It's impossible to talk about the best looping pedals without Boss – and it doesn't just have one contender but a whole host now, and its Loop Station family just got even bigger with the announcement of the RC-600 and RC-505mk II. And these offer seriously in-depth features.
While this year's superb RC-1 Loop Station offers an entry level single button looper that will suite many players' needs, the RC-600 and RC-505mk II are flagship models for the serious loopers out there.
The five-track RC-505mkII is the follow-up to the company's acclaimed 2013 tabletop looper. The RC-600 is the do-it-all floor unit, offering six stereo tracks, advanced foot control, and deep dives for players who need to customise their looping experience in detail.
Both feature 32-bit sound, an impressive array of onboard effects, built-in rhythms, a range of connectivity options, external control support, and USB output for computer.
RC-505mkII Loop Station
The original RC-505 wasn't primarily aimed at guitarists like some of its other Loop Stations, instead its tabletop design had vocalists, beatboxers, vocalists and other instrumentalists in mind. The Mk II now takes it to new levels.
Each of the RC-505mkII’s five stereo tracks now feature customisable FX and Track buttons, for on-the-fly tweaking and control over individual loops. "Users can set up various parameters and trigger them with a press, hold, or double-click," says Boss. "Pressing the Undo/Redo button reveals a secondary layer to double the control options. Two external control jacks are also available for connecting footswitches or expression pedals, and each has its own dedicated set of parameters. And with the Assign function, users can set up 16 additional targets for hardware control and MIDI operation."
The RC-505mkII's wealth of effects can process your sounds during playback and recording as needed. There's 49 Input FX and 53 Track FX types to choose from—including new vocal harmony effects—and you can even use up to four in each section at once. "Groups of four Input FX and Track FX can be stored in four banks for quick recall," Boss explains, "and a step sequence function is available in some FX to create dynamic real-time movement."
The RC-505mkII’s improved connectivity now allow it to "do more with less external gear". There's two XLR mic inputs and two mono/stereo line input pairs, plus input mixer with two mic compressors and independent channel EQs.
Three stereo output pairs, a headphones output, and an output mixer are also available for musicians, complete with assignable routing options and master reverb and compressor effects. There's more' the RC-505mkII’s panel faders have "longer throw for more precise adjustments and rigid construction for a more solid feel."
RC-600 Loop Station
The floor-based RC-600 Loop Station is the king of Boss's floor-based Loop Stations and offers huuuuuuge potential for guitarists, singer-songwriters, multi-instrumentalists, and anyone else who wants a wealth of looping power at their feet.
Users can capture multiple mics and instruments with the RC-600's six stereo phrase tracks and control them with nine assignable footswitches and three different pedal modes, with further scope for external control support.
The RC-600 display offers a large, circular loop indicator and seven LCD screen variations. There's a whopping 49 Input FX and 53 Track FX types. "Users can process sounds before and after loop capture to bring colour, variation, and excitement to performances," says BOSS.
This could well be a one-stop effects unit for some musicians with these Boss guitar effects, a guitar-to-bass sim and vocal FX all onboard. There's also "DJ-style" effects like Beat Scatter and Vinyl Flick. Up to four Input FX and Track FX can be used at once on the RC-600, and banks of four can be stored in each section to call up as needed.
Need beats? You're in luck! The RC-600 can be your drummer with over 200 built-in rhythms in styles ranging from pop, rock, latin, jazz, acoustic and electronica. Each rhythm type includes four pattern variations with intros and endings, and automatic fills for transitions between.
"It’s also possible to import SMF rhythms using the BOSS RC Rhythm Converter software," says Boss. "And with 16 different kits, users can instantly transform grooves with sounds from heavy rock to light percussion and everything in-between.
The RC-600 has the same connectivity and mixing features as the RC-505 mkII to use for recording and practice, as well as onstage or the street.
The BOSS RC-505mkII Loop Station will be available in January 2022 for $599.99 and BOSS RC-600 Loop Station will be available in December 2021 for $599.99. More info at Boss.