Monday, September 22, 2008

BOSS GT-10 and DigiTech's RP-90

The BOSS GT-10 road-ready to rock!
Case by Tarcase Co., custom made in the USA

On the Your Face!

One of the most outrageously fun things we've done this summer is check out the NEW BOSS GT-10 and DigiTech's RP Series of on-the-floor guitar multi-effectors. Having had experience with the BOSS DR-3 Drum & Bass Machine plus their BR1200CD Digital Recording Studio, this was an easy transition as the GT-10 is light-years more simple to use than any other BOSS gear I've worked with. The same goes for my owning DigiTech's VL2 and VL4 Vocalist Live line of signal processors. Kudos for both companies for making their units user-friendly without hauling out the phone book sized manuals BOSS is especially known for.

So how do these multi-effectors stack up, especially since in our last issue, we showed how to construct your own pedal board? I'll be honest. No multi-effector can replicate the tone and subtle nuances of your favorite pedal. On the up-side, these multi-effectors offer something of their own but you need to appreciate them for what they are and what they are not. First off, they are not boutique pedals. The Keeley Compressor and Fuzz Head boxes we tested are in a class all their own....really. You can even tweak the Keeleys for even more control over your individual sound. These are the originals upon which the analogs in the floor multi-effectors are based. In other words, manufacturers will try to approximate an electronic copy of the sound of your favorite effects pedals, cabinets, amps and pickups. They can get close but there's nothing like the real thing!

Well, what are you getting with a multi-effect unit like the GT-10 and the RP-90? Quite frankly, a lot. The GT-10 offers something like 198 presets with storage space for 400 of patches giving you everything from dirty to clean to weird with some effects I've never even heard of. One of the other students in my guitar class brought in his DigiTech RP-70, (a model below the RP-90), and it made his guitar sound like a pro-recording studio demo. The effects that he got from that little box were off-the-hook, incredible. Now while I really respect a tone snob's right to be picky, I think the floor multi-effectors have a place in a musician's arsenal of gig-tricks. For
example, you have an early morning radio show and want to
play live on the air with the station's DJ. Good enough but I know from experience that most radio station sound booths are very small. There's barely enough space for the broadcasting equipment, let alone you. If you think you are going to bring your full rig in to set up, think again! In this case the DigiTech RP-90, shown here to your right, would be perfect. It is very small but gives you 12 amp/cab models, 6 distortion models and 32 effects, 50 presets plus a drum machine. The sound quality of your multi-effector, like anything else is going to depend on your amp. We used a Behringer 45 watt amp, a Roland SA-300 Stage Amp, (350 watts) and a Crate GX-20M guitar amp, (20 watts) for a stereo mix. Therefore we had plenty of top and bottom end to allow them both to fully express themselves. I've done an instrumental recording with the GT-10 and it was as easy as plugging in the 1/4 jack cables into the back of the recorder. The results were impressive.

The GT-10 has the advantage of being a bit more box than the RP-90 but it is also cost about $400 dollars more! The GT-10 also has USB/MIDI capabilities, a parallel effects chain and a sound on sound 38 second phrase looper. I recently heard Phil Keaggy use a loop station in his performance and all I can say is you need to get one! The GT-10 is also quite heavy, built like a tank and something you'll appreciate in the long run. You'll need a serious flight case for the BOSS unit while the DigiTech RP-90 can be popped into a padded gig bag without much fuss. The sound of both pedals was quite impressive, (each has an onboard tuner), and I would not hesitate to gig with either in a live concert. In fact, I've seen a BOSS GT-8 on stage at a major rock concert and it was doing the job. In practical terms, if you like to experiment or cover music that requires more than a few pedals, either of these would be a great investment with a strong lean towards the GT-10. You're getting so many boxes and effects in one easy to use unit. We recommend Spectraflex braided pedal cables as their shielding helps prevent problems before they start. We used them to connect a send-return effect, that is a Keeley Compressor to the GT-10 showing that you can insert an individual pedal if you want. For more information, visit the websites below or check the banner ads on your left.

BOSS GT-10 Price: $499.00

DigiTech's RP-90 Price: $99.95

Spectraflex Cables Price : $17.99

Fall Features: We're currenlty on the road through Christmas but will be doing our "Best Guitar Gear for 2009" list and "Your Home Recording Studio" due out this autumn!

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