Boss RC-50 quirks and technical issues

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by jbro, Jul 22, 2006.

  1. jbro

    jbro Member

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    I've been using the RC-50 for a while now, and I feel like I've really reached its limitations due to a few bugs/quirks/issues/whatever. I typed this up to address them and I'm going to be posting it around, so apologies if you see this same thing on another forum.

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    Here's a list of the major quirks/issues I have found with the Boss RC-50. I hope by posting this in as many places as I can that it may eventually be read by, or forwarded to, the Boss developers so they can consider addressing some of these issues in a future software update. If you have anything to add to this list, please let me know!


    1) There is a slight delay when going from recording to playback on a phrase. The audio skips for a fraction of a second when you hit the footswitch. Once it jumps back in, it is still in time, but the glitch is annoying and a little embarassing in live performance. I understand that this may be a physical limitation of the processor or memory speed.

    2) There is a wonderful option to go directly from record to overdub mode when you press the record footswitch (instead of record > playback > overdub). This pretty much made my day when I read about it in the manual. However, after investigating it, it turns out the transition from record to overdub is not seemless!?! 1-2 full seconds of the recording is truncated from the tail end of the phrase. Now, to me, the only reason to have this feature in the first place is for making seemless pad/drone type sounds. It works like this: press record, use the guitar volume knob to swell in a chord, and while the chord is still sustaining, hit record again. You are now overdubbing, creating a long, seemless droning sound. This works great on the Line 6 DL-4, for example. On the Boss, you end up with 1-2 seconds of "blank" space at the end of your phrase! This makes doing this impossible, and IMO completely defeats the purpose of this feature! And once again, I realize that this may be due to a limitation of the processor or memory speed, but it seems silly to even have a feature like this when it is not implemented properly.

    3) When not in Loop Sync mode, you can't quantize (time align) the 3 phrases unless you record with the rhythm guide turned on! This is HUGE! For example, you're jamming with a real, live, flesh and bone drummer. You lay down a bass track to Phrase A in time with the drums, and loop it back. Now, you want to add a rhythm guitar part in Phrase B. Well guess what.. there's no way to quantize it with the bass part you just recorded, and they will be out of synch after a few plays! "No problem," you say, "that's what the Loop Sync mode is for!"... Well here's the issue with that. If you record a 4 bar bass part into Loop A, and want to record an 8 bar rhythm part into Loop B - there's no way to do it! The other phrases can't be any longer than the first recorded phrase when in Loop Sync mode! Why there's not some type of "overdub multiply" option in the Loop Sync mode is beyond the wildest stretch of my imagination. How could the developers possibly overlook this? This makes it completely impossible to use multiple loops of different lengths with a live drummer (or any other live musicians, for that matter)! Is this pedal intended only for solo acts? This one can certainly be address in a software update; and the pedal is, to me, severely crippled without a "fix" for this problem.

    4) No variable feedback. This to me is another "no brainer" and should certainly be implemented on any looper. The phrases should be able to "evolve" by having an adjustable feedback rate (like most other loopers out there). 100% would function like it does now, as an infinite repeate looper, and lower values would gradually fade out the repeats like a long delay. Ideally we should be able to set the feedback rate per phrase in each patch.


    That's it for now. Although there are only 4 real issues I've run into, they are all pretty big ones that make using it in a live scenario difficult to impossible for me. Not everyone will run into these problems because not everyone is attempting to use the pedal like I am, but I surely can't be the only one who has hit a brick wall with these issues. I still find a use for the RC-50 as a background ambient sound source and a foot controlled sampler, but I can't do what I originally bought it to do: create loops on the fly, with other live musicians. That said, I feel it has great potential and just needs to be "unlocked" by fixing these few issues. If you know of any way to contact the people responsible for developing this pedal, please either let me know or forward this to them. Addressing these issues will help the many players who already own an RC-50 as well as many prospective buyers!


    Thanks for reading,
    Jesse Brown
    www.jbro.us
     
  2. WorkingClassDan

    WorkingClassDan Member

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    Nice one. All deal killers for me.
     
  3. drolling

    drolling Member

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    Yep - These are serious flaws.. not 'user error', nor the result of an over/underactive imagination.

    If what I recently read over at the Loopers-Delight mailing list is true, all of these issues (and some others!) are to be addressed in a software upgrade to be made available this fall.

    At that time, I'll be picking up a factory fresh RC-50 for sure!

    Finally got a Headrush looper the other week - Akai'd worked the bugs out of the E2 years ago.. but those E1 horror stories held me back waay tooo long.

    Properly configured, the RC-50 should *theoretically* mop up the floor w/all recent contenders to the looping/phrase sampling fold.

    Or not..

    ..I'll post a brutally frank overview when I get my hands on of these puppies.. In the meantime, I'll continue to struggle w/my Electrix Repeater Mark I, w/its 1.1 OS as I pray for the release of the much anticipated Mark II, and all concommitant vapourware... .. . .... .
     
  4. tayste_2000

    tayste_2000 Member

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    Yeah those are pretty important so I won't be considering one any more.

    Does any one know anything about the new boomerang
     
  5. drolling

    drolling Member

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    Jesse, I just remembered that some of the users over at Loopers-Delight.com have figured out a way to get the loop feedback to indivially fade out and/or in as required - independently, and on all three loops. Someone posted a short piece using electronic keyboards, and it does work. It involves Y cords and muting the aux. bus out, or some such nonsense I don't have one so it it was all gibberish to me - but the point is, it can be done. If you haven't already, join their mailing list for the correct info.

    But the latency & 'hiccuping' issues arre inexcusable - So there's more than the usual barrage of bashing & trashing that's always going on over there.. They can be pretty entertaining, in their own funny way; "Egads, Edgar, yet another flawed algorhythm..".. "Yes, and that dreadful audible button click completely throws off my circular-breathing throat singers.."

    You're gonna love it over there. I know I do!!
     
  6. jbro

    jbro Member

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    I haven't been keeping up with the LD mailing list lately - is the thread that mentions this in the archive?

    If these issues are really addressed soon, the RC-50 would be the premiere looper out there, IMO. I looked into the Looperlative before picking up the RC-50, but the feature set didn't justify the (slightly outrageous) price for me. Seems like the Boss would be damn near perfect.. if it only worked properly.
     
  7. nashvillesteve

    nashvillesteve Member

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    My list of things to get includes an Electro-Harmonix 2880 stereo 4 track looper + foot controller pedal... Not being able to afford it at the moment is OK because I am curious to see the Boomerang 2's specs when it is released, as it is supposed to be true stereo, less expensive and smaller than the original Boomerang, with more loops. It will most likely be less expensive than the 2880 as well, so if it can covers the same bases, that will be excellent.

    One cool feature about the 2880 is the MIDI clock control and slave feature, so being a more functional unit than the RC-50, I could still use it slaved to the 2880 for creating additional loops with a keyboard, glockenspiel and acoustic guitar since whatever stereo looper I eventually choose will be running to my stereo guitar amps and not the PA... but that's getting pretty ridiculous.

    I have an RC-20 that is in line before the outputs to the stereo looper I will eventually have, so I can do some looping with that now, but it will be nice with both because I can record loops with live playing + RC-20 loops (forwards or backwards), there will be a lot to get used to at that point... I wish I had the "undo" feature at least, but as it won't be my primary looper in the future, I'm not going to sweat it for now...
     
  8. drolling

    drolling Member

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    Steve, I saw a demo of that 2880 - very cool & great sounding, too, But a couple things bugged me right off the bat - It's got that 1 bar 'count-in' before it starts recording.. That's something everybody hated about the 16 sec RI, and EH finally offered a complicated hardware/sotware fix.

    Don't understand why they've carried over a clunker like this into their new looper.. Maybe it's defeatable? Certainy hope so.

    Another thing that disappointed was fact that when speeding up or slowing down the loop, the pitch changes as well - the whole idea of digital time stretching and/or compressing is to adjust the tempo without changing the key.

    I had been real excited about this new looper, but I was left scratching my head after watching it in action..

    I'll see if I can find & post the link to the review..
     
  9. nashvillesteve

    nashvillesteve Member

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    Huh, both of those sound weird, although I'm not sure speeding up/slowing down will be a problem for live use, though a pain for adjusting time on loops saved to laptop with USB connection....

    Maybe the count in is defeatable or will be fixed like on the 16 Second Delay RI? I'm not so sure I'd even use the count, can't you make a loop as long as it takes and then it plays back? It's the additional loops that count as far as syncing to time more than the first one, right? It would be a pain to use the count in if the beginning of a piece had an intro from a drummer or especially guitar before the recording started...

    I'm still anxious to see the Boomerang 2...
     
  10. Robertito

    Robertito Member

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    The RC-50 sounds intriguing to me, but I probably don't play more than one or two gigs a year where I have room onstage to fit that monster unit.
     
  11. nashvillesteve

    nashvillesteve Member

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    Boomerang 2 is supposed to have more loops and smaller size (and $) than the original Boomerang.
     

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