RC-20XL Loop Station Review

manufacturer: Boss date: 08/02/2012 category: Guitar Effects
Boss: RC-20XL Loop Station
Whether for use onstage or at home, the new RC-20XL will add depth and excitement to your performances by allowing you to layer phrases in real time - as many stacks as you like until you fill up the 16 minutes of ample recording space on the RC-20XL. Explore the expressive options of sound-on-sound performance by layering your own phrases to create a massive 'one-person band' experience. Build the ultimate solo, and do it all live in real time.
 Sound: 8.9
 Overall Impression: 9.1
 Reliability & Durability: 9.7
 Ease of Use: 8.1
 Overall rating:
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 Users rating:
reviews (10) pictures (4) 18 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 10
RC-20XL Loop Station Reviewed by: Nikeman, on february 01, 2006
11 of 12 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 350

Ease of Use: This twin pedal is amazing. It doesn't alter the sound at all. It sounds crystal clear. You can even hook it up to the computer and get perfect recordings. The manual explaned everything. It looks very confusing at first. // 10

Sound: I usually record rythms onto it and then solo over it. I use it for RHCP, Rage Against The Machine, and anything else that pops into my head. I also use two RG series Ibanezes on it with a Crate amp. It has an input vol, Phrase selector (the loops that were recorded), drum macine volume, mic volume, and final out put volume. You can put drum beats on your loops as long as the song is in 4/4, and there are plenty of beats to choose from, and if you forget to record something you can overdub. It has about 11 minutes of recording time/memory. // 10

Reliability & Durability: Of corse it is dependable because it is a pedal, but even if it wasn't, I'm not buying another. // 10

Overall Impression: My skills in soloing were pretty much absent before I got this. It plays back your loops backwards, you can hook a cd player to it and slow songs down so you can learn them faster, and you can record chord progressions and just jam for hours. It is the best pedal to to buy for guitarist's who have no friends. // 10

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overall: 7.5
RC-20XL Loop Station Reviewed by: UniverseZero, on august 18, 2007
2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Purchased from: ZZounds.com

Ease of Use: This is a very hard pedal to use right, you can easily set tempo by tapping on the right pedal and record over the guide metronome but it's very difficult to stop the recording on the right place even with the pedal's function of cutting right with the tempo. The manual is very clear but that doesn't help you to get the right spot to stop recording. // 6

Sound: This pedal doesn't add any kind of noise or color to the sound, very clear, transparent maybe. It comes with some loops you can play over wich are very good. The Overdubbing function is slightly weird, you can only overdub one compass at a time and then it will play it while you still overdub, IMO it should start replaying what you overdubbed when you press the stop recording button but whatever. // 8

Reliability & Durability: It comes in a very sturdy box, it's a pretty heavy pedal too, but it eats your batteries like crazy. I would use it without backup, but you must take extra batteries all the time! The buttons, knobs and both switches seem to be strong enough to take abuse, but I wouldn't jump on them or anything, I like to take very good care of my stuff. // 9

Overall Impression: I play everything from blues to metal, this works for everything obviously. I have been playing for a couple of years and this is one of my first pedals, I like it a lot even though it's difficult to use. If it was stolen most probably I would buy another because it's useful to write new songs and their riffs/solos. I love how this pedal gives you such an easy way to practice but I don't like the fact that I can't overdub really well with it. // 7

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overall: 8.5
RC-20XL Loop Station Reviewed by: unregistered, on march 22, 2006
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Ease of Use: What the manual doesn't say. The base recorded loop defines the loop so you must stop and start it on the beat (it has 'auto' feature but personally I've gone off using them). But the overdubs can begin and end anytime and will be added to the loop as it goes around. So start it after you're synced in to the beat and stop when you hear the start sounding. Or keep it going, record silence a while and add another riff, then stop. Sorry if this is obvious to everyone else but I struggled at first trying to press pedal at 'right' time when it's not necessary. Also pressing both pedals erases all. // 7

Sound: I use it with acoustic guitar. Recorded sound is clean, even with several overdubs. It does what it's supposed to very well and keeps everything 'live'. The built in percussion is OK but has some odd naff sounds. I find to use it well needs forethought and orchestration because only last overdub can be erased on the fly and results can get too cluttered, but they can be exciting. // 9

Reliability & Durability: Rugged so long as you don't tread on the knobs. // 9

Overall Impression: This is a great match for solo acoustic playing. You can tap a rhythm, add a base line and chords, motifs and riff on top. It's got a mic input so can even add harmony but I haven't tried it yet. Now there's units with longer time on memory cards so it's price has dropped to 150. Not confident to gig with it yet but can see it being an indespencible part of set. Started playing in 1956. You work it out. // 9

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overall: 9.3
RC-20XL Loop Station Reviewed by: Raulness, on may 19, 2008
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 180

Purchased from: Guitar Center

Ease of Use: I bought this used from Guitar Center so it came with no box or manual and I managed to figure out how to use in about 5 minutes on my own so as long as the actual functions go, it just requires common sense. Now, the actual looping is tricky when it comes to the timing but that holds true for most loop pedals. All I can say is practice, practice, practice. Some complain about the timing being too hard to master or that it takes too long to get the hang of but then again, guitar wasn't very easy to master either. For the most part it's a very easy loop pedal to use; just don't get frustrated if you can't get a loop on time your first few times using it. Deleting layers and the actual loop itself are very easy. It's as simple as holding down a pedal for about 3 seconds. // 8

Sound: I've run this pedal through a multiple amount of amps, from the crappy to the great and your sound doesn't change other than for the amp itself. This pedal is as if running clean through to an amp. The pedal sounds good at around the halfway volume for the instrument input and about a quarter of a half way for the mic input. The mix doesn't really get bad unless you put the input volumes all the way up (anyone Who knows about quality knows louder isn't better). The mix will rarely get to messy; that all the depends to the player. You can also use this more to create ambiance and weird noises like The Mars Volta by using the reverse option. Even other effects that are looped through the mix sound just as good. This pedal's sound really just depends on how well you tweak the output volumes. // 9

Reliability & Durability: It's about as durable as every other Boss pedal out there. Anyone Who has played with Boss for a good amount of time knows they probably haven't died out on you just yet. I bought this used at Guitar Center. They said it was 2 years old and it looked in mint condition and worked just as well. I can still say the same about it about a year later. I wouldn't need a backup at gig for it. This thing can take care of itself. // 10

Overall Impression: This thing is as versatile as you need it to be. Need to practice your timing? Turn up the tempo Machine output. Want to just improve your soloing skills? Make a rhythm part and solo away for hours. Need a second guitarist but can't really trust anyone else? Make your own second guitar parts and call them out when you need them. Looking to write a more interesting piece of music? Use this thing to your advantage. Want to create your own vocal harmonies? Use the mic input. Want all sorts of psychedelic effects? Use the reverse option. The possibilities are endless and I think every guitarist should own for one reason or another. If lost I'd definitely buy another one. There are tons of other loopers out there and this one just feels like the standard. 16 minutes of loop is more than enough than you'll ever really need. I definitely recommend this to everyone. // 10

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overall: 9
RC-20XL Loop Station Reviewed by: BMXfreak000, on may 16, 2008
0 of 1 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 215

Purchased from: eBay

Ease of Use: My RC-20XL was made in 2004, but is still in mint condition. The manual is very easy to read - it even has a Quick Start page, allowing you to get killer loops right out of the box! It's great to have one pedal for creating phrases, and another to stop and tap tempo. Definately a welcome addition to both a beginner and a virtuoso's pedalboard. // 10

Sound: My signal runs from a BC Rich Bronze-Series Beast to the RC-20XL, then on to a Line 6 Flextone III Plus. There is no extra noise added by this pedal, but there is a loss of tone when connected after distortion. The instrument, microphone and auxiliary inputs all sound great. The built-in guide tones are pretty weak, but I use them as a tempo marker. // 8

Reliability & Durability: Like all Boss pedals, this thing is built like a tank. I would definately use this in a gig without a backup. It's also best to use this unit with a power supply, as it eats batteries like there's no tomorrow. I have dropped this pedal on the ground from about 6 inches (by accident! ) and there is absolutely no visible damage, and the unit still functions perfectly. // 9

Overall Impression: I play mostly metal and shred. This pedal works great because the instrument volume does not compete with the loop's volume. I have been playing for about 4 years, and I don't know why I hadn't gotten this pedal earlier. It is great for forming a one-man band experience as well as practicing your soloing and improvisation. If it was lost or stolen, I would definately buy it again, after beating the person that took it! I compared this with the DigiTech JamMan, and I found that both pedals sound exactly the same, but I chose the Boss RC-20XL because it was cheaper. It would be nice if it included a Boss FS-5U footswitch to cycle through the loops or play a phrase in reverse, but it's not a necessity. Do yourself a favor and check out this amazing pedal. // 9

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overall: 9.3
RC-20XL Loop Station Reviewed by: guitarantihero, on march 26, 2010
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: £ 219

Purchased from: Independent music shop

Ease of Use: The pedal sound great with a crisp realistic sound. At first it's hard to get a good loop even if you think you have good timing, but after a liitle practice you naturally get better and create perfect loops. To be honest there are some feature on it that I haven't explored. I tend to use it quite basically - get a loop going, overdub or two, c'est tout. // 8

Sound: The sound is clear and transparent, which is what you want on a sampling pedal - youy don't want your sound coloured in any way at all. My live amp is a Fender Hot Rod Deluxe, which I always leave on the clean chanal, creating distortion with effects - even with several overdubs the different parts cut through without becoming too much of a muddy soup. // 10

Reliability & Durability: I've only had it a few months but I've used Boss pedals since I was a kid. They are little tanks that last and last. Boss gear is made for professional use, so it's worth paying a little extra over the copycats that are more designed for teenage bedrooms. That said, for the quality Boss is hardly expensive and I perfer 'commodity pedals' like the DS-1 to fancier boutique models. // 10

Overall Impression: As practice tool to something to great epic textures live it's a joy. I play mostly from Byrdsy indie-jangle though to heavyish psychadelia and becoming used on more and more tracks to add a little texture here and there - I keep finding uses for it. You can be a bit of a one-man-jam-band with it. It's great fun with thing like the OC-3 Octave pedal to simulate a bassline but I tend to use it like that just for kicks. I'm very impressed with it. I've always been curous about this type of pedal but have only taken the plunge now and I'm glad I did. // 9

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overall: 9.3
RC-20XL Loop Station Reviewed by: FatStrat95, on march 29, 2010
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 210

Purchased from: eBay

Ease of Use: I got it and had no idea what I was doing at first, I tried and toyed with it for a bit and got it to record but just had some problems(ie didn't loop perfect, couldn't get it to do what I wanted.) I then went online and read over the manual for a good solid hour and I learned everything I needed to know..its a lot better than the single pedal version of this by far.you can record on the fly and overdub and do all kinds of cool stuff throw your loops in reverse and everything you could think of..It will take a while to learn but it is so worth it.. // 7

Sound: I've played it with all kinds of guitars a Epip Les Pau Standard my 95 Fender MIM strat by buddies US strat and Danelectro into a few different amps a Fender dsp 90 and my Fender blues deville and this thing sounds just what you recorded into it, you can use any kind of effect and record into it and it doesn't effect it at all it sounds just like what you recorded in. It doesn't add and hum or anything too your rig either. // 10

Reliability & Durability: You can always put a trust in the Boss name they have been around for 30+ years. I mean this thing is great you can kick it around and beat it up and it will always play back. I have had mine to 2 years and have yet to have a problem with it. I would go to a gig without it I've watched big bands use them like "The Ataris" and "This is Hell" and I'm sure many others. Its worth the money. // 10

Overall Impression: II play more blues and rock but I mean you could play anything out of this. Its great to work on laying down chord progressions and just soloing over top of it to get better at soloing. Its really a great tool to have. I would suggest it to anyone and everyone and If and I mean this is an extreme if, if it broke I would buy it again right after I made sure it was dead. I used a DigiTech Jamman looper before and it just wasn't that great for me. It has everything you need in a looper pedal. // 10

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overall: 9.3
RC-20XL Loop Station Reviewed by: unregistered, on january 24, 2012
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Ease of Use: I love this pedal so much, it has everything I need in a loop recorder pedal, just close to perfect and I've only had it for 6 hours so far. After having a dull read through the manual I decided to just get stuck in and muck around with it. Its very simple once you get the hang of it, it may take you around 20 mins before you start to understand the pedals features and functions, but its not Rocket science. // 9

Sound: I've got a cruddy cheap Gibson Les Paul knockoff guitar, and the worlds worst amp. Yet! The sound quality is still fine, the loop sounds exactly how I played it with absolutely no stuff ups or problems noticed. I don't know what people are saying about this gentle hum from the pedal but I don't hear anything and I have a bad amp as well, besides in 99% of live situations it would never be noticed anyway. I really love the band Battles (math-rock band, very loop based) so I did some research and found out they use this exact same pedal! And I notice the similarities in the sound of the loops, very happy. // 9

Reliability & Durability: Its Boss so you know its strong as hell, it feels tough and sturdy. I wouldn't sweat if I dropped it a few times by accident. It did not come with a AC power pack but I'm not fussed because the battery compartment looks sturdy and tough encased with a black metal lid. I would much rather use this over the newer RC-30 loop pedals, I've read a lot of other reviews of the RC-30 and have heard that it skips randomly sometimes and has design faults with the quantize and tap tempo, yet there has been no faults said about the RC-20XL and I'm not expecting this thing to muck up anytime soon. // 10

Overall Impression: This pedal is great for any kind of music really. The fact it has a mic/aux/instrument input is great and allows it to be used with synths, keyboards, microphones etc. If you are considering getting the newer model the RC-30 I would tell you to ask yourself a question of what is more important. If you want a loop pedal that is ideal for recording over live performance with stereo, in built effects (the effects suck!) 3 hours recording time and more recording capabilities then the RC-30 is more for you. If you want a trust worthy pedal that is in my opinion much better for live performance and overall use. Used by many popular bands, and has been loved by musicians for years because of the intuitive, simple and trustworthy overlay, I would highly recommend the RC-20XL. P.S. The reverse effect (not on the RC-30) rocks, sounds trippy as love it! // 9

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overall: 8.5
RC-20XL Loop Station Reviewed by: theGlimmerTwin, on february 06, 2012
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: £ 200

Purchased from: Local Music Store

Ease of Use: You can get up and running pretty quickly, plug it in, press the pedal and you're away and looping. To get the most out of it though I think a read of the manual will be required. Boss are great at packing in lots of features and this pedal is no exception, however this can mean that getting to them isn't always as intuitive as it can be. Overall though I think the trade off of more features in return for a slightly more complex interface is well worth it. Once you're comfortable with using it it won't seem so bad. // 7

Sound: At home I'm playing either a Fender Telecaster or Ibanez electro-acoustic through my board into a Marshall AVT100. Live I usual end up playing through a house PA. In both scenarios the RC-20XL stands up very well. It took a little tweaking to get things to sound right and there is a subtle difference I've heard from what goes in to what comes out, but it's nothing that most audiences are going to notice. Solid performance all round and I've had many great gigs with this in my set up, used and unused. // 8

Reliability & Durability: I'm a big Boss fan and my board is almost exclusively made up of Boss products. A huge part of this is the reliability. When I was a musical minor I used a variety of pedal brands including Danelectro, Zoom, Marshall, Ibanez and more, but Boss routinely outperformed them all. The quality of build is excellent, the pedals will take strong stomps comfortably and I never bring back ups and I've never had a Boss product fail yet. // 10

Overall Impression: I play a wide variety of music, but it mostly centres around rock and Indie styles. With this pedal I'm most playing acoustic pieces live and it words a treat. With my set up I can build up some nice warm and full sounding songs. At home I experiment a lot more with my electric set up and can build up some great Dandy Warhol style tracks with lots of layers and effects. I've had the pedal over a year and have been impressed enough that I want to step it up to the new RC-300 so I can do even more. The main thing I'd have liked it to have was a XLR mic input as I can get some trouble with the jack input as I run my vocals through the Boss VE-20. The new Boss RC-30 which supersedes this has that included. With that new pedal out if you're just looking to try out a looper and you can get this at a knock down price then definitely give it a go. Otherwise you'd be well worth going for one of the new range. // 9

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overall: 9
RC-20XL Loop Station Reviewed by: TURTLESAURUS, on august 02, 2012
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 300

Purchased from: Online

Ease of Use: Got this for my birthday and was very pleased. It might take a little adjusting to get the sound you want, but it's no problem at all. It will take a little bit to figure out how to use it, but that's nothing a light reading or youtube video won't sure. I know there's one particular video on youtube with this blonde, curly-haired guy that you should check out. It's hilarious and informative on how to use the pedal. // 9

Sound: I use this mostly with my Epiphone Les Paul and Fender Superchamp XD. You can control input volume of instrument as well as the output volume onto the amp. Effects come out good, even with multiple pedals attached. You can keep layering onto the track, whether it be from an instrument or microphone. There's also a drum tempo so that you can stay on beat. But it's kinda lame and only in 4/4. A plus is you can record mp3's of your favorite artists onto the loop station. Then you can slow down to tempo to match playing along with solos/riffs. Sounds great, I'm only giving it an 8 because the drum tap tempo could be improved. // 8

Reliability & Durability: You can depend on it for sure. Heavy duty and reliable. The power adapter is a must have, or else I think it's using a bunch of AAs. Just get the power adapter. You could gig without a backup, this thing ain't breaking. And there's no reason to have two $300 loop stations. // 10

Overall Impression: I play mostly rock and metal. But I've even recorded samples onto the RC-20XL and used a microphone over it. It's a pretty bootleg way to record a song, but it works quite well. I've been playing guitar for 4 years now and I really enjoy this loop station. If it were stolen I would probably get another one if I could find $300. But I'd rather get a better amp/guitar first. I did not compare this with any other loop stations. But it obviously has more features than the RC-2 and is way cheaper than the RC-300. I'd be interested to test it against the RC-30. // 9

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