RAT Distortion - which is the best version?

zombiwoof

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
5,901
Thanks for posting this! I guess I had a Rat2 for a long time, I think I got it in 88, it replaced my square wave distortion box that had died, and I used it until around 02. It was my main and only distortion option, I couldn’t afford anything else! A few years ago I bought a VFE alpha dog, but I didn’t love it, I was in the midst of my fuzz search. I also had a little bear rat, and again I didn’t bond with it b/c of my search for fuzz... but I may buy another sometime!
I'm sure the company can fix your old RAT, I wouldn't ditch it because of a problem with it.
Al
 

KnowTalent

Just SAY NO to "Creamy" Distortion
Messages
3,135
In my experience, any of the Proco Rats WITHOUT an LED will sound better than any one with an LED. This may not be because of the presence of the LED, but it's a useful marker for a better-quality Rat in my experience. YMMV.
Gotta use White or Blue LED with 3V+ clip...
Reds are half that and very often result in too much compression.
Best Option imo is Both Diode Lift, Symmetric LED, and Lift One Diode for Assy clippings.
 

Veritas

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
2,964
At my house I currently have these Rats/Variants.

‘86 Smallbox Rat
USA Rat2 - Keeley Modded
FatRat - Current model
East River Audio Touch Distortion

I’ve gotta say, all three Rats sound different, yet they all sound great! I’ll have to spend more time A/B’ing them, but I can honestly say they all have their place. More people need to check out the FatRat. Great pedal, and it’s currently available.

The East River Touch Distortion is a fantastic pedal, at a great price. It’s a little cleaner (in a good way) and it has a slightly less mid push than the Rats. I like it a lot better than the Black Secret I used to own. I also like it better than the Basic Audio Shorebird and JHS All-American, which I also owned.
 

zombiwoof

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
5,901
The ODO7DP is just as good as LM308 read Jack Orman as he has he knows the circuit inside-out.
All of my RATs have the LM308, but it's not just the chip that changed in the later versions, the construction of the cases and such are not as rock solid as those old RATs.
They just seem to be cheaper in general now, with the exception of the Whiteface RAT RI, which I wish they had continued to make, but they claim they can't get enough of the old chips to keep up production. I have also heard that there have been changes to the circuit, I don't know if that is true or not. I do find it interesting that at least in some models, like the FAT RAT, they make it easier to change out the chip, mounting it on a socket, as they know about the controversy over the chip change. Are they doing that on any of the other RAT models?.
Al
 

KnowTalent

Just SAY NO to "Creamy" Distortion
Messages
3,135
All of my RATs have the LM308, but it's not just the chip that changed in the later versions, the construction of the cases and such are not as rock solid as those old RATs.
They just seem to be cheaper in general now, with the exception of the Whiteface RAT RI, which I wish they had continued to make, but they claim they can't get enough of the old chips to keep up production. I have also heard that there have been changes to the circuit, I don't know if that is true or not. I do find it interesting that at least in some models, like the FAT RAT, they make it easier to change out the chip, mounting it on a socket, as they know about the controversy over the chip change. Are they doing that on any of the other RAT models?.
Al
I have a FAT RAT that has been heavily tweaked by Modest Mike. Great guy to work with.
 

KnowTalent

Just SAY NO to "Creamy" Distortion
Messages
3,135
Rat. Because everyone wants a sound that's 50 years old. News Flash- we landed on the moon. Just sayin
most pedals/modelers are trying to emulate amp/cab sounds from 60, 70, 80

AGE Descrimination!!! Call the PC Police

Colorsound OverDriver for da win
 

kludge

The droid you're looking for
Messages
7,104
My understanding is that the circuit actually has nothing in common with Rat - it's transistor based, doesn't use op-amps.
As I understand it, the Katzenkonig is the front end gain stage of a Tonebender grafted to the back end (filter and output clipping) from a Rat. I have a Katzenkonig, and have had a bunch of different Rat variants and a Tonebender, so... yeah, I think that's exactly what it is. It's more aggressive than any regular Rat - not gainier, but meaner, for lack of a better word. But it's also smoother and more controlled than my old Yardbox (Tonebender clone) was. It has two separate gain controls - one controlling the Tonebender gain, one controlling the Rat clipping. They behave very differently and are quite interactive.

So what it doesn't have is the op-amp gain stage of the Rat that causes so much controversy.

At any rate, my only gripe - and it's a big one - is the noise. The Katzenkonig is a very hissy, very noisy pedal, and the more you crank the gain or open up the filter, the noisier it gets. But are you really thinking about the noise when you're blowing through a lead and the notes are there like a pack of rabid weasels, you're not thinking about the noise...
 

chillytc

Member
Messages
843
I'm no vintage Rat collector, but the Basic Audio Shore Birds is something anyone looking for a super musical fuzz sound that fits into 2018 should look at, IMHO. Check out the JustNickMusic review if you are curious - this pedal is genius.
 

tooter007

Member
Messages
516
Had one of these 81's....it slayed everything. Never have found a suitable replacement and now can't afford to get it back. Live and learn.
 

Cap Carlos

Member
Messages
155
Love my Vermin so much, I got two!

I couldn't find the first one so I bought another one, in a different color. Very well priced !
 




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