So even this close to Summer NAMM - Boss still somehow feels it needs to unveil its further innovations in advance of that key product launch event. And following on from the superb recent debut of the 200 series - we see another 200-style enclosure - albeit for some reason numerically not associate with said series. The RC-10R is the looper I’ve been waiting for. You may recall in my ’Early Summer Pedal-Chain’ overview I mentioned that I was not particularly enamoured with or inspired by the incumbent TC Electronic Ditto X2 in the final slot of my chain - #40. It’s as if the Boss product developers were listening in on my requirements and have created this perfect fit for me - it’s combination of dual footswitches with drum machine and smart visual cues really is perfect for my requirements and in exactly the right form factor for my needs!
While the SY-1 Synthesizer is the ultimate all-rounder synth in compact enclosure format - a significant miniaturisation of the mothership that is the SY-300 Guitar Synthesizer. You get 11 modes - Lead 1&2, Pad, Bass, Strings, Organ, Bell, SFX 1&2 and Sequencer 1&2- in addition there are 11 variations or sub-modes for each of the 11 options - 121 varieties in total therefore - and pretty much most of the desirable ones from the much larger SY-300! The other half of the pedal is cleverly served by twin dual-concentric knobs which cover Effect, Direct Signal, Tone/Rate and Depth. The pedal has an integral parallel send/return loop for easy integration with other pedals on your board - you can in fact combine 2 SY-1’s together to really clever effect as demonstrated by Nick Reinhart below.
I will most definitely be acquiring the RC-10R very soon, while the SY-1 moves to the top of my Guitar Synth Pedals wishlist!
The RC-10R pricing is somewhat higher than the forthcoming 200 series pedals - which are each priced at £219. Regardless of that - I'm still very much going to be getting one of these for my end-of-chain stereo looper. I've long been considering various drum machine pedals - the Singular Sound BeatBuddy and DigiTech SDrum for instance, and I've stopped being inspired by the incumbent TC Electronics Ditto X2 - which is great as a basic stereo looper, but really does not have the bells and whistles I would want in that form factor. This new Boss combines the drum machine I really wanted with dual footswitches and 3 different display areas - one which provides visual cues for the loop, and a similar one for the Drum loop - as well as a main menu screen where you select the various global parameters, 16 Drum Kits and 280 rhythms across 99 user-definable presets.
DigiTech will need to pull their finger out to create a Stereo Trio+ Band Creator + Looper - which adds a bassline into the mix. As the Boss is right now - you can of course loop in your own bassline groove, and then record phrases and melodies over the top of that with unlimited overdubs. The RC-10R provides superb visual cues throughout which is why I feel it's probably the most suitable looper for me - it alls knocks of two birds with one stone as I get the Drum Machine and Looper in one - all-round a win-win for me really, look forward to incorporating this within my regular playing and jam sessions.
As stated in the intro - this is a major miniaturisation of the mothership original SY-300 Guitar Synth. You obviously don't have as much parameter control or secondary effects - but Boss has done a sterling job in extracting most of the more interesting textures from the larger pedal. The fundamental workings of each pedal are notable different - and there are still a number of SY-300 fans who would have preferred to see that pedal updated and made more user friendly. While I feel the greater community of pedal fans will be more excited by this new more compact pedal offering. The fact that it provides 121 different sounds via 11 modes and 11 sub-variations of each is simply incredible really. And you have four more dials - via dual concentric pots to make further tweaks to your tone-shaping. I was kind of looking out for an interesting compact form factor synth - and had sort of settled on the Subdecay Octave Theory - which I still like and will still be getting at some stage - but the SY-1 certainly goes above that on the wishlist. It is not on my immediate priority list, but I expect that it will appear in the pedal-chain at some stage in slot #2 or thereabouts.
As soon as I saw the RC-10R I pretty much knew that was for me - for the number #40 slot in my pedal-chain. And having just re-watched Stefan Fast's exceptional SY-1 demo I must alas report that I now consider that pedal an essential too. The number of different modes and how amazing they sound and track is just a phenomenal engineering for such a compact pedal. On balance here I feel that perhaps the SY-1 will be the runaway success of this pairing - while I except both of these to do really well.
I have always harboured a soft spot for Boss, and I'm always impressed how smartly they manage to innovate within that same 1977 form-factor which has certain layout challenges, and could probably still benefit from a second footswitch. But on this demo performance there is not a single thing I can really fault here - that pedal is just phenomenal - I will need to revisit and update my Guitar Synth priority order - as I have it now - this the current King of the Synths!
Availability is sill slightly unclear - looks like late August to September though based on current indications. Both these are amazing tools and I feel both will take up fairly permanent residencies in my pedal-chain!