Taking Control of Your Loop Station
BOSS Loop Stations are famous for their industry leading flexibility right out of the box. They also provide a serious level of functionality for the beginner or intermediate looping musician.
However, for the advanced user who wants to fully extend their looping creativity, a higher degree of control is often required. Foe example, whether or not to enable precise loop operation, control multiple operations simultaneously or to even synchronise multiple Loop Stations.
All BOSS Loop Stations allow the user to expand the control they have over their machine’s powerful internal functionality. Every single Loop Station in the BOSS lineup enables a user to add external footswitches. This provides simple and swift access to common functions. More in-depth loopers, such as the RC, RC and RC, offer an incredible array of controllable functions. This is done via their Control Assignment functionality. In addition to this, external MIDI control provides the further ability to take complete control of these Assignments.
In this article, we’ll run you through the basic concepts behind the vast expansion capabilities of BOSS Loop Stations. We will also demystifying the sometimes confusing world of MIDI control.
Contributed by Matt Walsham for the Roland Australia Blog
Adding a footswitch to your loop setup (All Loop Stations)
There is a LOT of functionality packed into every BOSS Loop Station. As a result, it’s difficult for the designers to cram complete control onto a limited number of on-board footswitches. Generally, this means that you need to access key functions through a combination of actions. This includes tapping, double-tapping or holding the Loop Station’s footswitches to access various core functions.
On an RC-1 for example, there are 4 functions assigned to the single stomp switch of the unit.
Double-tapping or holding the footswitch can often be a tricky manoeuvre during performance. It can also be difficult to time with complete precision.
However, by adding an external 2-button footswitch (e.g. FS-6) to the setup, connected with a single TRS (Stereo) jack cable, the following functionality is available:
Now, the time-critical function of STOPPING loop playback can be accomplished with a single tap. This enables a much finer and more musical control of the stop point.
Similarly, using the UNDO/REDO function can accurately enhance performance dynamics. This is achieved by adding or subtracting overdub layers, all with the timing precision of a single tap.
All BOSS Loop Stations offer the capacity to add up to two extra footswitches. For example, the addition of either one or two FS-5U footswitches, or a single 2-button FS-6 or FS-7 footswitch. The RC doubles this capacity, by supporting up to 4 additional footswitch buttons.
(See APPENDIX A for a full list of External Footswitch controls by order of Loop Station).
Expanding foot control with external footswitches is simple, powerful and relatively inexpensive. We recommend it to any Loop Station owner as the first step towards taking control of their looping rig.
Control Assignments (RC / RC / RC)
An important note for any advanced looper who wishes to expand their looping creativity! The RC, RC and RC Loop Stations offer the ability to completely customise the behaviour of their Loop Station via CONTROL ASSIGNMENTS.
ASSIGNMENTS are a set of instructions, programmed by the user, which tell the Loop Station to perform particular functions.
On an RC, the user wishes the LOOP EFFECTS to be engaged on pressing the TRACK 2 PLAY footswitch.
This is achievable if the user programs an ASSIGNMENT, within the RC’s MEMORY EDIT menu.
To understand ASSIGNMENTS, we must understand the following terms:
- Assign Target: The parameter that the user wishes to activate/deactivate/alter. In the example above, the Assign Target is “LOOP FX ON/OFF”.
- Target Min: Sets the minimum possible value of the Assign Target parameter. In the example above, minimum value would be “OFF”.
- Target Max: Sets the maximum possible value of the Assign Target parameter. In the example above, maximum value would be “ON”.
- Source: Defines how the specified Target is to be controlled/triggered. In the example above, the Source is the TRACK 2 PLAY footswitch.
In other words, setting a Control Assignment is characterised by this logic statement:
“Specifying a Target parameter that will be controlled (within the operating range bounded by Target Min and Target Max), via a Source”.
Each of the three Loop Stations with Assignment functionality have a large number of Assign Targets that are controllable by various Sources. For specific details, please refer to the Owner’s Manual for each product. Support for multiple simultaneous programmable Assignments is available, allowing the user to enable considerable customisation. The RC and RC can support up to 8 ControlAssignments per memory patch. The RC (with Version firmware) supports a massive 16 Assigns per memory patch.
On all 3 of these Loop Stations, any external footswitches (as discussed earlier), are selectable as AssignmentSources. This means that the user can re-purpose them to perform any Target function. It’s even possible to assign multiple Targets to a single Source. As a result, the single tap of a footswitch can achieve a variety of different functions.
Taking advantage of the control offered by Control Assignments does require some button pressing and menu-diving. However, the result is more than worth it as it allows you to perform advanced functions with your Loop Station. This will elevate your performance to the next level.
For the Loop Station master who wishes to take complete control over every aspect of their entire setup, then understanding MIDI is a must.
MIDI is an acronym for “Musical Instrument Digital Interface”. Developed by Roland, it’s a control protocol technology that allows MIDI equipped devices to communicate with and control each other. MIDI is an indispensable tool that allows you to take total control of a rig. It also enables various pieces of equipment to work in sync with each other, .
In the context of looping, there are two particular functional aspects of MIDI that are extremely useful. These are MIDI CC (Control Change) and MIDI Clock Sync.
MIDI CC EXPLAINED
MIDI CC is an information transmission protocol that allows one piece of MIDI capable gear to act as a “remote control” for another. By sending MIDI CC “messages” over a MIDI cable, various parameters on one device are able to be controlled by another device.
In the last section, we learnt about Control Assignments on the RC/RC/RC and how useful they can be when paired with external footswitches used as Sources. Taking this concept a step further, the RC/RC/RC Loop Stations are able to use MIDICC messages as Assign Sources. This means that you can connect any MIDI controller (such as the Roland FC) to your Loop Station via a single MIDI cable. You can then Assign all of its footswitches / Expression Pedals to any of the Loop Station’s Target functions.
Via MIDI, footswitches are assignable to do things like switch tracks, apply effects, tap tempo and even control operation of multiple tracks simultaneously. Expression pedals are also assignable for control of useful functions. These include controlling track levels or effects parameters such as delay times. Using MIDI CC as an Assignment Source, the functionality of the Loop Station can be completely customised to the performer’s specific requirements.
MIDI SYNC CLOCK
Lets now discuss MIDI Clock Sync. All MIDI equipped BOSS Loop Stations (RC/RC/RC) have the capability to transmit or receive tempo information via MIDI Clock. This means that performance tempo information is able to be shared and synchronised with other devices. These include samplers, DJ software, delay pedals or even other loopers.
This is useful in a variety of settings:
- Sync your Loops to DJ Software – Using MIDI Clock to sync your looper to DJ software enables you to add creative loops to existing tunes, while always remaining perfectly in time.
- Sync external delay units to your looper Keep the tempo of your outboard delays in perfect sync with the exact tempo of your performance loop.
- Synchronised operation of 2 Loop Stations – By connecting two MIDI capable Loop Stations, they can be set up so that one device (Master) sends tempo information to the other (Slave). This means that 2 musicians in the same band can perform with perfectly synchronised loops.
MIDI Clock sync functionality can be used simultaneously with MIDI CC control (see previous section). This can be achieved using the same single MIDI cable. By combining these two concepts, you can take complete control of a slave loopers functionality from a master looper. By doig this , it effectively doubles the amount of loop tracks and effects available for your use.
As we have shown, the possibilities that manifest themselves once you take control of your looper are nearly endless.
If you’ve never used anything but your looper’s out-of-the-box functionality, then we wholeheartedly recommend that you try some of the suggestions in this article. We hope that you see your Loop Station with fresh eyes.
Unleash the massive power of your Loop Station and take complete control of your creativity!
THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO BOSS LOOP STATIONS
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My friend said he has a problem with it. When he plays a loop with distortion, and whenever he's playing a solo on distortion, the loop seems to fade. Why does this happen? Can this be avoided? I am really eager to purchase the Boss RC-3, but I don't want to run into a problem like this when I'm trying to solo over… see more My friend said he has a problem with it. When he plays a loop with distortion, and whenever he's playing a solo on distortion, the loop seems to fade. Why does this happen? Can this be avoided? I am really eager to purchase the Boss RC-3, but I don't want to run into a problem like this when I'm trying to solo over my loop. see less My friend said he has a problem with it. When he plays a loop with distortion, and whenever he's playing a solo on distortion, the loop seems to fade. Why does this happen? Can this be avoided? I am really eager to purchase the Boss RC-3, but I don't want to run into a problem like this when I'm trying to solo over my loop.
asked on February 23,
Recording does not end
immediately when you press
immediately even though
Auto recording mode is
Cannot change the playback
Error Message List
The battery has run low.
Memory is full.
This WAV file is unplayable.
Further overdubbing is not possible.
Internal memory must be formatted.
The RC-3 has malfunctioned.
If rhythm is on, or if you recorded a phrase that is shorter than the minimum recording time (approximately
seconds), the length of the phrase is adjusted automatically; this may mean that recording does not end
immediately when you press the pedal.
If due to distortion or other causes there is a significant amount of noise, that noise may be enough to
trigger the beginning of recording. Reduce the noise, for example by lowering the distortion level.
You cannot change the playback tempo in the following situations.
If the phrase has not been saved.
While phrases are being switched (PLAY indicator blinking rapidly).
When you attempt to set the tempo for a phrase that is looped over an interval shorter than the
minimum recording time (approximately seconds).
Replace the battery.
Delete unneeded phrases.
Check the format of the WAV file.
Re-save the phrase.
Format the RC-3's internal memory.
Contact your dealer.
BOSS RC-1 Loop Station Pedal
User Manual for BOSS RC-1 Loop Station PedalClick to enlarge the picture
Contents of the user manual for the BOSS RC-1 Loop Station Pedal
|User manual for the BOSS RC-1 Loop Station Pedal contain basic instructions that need to be followed during installation and operation. Before starting your appliance, the user manual should be read through carefully. Follow all the safety instructions and warnings, and be guided by the given recommendations. User manual is an integral part of any BOSS product, and if it is sold or transferred, they should be handed over jointly with the product. Following the instructions for use is an essential prerequisite for protecting health and property during use, as well as recognition of liability on the part of the manufacturer for possible defects should you make a warranty claim. Download an official BOSS user manual in which you will find instructions on how to install, use, maintain and service your product. |
And do not forget – unsuitable use of a BOSS product will considerably shorten its lifespan!
Product descriptionWith 12 minutes of stereo recording time, the RC-1 Loop Station Pedal from BOSS is small enough to fit on a pedalboard, even when used with an optional external footswitch such as the FS-5U, FS-6 or FS-7 (sold separately), which can be used as an additional control to easily undo/redo phrases or stop recording/overdubbing/playback.The RC-1 is equipped with dual in/out jacks for use with stereo effects, stereo amps, or dual-amp setups, as well as to connect stereo instruments such as keyboards. Using a single footswitch and knob, the RC-1 is straightforward and easy to operate for the player that is just getting into looping. It can be used to create a basic backing track for practice or to jam along with or to layer complex phrases for luscious arrangements. Whether you're a beginner or a touring professional, the RC-1 is an ideal tool for any guitarist, bassist or keyboardist.
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Troubleshooting 1 boss rc
Have you tried turning it off and on again?
When you get a brand new guitar pedal it’s super exciting as you get to try out a whole range of sounds. You quickly rip it out of the box, throw it on to your pedalboard, pick up your guitar, take that deep breath and strum away… only to find there’s nothing coming out. Oh no!
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Terror sinks in, as you desperately try and figure out why your delay pedal is not delaying, your reverb pedal is not reverbing and your chorus pedal is not, well, chorusing (that’s totally a word now!). But before you throw your guitar down in disgust, package the pedal back up and send it away, take a few minutes to try and figure out just what might have gone wrong. How hard is guitar pedal repair anyway, right?
Guitar pedal repair pointers
As we deal in all sorts of guitar pedals and field a lot of questions such as “why won’t my guitar pedal work” and “my guitar pedal won’t turn on” we thought it best to come up with a few quick troubleshooting tips for those who might think they have a faulty pedal, as chances are it’s not really faulty, but something else is causing the trouble. Here are our top troubleshooting tips for guitar pedals.
1. Is it plugged in?
This might sound silly, but sometimes a guitar pedal is simply not plugged in properly. If both jack leads are not fully inserted, the pedal won’t work. This is a power-saving feature. A pedal will not switch on unless your jack leads are inserted correctly and into the guitar end, otherwise known as the Input.
It’s important to remember that the jack insert on a brand new pedal will be quite stiff at first, so when you push the lead in, you may feel that it is fully inserted when in actual fact it might not be. Be sure to give it a firm push. I’ve made this mistake myself once or twice! It will loosen slightly over time and be easier to insert, but it has been designed to hold the jack in place so can be quite tough. Make sure both the input (guitar end) and output (amp end) are inserted properly.
2. The battery is dead
This is quite a common problem. Dead batteries in pedals means there’s no power going to your pedal, therefore no signal. The same goes for active pickups in guitars. 9V batteries or any other batteries for that matter, are very unreliable and can last only a few hours on occasion. Check that the battery is not causing the problem here. Replace the battery and see if that helps.
Be advised, if you leave a battery in a guitar pedal and both jacks inserted, this will drain the battery – remember what I said about the power saving feature? You may have had a blast on your new pedal and left it plugged in for a few hours. Well, this can be enough time to drain a 9V battery. Which is why pedal power supplies are so handy! This brings me to my next point.
3. Make sure you’re using the right power supply
If you’ve decided to get rid of the 9V batteries, which I strongly suggest you do, and made the change to a more robust power supply option, make sure that you’re actually using the correct power supply! If the power supply did not come with the pedal, you might be using the wrong type.
If the guitar pedal requires a 9V DC power supply, make sure you use one! Plugging a 12 volt power supply in when something needs only 9V can seriously damage the pedal, so beware.
As for milliamps (mA) or current, make sure your pedal power supply is providing equal or more than what is required. We actually published a very handy guide to pedal power supplies here, well worth a read if you’re curious about what power supply might be right for you.
Check the polarity on DC power supplies. Your pedal will require either a positive (+) centre or a negative (-) centre. The pedal and the power supply will state the polarity. Look for this symbol to tell you what the centre is.
4. There’s a fault in your chain
If you’re like me and you run a huge amount of pedals together in a chain, along with a myriad of patch leads connecting them together, every now and then something might come loose.
If your pedalboard was working fine before you plugged your new pedal in, yet seems to be unresponsive now, chances are you may have knocked something loose or an existing fault, which has been laying in wait for months, has finally decided to rear its head.
Check your patch leads with a cable tester, and go through each pedal individually to see what could be causing the problem. It could be a faulty lead, a broken patch lead or a loose connection on another pedal. Work your way back through the chain and swap out a few patch leads and cables.
5. The guitar volume pot is turned down
Seriously, this happens all the time. And I’ve definitely accused my pedals of being faulty before realising that my volume pot was turned all the way down. The same goes for volume pedals, so make sure these are not engaged when you're trying to play.
In addition, make sure that the threshold on noise suppressor pedals are not set too high. This can make a pedal sound very quiet or at the very least act a little weird. Test the pedal in isolation.
6. Read the instructions
They’re there for a reason! If it comes with operating instructions, try and get up to speed with those first so you know exactly how to operate the pedal. Which leads me to another point
One of the main types of pedals that can cause a few issues is the Looper pedal, especially if you’ve never used one before! An example being the Boss RC-1, a fantastic pedal when you know how to use it.
But an easy pedal - as with any looper - to start tripping yourself up very quickly. Put it this way, if your timing is off you're going to know about it in the most painful way.
Not an exhaustive list and we're not delving into electronics as we don't want to give you the green light to wreck your pedals. If any of the issues are beyond the scope of this article then get in touch with the manufacturer as the issue may be covered under warranty, or at the very least they'll have a repair centre who will be happy to take a look for you. Failing that, there are plenty of guitar repair shops across the land who will happily sort you out.
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User manual BOSS RC-1 Loop Station Pedal RC-1
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