Boss RC-30 Loop Station Review

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Summary

Pros: The Boss RC-30 Loop Station offers 3 hours of recording, built-in effects, and two synchronized stereo tracks.
Cons: Slight lag when shifting between phrases in real time (Update: This issue has been fixed by a firmware update).
Overall: Boss’s latest and greatest twin pedal looper makes some significant improvements over the older Boss RC-20XL Loop Station, and is a good choice for home musicians.

Full Review

In 2011, Boss updated it’s line of looper pedals by releasing the RC-3 Loop Station, the RC-30 Loop Station (reviewed here), and the RC-300 Loop Station. The RC-30 Loop Station is Boss’s updated twin pedal and the mid-sized option of the three. It’s a multitrack looper with two synchronized stereo tracks and built-in loop effects, and hours of recording time. Overall, Boss offers several improvements over Boss’s older twin pedal, the Boss RC-20XL.

Memory Improvements

First of the improvements, the Boss RC-30 Loop Station allows you to record up to 3 hours of music direct to its internal memory. In contrast, the RC-20XL only allowed 16 minutes of recording. With all that added memory, you can create and stack tons of multi-layered loops with twin stereo tracks each track being independently controllable with dedicated volume faders and track-select buttons.

Creating loops is convenient with the Auto Recording feature, which starts recording the moment you begin playing your guitar, bass, keyboard, or singing, or as soon as you start a connected audio player. Count-In mode gives you one-bar of rhythm before recording starts. As with all the Boss loopers, you can easily Undo and Redo as you go, letting you undo those mistakes and get a perfect loop to save to the built-in memory.

Built-In Effects

The RC-30 Loop Station also allows you to add effects on the fly. Onboard effects include the following:

  • Bend Down, which provides a dramatic pitch-bend effect.
  • Step Phaser changes phase in incremental steps.
  • Sweep Filter alters frequency in sync with the current tempo.
  • Tempo Delay produces a tempo-synced delay effect.
  • Lo-Fi intentionally degrades the sound to create a distinctive character.

Saturate your loops in cool effects without the cost and hassle of adding external gear.

Inputs and Outputs

Vocalists can plug a microphone of their choice directly into the RC-30’s XLR mic input, complete with phantom power if you wish to use a condenser mic. Sing, overdub, and make multi-layered loops of your voice, create vocal sound-effects patterns, or point the microphone at your acoustic musical instruments, or anything that makes noise and turn it into a cool loop. The USB 2.0 port lets you save your loops to your computer and import jam tracks as WAV files with ease.

Boss RC-30 Rear View

Boss RC-30 Loop Station Rear View

Negatives

On the downside, there is about a 1/4 second lag when you are shifting between phrases in real time, which makes this pedal a bit more difficult to use in live situations. For example, you may want to record an intro loop phrase, a theme loop phrase, and an outro loop phrase, then shift between phrases to create a 3 phrase song. With the older RC-20XL Loop Station, you could switch seamlessly between phrases while playing over the top. Unfortunately, when switching between phases with the RC-30, there is a known 1/4 second lag, which is awkward for live performances and when recording. (UPDATE: This issue was fixed by a firmware update)

Boss RC-30 Loop StationA second quirk with the RC-30 is that if you are looping two phrases and make a mistake or want to start over, you can’t undo only one phrase. Undo will stop both phrases and you have to re-record your layer of loops.

Conclusion

Despite a few flaws that may effect certain musicians, Boss has come out with a very solid, new mid-size looper that will be appealing to a large audience. The drastic memory improvements mean that you can now play with 3 hours of recording and the onboard effects will be a lot of fun. Overall, the RC-30 Loop Station is a useful tool for enhancing your playing.

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Boss RC-30 Loop Station Video

Boss RC-30 Loop Station Review4.5Peter2015-05-16 02:02:33Boss kicks off 2011 with two new looper pedals, the RC-3 Loop Station and the RC-30 Loop Station. The RC-30 Loop Station is a twin pedal and the larger of the two. It’s a multitrack looper with two synchronized stereo tracks and built-in loop effects. Overall, Boss offers several improvements over its older twin pedal, the Boss RC-20XL, while some musician’s still prefer the older model.

39 thoughts on “Boss RC-30 Loop Station Review

  1. Does this pedal allow you to record a pattern (say in a verse of a song), stop the recording but NOT automatically start the loop, and then let you start the loop later on? Reason would be if in a guitar/vocalist setting, you want to record the chords to a verse, and then play the chorus’ chords behind the singer, and then just loop the verse for your solos.

    Also, I’ve “heard” on the ‘net that there’s some delay when switching back and forth between loops.

    Any responses/input would be appreciated, including whether another pedal might do what I’ve described better.

    Thanks.

    Did you find this review helpful? Yes   No

    Feedback: 1 positive, 2 negative
    • Yes, you can set up the Boss RC-30 to record a loop, then stop the recording without automatically starting the loop. You can then start the loop later on in the song. Regarding your second question, we noted in our review that there is an approximately 1/4 second lag when shifting between phrases in real time. If that is a deal breaker for you, you might consider the older RC-20XL which didn’t have that issue. Hope this helps.

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      Feedback: 11 positive, 1 negative
  2. I have a question:
    The last thing mentioned in the review: I’m not sure, I’m understanding this right – does it mean that you can’t delete the last overdub while continuing playing the thing you recorded first?

    Did you find this review helpful? Yes   No

    Feedback: 1 positive
    • no… you are able to undo the last recorded phrase on both tracks, you also have the option of replaying them (undo and redo)

      what the statement was referring to is the fact that you cannot delete either track one or two without first stopping both tracks… meaning that you cant delete one of your tracks while the other is still playing…..

      MAJOR flaw!!! could it possibly be updated through the firmware??

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      Feedback: 3 positive, 1 negative
  3. Eva,yes, you can recaord a loop, then add a dub over that. If you’re not happy with the dub, press on the left pedal of the RC-30 for 2 seconds and it will undo the previus recorded dub. I’m pretty sure you can also undo the original loop you created also using the same process. You can only undo the previous created loop.

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    Feedback: 11 positive, 3 negative
  4. Clarifying my last sentence, you can only undo the the last created loop or dub. Ex. If you have a loop and you layer 3 dubs over that, you can only undo the last created dub. The original loop and the 2 dubs will not be undoable. I’m pretty sure you can redo the dub that was undone also by holding the left pedal down for 2 seconds.

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    Feedback: 4 positive
  5. what the boss rc30 have a reverse effect like on rc 20xl ??

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    Feedback: 2 positive, 1 negative
  6. The version 1.3 firmware download now has fixed the 1/4 lag previously mentioned.
    Purrrfect.

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    Feedback: 20 positive
  7. It would be perfect, but incredibly they left out the possibility of reversing a loop, which the RC-20 has…

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    Feedback: 1 positive
  8. Does this unit allow you to keep one track going and turn the other on and off? For instance, I loop percussion tracks, then play guitar over it. Using the RC-20XL, I record the guitar as an overdub for soloing, then hold the pedal to undo that last layer to go to the next song section. It works ok, but getting the timing right is tricky.

    Did you find this review helpful? Yes   No

    • Yes, with the RC-30, you can control two independent loops so you can start and stop one loop while keeping the other loop going. You don’t have to do it the way you did previously on the RC-20XL by recording and undoing overdubs on one loop.

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      Feedback: 2 positive, 1 negative
  9. In the small print, Boss notes that this looper cannot use rechargeable NiMH batteries. Is this really true, or does this just affect the phantom power to the mic?

    Did you find this review helpful? Yes   No

    Feedback: 1 positive
    • the problem with NiMH batteries is that they generally only produce 1.2v each as opposed to 1.5v for alkaline batteries… this means that with 6 batteries you are only producing 7.8v of power, when the unit requires a full 9v this can cause very glitchy behavior, and could potentially (though not likely) damage circuitry…

      I prefer to use rechargeable batteries whenever possible, but NiMH cells are simply not reliable enough to use in most pedals for gigs…

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      Feedback: 6 positive
  10. I have a Boss rc 30, i want to know if you can use the AC adapter and the six AA batteries at the same time.without disconnecting any.

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    Feedback: 3 positive, 1 negative
  11. I wanted to know how to connect multiple instruments e.g. piano, acoustic, electric and mic. Do you put everything through a mixer and then through the pedal and then to the speaker?

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  12. Hey, what is with audio quality on this toy? Reviews of the older model complain about decreasing audio quality from layer to layer, how very noticeable is it here?
    Thank you.

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    • It truly depends on how good your speaker or amp is. If you have a higher quality amp or speaker, you wont see too much difference.

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  13. I want to play guitar on stage and play recorded tracks (MP3s) through it AND use a looper on top of the tracks at the same time. Does the RC-30 allow this? If not, can anyone recommend something?

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    Feedback: 1 positive
  14. In a live situation, can you record a verse on track 1 and then stop it to immediately record the chorus on track 2 and then switch between the two tracks at will? I’ve seen a video of Lee Wrathe doing this as a demo for Dawsons but he can’t remember how he did and is adamant that his video was not edited.

    Did you find this review helpful? Yes   No

    Feedback: 1 positive
  15. After I have captured one loop on track 1 and another on track 2, is it possible to stop track 1 and start track 2 in real time…….. I might have one rhythm for a verse and another for a chorus and want to switch between them as the song progresses……..

    Did you find this review helpful? Yes   No

  16. I want to record a guitar loop whilst singing and not record the vocal and then vice-versa.
    Is this possible or will it record both guitar and vocal when I hit record.

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    Feedback: 2 negative
  17. Hi.

    Quick Question.
    I am new to loop station and go the RC-30 for the first time.
    I know this requires lot of time to get the timing straight, but i have hard time understanding how to record correctly to handle intro, chorus, verse and bridge in 2 different tracks.

    My goal is to:

    1.record/over-dab intro in the beginning
    2.play Chorus and/or verse (there are different chords and tabs compare to intro)
    3. play bridge, again different chords/tabs

    shoudl I start recording with left pedal or right pedal first?

    Whats you recommendations?

    thanks in advance

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    • In terms of order, starting with the left one is a good idea but it’s really up to you.

      Did you find this review helpful? Yes   No

  18. In Ariana Grandes ‘house tour’ video on YouTube, she uses a looping station which I believe to be the boss rc 50. In the video, she makes the looping station do harmonies, i was wondering, does this version also have this feature?

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  19. Hi,
    I have one question
    When I stop a loop and I want to start it again, is it possible to start the loop from the beginning?.
    When I’m looping with my GT-10, it is only possible to start it from where I have stopped it.
    Thank you very much!

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  20. My rc-30 is not allowing me to switch to track 2 when I hold the right pedal down for two seconds. I know I can press the light button, but I’d really like to use the pedal. Any thoughts?

    Did you find this review helpful? Yes   No

    • Sounds like there is a stop(short) in the circuit or the pedal isn’t positioned like it should be on the case. Taking it to someone who works on instruments and accessories might be a good idea unless you know how circuits work haha.

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  21. Hi! does anyone of you guys been problems with tap tempo in? I mean, when I tried to input using pedal tapping the beat hasn’t the same accuracy, its slower or faster, but not the same. I check it with metronome and more profesional musicians.

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  22. hi ! i have a question

    this pedal have a tap tempo rigth ?
    so , if i press the button after the end of the beat , the machine count the 4 beats anyway ?
    i asq this because i work with a ditto x2 looper now , and me and my drummer have a lot of troubles with the tempo of loops (ditto have no tempo ) , press in the perfect time is really hard to do in live performance´s , and that make fails :c

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  23. Hi there,

    I have a question also – is there any way to undo a phrase, but not ALL the phrases you have recorded? I.e. I want a “drum-type” tap the whole way through my melody so would record that first, then a part of the melody on guitar say, with a loop over that. Is there a way to undo only that most recent and/or second most recent phrases, so that the “tap” remains throughout?

    Thanks!

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    • Hi Hugh, to answer your question, the undo function only undoes the last phrase recorded. The only way to clear all the phrases is to stop both tracks and press the delete button. Hopefully I answered your question, if you have more just let me know!

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  24. I just purchased the RC30 and I can only create a loop about a minute long before the recording stops and starts playing from the beginning of the loop. My feet are nowhere near the pedals. Any ideas?

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  25. This may be a silly question, but if i record a loop into the pedal and stop it, when i re trigger it will it start from the beginning of the loop instantly or does it work like a pause/play sort of thing. Also will it start instantly when you hit the play button or is it constantly looping in the background and will start when it loops back to the beginning?

    Practically speaking if im looping while im playing with a drummer and the loop goes out of time, can i stop it and restart it on the beat to put it back in time.

    Thanks!

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