Rat Technical Questions

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by LowWatt, Oct 13, 2008.

  1. LowWatt

    LowWatt Member

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    I'm looking at adding a Rat style pedal to my rig, but have a few questions before I spend my money. Please do not recommend any specific models and manufacturers. This isn't a which is best thread, but more of a "what happens with a Rat in this situation" thread. Just assume that it is a bog standard LM308 based vintage Rat that I am asking about.

    I'm very familiar with Muffs and TSs, so I will use those for comparisons even though tonally these are all very different dirt boxes.

    1. Does the Rat sound any different if it is placed in your chain after a buffer?

    2. What is it's natural EQ curve? Does it have a mid-scoop (ala Big Muff), a mid-boost (ala TS-808), or flat mids?

    3. In a big thick loud band with multiple guitarists, does turning on the Rat make you disappear in the mix (again, like a standard Muff), lift you up (again like a TS) or no difference?

    4. Do phasers and other swirly pedals become less dramatic if they are placed before a Rat (like on a muff)?

    Basically, I know I love the tone, I just need to make sure it will work where I need it in my pedal chain and that it won't disappear in my band (3 guitarists).

    Thanks guys.

    James aka LowWatt
     
  2. kldonegan

    kldonegan Member

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    1. I think it takes on a brighter quality after a buffer; I place my buffer right after my drives.

    2. I'd describe a stock RAT as cutting bass, not necessarily a mid hump or scoop.

    3. It can get lost, but it won't if it's set up right.

    4. Wahs and other things are fine before mine.


    I run it right before my Sparkle Drive, and that thickens things up a ton... helps with cutting through, too.
     
  3. Hugo Da Rosa

    Hugo Da Rosa Silver Supporting Member

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    hmmm let's see...

    1. I don't hear too big of a difference with my Rat placed before or after a buffer. There is a slight bit of a compensated highs but other than that, I don't think it's enough to make a huge difference in the concert/gig setting - maybe in the bedroom setting.

    2. I would probably agree with kldonegan as it's more of a cutting bass. If you turn the EQ off (ie. setting the filter knob at 12) it sounds more like a neutral pedal pushing your amp into overdrive. But IMO this pedal sounds best with the filter knob adjusted to have more bass.

    3. If you do low-end rhythmic work, then yes it can get lost, naturally. If you are doing lead work, then it sings with richness. Even with a humbucker guitar in the neck position, it can cut through nicely.

    4. Yes - definitely. But that can be said with most overdrives - if placed after wahs or any other modulated type effect, the warped highs and lows won't fluctuate but rather stay consistent.

    Hope this helps!
     
  4. jstone

    jstone Member

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    1- Not in my ears
    2- The natural eq curve of the rat electronic circuit is -6 db/oct on frequencies under around 600hz. It sounds very rich on lower dist settings. Increase the dist and you will take away more bottom. Still I do not see it as bottomless.
    3- The gain available in the Rat can lift it out of any mix is my experience but this has a lot to do with your amp
    4- Can't claim it is any other than any other pedal...

    The rat is a quite thick sounding pedal that I have always trusted for multiple purposes. Riffs and leads are my personal favorites.
     
  5. Thin Slices

    Thin Slices Member

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    I have got a vintage ri rat with the right chip. It is the sure winner when playing rock/rock-blues where a cutting, not-too-fierce tone is needed.

    1. I haven't made a test however, I have never noticed a sound change like that.

    2. Somewhat ala TS-808. It cuts a lot of bass and as you turn the filter up it gets more and more mid honky.

    3. A vintage rat is a CUT machine. My experience is that NOTHING cuts through like a rat.

    4. Dont' know.
     
  6. 89strat

    89strat Member

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    I haven't noticed a difference with a buffer before or after. I've tried both.

    I find it to cut a little bass but accentuate the upper mids. Not ts-808 like.

    I play in a band with another guitarist and also use a sparkle drive after it for a boost, but on it's own, you'll cut through. As you turn up the gain, it will add more compression and fuzz and then you can get lost but the RAT's sweet spot for me is typically below 11:00.

    Phaser's and swirly pedals always sound less pronounced before any distortion, but I find that my RAT sounds better with my phase 90 going into it than any other drives that I've used.
     
  7. LowWatt

    LowWatt Member

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    Thanks for all the feedback guys. You've definitely helped me out here.

    James aka LowWatt
     
  8. kldonegan

    kldonegan Member

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    Thanks for the technical info on the RAT's EQ curve. Looks like what I'm hearing is pretty accurate.


    I just wanted to clarify and say that I definitely don't think of the RAT as bottomless, and I think it pokes out extremely well for solos and such. If you're going to go for heavy distorted rhythm among several other guitars, however, you do have to watch it. It can get skinny in a hurry.

    I love my old 80's RAT.
     
  9. Tripower455

    Tripower455 Member

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    In addition to the fine advice above, I find that the Rat does thin out and get lost in the mix if you don't have at least a bit of preamp gain. I run Hiwatts, and if the pre's are too low, it thins out noticeably. Buffers placed before it also do the same thing.

    That said, it is my favorite heavy OD/distortion pedal.... It is definitely not transparent, but it's opaque in a good way.....

    I've got a Keeley modded one and I run it in the normal Rat mode most of the time....
     
  10. charless

    charless Member

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    I have never owned a vintage RAT but I recently aquired a Freakshow Brown Rabbit. Does the Rabbit really sound like the vintage RAT? and what toggle switch settings would get me in the 'vintage mode'? Anybody know?
     
  11. charmboy

    charmboy Member

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    This is a great thread!
     
  12. Hugo Da Rosa

    Hugo Da Rosa Silver Supporting Member

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    I've never played a Brown Rabbit but based on the video demos I've watched on youtube, it's nothing like a vintage Rat. With the toggle switch in the 2nd position, it has some some of the rich sounding characteristics of a vintage Rat but it's too much in the distortion territory...something that Rat 2s and newer Rats have acquired. A vintage Rat sounds much more like an overdrive that can be dialed into a fuzzy distortion at high gain settings IMO. That usually doesn't kick in until you dial the Distortion knob to about 3 or 4 o'clock. For the most part, the Rat is more of a hairy overdrive with lots of richness. That's not saying the Brown Rabbit is a bad pedal - from the demos it's a great sounding pedal. Just not like vintage Rat in my experience.
     
  13. Lolaviola

    Lolaviola Supporting Member

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    I found an old 80s rat in a shop last week, along with a red dunlop fuzzface. I was going back and forth testing both pedals, and accidentally switched them both on. I nearly crapped myself it sounded so good! Needless to say I took them both home.
    I find that I like the rat gain 9-10 there's a sweet spot. The level from the volume is usually enough to get it a bit louder than off. I feel that comment about having the gain up a bit is good, but not too much. I didn't know rat was a great stacker, but it works with everything I've tried to throw at it.
    PS best rat I've tried currently was the MohoMods
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2008
  14. KagakuNinja

    KagakuNinja Member

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    In fact my setup is a Sunlion into a Rat. Fuzz + Rat is great, and so is the Beano + Rat. I get some great classic distortion sounds with the neck pickup of a telecaster, Beano + Rat.

    I'm not sure why people don't want to go above gain at 9:00... I usually run it at 1 - 2:00. But then, when I crank the gain all the way, I get this amazing thick distortion with endless sustain and controllable feedback at bedroom levels. Nothing ordinary about that...
     
  15. fr8_trane

    fr8_trane Member

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    The rat is sort of the anti muff.

    A little less overall gain, VERY thin bass and flat mids. It has a searing sustain with screaming harmonics that makes it great for leads though.

    If you basically like the Muff but just want one that addresses all the inherent issues (mid scoop in particular), I would pick up a BYOC large Beaver. If you have the cash you can't go wrong with one of the Skreddy muff variations most of which have more mids or a switch that switch between levels of midrange from scooped to flat to boosted.
     
  16. LowWatt

    LowWatt Member

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    Just using the muff as a comparison for sound and mix. I already have a BYOC Large Beaver and an MJM Foxey Fuzz.
     
  17. Thin Slices

    Thin Slices Member

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    Yesterday I tried a Roger Mayer Voodoo-1. It has a lot of similarities to a RAT. My impression (didn't do A/B test or try it on my own gear) is that the voodoo-1 differs by

    1) being more grainy and less smooth
    2) having a more open sound - not as nasal as the 90'ies vintage RI RAT.
    3) reacting a tad better to guitar vol. control
    4) being a bit looser in the bass/or having more bass. Not as tight as the RAT on the neck pu

    The RAT always work in a live situation. It is the sure bet. It cuts and it tightens up the low end however, every time I take it out on a gig I am a bit unsatisfaid with its nasal nature... if I could trade some low end tightness for a less nasal sound, I would go for it. This is in some sense what the voodoo-1 does.

    Conclusion: If you find the RAT to nasal, I would suggest that you check out the RM voodoo-1. It will not sound like a RAT but you might like it even better... If it is the RAT sound you want then stick to it as nothing beats a RAT in what it does.
     

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