The sound quality is very good. I haven't A/B compared it to my CD quality computer sound, but I haven't noticed any degredation either, except after I layer too many tracks and it starts to clip...

There is a quantizer/simple drum machine which is both nice and a pain in the butt. The drum goes "snare-kick-kick-kick", which doesn't fit any songs I play, but it's better than a metronome, and you can turn down the volume but I can't figure out how to turn it off and leave it off. The quantizer really wants to be on.

I've used it all sorts of different ways and they all seem to work fine including:

  • acoustic/piezo guitar into mixer through SRM450s

  • vg8 guitar into mixer through SRM450s

  • strat into fender pro reverb amp

  • bluesbird into marshall JTM-30

Saving loops works well either temporarily to answer the phone or put the kids to bed, or overnight when it's time to go to bed. You can save up to 11 loops, but I've only saved 1.

I haven't used the mic input or the line level input. To use the mic input you need a 1/4 inch adapter, which seems lame. I think I'd use a pre-amp instead, if I ever thy to use a mic.

There were some questions on the list about whether it is stereo or mono. It is definitely mono.

The manual claims you can record 10 loops, then cycle through them, one way forward only via footswitch, as you play, but I haven't tried this. These would NOT be on the fly loops, they would have to be pre-recorded. Perhaps if you have a few rhythm patterns you could pre-record these and use them in a song or maybe use 2 or 3 loops on 3 or 4 songs, otherwise I don't get how one would use this.

The 11th loop is a one shot deal that you can record then play back once without looping. The other 10 all continue playing until you stop them.

I don't think there is any loop decay. Once you add something to a loop, it continues until you stop.

There isn't any undo either, so if you goof up building your loop, your mistake repeats forever until you stop the loop.

To erase and start over you simply hold a pedal down for 2 seconds, which works very well for practicing, but I'm not sure about gigging.

Thats about all I can think of for now. I hope this helps a little, at least until one of your more experienced loopers gets ahold of one of these things.

Mark Woodford

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