Boss RC-2 Loop Station

The RC-2 ($284 retail/$179 street) packs much of the popular RC-20XL Loop Station dual pedal’s feature set into half the space. You still get 16 minutes of mono recording time that can be subdivided and stored into any of 11 presets, a 1/8" Aux input for importing audio from external sources (with amp-friendly EQ playback compensation), a rhythm guide (now with drum patterns), tap tempo, loop quantization, auto start, and the all-important Undo/Redo. Gone are the RC-20XL’s second footswitch, the Instrument and Mic Input Level controls (along with the Mic input), all but two time signature options, loop Reverse, and a few other features. Several controls and LEDs have also been consolidated.
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While it is nice to have lots of features in a box that requires minimal pedalboard space, tradeoffs include some functions being less than intuitive (the often obtuse manual doesn’t help), and some kludgey implementation. For example, recording a basic loop is a breeze, and if you don’t like the results, you simply delete it by pressing the pedal down for two seconds and begin again. To record along with a guide track, however, you must select Guide, select one of the 33 drum tracks by stepping through them with a button, select Tap Tempo and tap in the desired tempo, and then select Record mode before you can begin. Then, if you aren’t happy with your first attempt, holding the pedal down for two seconds erases everything, and you have to repeat the process!

That and a few less dramatic compromises notwithstanding, the RC-2 handles unaccompanied looping quite well, the phrase trainer (which allows you to change tempo without affecting pitch) is a nice bonus, the drum patterns serve as metronomes, the ability to store up to 11 loops is useful when composing, and connecting an optional footswitch (such as the Boss FS-5U or FS-6) allows you to more conveniently control various functions—including stepping through phrase playback sequentially for live performance.

At well under $200 street, the RC-2 is a great value for loopists with limited funds and/or pedalboard space, and adding the optional footswitch expands functionality—but the footswitch also increases the footprint, and the added expense could be put toward the more fully featured RC-20XL, which streets for only about $70 more than the RC-2.

Jam-packed with features. Undo/Redo. Basic functions user-friendly. Excellent sound quality. Good value.

Poor guide track implementation. Some functions too convoluted.

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