I recently made a YouTube video as a Boss RC-300 loop station review, to show how the loop station functions in general. Keep checking in for more videos with more in-depth features of this machine. For now, check out this first video:
The RC-300 made by Boss is a foot switch-operated loop station with three loop station “tracks” set to synchronize with one another. This means that you can perform a segment of audio from various musical instruments as a loop onto one track, and from there you can either overdub more loops on top of the same channel, or else create new loops to accompany the first loop but place them on the separate 2nd and 3rd tracks. Of course there are many ways to achieve this, but I will go over some of the most basic approaches here, and in the video above.
Boss released the RC-300 in late 2011 to replace the now-discontinued RC-50, a loop station with similar features but with fewer options and a slightly different layout.
The RC-300 features a solid metal chassis, built for the relentless foot kicks it will undoubtedly have to endure. It contains a built-in memory housing up to three hours of looping space, three tracks per channel for synchronized loops within a given performance, and 99 channels to save and store your loops. While not absolutely limitless, this machine offers enough available space to create phrases, loops, and entire songs, to keep even prolific songwriters active for a long time coming.
Check out my rig rundown, where I have recently replaced this RC-300 with the RC-505!
Geared towards traditional musicians whose hands are kept necessarily busy by performing their respective instruments, the RC-300 is built for the floor, with the “Record/Play” and “Stop” buttons for each channel designed as foot switches. Beyond that, there are many other features that the RC-300 embodies which must be utilized with one’s hands, whether in advance for song set-up, or during live action so that the performer must bend down and tweak knobs and buttons by hand during playback.
Here is a video by SDMP Records of Ian C. Bourdas playing an electric classical guitar through the RC-300, that I think is just beautiful:
Audio inputs include left and right 1/4″ jacks (the left being a mono channel and the left-and-right combined for stereo sound), an XLR mainly used for microphones (with a phantom power On/Off switch), and an 1/8″ headphone-sized jack for auxiliary input from an Mp3 player for example. As for outputs, there are dual (left and right) 1/4″‘s for the main output, and dual 1/4″‘s again for a sub output (another P.A. or mixing board).
There are also two, single 1/4″ connections for EXP 1 and EXP 2 which are external expression pedals you can plug in for alternate functionality. Looking down, on the far-right of the Boss RC-300 there is a built-in expression pedal, a foot-controlled lever that when pressed completely down represents 0% of the function’s presence and when completely up represents 100% – in a gradient fashion. These manipulatable functions include volume, effect mix balance, and rhythm level. Finally there is a USB connection to import or export WAV loop phrases, as well as MIDI Input and Output (and Thru).
Within the RC-300 there exist rhythm patterns of various time signatures, which can be set to a tempo ranging 40 to 250 beats per minute. These patterns can be introduced by its Start/Stop button, and the volume altered by either the gradient knob or else the built-in expression pedal, if configured to do so. Setting and saving the desired rhythm, along with its volume or any added effects, can be done manually in advance or else in playback.
Simply put, the prime function of the Boss RC-300 is to record musical phrases and then repeat them indefinitely, at which point they can be overdubbed, contributed to, or played on top of, at the performer’s desire. There are many other features which I will touch on in future articles so check back for more posts on the RC-300 soon!