Roland has finally released the direct descendant of RC50, a historic loopstation which needed an upgrade. As usual, Iím talking about an absolutely personal experience with a product as a user, and not the manual descriptions or the producersí smokescreen.
Letís start by saying that the RC300 doesnít overtake the market, itís not so innovative considering the very sought-after panorama of loopers, loops and loopstations, but still it shows some interesting characteristics which can give the musician a higher gear.
- Three stereo tracks which allow up to 3 hours of digital recording
- dedicated volume faders
- 16 professional digital effects (thatís something completely new!)
- 1 pedal for effects control in real time
- main and sub audio outputs
- headphone output
- Midi in-out and thru
- Stereo/mono inputs (2 L-R mono inputs)
- XLR Microphone input with phantom power
- 4 inputs for external pedals (2 stereo inputs)
- Tens of drum loops
- Aux line in
- USB connection to export files at 44khz and 16bit
- USB connection to use the loopstation as a two channel sound-card (thatís interesting!!!)
The first approach, considerations about the first use.
It’s very easy to use, intuitive, easier than any other loopstation I ever tried. The pedals are all in full view. Each featuring its stop, its undo, its volume, in a word, itís all there, nothing is hidden!
Itís precise, I didnít hear any gap in recording as it happened with the RC50. The effects are easy to enable but uncomfortable to switch. The synchronization works good, in real time. There is a convenient master start-stop footswitch for anything, in full view too. Also the smallest controls can be enabled by feet, which is something good for those who, like me, like to play with bare feet.
Now and then it crashes, there are bugs which indeed will be corrected, anyway itís all about knowing where it happens because, if it crashes, it really jams, and it can be a real problem when performing live (!). It only happened once to me but, as far as I know by reading forums, there is a lot of complaining about that aspect.
I wasnít able to reproduce the error nor drawing up any statistics, but I understood that chances in crushing reduce dramatically when using the general stop to close everything instead of disabling each channel individually. The first main question: will it fit in my bag? 53,6 cm ÖThe RC50 was 47,2 cm and weighted one kg less ( it actually did fit!). Switching from a patch to another shows about a second in latency.
The pedalboard has 16 digital effects. I think Roland could have dared a bit more. The effects go from distortion (week) to transpose (I immediately thought it could have been useful for some variations, but would I ever use it?), delay (I like this one), some sort of vocoder (#*?!), phaser, modulator, flanger and some other filters which are just a little bit more creative.
I personally do not make too much use of them when performing live for they are uncomfortable to switch. Things get better if you use an external pedal. The thing is that each effect has a variation (for example: the distortion has many types of drives) and they are not so easy to access, especially when driven by an idea ìon the flyî, but itís better than nothing, at least when I need an effect, I donít have to turn on a computer or other pedalboards (depending on the effect indeedÖ).
The reverb is a parameter of the patch, so itís like an additional effect and it can be selected from the menu within a 0-100 value.
All the effects, except for the reverb, can be programmed as master, for every track in real time or as input, therefore recorded on the tracks. This is a very useful feature if we want to use several effects on a song.
RC300 vs RC50 (even for those who donít know what the RC50 is)
Being a RC50 user, by now almost converted to the RC300, I feel I can make a functional analysis about it. I bought the RC300 because I needed a product which would feature effects as well so to avoid carrying additional pedalboards around. It was a 50% success for the effects leave a bit to be desired, both for quality, creativity and ease of use reasons. So I didnít work it out for any live occasion.
+ Itís more intuitive with less hidden functions. The manual have been dramatically shortened.
- Itís 5 cm longer and larger, 1 cm taller, 1 kg heavier (536 mm, 231 mm, 76 mm 3,9kg).
+ The memory is amazingly higher, but, to be honest with you, the one on the RC50 was good enough.
- The FADE IN for the tracks has been removed, why?!
+ Interesting use as a USB soundcard. The drivers must be downloaded from the website.
+ The Undo controls are separate per channel and not depending on the latest recording as in the RC50.
+ Midi Thru is there.
+ At least the Midi sync does work and it is possible to use the pedalboard as slave!
= Reverse button have been removed, we must run the menu (tragic one for those who used it, but who did it anyway?!)
- The D/A conversion has gone from 24 to 16 bit
+ The pedal ñ for those who use pedals ñ can be an additional positive thing.
= The tap tempo has been shortened but it is possible to work it with the first stop pedal.
+ The power supply is very small, just like the one for cell phones.
For those who already have a RC50 ñ and know how to work it ñ is it worth changing it?
1) I need 3 hours of recording session (of course not liveÖ)
2) I need effects and I can be satisfied with standard ones (which is my case)
3) Theyíve been offering me a lot for the RC50 and I can change it spending a little money, so I can keep up!
For everything else, itís pretty much the same old story that will not change anyoneís life, especially the good old RC50 user whom already customized routine stuff.
Easy to use.
Effects and pedal on board.
Precise and ñ if some little bugs get removed ñ reliable as well.
Itís pretty big but, if we want to look at the bright side, letís say that there is plenty of room. The effects are few, hard to program during a live performance and pretty much standard ones.
Why did Roland remove the fade in function for the tracks? Its price is not for everyoneís pockets at all.
What it is not
Itís not a RC30 equipped with an additional pedal, letís get this clear!
Not yet the ideal product, but the best loopstation around to this date.
price: about 470,00 Euros
Italian to English translation: Umberto del Giudice ( email@example.com )