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Discussion in 'The Rack Space' started by Roffe, Apr 13, 2018.
theese are for sale here in norway all the time. Are they any good?
I had a Rockman stereo chorus in my old rack. It wasn’t that great IMO. Wasn’t enough strength to the sound for me.
The Stereo Echo is great, unique stereo analog delay that sounds really good, almost "tape like", all that in a very light & compact 1/2 rack format; just wish it had modulation controls and that would be over the top.
I've owned several over the years, still got one that is not going anywhere; recently put it in a compact rack rig, it stands its own ground and worth having even next to bigger old digital Lexicon/Roland/Korg... classics.
I've also had a chorus/delay, still cool but not as "special" as the Stereo Echo to me.
The Rockman modules world!
Had a few of them in time... and sold pretty quickly.
They were really made to work in their own systems. Interfacing Rockmans in a real rig, woriking at line levels, wasn't/isn't nice. They were *not* made to work in that environment.
Their best input headroom is on pair with current best digital pedals (+11 dBu) but they weren't.... digital. So... the building wasn't as good as it could have been and fit in real systems.
Quite noisy. Design isn't something to die for... and they were quite expensive back then.
I hate to disagree with Anje... yes the Stereo Echo sounded ok but nothing you cannot do with your PCM80... let alone the other delays you have.
The development team was in Waltham, Mass. ... which rings a bell about Lexicon. Maybe they shared some resources with them... who knows.
Some of these effects have some interesting routings or structures, stuff one can use on more advanced units to design particular effects OR re_design them.
Here's a nice french website about all Rockman, in English:
the guy is clearly a die hard fan and you'll have to bear with several incorrect statements there, like this:
"There aren't many quality analog delays on the market, especially since this technology was replaced by the cheaper digital technology."
The guy has no idea about how much more expensive was and still is to build a digital delay done right.
In some products they had to add extra companding chips to avoid poor noise performance of BBD chips... which menas they saved on BBD and pushed them beyond their best performance point.
Not somethiung qualifying these puppies as *good* stuff, if you ask me.
All in all... they had some great ideas but didn't pushed the products specs and quality where they should have, even though they charged quite hard.
The modules could have been really killer things if the vision had been different.
But they could be fun to fiddle with, in a less demanding system...
I had the Distortion Generator, briefly went through a Boston love affair and wanted the Rockman type sound for my live rig.
Wasn't built very well, felt cheap. Sounded just like a Rockman plugged straight into my 4 track, but live it was impossible to use. Sounded thin plugged straight into the board, and if I ran it into the clean channel of my amp it was uncontrollable feedback. Weird compression and gain, wasn't pleasant to use at all.
I know Scholz still uses all those units for his rig, but, well, he's Scholz. Works for him, but it's so hyper tailored to his thing that it doesn't translate well for anyone else.
I've owned several of them over the years. They're little an early take on a boutique pedal with far more versatility than a pedal......and of course 1/2 a rack space. They're designed for low level guitar signals, so are pretty easy to overdrive in a hot loop or with a hot DI. They also all tend to drive you to a that Boston midrange sound, especially if you put them in front of a classic Marshall.
The echo and chorus are probably the two most desirable ones, especially the stand along versions. I'm not a chorus fan in general, so I'll let someone else talk about it. The 1/2 rack Echo (delay) is a very nice analog delay with a pretty long delay time for analog. If you have the itch to try one, that'd be the one I'd recommend picking up and trying. I've used them in racks before and they're nice. They are high-fi sounding at all, so if that's what you want go digital so you can change things on the fly.
Now that I think about it, I think the compression is pretty popular too. In general, all of the units that mix two effects do so with some compromise, so the single-effect units are more desirable. The big issue is that each only gives you a single sound from a 1/2 rack. At one time, they stacked up pretty well against similar analog (and early digital) units that were essentially pedals built into a rack case. Now, I'd just pick up a later digital delay for the same price and have access to more sounds with a midi controller.
I have an echo with a busted switch, I keep meaning to fix and sell, now that this conversation has come up!
The Rockman Octopus was a staple in my rack rig for many years when I needed to midi switch channels on an amp.
My rigs had an Octopus too... but it ain't an audio thing.
Probably the best module they ever made!
I may precise my thoughts a little, as we know all things are relative right?
And that's exactly my point about the Stereo Echo; sure you could achieve similar stuff with a bigger rack unit like a PCM80 (and much much more indeed), but if your need is just to have simple yet great sounding stereo real analog delay in the old fashion way up to 500ms, with a nice stereo spread feature, and in a format as light and compact as possible, the Rockman rules to me and is worth having as a cool different option.
And as far as I remember the input headroom is not bad at all on this particular unit, 13dBV (about 15dBu), works just fine at +4dBu std line level in a small rig of mine (you even have a 6db pad if needed).
I really like the sound of my Rockman Chorus. I don't know about all of the specifics, as far as its chips and it's internal workings. I just know it sounds really pretty. I do wish it had a little more headroom.