Featuring best-in-class 32-bit AD/DA and 32-bit floating-point processing, the RC-500 from BOSS captures your personal sound with full fidelity and keeps loops crystal clear, even with multiple overdubs. Plus, with 13 hours of stereo recording time, there's plenty of space for extended creative journeys. Sam Bell tells us more.
Loop pedals are awesome. They are a great tool for composition, performing and practising. For composition, they really push the musician to use their instrument in new creative ways, it also pushes the composer's ideas into new realms. Starting with a melody or starting with the chords are just a couple of the infinite options we have with the looper.
Musicians can become a one-person band using a looper, showcasing the whole process from the small fragment of the initial idea all the way up to the full presentation; the audience can hear and appreciate all the layers that go into creating a soundscape. And finally, practice, any musician wishing to hone their improvisational skills can on the fly record a progression into the looper and practice soloing. Or practice coming up with cool parts for a song, test them out. Or test out harmonies, chordal relationships, bass lines, rhythms, timing; the list is endless. The looper is the ultimate practice tool.
In this issue of Guitar Interactive, I have the pleasure of looking at the BOSS RC-500. This is a two-track loop pedal. Boss has an extensive and high-quality range of loop pedals available for all types of musicians. The RC500 is perhaps the biggest looper you can get that still runs on battery and will fit nicely on a pedalboard alongside a host of other pedals. And it has a few extra cool features that other models don't have. Let us take a look.
The RC 500 is a two-track looper with onboard mixing and deep control options. Each track features its own Loop FX (repeat, scatter, shift, and vinyl flick) for dynamic and creative loop performances. You can stop and start each track to create different musical sections or overlays, which can really help expand how far you take your loop compositions. The Mono/stereo inputs allow for easy pedalboard integration, plus the independent XLR mic input with phantom power means we can also integrate other types of instrumentation sources into our loops (percussion/vocal etc).
The musician can further express their ideas with the RC-500 with its inbuilt drum kits/loops. The RC-500 features 16 different drum kits and 57 preset rhythms with A/B variations. We can also further our control of the units features. Support for external footswitches, expression pedal or MIDI I/O is provided with space-saving mini TRS jacks.
We're supplied with a bright LCD with a multi-colour backlight for viewing loop status and editing parameters. This is quite helpful for seeing where you are in your loop and makes navigating the features pretty intuitive for on the fly parameter changes. And finally the RC-500's quality 32-bit AD/DA and 32-bit floating-point processing means that loops keep their sonic integrity with up to 13 hours of recording time in stereo. You can store up to 99 phrases on the unit and load them as WAV files on and of the unit via the USB connectivity.
If all that wasn't enough, the unit runs on four AA batteries or via a 9-volt power supply. So this pedal will work well in various pedalboard/non-pedalboard situations depending on the environment you wish to loop in!
What do I think? Well… For the seasoned looper, this pedal is fantastic—lots of features that will be easily digested. If you're a first-time looper, I'd suggest checking out simpler pedals such as the RC-5, as it can be easy to get lost and confused with the RC-500's features if you don't have much experience of looping. However, if you're looking to take your looping to the next level, the RC-500 is well worth looking into.
I really enjoyed having the option of mixing between two tracks, the creative possibilities using this pedal are fairly endless. Being able to change the phrase length and have a count in was also helpful for various applications as well. As always BOSS makes quality gear that is fairly easy to use once you understand how BOSS lays its pedals out.
The RC-500 is a worthy addition to Boss's fantastic loop pedal range; go check one out!
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