Boss RC-5 Vs RC-500: Differences?
Tracks, rhythm kits, and control
While the RC-500 has more rhythm kits and a second track, the main difference between the two is how you're able to control them. The RC-500 is (in our opinion, of course) far easier to control with three separate footswitches and a wide range of buttons for editing and controlling each track.
|Specification||Boss RC-5 Looper Pedal||Boss RC-500 Loop Station|
|Pedal Type||Looper||Loop Station|
|Looper||99 x Phrases, 1-track Looper||99 x Phrases, 2-track Looper|
|Looping Time||1.5 hours (1-track), 13 hours (max memory total)||1.5 hours (1-track), 13 hours (max memory total)|
|Presets||57 x Rhythms (2 variations), 7 x Rhythm Kits||57 x Rhythms (2 variations), 16 x Rhythm Kits|
|Effects||Reverb (rhythm parts)||Loop FX, Reverb (rhythm parts)|
|Inputs||2 x 1/4" (A/mono,B)||2 x 1/4" (A/mono,B), 1 x XLR (mic)|
|Outputs||2 x 1/4" (A/mono,B)||2 x 1/4" (A/mono,B)|
|MIDI I/O||2 x 1/8" TRS (In,Out)||2 x 1/8" TRS (In,Out)|
|USB||1 x Type B||1 x Micro-B|
|Other I/O||1 x 1/4" TRS (stop/memory)||1 x 1/4" TRS (control 1/2, expression)|
|Bypass Switching||Buffered Bypass||Buffered Bypass|
|Storage||WAV file audio (backup via USB)||WAV file audio (backup via USB)|
|Software||Boss Tone Studio||Boss Tone Studio|
|Power Source||9V DC power supply (sold separately)||9V DC power supply (sold separately)|
|Batteries||1 x 9V||4 x AA Batteries|
|Weight||0.93 lbs. (excluding battery)||1.9 lbs. (excluding battery)|
|Manufacturer Part Number||RC-5||RC-500|
7 Most Significant Differences
Based on the above specs, the Boss RC-5 looper and RC-500 loop station share a lot of similarities and almost look the same on paper. However, there are several key differences between the two.
- Number of tracks: The most significant difference is the number of tracks they support. The Boss RC-5 is a 1-track looper, whereas the Boss RC-500 is a 2-track looper. This means the RC-500 allows you to record and play back two separate loops simultaneously, making it more versatile for layering and creating complex arrangements.
- Rhythm kits: The Boss RC-500 offers more rhythm kits with 16 variations compared to the RC-5's seven variations.
- Inputs: The Boss RC-500 has an XLR input for a microphone, which is missing from the RC-5. If you plan to use a microphone with your looping setup, the RC-500 is a better (necessary) option.
- Control and expression: The Boss RC-500 has an extra 1/4" TRS input for an expression pedal. Once again, it expands the control you get with the RC-500.
- USB Connection: While both pedals have USB connectivity for audio backup, the RC-5 uses a Type B USB connection, whereas the RC-500 uses a Micro-B USB connection. The choice of USB port type might affect your compatibility with different devices.
- Physical size and weight: The RC-500 is larger and heavier compared to the RC-5. If size and weight are factors for your setup, this might be a consideration.
Which one is the better value?
While the RC-500 is roughly $150 more than the RC-5 (always check for changes in pricing and availability), it's a far more complete looping pedal. You need those extra footswitches for recording and playback, which I would argue is even more important than the extra rhythm kits.
Because again, the two spec sheets are very similar on paper.
It's a situation where the features list doesn't quit tell the entire story.
So I'd much rather have the RC-500 for ease of operation, which is not to say that the RC-5 is bad, but the 500 is worth the upgrade in most situations.
If you disagree, let us know in the comments section.
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