I'm using the Boss RC-5, but this question is likely applicable to other looper pedals too.

I would like to record an input to the looper for an arbitrary period of time (shorter or longer than 1 measure). When the recording plays, I would like it to stop/loop whenever 1 measure is reached (that is, irrespective of whether the recording is shorter or longer than 1 measure). But I don't want the recording or the measure to be automatically stretched to make the measure equal to the recording length.

  • If the recording is shorter than 1 measure, it should just stop playing earlier than the end of the measure. Then at the time when the measure finishes, it should loop and play again.
  • If the recording is longer than 1 measure, it should get chopped off at the end of 1 measure, and immediately loop and play again.

I've spent a surprisingly long time trying to figure out how to do this seemingly simple thing with no success, experimenting with all of the settings, especially the "measure" setting. It seems to me (and this could be wrong), that the pedal is automatically changing the size or tempo of the measure to conform to the input. Whatever I record, even if it's shorter or longer than a measure, it subsequently becomes the length of 1 measure (or 1 measure becomes the length of it, I can't tell). Often it seems that the tempo is automatically changing as well, but maybe when I press the tempo button, it's checking the tempo with the tap mode.

  • So in other words, you want the looper to create single-bar sound snippets by either truncating or filling with silence. I don't entirely understand the intended musical situation of this, but it doesn't seem like a very common thing. Do you know someone who does this, or an example performance that's done this way? Maybe you could create a system that does what you want, with MIDI automation using a helper device which has its own footswitches/buttons and which commands the RC-5 to do things at appropriate moments. You'd have to build the device and program its logic yourself. Sep 25, 2022 at 14:14
  • Yes exactly! The musical situation would be any kind of looped layering, using live drums for example, and bringing them in or out for certain measures. But you're confirming my worst fear that maybe this isn't actually a basic looper pedal functionality. Another way it could be achieved is by stopping recording automatically at 1 measure – maybe that's not a default functionality either? I wonder if it's standard on other models though like the RC-505? Which has a different use case, maybe more similar to this. Sep 25, 2022 at 19:17
  • One potential hack could be loading a blank recording into the pedal via USB. Since overdubbed recordings conform to the original recording in the way that I want, that could make them conform to exactly 1 measure time.. Sep 25, 2022 at 19:37
  • Potential duplicate: music.stackexchange.com/questions/17547/… Sep 25, 2022 at 19:39
  • I've played around with the RC-5 and I seem to remember this being possible. Have you... read the manual? Sep 25, 2022 at 19:55

1 Answer 1


The BOSS RC-5 is known as a Quantization Looper. Tempo for a measure is set by the initial recording or via predetermined params. The RC-5 Quantizes all preceding recording samples to the set measure. Consequently, any recording shorter or longer than the measure is stretched to fit. Despite this the RC-5 can still function as a normal looper by changing the following.

Disable Measures: Hold Memory > Loop > Measure: Free

Disable Rhythm before recording: Press Rhythm ON/OFF so that the light is off.

Note: The pedal will now function as a normal looper, and thus requires manual input to stop the recording.

The dilemar is that in order to have the recording automatically stop at the end of a measure the measure function must be switched on. However, the measure function is what allows Quantization (stretching) of your recordings. There is not a way to manually disable/enable Quantization in this pedal.

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