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Upload Audio to RC-500

I have a Boos RC-500 loop station. It’s great, I have to say. I’ve started my Pico MIDI project to create a MIDI pedal for it. But I digress. One of the things that’s a bit annoying is that it supports only a particular format for the audio files.

If you want to upload MP3 to your looper, it’s not supported. Why would you do this in the first place? In the video I mention that I have some backing tracks. Originally, I had them on CD … but who uses CDs anymore, right? I have a portable drive … somewhere.

Anyway, I ripped those CDs and I have MP3s of those backing tracks. But you may also have videos laying around, or if you have online library of tracks you might be allowed to download some. Rarely any of this comes in the format supported by the looper.

Fear not, let’s get that sorted out … it’s not that hard in the end.

Boss Tone Studio

The first thing needed is to connect your looper to your computer. For this you need Boss Tone Studio. That link should get you directly to the download for RC-500 version. If you have a different looper, you can follow Roland’s support page instructions.

Basically it advises to go to Boss Tone Central (here’s link in English, the one in the article leads to Japanese page). Click on your looper’s product details page, and go to downloads. Or you just google Boss Tone Studio for RC500 (or whichever model you have).

Screenshots showing how to download Boss Tone Studio

Anyway, that should be simple enough.

Connecting The Looper

You need to connect power, connect USB cable and annoyingly, for RC-500 at least, you have to plug in cable into A/Mono output. After that, the looper should connect automatically and Boss Tone Studio should recognize it and allow further operations.

Screenshot showing how to connect RC500 looper to PC

File Format

Based on the knowledge base article, Boss Tone Studio supports only the following file format(s):

  • Data Format: WAV (stereo, PCM)
  • Bit Rate: 16 bits, 24 bits, 32-bit floating point
  • Sampling Frequency: 44.1KHz (44100)
  • Data Length: from 0.35 seconds to 101 minutes

Even if the above means nothing to you, take a note because if file is no in one of the above formats, you won’t be able to upload it.

No MP3 Then?

Well, it’s not just no MP3 … there’s a bunch of WAV files that won’t be supported. If you had a different looper once upon the time, and you backed up some of your tracks, it’s a coin toss whether you’ll be able to upload them as is.

But fear not, it’s quite easy to sort this out. Enter:

Audacity

Audacity is a free, open source, cross-platform audio software. It is super popular, and it is super-super powerful … and it’s free!!! Go ahead install it and come back.

I’ll now cover about 0.1% of functionality of the program. It’s going to be easy. Essentially, we’ll open our file, choose some parameters, export it …. that’s it.

Step 1

Open your file ?. That’s it. Well, the program supports few formats out of the box, like WAV, Ogg Vorbis, MP3, FLAC … If you want to import audio from a video file (MP4 for example), you need to install FFmpeg libraries. This is another open source and free library … and also extremely popular.

Step 2

Check the project’s sampling rate. It has to be set to 44100. All videos I tried have sampling rate of 48KHz. Whichever is the sampling rate of your audio/video file, that is the sampling rate that will be set for the project by default.

48KHz is not supported, so we need to fix this before going to the next step. This is easy as selecting it from drop down list.

Screenshot showing how to select project rate in audacity

There’s an option to resample track to desired rate (menu: Tracks/Resample …), but setting Project Rate is the only option necessary.

Step 3

Export the file – menu: File/Export/Export as WAV. Just be careful to select 32-bit float. That’s the supported value. Some of the other options from the drop-down list should be also supported but I haven’t tried them.

Screenshot showing how to export to WAV file in Audacity

Done

That’s it, super simple. The final thing I did on the video was to show how to lower the level of your audio. The audio might be too loud for using on looper. If that’s the case, use menu option: Effect/Amplify… and choose for example -6dB for amplification. Export again and that’s it.

To load audio to your looper you can now use Boss Tone Studio and choose Import option and upload your file to whichever memory location you like. Enjoy ?

Video

Here’s the video with of how to upload your audio to the looper:

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