RC-3 Loop Station review by Boss

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  • Sound: 10
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 9
  • Ease of Use: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 9 Superb
  • Users' score: 9.3 (12 votes)
Boss: RC-3 Loop Station

Price paid: C$ 200

Purchased from: Long & McQuade

Sound — 10
You can use almost any instrument with this pedal, as long as it has a 1/4 inch output. Sometimes I even use an electric keyboard with the pedal. I simply get a 3.5 mm cable and plug one end into the headphone out of the keyboard and plug the other end into a 1/4 inch adapter and then into the pedal. I have not noticed ANY loss of tone due to this pedal. It's the most quiet pedal I have in my arsenal. There are no effects that come with this pedal, but I wouldn't expect any. However, this pedal does have 10 different drum tracks that coincide with the tap tempo button and can be turned of at will by pressing a simple button. This piece of gear does not improve your sound per se, but it is a very useful tool for practicing, jamming and has led to the birth of several ideas that have led to full-fledged songs. If you are using more than one pedal, make sure that the Boss RC-3, or any looper for that matter, is at the end of your signal chain (farthest from your instrument and closest to your amp).

Overall Impression — 9
Whether you play blues, rock, jazz, metal or country, this pedal will be an amazing tool for you to use while practicing and jamming with other guitarists or bassists. The pedal is fine on it's own, but if you ever use it on stage, I definitely recommend that you get the Boss latched dual footswitch to make your looping and whatnot much smoother. The thing I love the most about this pedal is that there are 99 slots for you to save your loops, so there is no space issue whatsoever! Compared to any other loop pedal on the market, whether it be the DigiTech Jam Man or the Vox 'Lil Looper this pedal beats them all. I've had conversations with people who say that the T.C. Electronic Ditto Looper is much better than the Boss RC-3 Loop Station simply because it's cheaper. That may be, but the RC-3 has 10 different drum tracks that coincide with the tap tempo button on the device. Oh, and did I mention the 99 different slots on the pedal where you can save your loops? The Ditto Looper has none of that, which makes it a very expensive pedal for what it does. I use this pedal mainly for "sketching" song ideas and jamming alone and with friends.

Reliability & Durability — 9
First of all, I would only use this pedal at a gig if I had a separate 9v adapter for the pedal. It would be very embarrassing if, all of a sudden, your loop stops and you have to cut your song a few minutes short. Speaking of gigs, I have never and will never EVER use this pedal when I'm playing with a percussionist. I say percussionist and not drummer because I would never use it with any percussion instrument. Period! Whether it be a tambourine, a triangle or bongos, you just can't use a pedal like this with a percussionist because the pedal is always on the beat according to the loop you set and drummers can and will slow down and/or speed up unintentionally because they're not perfect - no one is! However, as far as staying on the beat, this pedal IS perfect. Trust me on this one, you do not want to bring your looper to a gig with a drummer. To be honest, I rarely use this pedal at gigs, unless there is just me and one or two other guitarists. That said, if you are playing a gig with guitarists and/or a bass player, this pedal is great for really jamming on stage. Numerous times, my friend and I have just wailed on the E pentatonic scale while the Boss RC-3 loops a classic 12-bar blues progression.

Ease of Use — 8
The RC-3 Loop Station or "looper" is fairly easy to use, but if you fancy smoother and more precise loops, I suggest you also get a dual latched footswitch by Boss (approx. $20 CAD). That way, you will be able to utilize the pedal much more easier. Now, when I went to the Boss website, there was a firmware update for the pedal, so I figured I would download it and put it on the pedal. Let me just say that doing so is easier said than done! I had to scavenge my house for a USB 3.0 "B" male to USB 3.0 "A" male cable so that I could connect the pedal to my computer because Boss did not provide one in the box. For $200, I think that they could have thrown in a cheap cable. Please note that you will also need the cable mentioned above to transfer WAV files to and from the pedal. On the plus side, I found that the manual in the box was quite helpful for learning how to operate the pedal. Also, if you have two instruments that you want to play out of one amplifier, you can plug both of them into the loop station via Input A and Input B and use Output A to send the sound to one amp. If you have two amplifiers, you can do the same, but output the sound to both amps via Output A and Output B. In both situations, both instruments can utilize the loop station, so long as they are plugged into either Input A or Input B. All that sounds great, but I should mention that the Boss RC-3 is loaded with 99 spots in which you can save your most cherished loops! Boss decided to fill spots 90-99 with their own loop tracks, but you can erase those and any other data on the pedal very easily. NOTE: There is no XLR inputs or outputs. The inputs and outputs are the following: IN-x2, OUT-x2, FOOTSWITCH-x1. The pedal is powered via a 9v battery or a 9v adapter. I recommend getting an adapter for this pedal, unless you enjoy swimming through a house of empty 9v batteries. Another upside of using a 9v adapter is that you don't have to worry about the pedal shutting down during a gig or jam session. Please also note that this pedal, like every other, does not come with a 9v adapter.

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