What is it?
Wait, we know what you are thinking. Another looper pedal from Boss – what's the big deal? Well, that's true, it is another Boss loop station, and we already have the superlative RC-1 and RC-30 units. But the RC-10R is a little bit different.
Indeed, perhaps it is best not to think of it as a loop station per se and more of a hybrid pedal, a looper-cum-drum machine, and what is really cool is how the two sides of the pedal combine to make an incredible tool for practice or performance.
Boss has incorporated rhythm generators in its loopers before, but this takes it to a new level with some 280 preset rhythms, each with two variations on the theme (Patterns 1 and 2), plus onboard storage for up to 50 user-generated rhythms. Simply create them on your computer, export to SMF (Standard MIDI file) and upload to the RC-10R.
Choose from 16 different drum kits culled from the Roland/Boss library (jazz kit on Tuesdays, 808 at the weekend?) and you can even add reverb if you feel the tone is lacking space.
Performance and verdict
The RC-10R can be run in standard mono or true stereo. You can also use the L and R outputs to route your signal how you like it; so instead of sending everything through your guitar amp you can use the R output to send the rhythm to the PA. It's a smart way of compartmentalising your outputs.
If you are running the RC-10R through your guitar amp, there are some handy EQ/filtering controls so the rhythm section doesn't drum your guitar tone out of the mix. Similarly, if you're sending the rhythm to the PA or another destination, you've got a bit of control over your tone.
The front panel is simple. There is a press-and-turn encoder knob with two buttons for menu and writing functionality to take control of your parameters. There's a nice and bright display screen, and LED rotary displays to go with two independent volume controls for your loops and rhythms.
As with the others in the 200 series, there are two footswitches on the enclosure. Setting rhythms is easy. Select a genre, choose a rhythm pattern, dial in the tempo and hit the footswitch. Hit once and it will play an intro then the pattern, but if you hold down the footswitch you activate the second pattern. Typically, these are a little busier.
• TC Electronic Ditto Jam X2
The Ditto Jam doesn't have onboard rhythm but it does have a beat sync functionality that allows your loops to keep time with the band, and a tap-tempo function.
• Boss RC-50 Loop Station
We'd defy any guitarist of any ability not to be writing groove-based progressions within minutes. A must-try product.
When you move from pattern 1 to pattern 2 and vice versa the RC-10R inserts a fill, but you can add these fills whenever the mood takes you by hitting the footswitch once during playback. The preset patterns are excellent, very musical, and hugely practical. The RC-10R is an invaluable tool for honing your technique, for learning to train yourself to play to the beat.
As for looping, simply choose a free memory slot and then use the footswitch to run through a record/overdub/play cycle or a record/play/overdub cycle. Hold the switch to undo or redo your loops and press twice to stop. It's a cinch. With two independent tracks, you can record two loops and then play them serially, switching between Track 1 and Track 2 by holding down the rhythm footswitch and hitting the loop footswitch. A little tap-dancing required, but very cool.
Using the SYNC modes brings both the looper and rhythm generator closer together. You can initiate loop recording by setting the rhythm, and you can have the looper switch over to Track 2 as the rhythm pattern changes from Pattern 1 to Pattern 2.
It will not take you long to fathom the RC-10R's depths. It's intuitive. It's user-friendly. It lets you focus on the important part in this whole equation: your guitar playing, and to that end it is hard to think of a tool better suited to practice drills or filling out a live performance for a solo guitarist.
MusicRadar verdict: The RC-10R combines ease of use with huge functionality to create a powerful and inspiring tool for guitarists.
- Today's best Boss RC-1 deals
- ORIGIN: Malaysia
- TYPE: Looper pedal
- FEATURES: Buffered bypass, maximum recording time: approx. 6hrs (stereo), 99 phrase memory slots
- DRUM KITS: Studio, Live, Light, Heavy, Rock, Metal, Jazz, Brushes, Cajon, Drum&Bs, R&B, Dance, Techno, Dance Beats, Hiphop, 808+909
- CONTROLS: Value, Loop Level, Rhythm Level, Menu switch, Exit switch, Loop footswitch, Rhythm footswitch
- CONNECTIONS: Standard inputs (A/Mono, B), standard outputs (A/Mono, B), CTL 1, 2/EXP, MIDI In, MIDI Out, USB
- POWER: Supplied 9V DC adaptor 250mA
- DIMENSIONS: 101 (w) x 138 (d) x 65mm (h)
- CONTACT: Boss (opens in new tab)