Boss RT-20 Modding

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by muddy, May 15, 2006.

  1. muddy

    muddy Member

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    anyone capable of (or looking into) improving it's horrid overdrive? perhaps swapping out the op amp? how difficult could it be?? anyone?


    ml
     
  2. muddy

    muddy Member

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    he-l-l-l-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o..................... :confused:


    ml
     
  3. eknapier

    eknapier Member

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    i think it's all digital modeling technology for the overdrive, doesn't really use op amps...someone correct me if I'm wrong.
     
  4. StompBoxBlues

    StompBoxBlues Member

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    You're not wrong as far as I know.

    I bought one a while back, and returned it the next day. I REALLY wanted to like the pedal. The nasty (terrible) OD I was prepared for, I decided I can OD from outboard and didn't care, but MAN...I was dissapointed with the sounds from this pedal. The ramp-up/down is cool, but the actual sounds were not as good (in my opinion, and with my setup, others mileage may vary) as my Mojo OR my Deja Mini-vibe. I played it side by side with my vibes, AND my H2O chorus pedal, and between the vibe and chorus, I could duplicate any sounds I was getting out of the RT-20, and they sounded more "real" and more solid.

    Teh distortion is a mystery why they left it like that...
     
  5. muddy

    muddy Member

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    on a more positive note, i have a whirligig (calypso fx) on it's way to me from the uk, which should land on my doorstep by the beginning of next week...


    ml
     
  6. ScottB

    ScottB Gold Supporting Member

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    I was running my RT-20 (which I really like, BTW) at practice this weekend, and I added a little bit of chorus with my Maxon CS-9 Pro. Just really subtle, the blend knob almost down to zero, and it really added a lot of color to the sound, and when the RT-20 was off the modulation added by the CS-9 was almost imperceptible.
     
  7. Angle Loss

    Angle Loss Supporting Member

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    I just use a timmy before it. I think it is the best Leslie sim (over Korg, H&K, Voce, Dynacord, etc) but just like any of those units, the overdrive stinks. Roland spent their time modeling the Leslie sound right-everything else appears to be just add ons to sell it. I have an original Ultra Vibe which hasn't been replaced by the RT20 by any means (and I didn't have any delusions that it would be). I'm just saying, use it for what it is good at--Leslie--that's it.

    I spent a long time trying to find the perfect sound and I think this is the best I've heard next to a real Leslie cab.

    For those just trying it (not for Muddy's question about overdrive) try it like this:

    Mode 1 or 2, Rise time: noon, Effect level (not a mix knob--set this to match your bypass signal in volume), Direct: off, Speed and Balance knobs: noon, and overdrive off! Put a Timmy or whatever your favorite light overdrive is before it and go. In that stupid NAMM video, the guy had the direct (dry) level up letting dry guitar and organ pass. Don't do the same thing (unless that is your desired effect) for an authentic sound.

    I wish they had left modes 3 and 4 off and instead put a Vibratone model on there. btw, its all digital like eknapier said--no way to mod it.

    Rock on,
    Chris
     
  8. drolling

    drolling Member

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    Altho' I've yet to hear one myself, I was under the impression that Boss is marketing this as a rotary speaker emulator, and that the 'vibe' setting's only a small part of what it does.

    The original Univibe was designed as a Leslie simulator, but the digital sims available today sound so much closer to the real thing. For years and years I used an MXR Phase 90, as it was the closest thing I could find in this gear desert, but when I finally got a Sweetsound Ultravibe, I felt like I'd stumbled upon the holy grail. But I use mine for Jimi Hendrix licks - For Jimmy Smith licks, you really need a rotary speaker sim, not a vibe.

    And a really convincing rotary speaker model's a whole other story... Having been spoiled by the use of my Hammond organ playing brother's full size Leslie, I've yet to hear one that sounds perfect. There's just so many variables; the horn, the rotor, the baffle, the cabinet, the motor and the amp all working together make this one tough effect to synthesize digitally.

    They need a lot of maintenance - the distortion that's built in to the model's based on many variables. When my brother's Leslie had just been serviced, it would sound squeaky clean for quite a while. We'd have to really crank it to get any distortion at all. So it's difficult to get a concensus as to what any given simulation should sound like.

    I always thought it sounded best just before a tune up, when the motor was full of dirt, cigarette smoke and spilled drinks - and when a couple of tubes were almost dead. As you can imagine, he thinks we guitar players are out of our minds..

    Anyway, he's thousands of miles away now, and I've been looking for a good rotary sim ever since. I use a discontinued Korg G4 on my board and I've got a DigTech RPM-1 in my rack, which is also, unfortunately discontuned.

    The Boss pedal probably uses a digital algorhythm for the distortion, which may account for the way it sounds.

    My favorite Leslie sim available today's the Hughes and Kettner Rotosphere, which has a nice warm, dirty sound thanks to the fact that it contains a real pre-amp tube.

    Thanks for the review guys. For once, it sounds like a new toy that I don't need:BEER
     
  9. todd richman

    todd richman Senior Member

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    Hey Muddy, I just checked out the Whirligig at www.calypsofx.co.uk and it is very realistic sounding and warm. It is high and above the Roto-Sim and the cheap modelling Boss and L6. The one thing missing from the clips and the pedal is an overdrive sound. I wonder how it sounds with some dirt in front of it? Have you heard anything else-also, it appears to be right around $200 plus shipping from the U.K. so it is very reasonable. I just sold a Mojo Vibe which is a different beast altogether but have dibs on an original Ultra-Vibe(same sound although I have heard it sounds better than the Mojo) and I may pass on it and go with the Whirligig instead. Thoughts please??
     
  10. muddy

    muddy Member

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    the whirligig is a vibratone sim, actually, & it sounds DAMN close, too. he makes 'em in batches of 10, though, so you have to be quick. my thoughts? don't buy a leslie sim to take the place of a univibe, & vice-versa. make them a separate affair, because they are not the same. and the digitech rpm-1, btw, is awesome! the overdrive is creamy (12ax7), and it doesn't suffer from that nasal, bunched up eQ that most sims do.


    ml


    ml
     
  11. StompBoxBlues

    StompBoxBlues Member

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    I REALLY should have mentioned....I didn't use the RT-20 in Stereo mode at all, and that COULD make a huge difference....though the stereo out from my H2O is damned sweet, I just am not running a stereo rig now so I needed the simulator to sound right in Mono.


    In answer though to drolling, I wasn't only talking about the vibe modes, this is subjective of course, but I more or less duplicated very welll to my old ears ALL the modes of the RT-20 but with an overall better (not so thin) sound using vibes and choruses together. I don't tend to use them heavily with regards intensity, and I only tried some speeds, etc....and I don't want to rain on anyones parade here. If someone feels it is fantastic, great. It shouldn't matter what I think, but if someone is thinking of buying one, and can try it side by side with a decent vibe and chorus, I'd suggest doing it. Again, cool feature with the ramp up and down times....I loved that, but honestly evaluated it for MY situation, and the ramp stuff isn't as big an issue, it wouldn't get noticed so much in the bands I play in. And I know what you mean...sounds like you also found what you wanted, and if you ever get the chance to try out a RT-20 give a shout, would love to hear what you thought.
    I knew that about vibes, but really funny....I don't know much about Jimmy Smith, except our keyboard player got us doing "Organ Grinders Swing" and just last night at practice was talking about wondering what it was Smith used, so that is REALLY cool that you mentioned it, I'll pass it on. Funny thing, "Organ Grinders Swing" has all thes four count stops...and even an 8 beat stop in the song each time around! We played out at a bar last weekend with it, and when we were done, NOBODY clapped, AT ALL...I turned to the keyboard player and kidded him "well...THAT went over well" with a grin. Didn' think much more about it, but my wife and some friends all mentioned..."nobody knew it was over" and when they finally did know, it was way too late to start clapping. Bad choice for a bar crowd, unless you don't mind the confusion and lack of response :)

    But this is something I personally am really happy about, I wanted that pedal from all I read about it, I knew there were some drawbacks with it (also a matter of taste....I didn't like the display at all) but I really hoped it was a real LESLIE, and to me...it was no closer than I had already. So I am really happy I got to try it, found out what I already have is better for me, and I bought something else when I returned it.

    If someone else loves it, or found that in stereo it does the real deal, cool!
     

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