The preset distortions are not too my liking, but after a little tweaking I got a super thick metal rhythm sound (powerful low end with NO MUD). Adding an additional pitch a few notes lower with the on board pitch shifter/bender yielded a real ballsy soloing sound. The noise suppressor is excellent, even with 60 cyc. hum from strat pickups. The built in wah wah sounds good clean but really thins out the distortion. Using the FX-17 wah wah in front of the RP-5 kept the really full sound. A crybaby wah wah didn't fare as well in front of the RP-5, thinning out the distortion. The onboard Chorus/ Flange/Phase are pretty much utility, the tremelo is much quiter than DOD's Tremelo/Pan pedal (no annoying click every on/off cycle).
As I stated above, the unit seems to have a habit of hanging once a month. It repeatedly flashes a 555 / 20 and only a cryptic key combination on power up fixes this, but then all presets are lost. I have software rev. 1.03 on mine (this flashes on the led display every time you power up) hopefully a 1.04 will be out to redeem my respect. I seem to be able to get it to hang when I put a PROCO RAT pedal in the effects chain before the RP-5, so maybe it's a hardware signal level problem too. I would definitley bring backup pedals to a gig. The sounds are very cool for noodling at home or recording, but I'd be nervous relying on this effect as my sole sound source in a live context. I think the software/hardware quality control has to be improved at Digitech, as I know RP-10 owners who have similar complaints.
I would warn people buying it about the s/w hangup problem, and that the external controller pedal is not the greatest. If the RP-6 comes out soon (with built in controller pedal) and the hangup problem is fixed I'd recommed it, but I've seen prices on new ZOOM 4040's as low as $369 as of 2/96, and there is a ZOOM 3030 out for around the same price as the RP-5. If the distortion equalled that of the RP-5 I'd lean more towards one of those, but I haven't heard the ZOOM's distortion.