REVIEW: Boss RC-5 Loop Station Pedal

by | Mar 16, 2021 | Best Guitar Picks, Effects Pedals, & Accessories

Looping in general is a pretty simple process using a footswitch-enabled recording and playback device. In practice, it can take, well…practice, even getting the hang of simple units. Sometimes adding in features adds in complications, diluting the benefits. Boss has figured out how to bring advanced looping as well as rhythm boxes to the small pedal format.

Now there is an additional 1/4” connection for an external footswitch, such as Boss’s FS6 or EV 30 expression pedal — for the clarity of not having to think about where you are in your looping process and take the chance of messing up by pressing the pedal’s main footswitch while in the wrong spot, makes an extra footswitch more than welcome. Using an expression pedal to control parameters is also an option, however, as there’s only one connection you’ll have to choose which accessory to use.

Now yes, it works like a looper should; press the button assigned to record, and when that part is done, you can stop the recording process, and start to play over what you recorded, or even overdub another track above that. An interesting feature is the reverse mode, which “flips the tape” on the rhythm and plays it backwards. With 99 slots for loops, there are plenty of spots to load in whatever your heart desires.

With 13 hours of internal recording time, along with a USB connection to backup loops to a computer, it brings contemporary functionality to an old concept. Want to load in your own loops, well it’s just as easy. Boss also has a Tone Studio application for computers that manage this aspect very easily, and also have their own rhythm loops that can easily be practice platforms to be downloaded.

Once hooking up the device, it was pretty simple to record loops, however the double hit to stop took some getting used to. We did happen to have a Boss FS7 on hand, and while it’s not included, it made a great addition to the setup. There is a large display that has blocks for the measure count of where you are in the loop, which is an excellent visual cue for when and where to hit the stop recording function. Making loops with the rhythm track was pretty easy to get used to, and in fact made it feel like we were actually playing something with a definition, rather than noodling around. Getting this far in a short time, and not getting overwhelmed in the process and underwhelmed in results was a huge boost in seeing how this could really be a supportive device for a solo player at a gig, or even just using this as a device to work out additional parts or solos to rhythm tracks.

If you’re a player who’s been using a “traditional” looper, this is the next step up, with the added rhythm components of the drum loops, so it’s well worth it on that level. This could also just as easily be used as a compact drum machine on its own, for beats and rhythms as a backing tracks. The possibilities are pretty open, and more than likely the average player could easily apply a few of these approaches to this device, and possibly explore others.

The only downside to all of it, is an extra footswitch made this a lot more user friendly on our end, so for players really looking to tap into all of the functions, it’ll be worth the add-on expense.


Plenty of storage, USB connectivity, included rhythm machine. Easy to use.


Players might want/need extra foot switch (not included)