Recording - July 2011 - 44

&

...where we bring you follow-up articles with application hints and upgrade news about gear already reviewed in Recording

BOSS RC-30
Dual Track Looper
New features take the famed Loop Station in a different direction
By Mike Metlay

The BOSS Loop Station has been around for ten years! That’s a mind-boggling number to an old loop hand like me, whose experiences with creating looped and layered music go all the way back to the 1980s and experiments with dual reel-to-reel decks pioneered by Brian Eno... just as digital delays were becoming practical to do the same thing. Since then, a whole menagerie of digital loopers have come into being, and while some have died out and others have been nearly forgotten, BOSS has continued to be a key player in the game. The Loop Station family began with the RC-20 (which we reviewed way back in our January 2002 issue). Then came the RC-20XL with expanded features, and the powerful multipedal RC-50, putting the power of looping into the wider market in a way that the machines from the smaller companies couldn’t. In 2011, looping is everywhere, gone from a quirky pastime of a small community of experimental musicians to a technique that put Imogen Heap and others on the pop charts. With this expanded attention, BOSS has updated the Loop Station with new features, and seemingly a shifted focus in terms of the audience it’s trying to attract. Let’s take a look at the RC-30. What’s new and what’s improved The RC-30 is a BOSS Twin Pedal, so named for the two big footpedals that access its main features. Inputs and outputs are all on 1 /4" except for the XLR Mic input... which now has switchable 48V phantom power, so you can run your condenser mics into the RC-30.
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RECORDING JULY 2011

It’s now a true stereo looper that can store up to 3 hours of stereo audio in up to 99 Phrases (vs. 11 in mono on the RC20XL). Loops are 16-bit/44.1 kHz WAV files, and they can easily be saved and restored via a built-in USB 2.0 connection to your computer. Each Phrase can have two Tracks that can be individually recorded and overdubbed and played back in sync with one another; you can select between the Tracks by holding down the right pedal for 2 seconds during playback. Frontpanel faders let you set playback levels for the two Tracks. The big additions to the RC-30 are the five Loop FX, special effects applied to recorded Phrases. You can activate and disable them with a double tap on the left pedal. They include Bend Down, a drastic slowing-down effect that’s useful as a momentary accent; Step Phaser, a tempo-locked stepping phase effect with added reverb; Sweep Filter, which also includes reverb; Tempo Delay, with the timing preset to the classic Tangerine Dream beat-and-a-half; and a grungy Lo-Fi distortion/filter. The effects have no tweakable parameters but sound good, and can lend interest to loops as accents or underlying textures; I enjoyed the Step Phaser and Sweep Filter, but basically dived into the Tempo Delay and never turned it off once I got used to it; it was just too darned pretty to turn off! Note that the effects are post-loop and apply to both Tracks at once; they’re added in playback, so you can’t record Phrases with them. However, stored Phrases also store the Loop FX type, so when you play back a stored Phrase, the appropriate Loop FX will be in place. The built-in Rhythm accompaniment has ten simple patterns to play along to, and lets you start recording with a 1-bar count-in if you wish. The RC-30 can autorecord when it hears audio at one of its inputs, and you can set up convenience features like one-shot playback and store them with Phrases. The RC-30’s Undo/Redo feature remains transparent, easy to use, and as much a performance technique as a way to fix errors. Adding a pair of footswitches (BOSS recommends the dual FS-6 or two of its FS-5U) lets you switch tracks instantly rather than with the 2-second wait you have when you use the right built-in pedal. You can also switch Loop FX on and off without a double tap, change between Phrases stored in memory, and change the active Loop FX. There’s a special power-on mode that disables certain features in the built-in pedals; it’s intended for use with the external footswitches, so you don’t have features unnecessarily doubled up and/or subject to accidental triggering. And as a final note: yes, ten years’ evolution in A/D and D/A conversion means that the RC-30’s sound is impeccably clean and clear. What you put in is what you get out, with no grunge or hiss or other artifacts, and to my ears at least the looping was seamless and tight with no glitches (a complaint some users had about the older BOSS pedals). What’s gone and what it means This wouldn’t be a balanced review if we didn’t point out the things that the RC-20XL had that have been removed from the RC-30, especially since you can tell as much about where BOSS wants to go with this new Loop Station by what they took out as by what they put in. In order to make the



Recording - July 2011

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Recording - July 2011

Recording - July 2011
Fade In
Contents
Talkback
Fast Forward
Put Your Foot Down!
A Guitar Gear Grab Bag
Fat Guitar Tones Without The Mud
Rupert Neve Designs Portico 5017
iOS Music Tools For Guitarists
Reviewed and Revisited: BOSS RC-30 Loop Station
Reviewed and Revisited: IK Multimedia AmpliTube 3.5
Tech21 Blonde
It’s Your Music—Know Your Rights. Chapter 16: Licensing Music For Video Games
Eventide Space
Recording’s Showcase of Sounds
TC Electronic Flashback, Shaker, and Hall Of Fame
Readers’ Tapes
Advertiser Index
Fade Out
Recording - July 2011 - Recording - July 2011
Recording - July 2011 - Cover2
Recording - July 2011 - 1
Recording - July 2011 - Fade In
Recording - July 2011 - 3
Recording - July 2011 - Contents
Recording - July 2011 - 5
Recording - July 2011 - Talkback
Recording - July 2011 - 7
Recording - July 2011 - Fast Forward
Recording - July 2011 - 9
Recording - July 2011 - 10
Recording - July 2011 - 11
Recording - July 2011 - Put Your Foot Down!
Recording - July 2011 - 13
Recording - July 2011 - 14
Recording - July 2011 - 15
Recording - July 2011 - 16
Recording - July 2011 - 17
Recording - July 2011 - 18
Recording - July 2011 - 19
Recording - July 2011 - 20
Recording - July 2011 - 21
Recording - July 2011 - A Guitar Gear Grab Bag
Recording - July 2011 - 23
Recording - July 2011 - 24
Recording - July 2011 - 25
Recording - July 2011 - 26
Recording - July 2011 - 27
Recording - July 2011 - 28
Recording - July 2011 - 29
Recording - July 2011 - 30
Recording - July 2011 - 31
Recording - July 2011 - 32
Recording - July 2011 - 33
Recording - July 2011 - Fat Guitar Tones Without The Mud
Recording - July 2011 - 35
Recording - July 2011 - 36
Recording - July 2011 - 37
Recording - July 2011 - Rupert Neve Designs Portico 5017
Recording - July 2011 - 39
Recording - July 2011 - iOS Music Tools For Guitarists
Recording - July 2011 - 41
Recording - July 2011 - 42
Recording - July 2011 - 43
Recording - July 2011 - Reviewed and Revisited: BOSS RC-30 Loop Station
Recording - July 2011 - 45
Recording - July 2011 - Reviewed and Revisited: IK Multimedia AmpliTube 3.5
Recording - July 2011 - 47
Recording - July 2011 - 48
Recording - July 2011 - 49
Recording - July 2011 - Tech21 Blonde
Recording - July 2011 - 51
Recording - July 2011 - 52
Recording - July 2011 - 53
Recording - July 2011 - 54
Recording - July 2011 - 55
Recording - July 2011 - It’s Your Music—Know Your Rights. Chapter 16: Licensing Music For Video Games
Recording - July 2011 - 57
Recording - July 2011 - Eventide Space
Recording - July 2011 - 59
Recording - July 2011 - Recording’s Showcase of Sounds
Recording - July 2011 - 61
Recording - July 2011 - TC Electronic Flashback, Shaker, and Hall Of Fame
Recording - July 2011 - 63
Recording - July 2011 - Readers’ Tapes
Recording - July 2011 - Advertiser Index
Recording - July 2011 - 66
Recording - July 2011 - 67
Recording - July 2011 - 68
Recording - July 2011 - 69
Recording - July 2011 - 70
Recording - July 2011 - 71
Recording - July 2011 - Fade Out
Recording - July 2011 - Cover3
Recording - July 2011 - Cover4
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