Musikmesse 2013: Roland unveils RC-505 'hands-on' looper

Posted Apr 4, 2013 at 10:10am
Read more about Musikmesse 2013: Roland unveils RC-505 'hands-on' looper at

MUSIKMESSE 2013: In one of the more surprising Musikmesse announcements so far, Roland has unveiled the RC-505 - a five track loop station aimed at beatboxers, singers and other performing vocalists.

The RC-505 is designed to be operated by hand, rather than the usual tap-dancing, and features five simultaneous stereo phrase tracks (each with dedicated volume faders and controls), XLR input with phantom power, Stereo line input and outputs, 99 five-track phrase memories and USB and MIDI connectivity.

In addition, there are 21 input FX and 25 DJ/sampler-style track FX onboard. The input FX will allow users to add anything from EQ to vocoder to each vocal input and the track FX allow you to place an effect over all five tracks simultaneously, e.g. a global reverb or compression.

We reckon that in the right hands the RC-505 could prove to be a devastating bit of kit and is looking likely to corner the beatbox market. Check out the full press release below.

PRESS RELEASE: Beatboxers, singers, and club performers, your Loop Station has arrived—introducing the RC-505, a unique and powerful live performance tool that's perfect for next-generation loop artists.

In a compact tabletop device, you have easy fingertip control of five stereo phrase tracks and various loop playback behaviors, plus INPUT FX and TRACK FX that deliver a wide range of real-time processing options for dynamic, expressive sound creation. Just plug in a mic, instrument, or other audio source, and then ride the intuitive panel controls to build and mix some amazing loops!

The RC-505 also supports computer integration via USB and operation with external pedals and MIDI, opening a world of advanced looping possibilities for all types of musicians.

  • Tabletop Loop Station that can be operated with the hands, perfect for beatboxers, vocalists, and club performers
  • Five simultaneous stereo phrase tracks, with dedicated controls and independent volume faders
  • Wide range of Input FX and Track FX for processing loops, including DJ and sampler-style effects
  • Independent play mode and tempo sync settings enable a flexible combination of track behaviors and advanced performance options
  • 99 phrase memories, each containing five phrase tracks, custom effects/playback settings, and more
  • 85 onboard rhythm patterns, including odd-measure beats
  • External control via MIDI and optional footswitches or expression pedal
  • USB for phrase import/export with computers; USB audio/MIDI functionality for integration with DAW software
  • XLR mic input with phantom power, mono/stereo instrument inputs, and stereo AUX input

Five Stereo Tracks with Dedicated Controls

The RC-505 features five stereo phrase tracks that can play simultaneously, the most yet in a BOSS Loop Station. Independent record/overdub/play and stop buttons for each track let you capture and control loop performances with your fingertips, and dedicated volume faders allow you to mix loop levels on the fly. Each track can have its own playback mode (multi, single, one-shot, reverse, etc.) and tempo sync settings, providing an unlimited range of creative looping behaviors.

Powerful FX Onboard

With the large selection of built-in effects, it's easy to enhance your sounds as you perform. INPUT FX such as ROBOT and VOCODER create unique, dramatic sound textures for recording loops, while TRACK FX like VINYL FLICK and BEAT REPEAT provide dynamic DJ and sampler effects for real-time processing of phrase playback. Six dedicated buttons—three each for INPUT FX and TRACK FX—can be loaded with your favorite effects, giving you one-touch on/off access while looping. In addition, effects parameters (filter cutoff, effect depth, etc.) can be tweaked in real time with the INPUT FX and TRACK FX knobs. Global compressor and reverb effects are also available for processing the overall sound output.

Phrase Memories and Rhythms

99 phrase memories provide onboard storage for phrase track data, various playback and effects settings, and more. A combination of frequently used settings can be saved as a User Set, which you can easily load to quickly reconfigure any phrase memory, even in the heat of performing. 85 different onboard rhythms offer backing for loop recording, with a large selection of odd-measure beats for advanced looping. The rhythm part can be routed to the rear-panel PHONES jack only, giving you a dedicated click track for monitoring purposes.

Audio Inputs and USB

The RC-505 is outfitted with a number of simultaneous inputs, allowing you to capture and mix a variety of different audio sources as you build loops. There's an XLR microphone jack with phantom power, mono/stereo ¼-inch inputs for guitars, synths, or other instruments, and an AUX mini-jack for connecting a music player, smart phone, or other stereo device. Via USB, you can plug into your computer and import/export WAV audio phrases, great for loop archiving or loading up RC-505 phrases with backing tracks or sounds for sampler-style triggering. The RC-505 also functions as a USB audio/MIDI interface, making it simple to integrate with your favorite DAW software for audio recording, MIDI sync, and more.

Customized Looping Control

With the RC-505, you have the ability to set up customized real-time controls for the way you like to loop. You can specify up to eight different functions and operate them in a variety of ways—with front-panel controls, an external expression pedal or foot switches, and/or various MIDI Control Change messages—extending your command of looping and many other operations. The eight control assignments are stored with phrase memories, allowing you to create and recall custom setups for different songs and performing situations.

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