Why is the FC-300 so expensive? I like it for the smaller form factor, but it's actually got LESS functionality than several other controllers I could name that cost a lot less. What gives?
Is expensive becouse its Roland.
It gives great
functionallity. After 10 years in the market, the FC-300 still have some unique features that absolutely beats any other MIDI foot controller. In short: SYSEX mode, two excellent
expression pedals, 11 Footswitches onboard with LEDs, and the posibility to add 7 external FS.
I like the boss rc300 for a midi controller and you get other features as well, like a 3 track stereo Looper.
That's a good starting point to my long answer. This is my history:
I've sold my RC-300 a week ago. Bought it new, years ago, as fast as it came to the shelves, but finally got bored of its many limitations (and no, its not a good MIDI controller). With the money I took (390€), I bought (mostly second hand):
—M-Audio Midisport 4x4 Anniversary Edition (50€)
—Bome MIDI translator Pro (license) (59€)
Then I spent a few hours learning about the well documented FC-300's SYSEX mode, as well as the Bome's manual/forums. That was when I realised the huge potential of this machine, as you can control everything
bidirectionally using SysEx (including LEDs, external pedals, onboard screens text, etc). And not only "what", but "how". Using the Bome MIDI translator Pro software, I was able to program the behaviour of the different footswitches/Leds using a "RC" approach, just for fun. That includes functions like "hold", double tap, logical conditions, etc.
Could have used that configuration with something like Mobius Looper, but then I found something that better suits my needs. It's called "Akamed Looping System". http://akamed.audiolooping.com/akamed-looping-system
Took me a lot of time to get it working, and a lot more to modify the Bome template to remap the footswitches (the guy was using a lot of external FS) and include some improvements of my own (LEDs control), but now (finally) I'm pretty satisfied with this looping system. No more Sync issues or cheesy drums, no more tied to a single "preset" or song part. Now its like having four RC-300 (with 5 tracks each).
Recently added the app Touchable 3 (IOS) to my setup as a Head Up Display, where I can make the ipad screen to fit exactly the tracks used in Ableton by the Akamed Looping System. This app is able to connect with your computer straight to a USB port (using CCK), so there is no latency. Works great as HUD but it is also an excellent controller for Ableton Live, overall.
So, at the end I'm not missing the RC-300 at all. It was a nightmare to me. I think even a 10€ app (look at Quantiloop 2 in the IOS store) easily surpasses what (and how) the RC-300 can do.
Unfortunately, this kind of great apps (quantiloop, Group the Loop, Loopy, etc) are not available for desktop platforms, so we have to deal with more complex solutions like Mobius or the aforementioned Akamed.
In addition, the expression pedals included in the FC-300 are a true pleasure to use, as they are extremely precise sending values. In my case, considering what I paid for it, this feature alone could worth the price of admission, as my previous MIDI expression pedal was a (very) cheap M-Audio EX-P
And I definitely prefer the Roland/Boss footswitches feel for computer/keyboards/looper usage over the traditional guitar styled footswitches (with audible clic) included in some other gear I have, or mostly any other MIDI foot controller in the market.