Loop stations appear to be portable devices used for recording music in real-time and playing it on a loop. This way, one person can create live music that sounds like a band playing simultaneously. It is not an essential part of a guitar pedalboard, but loop stations are popular both among aspiring musicians and professional guitarists.
How do they work?
Essentially, a player records a short section of music to a loop station, then plays it back. Then you can add a new layer or stop the sound of the old one. The result is an emulation of the simultaneous playing of several guitarists. Loop stations are especially useful for solo practice as they add an effect of band playing. The process is usually controlled with a footswitch to make it comfortable for the musician to switch between record and playback modes.
What makes a good loop station?
Loop stations may vary in functions. On one side, the more functions they have the better it is for the musician. But on the other side, the more features are available, the harder it is to operate the sound. To find a good station, it is important to find the correct balance of functionality and usability.
BOSS RC-1 – Plug and Play
RC-1 is a loop station suitable both for aspiring guitarists and professionals as it combines the essential features with high usability. We have selected the “BOSS RC-1” model as it might be a balanced choice thanks to presence of simple control and wide functionality at the same time.
In terms of design it is important for loop stations as it has to be illustrative and let users to quickly understand the process of recording. BOSS RC-1 is comparably small, but the captions and indicators are large enough to easily recognize the selected mode and start the loop session immediately. The pedal is available in red. The front side is split in two. In the upper part there is an informative LED display. We will describe it below in more detail. In addition to the display, in the upper part there is a “Level” controller, which is responsible for the output signal volume. The entire lower part of the front side is occupied by a footswitch with a rubber overlay and the “BOSS” logo. Also at the very top there is a “Check” indicator, which indicates the workin state.
BOSS RC-1 offers two inputs and two outputs. So it supports stereo. The outputs are located on the left side of the pedal. On the right there are the inputs. Also. on the right there is an input for external footswitch connection. The device is powered by one 9-volt battery and may be used with an 9V DC adapter. In keeping with the best traditions of the “Boss” company, the adapter is purchased separately. The battery lasts on average for 4-5 hours of unstoppable use.
How to use Boss loop station RS-1
The pedal loop station has three modes that are easy to switch with only one knob – footswitch. Guitarist simply hits the pedal once to start recording. Then when he hits the pedal again it’s going to go end the loop and immediately go into playback. To add a new layer, just repeat the procedure. One hit starts the record, the second hit stops the record and immediately plays the recorded piece. With the help of Boss loop station RS-1 you it is possible to break down the loop. In the middle of the composition if you want to eliminate previously added layers just hold the footswitch for 2 seconds and looped sound disappears. If you want the looped sound to appear, again press the footswitch for 2 seconds and the melody will continue. To stop the melody, hit the footswitch twice.
To restart the pedal and delete all recorded loops in “silent” mode (after the stop) press the footswitch for 2 secconds. The instructions are captioned on the body of RC-1. There is no need to remember the controls.The built-in memory supports up to 12 minutes of stereo recording.
LED indication is the super power of Boss loop station RS-1. The indicator itself is a circle divided into 12 parts by LEDs. It resembles a watch dial. In loop recording mode, the indicator lights begin to fill the circle, simulating the movement of the second hand. After completing a full circle, filling begins anew. This way the guitarist always understands which part of the recorded loop is currently playing. In overdub mode, the display has changed to red and green which indicates that the player is still adding layers on top of the original. In “silent” mode LED indication disappears. This feature allows you to conveniently add and remove sounds at any time you want.
BOSS RC-1 Loop Station – Review
I own both the Boss RC-1 and RC-2. Though the RC-2 has more options (like memory patches for saving multiple loops) I prefer the utilitarian RC-1. With the RC-2 I always had to double check that my settings were just right before using it live. No such problem with the RC-1. It only has one knob! I definitely recommend buying or building an additional foot-switch for use with the Stop/Undo jack. (A momentary switch wired to a 1/4″ jack is all you need- like a tap tempo.) With it you can stop the loop with a single foot-tap and silently clear the loop. Makes operation much easier. You CAN set the order of operations of the pedal to be Record>Overdub>Playback OR Record>Playback>Overdub. Read that manual! The RC-1 has two inputs and two outputs. I use guitar in input-A with output-A going to a guitar amp and a synth in input-B with output-B going to a keyboard amp. I can record and overdub with both instruments and the signals remain separated. If I unplug output-B the pedal automatically combines signals A & B into output-A. I have also owned and used the Boss RC-2, the TC-Electronic Flashback and the Line6 DL4 for looping. Though all of those pedals have their own neat features I found the RC1 the best for hassle-free loop-making in a live setting. If you don’t need to save your loops forever this is a great choice.
This is a great little loop pedal. I mean, it’s not really little, this thing is an absolute tank, but that’s a good thing for me. It translates to Boss’s reputation for excellent engineering and quality. I use this pedal mainly to practice with, to simulate a musical environment to practice soloing in or to spark creativity in my songwriting process. I’ve used other loop pedals before, and looping isn’t necessarily “rocket science”, but I prefer this one for two reasons: 1. the loop display, which makes it extremely easy to see what mode you’re in and where you are in the loop you’ve made, and 2. its lack of other bells and whistles, because I know it doesn’t store any loops, there’s a zen quality about making a loop, maybe even making it complex, and then just erasing it when you’re done. Anyway, it’s a great pedal, I’ve always been happy with it since day 1, and I’m sure anyone else would be too.
This looper is great if you want something basic, simple, and to the point. There’s no spending 20 minutes playing with presets or buttons to store. When inspiration hits you just stomp and record. After that the possibilities are endless for jamming along with your idea. Basic controls are all done with your feet. Record, playback, and delete can all be done by a couple different foot movements. Very easy to use. Has stereo outs, and a output level knob. It can record and store up to twelve minutes. It’s really all you need if you’re looking for a basic loop pedal like I was.
Double tap to stop is challenging. External switch ( which it supports) may help since it allows one tap to stop loop record. Anyway, it works well, sounds great, and does exactly what it is designed for. Industry Rant- I don’t understand why the world is stuck on 9 volt batteries for their guitar pedals. It’s a legacy problem that the industry needs to get away from. The RC1 is a little more demanding power wise than many pedals so a 9v 300 mah battery only last for a few hours. Plugging a supply in is just annoying and with today’s battery technology, shouldn’t be needed for casual use. I’m surprised Roland isn’t forging the way to the future with newer battery technology, charging capabilities etc.
Modern loop stations can be great partners on the way to learn how to play the guitar. In addition, they are able to make a real concert out of a solo performance. But inexperienced guitarists find it difficult to predict how convenient the loop station will be. The Boss loop station RS-1 is a truly handy and informative pedal. The sound quality is on the top level. Its cost is slightly higher than the cost of similar pedals in terms of functionality, but bif amount of positive reviews and the recognized quality of “Boss” products make Boss loop station RS-1 the best choice in terms of price-quality ratio. In addition, its usability is on a plug and play level, making it a good choice for those who don’t like to re-read long instructions in order just to switch on the device.
Compared to other models, BOSS RC-1 might be a good loop station solution for any guitarist. There are stations on the market with more varied features, but RC-1 has all the essential functions and is easy to use. Which makes it ideal for practicing or for playing live on stage. The multifunctional footswitch improves the user experience greatly . Pedals from other manufacturers have models with multiple pedals. This is inconvenient when recording a loop. The guitarist must constantly aim at the pedal in order to turn the loop on or off at the right time. In the case of the Boss loop station RS-1, this does not happen. An informative LED display will help you choose the right moment to change the melody. And the ability to play in stereo makes the RS-1 pedal a serious competitor to expensive pedals.
Boss is well known for making great pedals and this one is no exception. I think one of the reasons I went with the RC-1 might have been because I trust the Boss name and I have not been disappointed with my choice. Just click it once and you’re recording. Click it again and now you’re overdubbing your loop and I’m pretty sure you can keep overdubbing until the memory is full (12 minutes stereo, not sure if that means even longer if it’s mono). Click it twice and it stops. That’s all there is to it. You can also reverse the stop and overdub positions in the chain if you want (it’s in the directions as well as the official Boss RC-1 video) so it goes: record–>stop–>overdub. It’s also built like a tank. I’m pretty sure I could run it over with my car and it would still work just fine. Also, the sound quality on the loop was excellent. If you weren’t watching me you wouldn’t be able to tell if it was me playing live or the loop. Overall, it’s a quality pedal that is simple to operate made by a brand you can trust. I’m happy with the pedal and I would recommend it to others. Cheers!
- User friendly design
- BOSS sound quality
- Small size
- Comfortable control
- External footswitch input
- Silent mode
- nformative LED indication
- Less features than in RC-10R
- No digital display
The selection of a loop station is very individual, but with our buyer’s guide it will be easier to make the choice.
Determine your needs
Before making the purchase, it is important to understand the features you want the loop station to provide. Think of what record time you need, how many inputs and outputs you will need, make sure all the necessary modes are available, consider the power options and the device memory.
The design might not seem the important parameter to consider, but with loop stations it is important. You should be able to read the necessary information at a glance.
Any effect pedal should help create music, not create inconvenience. Think about how many foot switches and controls you need to play more comfortably, what information about the loop should be shown, and what is unnecessary and distracting.