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re: RC-20

Date: Sat, 02 Jun 2001 20:54:17 
From: tim@timhelmen.com 
To: loopers-delight@loopers-delight.com 
Subject: RC-20 

>>My primary use of a looper would be to create
grooves and backgrounds to solo over. There would be
more to it than that, I know, but that's the main use.

There seems to be one main drawback as far as I can
tell. With the LD4, when you are recording a loop and
want to set the end point, depending on the switch you
use you can have the loop start again either in play
mode or overdub mode, a nice flexibility.<<

Hi Tim, the RC-20 will enable you to be precise with
loop timing but you are right, you have to for the
most part loop by ear, it also doesn't have a delete
mode for overdubs so you have to be really careful in
what you play for  through composed music.

The LD4 does a better job but as you already know has
brief loop times. For live use you have to look at
more expensive solutions. I prefer the Boomerang
because although you have to learn to get your loops
together you can have two different loops, what's more
you have slower speeds, down to one octave which, if
you record at will play guitar and bass with good
fidelity while giving you close to 4 minutes of loop
As for the RC-20 you can pre-program your songs and
break down compositions to the 10 different memory
structures, but that's not nearly enough for a full
set if that's what you intend to do. Also, there is a
lot of foot dancing going on with the RC-20. 

Personally, I like it as a tabletop unit although live
I may just use it as a floor system. In my project
studio it's usually on the desktop.

>> But with the RC-20 it seems there is not that same
flexibilty. You set the end point of the loop and have
it restart by hitting the left switch. 
This leaves you with the loop playing, like play mode
on the LD4. To get into overdub mode you have to hit
the same switch again. I imagine with practice one
could get this sequence down pretty well, but you'd
never be able to get to a mode where you're
overdubbing right from the re-start of the 
loop. <<

This is correct, but it is very easy to overdub as you
are working, example; I make a loop, I press the left
footswitch and the RC-20 plays back my previous music.
I can tap the pedal as the loop is playing and overdub
as I see fit. 

Again, you need to move up in price to get the
features you are discussing. The Echoplex line has
some nice features but are difficult to find and not
always the most realtime friendly. I like the
Boomerang but don't want to make this a commercial for
the product. Even if you chose that device you'd still
be unable to loop without immediately replaying.

IMO any inexpensive looper will require some
adptation, especially learning how to loop realtime
and seamlessly. It can be done, it just takes a bit of

>> This seems like it would be a real pain. I'd love
to know there is a way around this. <<

Not really. You could use the memory locations and
switch between them, that's about it. 

>> The other thing is the lack of the function the
expression pedal adds to the LD4 of controlling the
loop level. <<

Yes, this is a serious oversight although you can
control the pedal's loop level if you use it as a
desktop unit, there are controls for inputs on the mic
and instrument inputs and for the loop level, you just
can't get to them with the pedal on the floor.

>> The question is whether the much longer loop time
compensates for this. I'm thinking it might end up
doing do for me. But if someone could tell me 
I'm missing something about how to go right into
overdub mode, that would be great... <<

You only have a minimal lag if you are not tying the
RC-20 to auto quantize. Played without timing features
you press the left pedal and you start looping, press
agan and end the loop, you have to get it right but
that probably won't be as hard as you may think. All
you have to do to overdub is press the left pedal as
you like to hit overdub mode.

You don't have the luxury of access to existing
controls beyond an optional footpedal for reverse and
clicking forward through the saved loops.

The LM4 isn't any easier to use IMO, again, the next
step up for on the fly use is the Rang and is more
expensive but has a control for loop level on the
footpedal, lets you program it for 2 different loops
and whether it's hi or lo fidelity. But you will pay
another $200 for these features. 

The LM4 is nice as a taste of looping but if you have
any kind of effects unit such as a GT series from Boss
or Korg's AX1000G you can get many of the same effects
found in the LM4 as well some good amp and cabinet
simulations for about $250 - 300 USD.

One thing to consider, the RC-20 can get noisy in it's
output. It's not noticible when in a mix but as your
sole pedal and if you're using it for song structures
you will need a gate to keep it quiet.

Hope this helps,

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