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RC-300 Looper: to Synch or NOT to Synch

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  • RC-300 Looper: to Synch or NOT to Synch

    I use a Boss RC-300 looper pedal. It has 3 tracks. Does anyone else use it, or, do you have something similar? I'm wondering if you generally "synch" your tracks, (i.e. so they repeat after the same number of measures), or do you not synch them? Still trying to get the looper under control!

    Also, my focus is working on "live performance", that is, using a looper and creating on-the-fly pieces. Are any of you also interested in this, or mostly in using recording tools to create finished pieces?

    (Note: I posted a similar thread over in the Experimental Soundscaping Guitarist Group, but now that we have this new Ambient Guitar Discussion subforum, it belongs here.)
    Latest release:

  • #2
    As far as hardware looping, the thing I most relied upon was my ol' Digitech PDS 1002. Not the same thing, I imagine. It doesn't have tracks but does have a nice 'repeat hold' function on a separate trigger and is good at layering.

    These days I am almost totally computer-based except for guitar, bass, and the rare vocal input. Loops are usually set up by a series of delays (among other sound-coloration devices) feeding into each other via busses or direct.

    Whether they are synced or not depends upon the material. For structureless ambient, it's usually long delay periods set by time rather than tempo, being fed by shorter delays with the outputs at varying volumes or occasionally muted to keep patterns from becoming too established.

    Even if deciding to perform live, I'd still find me an inexpensive laptop to augment hardware pedals and outboard gear. Not to derail the the thread but there are some seriously great delays/loopers out there in VST-land. Ones like Soundtoys Echoboy (15 seconds), Nomad Factory Echoes (4 bars), Valhalla's UberMod (8 bars), Sonic Charge Permut8 (8 bars or clock frequency of .04kHz), and Tonecarver's Regen--which is a 4 track looper (think Frippertronics).

    So I didn't really answer your question, but got a plug in there for ITB stuff. Sorry!


    • #3
      Interesting. All that computer based stuff is out of my realm. I suppose it's the way to go for recording, though. Used to be you just needed to be able to play a guitar!....
      Latest release:


      • #4
        Magnesson is a good for a guitar fx discussion.

        I haven't heard from him in bit, but his wife was due in the middle of December, so I can guess what's got him busy.


        • #5
          I'm going through one of those crisis-of-confidence things at the moment, and one 'cure' I've been toying with is a back-to-basics approach. So, although I have a DAW with shedloads of virtual effects, I'm currently messing with guitars, amps, and effects pedals with a view to recording actual performances - something I used to do all the time, but have hardly done at all lately. My looper is a Vox Dynamic looper, which is pretty quirky but despite that (or more likely because of that) is capable of some really interesting and unique textures, especially if you forget about synching plus a volume pedal and a Zoom G1x-on which also has looping, but also some really nice delays and modulation fx. So my whole 'rig' probably costs about the same as one of those Strymon units (which are awesome, but I'd struggle to justify that kind of expense just to muck about in the spare room :D ) - point being it's possible to get great results with quite limited resources. The proof of that particular pudding will be when I have an album's worth of these performances ready for release....
          My new album "Exeunt Omnes" is available now, here:
          Check out my (hopelessly out-of-date) SoundCloud page:


          • #6
            I'm thinking about an RC-300. I've been using an RC-50 for a long time but it can't do seamless looping. Always a gap at the end of a loop before it starts again, even in record-overdub-play mode. My Ditto X2 works well for that but doesn't have the effects that the Boss has. I believe the RC-300 does seamless looping, is that correct?


            • #7
              i don't have the RC-300 but, i do have a DittoX2, digitech jamman(the old two pedal version), and a Vox Delaylab which is a multi delay pedal that also has looper which is what i normally use it for. i do use loopers together and i will say that i rarely get them to synch perfectly. when i do live recordings i feel the little bit out of synch makes it a bit more musical at times, and most the time it works for me. most of my live performance recordings are at loud volumes with a lot of effects multiple delays and heavy reverb wash ran in stereo. i will say that reproducing the same piece will be a bit different but i think that it comes into being in the moment.


              • #8
                Geez, sorry I didn't respond to this thread sooner, didn't see the alerts I guess. The RC-300 does have seamless looping. I've posted a real raw video of me looping a simple blues thing, to demonstrate the timing. I've been using it for about a month or so and I've never encountered any lag, or timing issue that hasn't been caused by my fumble-foot. It's a bit of work to get used to stomping on the record pedal to start/stop it. And on the "double edged sword" side, it's got a heck of a lot of capability, yet it's kind of complicated. It's got a built in drum set with about 50 different drum beats, none of which will completely amaze you, but for a basic beat, it's fine. For "Fever", I recorded a nice drum track using Band In A Box and downloaded it into the RC-300 and that works pretty slick. It functions as another drive on your PC using a simple USB cable, and the files are WAV format, very easy to use.
                By the way, it seems in my research before I bought the RC-300, I remember that the gap in the RC-50 was solved by a firmware update that Boss put out. Did I imagine that?
                So this video is at:

                See ya.....
                Latest release:


                • #9
                  You are correct; the firmware update was released apparently addressing this issue: Firmware download

                  Also this information is apparently important as well:

                  At the time of publication, the information below was not included in the “RC-50 Owner’s Manual.” Please add the following additional
                  information to the Owner’s Manual.

                  Switching Playback-start Operation

                  You can switch the manner for starting playback immediately when the REC/PLAY/OVERDUB pedal is operated while recording is in progress.

                  Priority Given to Rhythm (Factory Default)

                  This preserves the performance rhythm from the time that recording started. When you operate the pedal, the performance-start location is adjusted and playback is started accordingly. Although it may sometimes sound as if playback has started from the middle of a phrase, from the following loop, playback takes place as recorded.

                  Priority Given to Sound

                  This starts playback from the beginning of the recorded data.
                  Note, however, that for the rhythm guide, recorded phrases, or recordings synchronized with MIDI, playback starts with “Rhythm Priority.”

                  How to Change the Operational Mode

                  1. To choose the mode you want to use, hold down the corresponding buttons described below as you switch on the power.

                  Check what’s displayed on the title screen, then release the buttons.

                  Rhythm Priority: [LOOP SYNC] + [PHRASE 1]

                  Sound Priority: [LOOP SYNC] + [PHRASE 2]

                  * The setting is saved in memory, so you don’t need to carry out this procedure the next time you start up.

                  You should carry out this procedure only when you want to change to a different mode.


                  • #10
                    Updated the RC-50 and followed the addendum instructions and there is still a gap. Annoying. Tried it every way I can see and still no joy. Thanks for the replies though.


                    • #11
                      I have 1 RC-20 and 1 Jamman express and I've just accepted that they will not be in sync. I'm learning to live with the limitations of what I have
                      It's kinda fun to record two tracks that are "in sync" and just let them run until they're completely out of sync. Apparently I'm Steve Reich...
                      Ghost Signs - Ambient tape loops and guitars :