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Looper's Delight Review #4 of the
Boss RC-20
Loop Station

by Bill Walker
July 25, 2001


I just spent a couple of hours with the new Boss Loop station and I wanted to share my first impressions:

As an owner of Jammans and line 6 delay modelers I was interested to see what was different about the Loop station. First there is a whopping 5+ minutes of total loop time. It is also capable of storing up to 12 loops ( one loop is a dedicated one-shot type), which makes it the first commercialy available looper with non volatile memory. ( The Electrix Repeator does this, though it may or may not see the light of day, due to financial problems, and software problems. I tried it at Winter Namm and they were still getting the bugs out. It did seem promising though.)

Back to the Loop station. It also boasts an on board metronome with variable volume and tap tempo. It is really effective for locking in the rythmn , however its static kickdrum/ hi-hhat sound might not prove very effective for live performance. Luckily you can turn the metronome off for performance.

Another cool feature is the ability to change loop tempos on the fly with tap tempo, without altering the pitch! Fans of the undo function on the Echoplex Digital Pro will find a similar function on the Loop station, however it only works if you are overdubbing on top of a pre-stored loop, not on a loop that has yet to be commited to internal memory.

You can also reverse your loop direction on the fly, and record in either direction, but you will have to use an additional momentary switch if you want foot control over this function.

Ditto for switching loops during performance, you will need an additional momentary switch unless you want to bend over and grab the rotary knob on the chassis.

Speaking of chassis, the Loop station is small, about the size of two standard boss effects standing side by side, and it is built like a boss pedal, very sturdy. It has two boss-style footswitchs that handle a suprising number of duties; record, playback and overdub for the left side pedal, playback stop, metronome start/ stop and tap tempo for the right side pedal. Erase is handled by holding down either or both switches for 2 seconds. This multi-functionality takes a little getting used to but is clever and cool, none the less.

The manual is typical Boss cryptic, but the Loop station is relatively intuitive. Sound-wise, the sample quality sounded very good. Loops were clear and detailed with little decernable added noise.

Sorry stereo junkies, this puppy is mono, but it does have three different input choices: 1/4 inch phone plug Instrument and Microphone inputs, and CD/tape input via a mini phone jack. Also, there are two jacks for momentary footswitches that access the loop advance and reverse functions. Sorry, there is no midi sync capablilty. Power is provided via power supply or batteries. Like all boss pedals, the spec sheet provided little in the way of sampling rate or noise floor specs, but the loops sounded clean and un-grainy to my ears.

loopingly yours,
Bill Walker

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