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Rocktron Chameleon

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Well I know this is an old post, but since I happen to own both of the other models I thought I would post some information on them for others who are considering which one to get. First here are some pictures so you can see what they look like...


First the front of both with the 2000 on the top.



Now at first glance if you don't happen to have them both side by side to compare you might think you are getting the same unit. They are the same size and weigh about the same but as you can see in the picture the 2000 is missing a couple of the push buttons. The recall button was eliminated from the 2000. On the original Chameleon (the one on the botton with the little green lizard on the right) you had to select the preset with the dial and then presss the recall button. The Config button was also done away with. Also you will notice the 6 allen head screws holding the faceplate on. The Original Chameleon was constructed in the USA and was made from quality materials, unlike the 2000 which was made in Korea.


Next we have the back view...




Here we see some big differences. First on the left there are 2 balanced outputs to run strait into a mixing board with an output level dial on the original Chameleon, great for studio patching and with the speaker simulation allready in the unit there is no need to mic your speakers giving you a very clean input with no background noise ever from another instrument, someone talking, or anything. Big plus if you ask me.


Then there is the Remote, Footswitch, and Phantom Power plugs. The remote is for a foot controller like say the Rocktron Midi Mate or All Access controllers (While most any midi foot controller will work). The foot switch is to plug in an expression pedal which can be used as a volume, wah, or even to control any parameter you program it to. The Phantom power is like an AC adapter you can use to power something else I believe, never acually used it myself.


Now on the the functionality differences. The 2000 has a totally different distortion section than the original. While the original had Solid State, Pentode, and Triode - the 2000 has British, Texas and Jazz with a Variac setting that goes from 0 to 6. To me it sounds alot like the old Big Muff distortion pedals with British being the most distorted to Jazz being the lightest. The Bass, Mid, Treble and Presence levels only range from 0-10 unlike the original which goes from -15 to +15 on each. This for me was a major drawback to the unit. While I'm sure some people may like the "British" distortion on the 2000, I like more flexability and range. To be honest, it didn't really sound all that British to me, more like a cheap amp with a nasty pedal, but I'm sure some people might like that sort of thing.


Throughout the rest of the settings alot of the parameters are shorter in ranges on the 2000. This I found a bit annoying as it really limits the sounds you can get out of it. I mean why get a multi effects unit if the effects are kinda crappy?


Now as for the post EQ...the 2000 just doesn't have it period. It's not there at all. The whole section is gone. So if an EQ is important to you then stick to the original Chameleon. Now I don't have the Chameleon Online, yet, but I plan on getting one just to see how much they brought back. Another thing to note is that firmware versions are different and some subltle changes are made for one reason or another so just because the settings sounded good on one firmware version, you may need to transpose them a little to make them work the same on a different firmare version (a problem I have run into recently).


Bottom line, The Chameleon 2000 was a good example of what happens when you take a good product and outsource it to another country to save a few bucks and they skimp on quality. It pretty much killed the Chameleon line and even though Rocktron released the Chameleon Online afterwards to try and save face, they had probably allready lost much of thier customer interest. While the VooDu Valve was changed a bit over the years, it wasn't trashed as bad as the Chameleon was with the 2000 so it is still in production.


So I would reccomend the original "Black-Face" Chameleon if you can find one. I had one when they first came out and was lucky enough to find another for $150, after I paid the same for the 2000 and was a little heartbroken to find how much had been changed.

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