Boss RC-300 Loop Station is here!

Boss RC-300
Boss RC-300

Today I just splurged and picked up the new Boss RC-300 for use with my keyboards and guitar. It’s selling fast here in Japan and the store I nearby was holding one for me so I thought I would jump on it while it was available.

I haven’t fired it up yet, but the looks of it is very similar to the Boss RC-50 in size. I really don’t think it’s all that big but I’m speaking from a synth player perspective. I know guitarists fill up floor space more so it’s more of an issue.

I have the Boss RC-50 and use it quite a bit but I just had to get this especially after the review on youtube posted below. There are some features that I really am craving for and I think the RC-300 will due just the trick. I’ll try to post both a comparison between the RC-50 and RC-300 plus post a video perhaps of how I use it with keyboards. Stay tuned!

Here is the Boss RC-300 Loop Station Training Guide in PDF format:
http://cms.rolandus.com/assets/media/pdf/RC-300_Training_Guide.pdf

You can find the Boss RC-300 Loop Station Manual here:
http://www.roland.com/support/article/?q=manuals&p=RC-300

For those interested in comparing the Boss RC-50 and RC-300, you can download the RC-50 manual here:
http://www.roland.com/support/article/?q=manuals&p=RC-50

The Boss RC-300 Loop Station offers a lot of dynamic flexibility. I’m really looking forward to working with it and seeing how it compares to the Boss RC-50. I may even try and midi up my Boss RC-50 with the RC-300 to see if it syncs well. There could be lots of possibilities there.

UPDATE #1: I’m really loving the Boss RC-300. It’s super simple to use and sounds fantastic. Each of the three pedal groups can be individually controlled which I really like. In each group if you press the left pedal for 2 seconds you can undo the last loop or overdub you created. If you press down for 2 seconds again it brings back the loop you erased. The right stop pedal stops the loop for that group, but if you also hold it down for 2 seconds or more it will delete the loops in the group entirely. This is easy for deleting loops. Be careful though! If you accidentally step on the wrong pedal for longer than two seconds you can delete your loop. I did this once already. Otherwise, this separate group functionality is really easy to use.

Note that I use the Boss RC-300 for keyboards and it works really well. I sync the RC-300 with either my Korg EMX-1 or ESX-1 and then I have three loop tracks for additional sounds. It’s amazing what can be done now with all of this looping technology.

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Ensoniq EPS Classic Sampler Workstation

Ensoniq EPS Classic Sampler
Ensoniq EPS Classic Sampler

Wow! I just picked up a used Ensoniq EPS Classic in fantastic condition today for real cheap. The EPS Classic had been sitting in the used shop for a couple of months in the junk bin and still nobody had bought it. A couple of days ago, I asked the clerk if I could plug it in and give it a test spin. He said that the EPS Classic made no sound and that it would only work as a Midi Controller. I didn’t have the time to talk about it with him, but I figured I would come back and try again later to test the ESP. Well, today I had some time to visit the used music store and this time a different sales clerk was working.

This time, the sales clerk allowed me to start up the Ensoniq Classic EPS. He said he had no idea how it worked and thus it was the reason why it was in the junk bin. There were about 65 floppy disks and quickly I was able to find the OS startup disk. I did some homework about this sampler so I kind of had an idea about how to get it going. I powered up the EPS Classic and everything booted just fine. I then found a Moog Disk and loaded up a Moog Instrument in the first bank. I found that the headphone jack was the right plugin jack so the sales clerk allowed me to use the store’s headphones. It took me a minute to figure out how to access the Moog instrument I loaded up, but sure enough I found the sound.

Wow! Did that Moog sound fantastic. Instantly I knew I had to have this EPS Classic Sampler. I can’t explain it, but it’s the sound that just clicked with me. It definitely sounds different than my Roland W-30 or S-330 Sampler. It has that old school sound which really reminds me of the 80’s. Along with the Ensoniq EPS Classic, I got an Ensoniq pedal, case, manual, 65 disks, and the 2x Expander hooked up in the back of the sampler. The keys are all in terrific shape and work very well.

I’ve actually heard a lot of great things about the Ensoniq EPS Classic especially the sound and sequencer. Indeed the sampling time is very small but the loading times and sample swapping are very fast. In fact, I already have plans to use the EPS Classic with my Boss RC-50 and loop sounds as I play them. I can then load up new sounds and record on the fly. My Roland W-30 would be a little slower in doing this, so I’m curious how the EPS will work. I think the EPS should be fun for some creative new ideas.

I don’t know much about software or other editing utilities for the Ensoniq EPS Classic, but I’ll be looking into that this week. I’m hoping to find a way to create disk images with Wav files so that I can use them with the HxC SD Card Floppy Drive Emulator that will work with the ESP. I actually just got my second HxC Emulator in the mail today and plan to set it up eventually with the EPS Classic. There is a guy on Youtube below who successfully was able to install the HxC SD Card Emulator with the Ensoniq EPS Classic. I just did it with my Roland W-30 and S-330 Samplers, so I’m confident it will work.

Update: On Win98, I installed a program called EPSdisk that allowed me to copy Ensoniq EPS Floppy Disks into .GKH image files onto my PC. I was then able to open the .GKH files in AWAVE Studio using my Windows 7 PC. I also was able to effectively make backup copies of the EPS Classic OS. When I bought the EPS Classic it came with OS version 2.20. I downloaded and made a new OS Disk for version 2.49 using EPSdisk. The EPS Classic loaded the udpated OS 2.49 version just fine. The Ensoniq EPS Classic OS v2.49 fixes COPY FLOPPY DISK and adds several SCSI and Sequencer functions.

Furthermore, I found that I could import wav files into AWAVE Studio and create and instrument file. This instrument file could then be saved into .efe EPS Instrument Format and then be saved to an EPS Classic formated floppy disk using EPSdisk very easily. This is my ticket now to importing WAV files of my own into the EPS classic. I actually did this with some example wavs and it worked perfectly! Once I found ESPdisk and discovered that AWAVE works with EPS Classic .efe and .gkh formatted files, I knew it would be easy to import WAV files. Excellent!

By the way, I found that my Ensoniq EPS Classic is now running OS 2.49 with Rom Bios version 2.0 and Keyboard version 2.10 using the Software Information Command on the EPS Classic.

Another interesting tidbit I found with the Ensoniq EPS Classic is that I had to run two high quality cables out from the left/right output jacks and into my decent Yamaha mixer to effectively get a clean sound out of the EPS. Tweaking the gain, high, mid, and lows, I was able to get a very quiet, clean, along with a very solid punchy sound.

Some people experience lots of static coming out of the output jacks. I sense this is perhaps mainly due to the fact that you might need to run the EPS through a good mixer with decent cables. The EPS sampler will make a small amount of noise due to it’s characteristics and also because the output is slightly lower than more modern samplers. However, it’s easily adjusted when using a good mixer. At least it worked great for me. I’m getting some really great analog oriented sounds now and it’s awesome!! My EPS Classic is definitely very phat sounding now.

The video below shows a guy on Youtube opening up his Ensoniq EPS sampler, removing the disk drive, and replacing it with an HxC SD Floppy Emulator.

Frankothemountain is a Youtube user that uses the Ensoniq EPS Classic on most of his early music. I really liked some of his songs and emailed him about some more info. He said he had four EPS Classics and indeed he used them extensively on his recordings. He said it required “lot’s of looping, editing, and down sampling” but the creative possibilities were endless. It’s a very inspiring Sampler Keyboard. You can check out one of his songs and videos below.

http://www.youtube.com/user/frankothemountain

Boss RC-50 Synthesizer Loop Station

Boss Roland RC-50 RC50
Boss RC-50 Loop Station

Today I picked up a mint conditioned Boss RC-50 Loop Station at a nearby used music shop for $250. The only thing missing in the package was the CD-Rom and manual which is the reason why the salesman knocked off quite a bit from the original price. It’s amazing they do that because anyone can simply log onto the internet and find that information. They really reduce the price greatly no matter what’s missing it seems. Of course thats great for getting a reduced price on some nice music gear.

For a while I’ve had the urge to get a Boss RC-50. I’m a big fan of looping, originally with my guitar, but lately with sythesizers and keyboards. I’ve worked with the Boss RC-2, RC-20, Gibson Echoplex, Lexicon Jamman, and most recently the Digitech Jamman Solo. Both the Jamman Solo and Boss RC-50 are stereo. In Japan, the Boss RC-50 has always been very hard to find for anything except paying the retail price of $500. I figured when I saw this unit for half that I realized it was probably now or never.

The Boss RC-50 has lots of problems I’ve heard, namely with midi sync and any sort of tempo adjustment. With my experience using the Gibson Echoplex, I find that you most likely will have to use the Boss RC-50 as master in order to resolve most sync or midi issues. The ONLY looper I have ever used that worked flawlessly with midi sync as both slave or master was the Lexicon Jamman. The Lexicon Jamman is “the best” with regards to midi sync as far as I’m concerned. However, linking all my synthesizers up to midi is not what I am interested in right now.

The main reasons for acquiring the Boss RC-50 were several.

1. I like the fact that it’s stereo and that the sound quality is very good sonically.
2. I think the 24 minutes of loop/sample time is adequate for my live looping situations.
3. It’s relatively easy to transfer WAV files to/from the computer via USB.
4. Surprisingly, the footprint of this pedal board is smaller than expected. It’s not bad.
5. Using the Boss RC-50 in multimode with three tracks playing simultaneously is fantastic and probably the main reason why I bought it.

With regards to midi and adjusting tempo, I don’t really need to worry about that. I also do not have any issues with timing when playing by myself or with others. I don’t know why, but I don’t seem to have timing issues in or outside a band like some people do.

Finally, I have heard great things about looping with Ableton Live. It’s probably the best way to loop “IF” you are into computers and are they type that doesn’t mind lugging your computer gear on stage and configuring it. Some people really have a system down. I am old school perhaps and I also work everyday with computers on the job, so I prefer to work with dedicated hardware at the moment. I don’t deny though that Ableton is likely the best solution if you want a ton of looping features. The Gibson Echoplex is great too by the way if you can still find one. It’s a mono looper though.

For small footprint guitar pedals, the Digitech Jamman Solo and Boss RC-2 Looper are great devices. I have both and they are great tools. I haven’t tried the Line6 M9 or M13, but I’ve heard they are great basic loopers as well. Roland I noticed has a countdown happening on their website, so maybe we’ll see an update to the Roland Looper line within the year or early next. For now though, I’m having a blast with the Boss RC-50 Loop Station with my Synth and keyboard gear. It’s easy to loop a quick drum track and throw a bass line on top of that. Then it’s great fun to kick in with a rhodes sound and practice away.

I practice a lot of jazz, funk, rnb, and gospel progressions on the keys, so it’s fun to lay down a groove to practice my chords, runs, and movements with each style. While sequencing is certainly possible, I sometimes just prefer to loop sections using the Boss RC-50 now and jam on that for a while. I can also save the WAV phrase files for later if I happen to like the groove and wish to develop it further into a song. It’s great fun.

What’s your favorite looper?

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Roland Juno 6 Synthesizer in Japan

Roland Juno 6 with Case
Roland Juno 6 with Case

This week I picked up an excellent condition Roland Juno 6 for $90 bucks at a local second hand shop here in Nagano City, Japan. What a fantastic deal! The Juno 6 powered up just fine and absolutely everything worked like a charm. No problems at all! I also was able to get the case, manual, and some connection cords as well. I think somebody had this tucked away in their home for a long time and decided to sell it. I saw it sitting up on a shelf and instantly grabbed it to check out the condition. I brought some headphones and just rolled over at the price tag. I new then I was going home with a fantastic Roland Juno 6.

The sound of the Juno 6 is awesome in my opinion and it’s been a blast jamming on it for the last couple of days. I find the Juno 6 to be so much more reliable and stable than the Juno 106. Which sounds better? I think they both sound great in their own way in case anyone asks. I love the LFO trigger on the Juno 6, plus the arpeggiator is awesome as well. In fact, in my next post I’ll explain how I got it to sync with my drum machines. Indeed the Juno 6 does not have midi nor patch storage, but that is not a problem. I found a way to sync the arpeggiator and because I can play keyboards and program synths well, the patch storage is only a minor issue if at all. It’s definitely a fun machine.

Cool video found on youtube.
http://www.youtube.com/user/elfferichfour