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Boss RC-3 Loop Station 

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The BOSS RC-3 Loop Station adds a powerful new single-pedal looper to the company's industry-leading lineup of pedal-based loop recorders, featuring ...Click To Read More About This Product

Available 05-09-2017

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OVERVIEW

Three hours of recording, stereo I/O, and much more!

The BOSS RC-3 Loop Station adds a powerful new single-pedal looper to the company's industry-leading lineup of pedal-based loop recorders, featuring high-powered digital signal processing, stereo operation, and cutting-edge features. Powered by the ESC2 DSP chip, the RC-3 Loop Station offers musicians powerful, great-sounding recording and manipulation of loops live and in the studio.

Housed in BOSS' popular single-pedal chassis, the RC-3's new features include true stereo ins/outs and up to three hours of onboard stereo recording and loop storage. 99 onboard memory slots are available for storing your creations. The RC-30 also boasts a USB 2.0 port for swapping and managing WAV loops with your computer. An aux in jack for portable devices and a key selection of onboard rhythms including real audio drum loops come standard. Connect an optional BOSS FS-5U Foot Switch for additional foot control if desired!

FEATURES
  • Three hours of onboard recording time
  • High-powered DSP from BOSS' ESC2 chip
  • True stereo I/O
  • 99 memory slots
  • USB 2.0 port for swapping/managing files with your computer
  • Aux in jack
Reviews
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Review Snapshot

by PowerReviews
BossRC-3 Loop Station
 
3.8

(based on 48 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (21)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (13)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (5)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (3)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (6)

83%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Compact (23)
  • Excellent sound quality (22)
  • Responsive (12)
  • Versatile (12)
  • Good selection of effects (7)

Cons

  • Difficult to use (5)
  • Limited selection of effects (3)

Best Uses

  • Home studio (16)
  • Amateur recording (14)
  • Performances (12)
  • Outdoor events / games (4)
  • Practice (3)
    • Reviewer Profile:
    • Experienced (25), Professional musician (5)

Most Liked Positive Review

 

Does the job as good as my JamMan Solo

For my type of live looping and layering, song creation and rehearsal, the Boss RC-3 is equal to the JamMan Solo. Now that I have both, I have been able to...Read complete review

For my type of live looping and layering, song creation and rehearsal, the Boss RC-3 is equal to the JamMan Solo. Now that I have both, I have been able to test them side by side. I like the RC-3 for the battery option and stereo i/o, I like the JamMan solo for the memory card option and the 3-button (stop, program up, program down) footswitch option. Either looper works well for me and now that I have both, I can actually use them chained together or one thru the guitar pedal board and the other through the mixer fx buses.
I've been using my trusty DigiTech JamMan Solo for a solid year now and love it... I needed a second looper for more complex songs (too bad the RC-30 does not allow the individual loops to be different lengths) The reason I got the RC-3 instead of a second JamMan Solo is because the RC-3 will also run on a 9-volt battery. I have a Roland Cube Street (also battery powered) and wanted to use a looper in place where there is no electricity, such as busking, house parties, performances in small shops, campgrounds, etc. The RC-3 has everything that the JamMan Solo has except that the JamMan accepts a memory card (a feature I use a lot for writing and exchanging songs) I picked up a external footswitch to enable one-click stops and the external a/c adaptor for uses when there is electricity. Just as with the JamMan Solo, the RC-3 adds no noise or signal degradation and it works stand-alone or thru the effects send/return of my board. I also like the stereo inputs/outputs. Operation is solid and although it takes time to master the footwork when using a looper, understanding how the RC-3 functions takes minutes... I have read that there is a 'delay' on the RC-3 when switching between two pre-loaded loops but since I don't use it this way, it is not an issue for me.
I am writing this review after using the pedal in only a few rehearsals and one live performance, but the metal chassis and solid controls make me think the quality is top-end, as with all the Roland/Boss gear I have. I am still using Boss pedals that I purchased in the 80's and they do not fail. I still purchased the extended warranty for peace of mind...just in case there's a surprise down the road...
For the purposes that I use this device, it is a good value. Of course I wish these things were less costly however, it is like having a song writing tool, timing and rehearsal 'clone-of-yourself-metronome' AND a backup guitarist all in one little box.

VS

Most Liked Negative Review

 

Almost great. Too many small flaws.

3-1/2 out of 5 stars, really, although I regret buying this on impulse without doing more research. It's almost a great product, but considering its relatively high price it's disappointing that...Read complete review

3-1/2 out of 5 stars, really, although I regret buying this on impulse without doing more research. It's almost a great product, but considering its relatively high price it's disappointing that Boss cut corners and didn't get some of the details right.

The good stuff about the RC-3 is obvious and easy to find online--it loops, has lots of memory and I/O, is easy to use, and is excellent for practicing and song writing--so I'm focusing on the less obvious bad stuff:

- Various online sources, including, until recently, the Boss and Roland websites, claim you can specify tempo incrementally. Unfortunately this is not true. There is no tempo display and it's tap tempo only, which is a ridiculous pain in the neck. At the very least one should be able to fine tune the tempo in 1 BPM increments with the increase/decrease buttons, even if the tempo isn't also displayed. And no, unlike the Jamman Solo, you can't use the pedal to tap in the tempo--you have to get down on the floor and use the dinky little button.

- The drum beat and tempo reset to their defaults if you change the phrase number, even when the new phrase is blank. That means you can't record several versions of the same thing, or different parts of a song, without re-setting the beat and tempo. BUT, as noted above, you can't set the tempo numerically, so it's impossible to get the same tempo. Great. (Please tell me I'm wrong on this.)

- Built-in time signatures are 3/4 and 4/4 only. No 7/8, 5/4, etc. Boss's marketing department was inspired on how to play this--the web site says, "You can also specify the time signature." Uh, thanks, but the choices, which Boss conveniently neglects to mention, are almost as limited as the color of a Ford Model T. ("Any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants so long as it is black.") I should add that one of the 4/4 beats is a 12/8 shuffle, and that one of the 3/4 beats is a 6/8 shuffle and another is 9/8, but that doesn't excuse Boss's mendacity. It's clear they are trying to hide their product's shortcomings.

- The 10 built-in drum beats are very basic and are not adequate. There's a reason you can't listen to them on the Boss site. There are actually 20 beats, since there are versions for 3/4 and 4/4, but with all the storage space on this thing, surely Boss could have included more. Even the previous model, the RC-2, had 30 (?) beats.

(Yes, you can recording and import your own rhythms to get any time signature and pattern, but recorded rhythms are part of a loop--they can't be re-used without re-importing, the number of measures can't be changed, changing the tempo usually sounds crummy, and the volume can't be adjusted independently of the guitar playback.)

- The 5 year warranty is parts only. Labor is only 90 days. Return shipping is on you, and if you choose not to get the repair after receiving an estimate, then you are charged for the review anyway. I could not locate warranty info on the Boss site, and the documentation that comes with the pedal is a wonder of obfuscation: "... this product will be free from defect in materials and/or workmanship from the date of purchase until the period of time indicated for this product." Uh huh. And what "period of time" would that be and where would it be "indicated"?

- Power supply is not included.

- Buttons are mushy, rubbery stuff like a tv remote. Probably saved on costs, but the durability is questionable.

One other note: I'm using the RC-3 in a guitar amp's effects loop. It works so far, but, unlike the Jamman Solo, this is not a mode that is recommended in the instructions.

Reviewed by 48 customers

Displaying reviews 1-10

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(23 of 26 customers found this review helpful)

 
3.0

Almost great. Too many small flaws.

By Wormwood Scrubs

from Undisclosed

Comments about Boss RC-3 Loop Station:

3-1/2 out of 5 stars, really, although I regret buying this on impulse without doing more research. It's almost a great product, but considering its relatively high price it's disappointing that Boss cut corners and didn't get some of the details right.

The good stuff about the RC-3 is obvious and easy to find online--it loops, has lots of memory and I/O, is easy to use, and is excellent for practicing and song writing--so I'm focusing on the less obvious bad stuff:

- Various online sources, including, until recently, the Boss and Roland websites, claim you can specify tempo incrementally. Unfortunately this is not true. There is no tempo display and it's tap tempo only, which is a ridiculous pain in the neck. At the very least one should be able to fine tune the tempo in 1 BPM increments with the increase/decrease buttons, even if the tempo isn't also displayed. And no, unlike the Jamman Solo, you can't use the pedal to tap in the tempo--you have to get down on the floor and use the dinky little button.

- The drum beat and tempo reset to their defaults if you change the phrase number, even when the new phrase is blank. That means you can't record several versions of the same thing, or different parts of a song, without re-setting the beat and tempo. BUT, as noted above, you can't set the tempo numerically, so it's impossible to get the same tempo. Great. (Please tell me I'm wrong on this.)

- Built-in time signatures are 3/4 and 4/4 only. No 7/8, 5/4, etc. Boss's marketing department was inspired on how to play this--the web site says, "You can also specify the time signature." Uh, thanks, but the choices, which Boss conveniently neglects to mention, are almost as limited as the color of a Ford Model T. ("Any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants so long as it is black.") I should add that one of the 4/4 beats is a 12/8 shuffle, and that one of the 3/4 beats is a 6/8 shuffle and another is 9/8, but that doesn't excuse Boss's mendacity. It's clear they are trying to hide their product's shortcomings.

- The 10 built-in drum beats are very basic and are not adequate. There's a reason you can't listen to them on the Boss site. There are actually 20 beats, since there are versions for 3/4 and 4/4, but with all the storage space on this thing, surely Boss could have included more. Even the previous model, the RC-2, had 30 (?) beats.

(Yes, you can recording and import your own rhythms to get any time signature and pattern, but recorded rhythms are part of a loop--they can't be re-used without re-importing, the number of measures can't be changed, changing the tempo usually sounds crummy, and the volume can't be adjusted independently of the guitar playback.)

- The 5 year warranty is parts only. Labor is only 90 days. Return shipping is on you, and if you choose not to get the repair after receiving an estimate, then you are charged for the review anyway. I could not locate warranty info on the Boss site, and the documentation that comes with the pedal is a wonder of obfuscation: "... this product will be free from defect in materials and/or workmanship from the date of purchase until the period of time indicated for this product." Uh huh. And what "period of time" would that be and where would it be "indicated"?

- Power supply is not included.

- Buttons are mushy, rubbery stuff like a tv remote. Probably saved on costs, but the durability is questionable.

One other note: I'm using the RC-3 in a guitar amp's effects loop. It works so far, but, unlike the Jamman Solo, this is not a mode that is recommended in the instructions.

(14 of 15 customers found this review helpful)

 
3.0

Way too much looper for me

By Funky T

from Ooltewah, TN

About Me Experienced

See all my reviews

Ask me a question

Verified Buyer

Pros

  • Compact Design
  • Excellent Sound Quality
  • Good Selection Of Effects
  • Responsive
  • Versatile

Cons

  • Difficult To Use
  • Not Responsive

Best Uses

  • Performances

Comments about Boss RC-3 Loop Station:

This is a great looper pedal, Boss makes quality pedals, but be forewarned it's a lot of pedal to try and figure out. The drum patterns are good for playing along with, but switching modes and overdubbing got way too complicated for me.There are a lot of options with limited knobs and pedals that made it not so easy to use for me. I swapped it out and got the new Ditto Looper which is much simpler to use. I'm a guitarist and simply want to be able to layer 2-3 layers and jam along with them. The Ditto records it at the tempo you play it at, as long as you play it, and then repeats it back at that tempo, no tapping tempos, etc.

(13 of 13 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Does the job as good as my JamMan Solo

By Rejyna

from One foot in Ohio, the other in California

See all my reviews

Ask me a question

Comments about Boss RC-3 Loop Station:

For my type of live looping and layering, song creation and rehearsal, the Boss RC-3 is equal to the JamMan Solo. Now that I have both, I have been able to test them side by side. I like the RC-3 for the battery option and stereo i/o, I like the JamMan solo for the memory card option and the 3-button (stop, program up, program down) footswitch option. Either looper works well for me and now that I have both, I can actually use them chained together or one thru the guitar pedal board and the other through the mixer fx buses.
I've been using my trusty DigiTech JamMan Solo for a solid year now and love it... I needed a second looper for more complex songs (too bad the RC-30 does not allow the individual loops to be different lengths) The reason I got the RC-3 instead of a second JamMan Solo is because the RC-3 will also run on a 9-volt battery. I have a Roland Cube Street (also battery powered) and wanted to use a looper in place where there is no electricity, such as busking, house parties, performances in small shops, campgrounds, etc. The RC-3 has everything that the JamMan Solo has except that the JamMan accepts a memory card (a feature I use a lot for writing and exchanging songs) I picked up a external footswitch to enable one-click stops and the external a/c adaptor for uses when there is electricity. Just as with the JamMan Solo, the RC-3 adds no noise or signal degradation and it works stand-alone or thru the effects send/return of my board. I also like the stereo inputs/outputs. Operation is solid and although it takes time to master the footwork when using a looper, understanding how the RC-3 functions takes minutes... I have read that there is a 'delay' on the RC-3 when switching between two pre-loaded loops but since I don't use it this way, it is not an issue for me.
I am writing this review after using the pedal in only a few rehearsals and one live performance, but the metal chassis and solid controls make me think the quality is top-end, as with all the Roland/Boss gear I have. I am still using Boss pedals that I purchased in the 80's and they do not fail. I still purchased the extended warranty for peace of mind...just in case there's a surprise down the road...
For the purposes that I use this device, it is a good value. Of course I wish these things were less costly however, it is like having a song writing tool, timing and rehearsal 'clone-of-yourself-metronome' AND a backup guitarist all in one little box.

(11 of 13 customers found this review helpful)

 
1.0

A Toy not a Tool

By FastEddy$$

from Atlantic Canada

About Me Professional Musician

See all my reviews

Pros

  • Compact Design

Cons

  • Difficult To Use
  • Poor Sound Quality

Best Uses

  • Home Studio

Comments about Boss RC-3 Loop Station:

The idea is nice but there's just too much functionality to operate with one footswitch. Good for bedroom practices but very impractical for live performances. The pedal was also noisy at times and did not agree with my compressor in my chain, a compressor I've had for years and has never had issues with anything else in my chain. Record/Stop/layer or loop are done with the one main footswitch but you can't move to a different phrase without getting down on your hands & knees to use a tiny mushy pushbutton. Also when creating a loop, once you stop the loop the pedal begins to playback the loop but the pedal also keeps recording resulting in loud doubled notes on beat one....it takes a double tap to get the recording to stop which is very annoying. I'm glad I only rented this toy for a month, for a bit more dough the jamMan stereo is a far better looper for a serious musician.

(11 of 11 customers found this review helpful)

 
2.0

Loop

By gtrsnbars

from Wheat Ridge, CO

About Me Experienced

Pros

  • Compact Design

Cons

  • Not Responsive

Best Uses

  • Amateur Recording
  • Performances

Comments about Boss RC-3 Loop Station:

This pedal does individual looping well.

But I was really surprised when I tried playing back a loop and then changed to a new one on the fly with an FS-6, it has an annoying hiccup, so you cannot do this accurately and keep time. I checked out the JamMan Solo and it is spot on here. Playing live I really need to be able to set up my loops to go back and forth from Verse to Chorus, so I returned it.

It sounded pretty good but was a bit noisier then I expected, especially with a dimed OCD pedal in front.

(10 of 10 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Great tool for songwriting and soloing

By Dear Orangutan, you work for us...

from Sacramento, CA

About Me Experienced

See all my reviews

Ask me a question

Pros

  • Compact Design
  • Excellent Sound Quality
  • Good Selection Of Effects
  • Responsive
  • Versatile

Cons

    Best Uses

      Comments about Boss RC-3 Loop Station:

      Technology has definitely improved. This records nicely with good sound quality, and is easy to use. There are no deep menus to push through. Programmed drumbeats and what you record have separate volume controls for more adjustment. Option to record when you press pedal, or when you start playing. I used too hate Boss products, but I've found a new love for them lately.

      (9 of 9 customers found this review helpful)

       
      4.0

      Thumbs up

      By Travis

      from Omaha, NE

      About Me Experienced

      Verified Buyer

      Pros

      • Compact Design
      • Excellent Sound Quality

      Cons

      • Battery Consumption
      • Volumes Are Tricky

      Best Uses

      • At-home Practice
      • Improvisation

      Comments about Boss RC-3 Loop Station:

      If you have bad timing, using this pedal is going to take some practice - because for your initial phrase, you have to end it on the beat perfectly. As this was not a problem for me, it was absolutely brutal to watch my friend struggle with even the simplest chords progression loops, because apparently using his feet while playing guitar is near impossible.

      Great for improvising. Make a loop with some chords, and have at it with some scales and solos.

      Stereo output is so sweet. I have an amp on each side of my room.

      The drum tracks are fun and great to use, but there are only ten, so don't think you're going to get all fancy with it, they are just for keeping a beat.

      As I mentioned as a con, the volume levels on the pedal can be brutally unforgiving. If you have a good volume set for the drum track and for the rhythm pattern, matching the volume of your guitar on your amplifier, then you are just fine. But if you go to turn the volume up on your amp, MAKE SURE you turn the volumes on the pedal down. I'm pretty sure I damaged my Fender Frontman 212R with the loud drum beat by accidentally blowing the house up when I hit go on the pedal after turning myself up. Also, it tends to compress the volumes of overdubs to the original phrase you recorded, but it is possible to adjust accordingly.

      Also, this pedal has given me some back pain haha. When using it you are constantly bending down and bending over to press one of the many buttons that are needed to use the looper. I recommend setting it on top of something, or sitting on the floor..

      P.s.
      This thing eats batteries like nothing else. I've had it for two weeks (Christmas) and am already on my third 9v.

      (9 of 11 customers found this review helpful)

       
      2.0

      Impractical for Live/Band setting

      By Singapore Dan

      from Houston, TX

      About Me Professional Musician

      Pros

      • Analog Audio In
      • Compact Design
      • Dual Output
      • Excellent Sound Quality

      Cons

      • Difficult To Use

      Best Uses

      • Practice

      Comments about Boss RC-3 Loop Station:

      Bought this as a compact replacement for DL4 to downsize my pedal board.

      Tons of cool features if you're by yourself. Hard to keep loop going if you need to layer or change settings so it's very hard to use in a live application. Lots of double taps and you have to manually twist knobs.

      Bad design concept. Compact pedals are great for gigging musicians. But the usability and design didn't have the gigging musician in mind.

      (9 of 11 customers found this review helpful)

       
      1.0

      Started out great, but didn't last long

      By eric schindewolf

      from Nor Cal

      Comments about Boss RC-3 Loop Station:

      1
      For a quasi-inexpensive looping device it has a nice set of features: the aux jack, USB port, 3hrs recording time, rhythm function (albeit 7 out of 9 are lame). As a practice tool for working out melodies, leads and improvising over whatever harmony you lay down its great. If your wanting to use this on stage or for recording, you'll be sorely disappointed (quality devices for those things simply cost more money). I give it a 3 rating because the rhythm choices are so lame, and it was rare I could find that was useful and "swang". Most often the basic metronome sound worked best. The device is fairly intuitive to use and understand; but its actual use often proved temperamental with intermittent issues that I can only attribute to poor quality control.
      The stomp-box quickly broke-down and I found myself stepping on the pedal 2, 3, 4 times in row to record takes (which inevitable messed up the track, because youre no longer at the Top when it finally takes).
      By the end, I could step on it all I want and it would intermittently work.
      The device lasted me about 4 months; the first couple month were great (I could deal with the lame rhythm) but then it just turned to frustration.

      (9 of 13 customers found this review helpful)

       
      1.0

      Fatally flawed until they fix it

      By Simon the Ear

      from New York

      See all my reviews

      Comments about Boss RC-3 Loop Station:

      The Boss RC3 Loop Station should, in theory, easily beat out the digitech jamman solo, since it has much better audio quality. However I can't recommend the RC3 given that it has a major flaw, namely that there is a lag when switching between saved loops. In other words, if you get this pedal you can forget about performing with this in a way that requires switching back and forth between phrases. Your timing will be off. I've tried the Digitech Jam Man solo, and it went seamlessly between saved loops. Hopefully Boss will come out with a fix, but they've already had one firmware update that did NOT solve this problem. If they step up and fix it(either firmware upgrade or recall) I'll change this review, but until then I can't recomment them. Go for the Jam Man if you want something you can gig with.
      If they worked correctly, would be fine.

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