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Sound Quality

Rule #1: This is meant to be used in stereo, and it sounds best that way. #2: Amps warm the tone. I run this into two combos. At one point I was using a Peavey Classic 50 and there was a nice synergy there – warm sound, controllable feedback, etc. I’ve recorded demos direct with the RP10 and that’s where the digital tinny-ness is laid bare. As for effects, the chorus is great, from a simple mono to a 6-voice stereo. Flanger and phaser are good, and I found a great sound with the dual flanger algorithm. Reverb is decent, very adjustable, and there are cool tricks with the flat envelope option. Compressor has value if you experiment with it, like matching high compression with a low clean level. The harmonizer is digital-harsh, unless you warm the signal before it. Delays are quality, with lots of tweakability. All sorts of secondary effects, like panning and autowah and ducking, do their job. On the downside, the distortions are weak, except for the Heavy Sustain setting. It can be warm and fuzzy if used right. The manual wah is silly, but I salvaged it on one patch by linking it with volume on the pedal for an envelope chorus swell. (That’s the thing about the dud sounds/effects on here – you can find ways to salvage them, if their normal application is out of the question.) Individually, the effects range from 4’s and 5’s (the wah, distortion) to outstanding (the modulations), so an 8 seems fair overall...with a 9 if you know what you’re doing. The preset patches range from good to obnoxious, and it’s up to the user to dive in and coax personalized sounds from the effects. But it absolutely can be done. I’m addicted to the chorus variables on this and don’t want to use anything else. Ditto the phaser, for that matter. It’s apples and oranges comparing these sounds with vintage analog pedals, but there’s some good fruit here. Overall, the guitar and amps will play a role in the final sound. And there is digital glassiness to contend with in the RP-10. But it can be computed out.

Reliability/Durability

Only snafu in 8 years: wires connecting CC pedal shorted out; local guitar shop rewired it for 30 bucks. No problems before or since. Gigged with it in smoky bars, dank basements, swank basements…reliable all the time. (thankfully the wire problem occurred at home and not on stage.) Changed the battery once – no big deal. Note: write down your programs!

General Comments

Why am I writing about a unit Ive had for eight years? Because Ive had it for eight years! The industry of digital FX is like the auto industry: were told how great this years model is, then we buy it, then its obsolete and were told how great the next years model is. Either these things all suck to begin with and constantly need improvement, or its a quickfire market where you always have to have new product out there. The point is that the best aspects of the RP-10 have not been significantly bettered by any comparable newer model not for my ears and purposes and thus Ive never felt the need to upgrade. Bells and whistles dont sucker me. I want some good modulation, EQ, reverb options, and this still provides it.

 

I bought this when I noticed a sea of individual pedals forming under my feet, and it was more convenient. I do like a variety of sounds, and thus my ultimate FX setup would be a logistical buzzing nightmare were I to do it all with individual units. I still use other devices, like EH Microsynth, and thats another bonus: feeding analog character sounds into the RP10 and coming up with even more unique combinations. Another keeper aspect of this unit is that Ive found some unique soundscape effects, involving long reverb decays, harmonizers, and delays, which I dont think I could replicate with any combination of other units/devices. It has exclusive capabilities that I dont want to lose.

 

At this point, there are enough multi-fx processors out there to sink a boat, so that the RP10 is probably not worth searching out if you dont know what youre missing. Personally, its a part of my sound, and it has loads of capability. I used it for rock gigs before; its now assisting me in some jazz and abstract situations.

 




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