Boss RC-1 Loop Station – Review

BOSS RC-1 Review – based on Question/Answer format so you can skip around to what you care about.

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Boss RC-1 Top View

Looper Category: Type 1 (category definitions)

Target Setup: jamming/practice

Competitive Position: The price of the RC-1 is comparable to the other single pedal loopers (like JamMan Express XT, TC Ditto, EHX Nano 360). It does have an innovative circular LED indicator which may help to not only display information (for settings or modes), but also help you keep track of and time your loops. However, it cannot be linked to other loopers (like DigiTech JamSync) and it does not have true bypass (like the Ditto and Express XT do), which is good for some setup configurations. Finally, it does not have permanent storage for multiple memory slots, like the EHX Nano 360. Take a look at the detailed comparison to other compact loopers here.

Warranty: 5 years on parts, 2 years on labor (link to details on warranty)

  • What is the price I should expect to pay for the BOSS RC-1 and how does that compare to other loopers?
    • Please see our price tracker that we update regularly. Here, the various looper stations are categorized and the price is tracked over time as indicated.

  • What is the main function of the BOSS RC-1?
    • The main function of the RC-1 is looping on the fly. It is a highly simplified pedal, on purpose.
  • Can I record sound, continuously play a loop of that recording, and then layer additional tracks over the loop/phrase with the BOSS RC-1?
    • Yes, the RC-1 has basic looper functionality with unlimited overdub, controlled via footswitch. The process is to start recording, then < press pedal> to switch to overdub mode, then every time you press the pedal it will alternate between playback and overdub modes. You can continue to add layers or to stop the playback. Note, you can also set the pedal up to have the sequence of record-play-overdub, instead of the default record-overdub-play. However, that setting change must be administered each time you turn the device on.
  • How long can I record with the BOSS RC-1?
    • The RC-1 can record up to twelve minutes of stereo.
  • How many memory locations (slots) are included in the BOSS RC-1?
    • The RC-1 has one memory slot.
  • Using the BOSS RC-1, can I learn by having an instrument teacher play something and then slow it down and work on matching the notes and gradually speeding up?
    • No, there is no way to change the tempo on the RC-1 to slow the recording down.
  • Can I practice soloing with the BOSS RC-1?
    • Yes, you can lay down your own rhythm tracks and then play over the top of them. That is the main purpose of this pedal. It’s meant to be ready to use at a moment’s notice to essentially practice and jam.
  • Can I use the BOSS RC-1 to capture quick song ideas to review later?
    • Yes, but you can only do that with a single memory slot.
  • Can I switch to a different loop/slot while performing with the BOSS RC-1?
    • No, as there are no other slots.
  • Can I perform loop-to-loop queuing with the BOSS RC-1?
    • Nope, there is only one track and one slot for the RC-1.
  • Can I switch back to the previous loop while performing with the BOSS RC-1?
    • This is not applicable to the RC-1.
  • With the BOSS RC-1, can I record and play different parts of a song (verse, chorus, bridge) all during a live performance while not using my hands (pedals and footswitches only)?
    • No, this pedal is not set up for that type of song format.
  • Can I go from recording directly into overdub with the BOSS RC-1?
    • Yes, you can go directly into overdub with the RC-1. The default progression of the single pedal when you press it multiple times is Record – Overdub – Playback.
  • Can I undo/redo the last overdub to change the song or eliminate a recording error with the BOSS RC-1?
    • Yes – with the RC-1, you are able to undo the last overdub and also redo the last undo. However, this requires the purchase of a separate foot controller called the Boss FS-7 – which takes up the space of another pedal on your board and will cost you an extra ~$50.
  • Can I set previous layers to go quieter or fade out while overdubbing new layers with the BOSS RC-1?
    • No – This function is called “Decay” by Boomerang, “Recorder Overdub Level” by Line 6, “Loop Aging” by Pigtronix, and “Feedback Decay” by others. It is used to gradually or quickly transition a song without stopping or switching your ongoing loop. However, it is not available on the RC-1.
  • Can I adjust the volume or effects of individual overdubs with the BOSS RC-1?
    • No, the only volume control is for the playback sound level. It does not allow you to change the level for the input – which could allow for overdubs to be recorded at different volumes.
  • Can I record individual overdubs/layers as individual WAV files with the BOSS RC-1 to then work with in a DAW?
    • With the RC-1, there is no way to load the recordings into a digital workstation.
  • Can I use the 1/8” AUX input to play song into the looper and incorporate it into my loop with the BOSS RC-1?
    • No, there is no 1/8” input on the RC-1.
  • Can I pre-record tracks, edit them in a DAW, load them into the BOSS RC-1 as loops and then trigger them with the footswitch when needed?
    • No, there is no way to load wav files onto the RC-1.
  • Can I trigger a one-shot playback (a.k.a. single phrase) with the BOSS RC-1? In other words, can I set the loop to only play one time when triggered?
    • Sort of… this single phrase functionality is available on the RC-1. It is controlled by changing the stop mode so that the playback stops at the end of the phrase. The odd thing is that it then deletes the recording.
  • Can I play a loop or overdub in reverse with the BOSS RC-1?
    • No, there is no reverse function in the RC-1.
  • Does the BOSS RC-1 have stereo sound or just mono?
    • The RC-1 has stereo sound.
  • Is there anything in the BOSS RC-1 that reduces the clicking sound that can occur when tapping the footswitch during overdub?
    • Not that we are aware of, but there are techniques you can employ to lightly press the pedal and reduce the noise with practice.
  • Is the BOSS RC-1 a good looper for live performances on stage?
    • The RC-1 could be used for on-stage performance. You could use it for very basic looping features. The advantages are that it’s compact and could be battery powered. That being said, we think the RC-1 is better for jamming and practicing at home. My personal view is that on-stage performances should include verse-chorus-bridge looping to really stand out and hold the interest of the audience.
  • Are there multiple stop modes in the BOSS RC-1?
    • Yes, there are two stop modes that can be set with the RC-1: normal (stop immediately) and stop at end of phrase.
  • Can I stutter start with the BOSS RC-1?
    • No, we are not aware of any way to stutter start with the RC-1.
  • Can I resample with the BOSS RC-1? In other words, can I take a loop and modify it by multiplying it, cutting part of it out, adding a different effect to it, etc?
    • No the RC-1 does not have multiply or any other resampling functionality.
  • Can the BOSS RC-1 be set to auto-record when I begin playing?
    • No the RC-1 does not have auto-record.
  • With the BOSS RC-1, are there any issues with droning (playing the same note, chord, repeated sounds, or tone-clusters continuously) at the boundaries of the loops – such as noticeable change in volume?
    • We have not experienced or heard of an issue with droning using the RC-1.
  • Does the BOSS RC-1 have a built in metronome?
    • No, this is a simplified pedal and that is one feature that was left out.
  • Is there any software that comes with the BOSS RC-1?
    • No, there is no PC software that is made available specifically for the BOSS looper pedals.
  • Is quantize functionality available on the BOSS RC-1?
    • No, the RC-1 does not have auto-quantize.
  • Will the BOSS RC-1 interface with my DAW (digital audio workstation)/computer through USB?
    • The RC-1 does not have a USB connection.
  • Will the BOSS RC-1 interface with my computer through USB to transfer sound files?
    • No, there is no USB connection to transfer files to a PC (like many loopers have). It’s a simplified pedal.
  • Can I save and recall loops with SD card with the BOSS RC-1?
    • There is no SD card slot on the RC-1.
  • Does the BOSS RC-1 have effects (FX)?
    • No the RC-1 does not have built-in effects (FX).
  • Can I bypass the effects (FX) with the BOSS RC-1?
    • No, this is not applicable to the RC-1 because the unit does not have internal effects.
  • Can I turn off or mute the live signal that is fed through the BOSS RC-1 (for use in parallel effects loops of an amp or in Aux Send/Return of a mixer)?
    • No, there is no way to mute the live signal. This may cause sound quality (phasing) issues when used in parallel effects loops or send/return aux of a mixer.
  • Can I save presets for effects with the BOSS RC-1?
    • No, this is not applicable to the RC-1 because the unit does not have internal effects.
  • Does the BOSS RC-1 have an XLR mic input? Does it have phantom power for a condenser microphone?
    • No, the RC-1 does not have an XLR input.
  • Does the BOSS RC-1 function as a mixer with multiple inputs?
    • No, the RC-1 does not function as a mixer. It only has a single stereo input pair.
  • Can I re-assign footswitch functionality with the BOSS RC-1?
    • The function of the single foot pedal on the RC1 can be changed in that you switch the order of record/overdub/playback that is triggered by successive taps of the pedal. There are two settings: record/overdub/playback (default) and record/playback/overdub.
  • Does the BOSS RC-1 have a headphone jack for playback and monitoring?
    • No the RC-1 does not have a dedicated headphone jack.
  • Can the BOSS RC-1 be connected to an external MIDI device?
    • No the RC-1 does not have MIDI ports.
  • Does Boss release firmware updates for the RC-1?
    • We do not think it would be possible to update the FW as a user. That would probably only be possible in a Roland lab.
  • Is there an optional footswitch that I can add to the BOSS RC-1 to increase functionality?
    • Yes, you can the FS-7 to enable undo/redo and a single-tap (faster) stop.
  • Is there an optional expressional pedal that I can add to the BOSS RC-1 to control effects (FX)?
    • No, there is not a way to connect an expression pedal to the RC-1.
  • What is the sampling rate and bit depth of the A/D/A conversion?
    • For the RC-1, we believe it is 44.1 kHz at 16-bit – at least for recording/playback.
  • Can the BOSS RC-1 be battery powered?
    • Yes, it can use a 9V alkaline battery.
  • How is the warranty for the BOSS RC-1?
    • According to the Roland US site, the warranty is 5 years on parts and 2 years for labor on compact and twin pedals.
  • What size is the BOSS RC-1?
    • The RC-1 is compact. It weighs 1 lb. It’s footprint is 73×129 x59mm. Also, keep in mind that the optional footswitch FS-7 is 62x131x60mm.
  • Why is using a BOSS RC-1 better than just using computer software? Or why should I use a stompbox looper instead of something that is software based?
    • Ease of use – when you have a looper pedal setup, you just sit down and play (just like picking up an instrument). This makes spontaneous fifteen minute jam sessions happen all the time.
    • Control and reliability – especially during a live performance. Has your PC ever frozen or started running slow all of a sudden? There are a lot of processes that can occur in a computer that are unrelated to your music, and you may not have control over all of them.
    • Ability to interface hands-free with a dedicated stompbox/pedal/footswitch
    • The software usually has a much steeper learning curve. Nothing puts me out of the music-playing mood faster than trying to figure out how to work with the recording software and getting stuck on something.
    • If you managed to setup a reliable, hands-free computer based system then it’s still difficult to go on stage and have the performance feel “live”. People are used to seeing pedals on stage, but once you bring out your laptop then it starts feeling like a DJ performance. Nothing wrong with that, for some.
    • Latency: PC and Mac based looper set-ups cannot match the latency of the loop pedals. This results in more timing misalignment between layers and can degrade the quality of the performance. Latency describes the delays that occur at each stage as the sound travels – therefore, if there is delay between when you make a sound and when it’s recorded, as well as a delay between when the playback is generated and when you actually hear it, then you get the timing issues.
    • Analog pass through: several of the loop pedals have true analog pass through, so that you can reduce A/D and D/A delays in your signal path.
  • Why is using a BOSS RC-1 better than just using an iPhone or iPad application?
    • There is very limited functionality with the iOS based loopers compared to the BOSS RC-1. However, these apps are quickly improving. With added hardware (microphone, Bluetooth control pedal, etc.), these setups may start to look attractive. Please see our iOS app setup information.
    • With regards to live performances, bringing an iPad or iPhone on stage may feel more like a DJ performance, but it’s not going as far as bringing a laptop. Also, the OS may be more predictable and stable compared to an entire computer or workstation. Therefore, we think that iOS based loopers will be more stage-friendly than laptops, but not as stage-friendly as pedals/stompboxes in the foreseeable future.
  • What company makes the BOSS RC-1 and where are they located?
    • BOSS is located in Los Angeles, CA. They are owned by Roland Corporation, which is based in Tokyo, Japan and is publicly held.
  • How is the support from BOSS on any issues that arise with the unit?
    • There is a main manual on the RC-1. Through the BOSS website, there is a limited knowledge base that is not organized as a forum (like many other manufacturers have). BOSS and their reps are quick to respond and help, but difficult engineering questions are sent to Japan. The answers that come back are not always everything you need, from what we’ve heard.
  • How long has the BOSS RC-1 been in production?
    • The RC-1 was announced in Sep 2014.

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