BOSS Loop Pedal Comparison
Looping has become the solo performer's way of life. Backing yourself on stage to create a wall of sound with percussive playing, chord accompaniments, drum beats and even backing vocals, has been made easy all thanks to BOSS's range of Loop pedals. There is a BOSS Loop Station to fit everyone's needs and budget requirements, but finding the right one to suit may be a little confusing, so here is a little guide on each pedal to help you make the right choice.
Boss's simplest and most affordable pedal with 12 minutes of recording time and an easy to view indicator to let you know how far into your loop you are and when it’s starting again. A secondary input can also be utilized for a second instrument or microphone (with jack input) and a stereo output can be used for a stereo setup, also on board is an input for an external optional footswitch for added control.
The RC3 is a compact looper pedal with a lot to offer, small enough to add to your pedalboard but with three hours of looping, 99 memories for saving your loops, a second input for extra instruments and a “rhythm guide” with a click track and drums. It doesn’t stop there either you can also plug your pedal into your computer via USB and import/export loops and phrases to use for later and an auxiliary input also allows for adding samples from an outboard device like a phone.
It all gets a bit bigger with the RC30 a twin pedal unit with two separate recording tracks with separate volumes making it easier to drop entire sections of your loop in and out. Record a rhythm one side and a lead on the other, then turn the rhythm off to emphasize a lead part to really wow your crowd. It also has the same massive recording time of three hours and 99 memories included in the RC3 and the same USB and aux in. Where things change is an effects section to make your performance pop slowing a track right down like a tape player running out of battery, a step phaser to glitch your track apart, a flangey sounding sweep filter for club styles, a tempo delay to echo parts of your track back and a lofi setting which is great for an intro build. Also added is dedicated XLR input with Phantom power for condenser microphones and a separate mic input control for a bit more ease of use and versatility with Vocal loops. As well as an optional input for an external control switch for easier control.
The maximum size for our loopers comes in here with Boss’s Flagship looper and everything is enhanced, added and utilized for a great performance or loop jam. Three individual recording tracks with separate stop/starts for the easiest performance and control, three hours of recording time and 99 memories to save onto. The same inputs Line for guitar, Xlr with Phantom power for Mic and Aux in for outboard devices. On top of this, there is an entire effects section with 16 effects for you, some notable ones include a guitar to bass effect to give you some bass on your track without switching instruments and distortion for adding some dirt. One of my favourite additions is the all stop/start button which allows for quick breaks in the song before jumping back into it and the expression pedal for slowly adding effects in. The Rhythm guides are still in there to add drums and audio tracks preloaded to quickly build up songs or just jam.
The final entry here is Boss’s latest pedal in their looping range The RC10R has been added with more backing for more genres, 280 preset rhythms and 16 drum kits for them to be played on. To keep your song dynamic there are also intro and outro fills as well as transition fills for switching from verse to chorus or an instrumental. Two separate sequential loops are also on there to build a song up to a massive wall of sound with separate song parts. The recording time has doubled to six hours and the sample size has increased to 32 bit AD/DA meaning your recordings will be crisper. This Pedal can also be used as a foot controllable drum machine even without the looping so a small performance can sound like a rock gig.
So which should I buy?
This is a really tough one in an ideal world I would thoroughly recommend the RC300 despite its size and look it's really the easiest to work with, it’s all laid in front of you with the controls clear and quickly workable, the tracks are easy to stop and start giving you complete control of your ideas at your feet and the effects section is wonderful allowing an easy bass line, delay or distortion without extra pedals or instruments.
But this is the real world, as all of these pedals are so good I really have no problem recommending all of them. The RC1 is great for a beginner looper and for someone with a full complement of pedals who just wants to build soundscapes and solo over them. The RC3 is great for a simple looper who just needs a bit of backing and drums in a performance and as a sketchpad for a songwriter who wishes to revisit his ideas later. The RC30 is for a more dynamic player who wants to trim parts in and out of songs midway through and wants to add some performance effects. The RC10R is all about jamming away to yourself and creating complex patterns and rhythms and sections as well as being a small drum machine for live performance.
Any loop pedal is fun to use, great for creativity and is also a superb practice tool. I hope this comparison helps you choose the right loop pedal for your needs, but if you need any further advice, feel free to call us on 01279 432900 or pop into our store for a demonstration....happy looping!