RAT vs Rattler vs 1981 DRV

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721
In my previous thread MAAANY of you talked very well about these three amazing pedals: Proco Rat, Jam Rattler, 1981 DRV Inventions

What impression did you get?
What are the main differences between these three pedals?
Which (and why) of these three would you put in your pedalboard?

Here are a couple of video comparisons:



 

tulse luper

Member
Messages
336
usually Rat clones are very similar and differences completely disappear in a band setting. I found that the main difference lays in the filter knob, which in clones behave less linear. Id say an off the shelf Rat goes a long way, but if you find something cheaper go for it - there are no wrong answers really
 

Pedalometrist

Member
Messages
432
I've owned the Rattler, have played the 1981, and honestly I ended up keeping the stock RAT2 on my board. I just couldn't justify the price difference between the stock RAT and other contenders, especially considering the stock ProCo RAT sounded slightly better to my ears anyways. It's a great pedal.

The only downside for me is it's not as pedalboard friendly as the other two, particularly if you use velcro, but it's moreso a minor inconvenience than a deal breaker for me. I actually like the aesthetic, a very unique pedal.
 
Messages
721
I've owned the Rattler, have played the 1981, and honestly I ended up keeping the stock RAT2 on my board. I just couldn't justify the price difference between the stock RAT and other contenders, especially considering the stock ProCo RAT sounded slightly better to my ears anyways. It's a great pedal.

The only downside for me is it's not as pedalboard friendly as the other two, particularly if you use velcro, but it's moreso a minor inconvenience than a deal breaker for me. I actually like the aesthetic, a very unique pedal.

well, for the cost difference I think it's due to the quality of the internal components and to the fact that the two boutiques are made in USA while the rat is made in china.

Leaving aside these, why haven't the two boutiques convinced you?
And what do you mean "the rat isn't pedalboard friendly, particularly if you use velcro"? I thought you were referring to the fact that the rat doesn't go well with other pedals, but you are talking about velcro
 

Pedalometrist

Member
Messages
432
Re: boutiques. I just found the stock RAT sounded at least as good, if not better. They were all very similar tonally, so, considering the price difference, I couldn't hear what I was paying for with the other too -- which is what matters to me. The 1981 and Rattler are certainly well made pedals, I am a huge fan of JAM Pedals in particular. The stock RAT is actually the only pedal on my board that a 'boutique' pedal hasn't been able to top sonically.

Re: pedalboard. If you use a pedalboard that uses the rail system, e.g., Pedaltrain, the RAT surface area isn't as large as some other pedals in virtue of its design, not to mention the rubber feet come attached via 4 screws, which themselves keep the pedals enclosure held together, so the screws themselves can make attaching velcro so its flat and consistent across the bottom pedal is more challenging. As I mentioned, it's not big enough of an issue to be a deal breaker for me, but it's just a minor PITA haha :aok
 

Veritas

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
3,176
I have a stock 1986 Rat, and have owned many more stock versions, modded versions and LOTS of clones and variants. Currently, I have the 1981 on my board. I don’t like it better than my original Rat, per se. But I tend to live on the lower end of a Rat’s gain range and that’s where the 1981 really excels. If you want the gained up sounds, than just about any Rat or variant can get there. That’s where there is a lot of overlap.
 

guille-tgp

Member
Messages
269
Here are a couple of video comparisons:



The video shows the main differences between the pedals.
1. Noise: The rattler has less noise than the RAT.
2. The rattler size is more standard.
3. The Rattler does not have a battery door on its base. The RAT has the door with a bolt, which prevents it from placing velcro to attach it to the pedalboard.
4. The RAT is heavier, not much. But when you have 10 pedals, the weight counts.

The sound is very similar, I don't find that one is better than the other.

Because of the friendliness with my pedalboard I prefer a JAM.
 

cbpickin

Tweed Supporting Member
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
7,183
I have owned all 3, more than once unfortunately, and compared all three of them side by side at the same time. They are very close. The Rattler is probably the smoothest of the three. I had the standard Rattler, the Rattler+, and the Ltd versions. My '86 still beat out both of them, but you can't lose with the Rattler or the 1981; they are both great sounding pedals. The 1981 is cool, but it can't do the higher gain rawk tones that the other two can. I really am a fan of what a real RAT does when you roll back your volume some, and most clones don't quite reproduce it. Also, the upper end harmonics on a standard RAT have a little more "scream" in them. I think the RAT cuts better in a band mix than the other two also.

Here's one day's shootout, minus the 1981, with the Life Pedal in its place:



And another day (my '86 was the keeper out of this lot - 2nd from the rt on top row):
 

fred_

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
930
@cbpickin: nice review. But if it's not a derail, how do these compare to a Soothsayer? i had one, and i liked the lower gain tones the Soothsayer could provide with the (internal) gain switch. Do the Rattler, RAT, and/or the 1981 also have nice sounding lower gain available? Or is it heretical to have a Rat for lower gain (b/c there are other pedals out there which might accomplish that lower gain Rat sound better?) (just asking! :) )
 

icedlatte

Member
Messages
83
I have owned all 3, more than once unfortunately, and compared all three of them side by side at the same time. They are very close. The Rattler is probably the smoothest of the three. I had the standard Rattler, the Rattler+, and the Ltd versions. My '86 still beat out both of them, but you can't lose with the Rattler or the 1981; they are both great sounding pedals. The 1981 is cool, but it can't do the higher gain rawk tones that the other two can. I really am a fan of what a real RAT does when you roll back your volume some, and most clones don't quite reproduce it. Also, the upper end harmonics on a standard RAT have a little more "scream" in them. I think the RAT cuts better in a band mix than the other two also.

Here's one day's shootout, minus the 1981, with the Life Pedal in its place:



And another day (my '86 was the keeper out of this lot - 2nd from the rt on top row):



I'm curious about how the Skinner Box fared against the Rattler and 1981 pedals?
 

cbpickin

Tweed Supporting Member
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
7,183
@cbpickin: nice review. But if it's not a derail, how do these compare to a Soothsayer? i had one, and i liked the lower gain tones the Soothsayer could provide with the (internal) gain switch. Do the Rattler, RAT, and/or the 1981 also have nice sounding lower gain available? Or is it heretical to have a Rat for lower gain (b/c there are other pedals out there which might accomplish that lower gain Rat sound better?) (just asking! :) )
I was not as big a fan of the Soothsayer. It is a little warmer and smoother and doesn't have the typical Rat upper end. The 1981, Rat, and Rattler can all do theblow gain thing really well. My '86 Rat is my favorite for low and high gain.
 

OotMagroot

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
10,677
I like to set the RAT so it's a low-gain base tone and then boost it with other things. The 1981 excelled at the low-gain thing, but I didn't think it played well with other pedals at all - such as a Tubescreamer, KLON, BD-2, or Fuzz Face. And by 'play well with' I mean stacking. And, yes, I stack a Fuzz Face and a RAT. If I weren't stacking and needed a good low-gain RAT - I'd definitely snag the 1981.

Never tried the JAM. But, i'd like to.

I'm either using a Kinnatone modded RAT 2 (he does modify the bottom of the pedal for you to make it more pedalboard friendly). Or an Earth-Bound Audio Iron Pig. Both of which have chip and clipping options.
 

hafizimran

Member
Messages
484
I have owned the '85WFRI, the 1981 DRV and the Mooer Black Secret, and at one time had all three at once to A/B/C.

I sold the 1981 DRV after two weeks and still have the other two. The 1981 DRV has this treble/fizz-yness that didn't sit right with me. If I'm honest with myself, a huge part of it was my buying into the forum hype, the cool design aesthetic, the (somewhat) scarcity, etc etc. But judging purely on sound, it was so-so. Also, I felt it sounded too... clinical, perhaps? Or put another way, it doesn't sound like 90s garage rock.

I think you should go with the Proco. Get a USA-made one before they shifted production overseas for about the same price of the 1981 DRV or JAM Rattler.
 

fishleehooker

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
7,548
Re: boutiques. I just found the stock RAT sounded at least as good, if not better. They were all very similar tonally, so, considering the price difference, I couldn't hear what I was paying for with the other too -- which is what matters to me. The 1981 and Rattler are certainly well made pedals, I am a huge fan of JAM Pedals in particular. The stock RAT is actually the only pedal on my board that a 'boutique' pedal hasn't been able to top sonically.

Re: pedalboard. If you use a pedalboard that uses the rail system, e.g., Pedaltrain, the RAT surface area isn't as large as some other pedals in virtue of its design, not to mention the rubber feet come attached via 4 screws, which themselves keep the pedals enclosure held together, so the screws themselves can make attaching velcro so its flat and consistent across the bottom pedal is more challenging. As I mentioned, it's not big enough of an issue to be a deal breaker for me, but it's just a minor PITA haha :aok
I think you can take those rubber washers off the screws. I did it to one of my pedals as I preferred it the other way.
 

Pedalometrist

Member
Messages
432
I think you can take those rubber washers off the screws. I did it to one of my pedals as I preferred it the other way.

Yeah definitely! I take the rubber feet off of mine too. But nevertheless the screw heads themselves still make attaching velcro so it allows the pedal to sit evenly on the board with good grip a little more difficult than other pedals
 

ratedepth

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
793
Just for fun, I’ll throw the Iron Horse, Katzenkonig, and Petty John ROUS into the mix. All excellent as well.
 

Ti-Ron

Member
Messages
409
Yeah definitely! I take the rubber feet off of mine too. But nevertheless the screw heads themselves still make attaching velcro so it allows the pedal to sit evenly on the board with good grip a little more difficult than other pedals

What I did is covering the screw holes with velcro and make a hole in it to screw back the screw. Fits perfectly on my board and won't move!
 

Jerome

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
450
Just for fun, I’ll throw the Iron Horse, Katzenkonig, and Petty John ROUS into the mix. All excellent as well.

And, in typical TGP fashion, let’s not overlook these other verminous devices of the rattery kingdom:

Basic Audio shore bird
Foxpedal wrath v2
T-rex mudhoney
Thorpy warthog v2
VFE alpha dog
 




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