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Looper's Delight Review #3 of the
Boss RC-20
Loop Station

by Tim Helmen
June 3, 2001

I'm not really a looper yet, but am hoping to get into it quite soon. Most of my performances are as a solo singer-songwriter playing acoustic guitar. My primary use of a looper would be to create grooves and backgrounds to solo over. There would be more to it than that, I know, but that's the main use. The other consideration is monetary--if I'm able to get into looping at all, at this point, it would have to be at the lowest possible price.

The Line6 DL4 (the cheapest option for any real looping, as far as I can tell) looks great to me, with all the features and flexibilty I would need, except for the 14.4 second maximum on loops. So I've been intrigued by the RC-20, which is the next notch up the price line.

I tried it out for a while at Guitar Center today, with the clerk hanging right there, since they had just got one unit in and he was very interested himself.

Having up to 5.5 minutes for a loop is a HUGE plus. I'm not interested in using any pre-recorded loops, so I think I could clear those out and have the entire memory available for a live loop.

But there seems to be one main drawback as far as I can tell. With the DL4, when you are recording a loop and want to set the end point, depending on the switch you use you can have the loop start again either in play mode or overdub mode, a nice flexibility.

But with the RC-20 it seems there is not that same flexibilty. You set the end point of the loop and have it restart by hitting the left switch. This leaves you with the loop playing, like play mode on the DL4. To get into overdub mode you have to hit the same switch again. I imagine with practice one could get this sequence down pretty well, but you'd never be able to get to a mode where you're overdubbing right from the re-start of the loop.

This seems like it would be a real pain. I'd love to know there is a way around this.

The other thing is the lack of the function the expression pedal adds to the DL4 of controlling the loop level.

The question is whether the much longer loop time compensates for this. I'm thinking it might end up doing do for me. But if someone could tell me I'm missing something about how to go right into overdub mode, that would be great...

Tim Helmen

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