The effects specialists of the Japanese studio equipment label Roland have a history of releasing classics, that became irreplaceable for musicians. With the RC-505 Loop Station, they added a promising looper for desktop use in the premium segment. But what is this device, that is designed for manual control, really able to do? Who will benefit from this supposed all-rounder with five separate tracks - and what are its technical features? We tested it for you.
The question about a fitting application area for the Boss RC-505 Loop Station is easy to answer. Whether you're a keyboardist, a singer, a beatboxer, a DJ or an enthusiastic hobby musician who wants to boost your videos and streams with vibrant creativity, this looper, loaded with a variety of live improvisation features, might be the perfect choice for you - whether you want to work with it in your living room, studio or on stage, or use it to produce jazz, synth pop or hip-hop.
The RC-505 Loop Station is a about 40 centimetres wide and 20 centimetres deep and - unlike classic devices such as the RC-300 - not tailor-made for foot operation. However, external foot switches and expression pedals can be connected without any difficulty. Therefore, it is possible for solo instrumentalists to use the Loop Station to work on their solos.
As the musical application area is set, it is now time to explore the technical capabilities of the tabletop looper.
First things first: From the first moment of using it, the RC-505 Loop Station does not put any discouraging obstacles in the way of your own creativity when it comes to operating the device. From our point of view, the range of functions is as enormous, as you would expect from a professional device. However, most of the controls are self-explanatory. Details and initial ambiguities are eliminated by the enclosed, comprehensive manual.
Connections (inputs/outputs) for instruments, microphones and other audio devices:
The undoubted heart of the RC-505 are the five independent stereo loop tracks - the maximum we've known of up to now was three. They're individually operated by a sensitive rubber button and a short volume fader. With the former, the loops can be intuitively controlled, i.e. recorded, played back or mixed. Even though the volume fader only has a 20mm control range, it's perfect to fade out individual loops. In the beginning, we found the many different lights to be annoying. But if you know how to understand the light signals, the signal colours prove to be extremely helpful. The rubber buttons indicate the current status with their colour (green light means playback, etc.) - so you can always keep an eye on the most important information.
In addition to the intuitive handling, each loop track offers its own playback modes and various settings for tempo, effects and synchronization - or in a nutshell, for entire phrase sets. Another important aspect is the large memory space. The overall recording time for all five modules is around 3 hours - at a quality of 16-bit, stereo and 44.1 kHz. Each track has 99 memory slots, the number of overdubs is unlimited (until the memory of 2GB is full).
The five separate tracks of this Loop Station lay the foundation for creative looping . Thanks to the independent input and output effects - controlled left and right in the upper half of the control panel - free improvisation may begin. The technical possibilities offered by the RC-505 are impressive.
Structured into three effect blocks, the Loop Station provides you with a rich spectrum of effect types - for example:
The most important parameters of the effects, such as intensity and cutoff, can also be adjusted in real time. The Input FX and Track FX controls are used for this purpose. Using the large control dial, each part of the effect can be finely adjusted. The catchy rhythm is contributed by the integrated drum computer, which offers 85 "rhythm patterns".
Besides its main function as a looper, the RC-505 also has the ability to take on other roles. For example, it can be used as a USB storage device for your songs, samples or entire phrase sets. In the MIDI/Audio mode, it is even possible to use the Loop Station as a digital MIDI interface. DJs can benefit from the device to complement their own setup.
The RC-505 Loop Station is without a doubt one of the most versatile and powerful looping instruments available today. Whether it's in the recording studio as an effective musical lucky bag, as an additional instrument for DJs or even as an universal live performance looper for beatboxers & co, this device can be used in multiple ways. In spite of the extensive range of features, our experience of the basic handling was smooth and simple - only in the details things can sometimes get a bit more complicated. But the enclosed manual is always at your disposal. The plastic case gives the impression of high quality and is partly responsible for the relatively low weight of the desktop Loop Station of only 1.4 kg. Considering the wide range of features, we believe that the price is fully justified.
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Author: Loopstation Team
Publish date: 24.11.2020
Last updated: 19.06.2021
4.87 of 5