Purchased from: Harry's Guitar Shop
Sound — 10
Great sound, your tone isn't changed. I'm using it with a Crate GT1200H halfstack (hopefully for not much longer). I plug my guitar into an MI Audio Crunch Box Distortion, into the amp. My effects loop runs Send -> Boss GE-7 -> RC-50 -> Return. No noise at all. that's about all I can say, it keeps your sound intact.
Overall Impression — 10
I play a wide range of music. Anywhere from jazz and soft stuff to Steve Vai and Dream Theater type music. Works great, especially for jazz. You can practice improvising over tough changes, which can really help. You can write and record a rhythm, and then record a lead on a seperate phrase and play them at the same time. Then you can cancel out the lead and solo over it, then when you're done, bring it back in. With 3 phrases, possibilities are just about endless. There wasn't a "features" section, so I'll cover that now. On the back, there is a DC IN (for the adapter that is supplied with the pedal. No batteries.) There is a power button (to turn it on >.>) Midi IN and OUT (haven't found a use for that yet, but I'm sure somebody has.) there's a USB port for hooking up to your computer and storing your files if you run out of space (24 minutes Mono, 49 Stereo). there's are inputs for expression and control pedals, labeled "CTL PEDAL 1, 2 and EXP/CTL PEDAL 3, 4. Then there's a LEFT and RIGHT mono (Right is mono, left is stereo, I suppose. I haven't done everything possible with this pedal yet.) instrument input. Then there's a Mic input and a Switch to turn phantom power on and off. there's an AUX input as well. Then there's a Left and Right mono Main oputput, Left and Right mono Sub Output, and a Headphone jack. That covers all of the inputs on the back. On the front, there are "Phrase Edit" controls. You can control the volume for each phrase, control weather it plays in Reverse or foreward, and control whether it goes through once ("One Shot") or loops, as well as other things you can control for each seperate phrase. There is a "Guide" control, which controls the drum beat. You can turn it on or off with a button, and select how you want it to work. You can have it count you in at recording or playback. It has many time signatures, from 2/4 through 7/4, and from 5/8 through 13/8, all with multiple drum beats. There are over 300 drum loops available! There is an "Input Level" section, which controls volume of the instrument, aux, and mic inputs (three seperate knobs). There is a light that flashes if you are hitting the peak. You can adjust to turn on Auto Record, Input Mode (stereo or mono, w/ other options as well), Master Volume, and the overdub mode. Here I will explain the overdub modes. Overdub is self explanatory (overdubs the track once you hit Play again). Replace just replaces whatever you have in the spot on the recording when you press the pedal down and play. Momentary Punch-In is the same as Replace, but is only in effect when you are holding the pedal down. This is very useful for recording single notes or other small mistakes. There are 99 available patches (with 3 presets in patches 1 - 3). There is a tap tempo which you can adjust by pedal or a button. The light flashes on the beat. There is an extremely useful Undo/Redo button, which allows you to undo what you just did, and if you decide you don't want to undo it, you can put it back in by pressing the pedal. Holding stop for 2 seconds clears the phrase. You can select which patch you are using by holding down the Tempo button for 2 seconds, or by turning the know labled "patch/value". Playback is simple. Hit the Rec/Play/Overdub button, allow it to count you in if you have that option selected, and start playing. When you are done, hit the button again to play it back, or hit Stop to stop it. Then, once it is playing back, hit the button again to overdub. There are other buttons as well. Tap Tempo is an alternate way to change the tempo without using the pedal. Name/Patch allows you to name the patch you are on. Ctl/Exp pedal adjusts options with the expression pedal. System/USB controls overall options with the loop station, as well as allowing you to connect to your computer. Exit just exits the menu you are in, and Write allows you to save your patch. The parameter buttons are mainly for naming the patch. The play mode buttons allow you to control if your loops are synced or not, and whether you want multiple tracks to be able to be played at once, or just one. That covers most of the basic functions of the RC-50 Loop Station. It is well worth the $500 if you want to be able to record full songs, work on your chops, jam over your own tracks, anything. This can do everything that the other two loop Boss loop stations can do, plus SO much more. Obviously, there is a lot to learn about this pedal, but it is completely worth the time it takes. Overall, I'm giving this a 10 just because of the extent of possibilities and how much I love this pedal!
Reliability & Durability — 9
It looks durable, weighs 7 or 8 pounds I think. I haven't had any gigs yet, but soon I might put together some covers or solo stuff with this and try to play out somewhere. I would definately gig without a backup, because this was a gift, and I don't have $500 to shell out for another one. You might be able to drop it and have it still work, but I wouldn't want to drop a $500 piece of equipment. I'm gonna give this a 9 just because it might crack the screen if it was dropped or something similar.
Ease of Use — 8
Although this thing can do about everything, I'm only giving it an 8 because there are so many things you must know how to do in order to work this. That's not a big deal, because I assume that if you buy something with so many options that it's not going to be just plug and play. Your tone is not affected what'soever when you record something and play it back, which is great. Editing is easy, and there are 3 modes: overdub, replace, and momentary punch-in. I'll go into this later. The manual is huge; another reason for the 8 rating. It is 106 pages long, one language (i.e. it's not 20 pages of english, 20 pages of spanish, etc). It does a great job of covering everything, and I mean everything. It is split into 9 chapters, covering basics, midi syncing, computer hookup, everything.