I have tried many different setups to get the best possible sound (I play a wide range from the heavy crunch of Accept to the latest acoustic-clean sounding Christian bands). The best setup at my disposal is bypassing the SS preamp section of my Peavey Heritage combo and tapping directly into the 160 watt tube amp section. The cabinet is a semi open back laden with 2x12 stock Scorpions sitting atop a sealed 2x12 extension cab¿¿¿this is where the RP1 shines like a beacon in the night! Being a preamp with user defined amp/cab EQ, it fully controls the signal and the Heavy Sustain distortion with compression (at max ¿¿¿balls¿¿¿ setting) can peel paint off the walls. The soft patches (my own creations) also sing though like a Siren on the voyage of Odysseus in the above configuration. The chorus, flanging, and reverbs are excellent and the Digital Delays have great options to keep you entertained indefinitely. Compared to modern S/N ratios, the preamp is a bit noisy if the gains are high, but that is to be expected given the technology of the day (which was over the top in the early nineties).
Going direct, however, leaves MUCH to be desired (thin, tinny, electronic sounding) no matter what amount of tweaking done to the five user patches. I currently use a GNX3 for my church band because the direct sound is so good that it allows me to keep the amp at home and the stage free of unneeded clutter, which relegated to RP1 to basement use only. The problem with the GNX3 is that it is not as ¿¿¿live¿¿¿ friendly, since the configuration limits one to either pre-programmed patches that kills the ability to toggle effects or single effects patches that force one to toggle through banks. The RP1, however, enables one to have up to ten banks at the ready, or five banks with effects on/off togging options¿¿¿key to better performances and ¿¿¿on the fly¿¿¿ control of your sound. To counter this problem and get my RP1 back on the stage, I am trying a DI external tube amp emulator to get the right sound into our mixing board (I have the Behringer GDI21 with XLR outs on the way).
The on-board effects loop (loops can be enabled/disabled for each patch) along with MIDI control also opens many doors to adding in some of your favorite pedals into the chain. Before settling on the GNX3, I test-drove a Digitech Whammy routed through the effects loop and had killer results¿¿¿way better than patching it in before the processor. On the flip side, I could not run the Digitech EX7 Expression Factory pedal in the loop as it was not a line-level unit (this is key to the loops function and the reason I returned the EX7 and bought the GNX3).
This thing is a tank! I bought it new back in 1992 (for $450 bucks) and NEVER had a problem¿¿¿it¿¿¿s even running on the original battery. In fact, I once had a water overflow on the main level of my house and it literally poured a steady stream directly onto the RP1 (it was soaked!) and all I had to do was open it up and blow dry the electronics (I didn¿¿¿t even lose my user programs). It has been all around the world (Iceland, Canada, and several US states (military)) and even suffered a 50Hz 220v voltage converter anomaly that caused it to light up like a Christmas decoration. After letting it cool and going back to proper power, it worked like a charm. Even if it died tomorrow, I could only lament the loss but admire the outstanding construction of my little guitar wizard.
I have been playing guitar and bass for about thirty years (even some Mandolin of late) and my RP1 has seen at least half of that time as an active guitar player in various bands and it has never let me down. If it were stolen or lost, I would probably not replace it with another as I would want to try some of the newer Line 6 ¿¿¿live¿¿¿ products or maybe wait for the GNX5 variant to hit the market; but I would definitely miss it. I know that I could pull it out of the closet after another seventeen years and it would still give the latest gear a run for its money. Having that kind of confidence in a product makes live gigging a bit more confidence inspired.