Tech 21 Flyrig5 vs. RK5

Discussion in 'Digital & Modeling Gear' started by forgivenman, Apr 7, 2015.

  1. forgivenman

    forgivenman Supporting Member

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    I've owned both and think I'm (more or less) well acquainted with the sounds of both so here's a quick review comparing and contrasting the two pedals. Both are excellent and excel at different things but are very good at what they were designed to do. Overall, the FL5 is designed to be more of a classic rock tone machine while the RK5 is designed to be more of a hard rock/lead players platform.

    First off, the FL5:
    Initially I didn't like it. I was expecting a Fender clean and Eric Johnson type lead tones to immediately jump out of this thing. What I got instead was indeed a Fender clean type of tone but the Plexi circuit just didn't jive with me. Playing alone in our basement, when I engaged the Plexi circuit the mids were brought to the forefront and the tone got fatter with a little grind and my guitars took on a "hollow" sound that I wasn't nuts about. The boost added some grind and volume but I'm a lead player and I was looking for more. The delay and the reverb sounded great and were an outstanding match for the pedal.

    Playing the FL5 live:
    Holy crap this thing sounded great live! All the "hollowness" I heard when I was playing alone in the bedroom translated to great rhythm tone live. I'm mean- GREAT tone live. The crunch was just right for virtually every song and the tap tempo function on the delay made it priceless for spacy rhythms. I didn't feel a great need to even use it without the Plexi circuit engaged because it had such a great feel with it engaged. the boost function allowed me to get some good lead tones but I preferred a separate TS pedal for better lead tones.

    The RK5:
    If the FL5 is of the Marshall flavor the RK5 is in the Mesa camp. The gain is very very similar to my Mark III and the distorted tone is a hard rock player, or shredder's dream. As near as I can tell the clean tone, reverb and delay are very similar if not exactly the same as the ones one the FL5 so the primary difference is how the OMG (versus the "Plexi" on the FL5) option interacts with the rest of the circuit. I have had a blast with the pedal. I've used it with my Les Paul, Strat and Peavey HP Special CT and it sound's amazing. I'm primarily a lead player and it has a tight, punchy tone that really cuts through nicely. The OMG section offers a very aggressive tone but dialing back the gain and tone yields some nice grind for rhythm playing but it's forte is searing lead playing (IMO). It does react very well to my guitar's volume knob but for cleaner parts I still need to turn off the OMG section which is totally fine with me.

    Overall:
    I haven't gigged with the RK5 yet (I will tomorrow night) but it is the more fun of the two for me and my fits a little better with my personal style. I can't enough good things about how the FL5 sits in a band mix however. Everything I didn't like about it alone I loved about it live. I hope the RK5 will be similar. We'll see soon...

    Let me know if you have any questions or comments.

    All the best!
     
  2. tomsy49

    tomsy49 Member

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    Are you running the flyrig/RK5 into an amp or directly into a powered speaker at home?? I have been running the RK5 straight into and Alto TS112a and i am really liking the tones i am getting out of my strat and LTD EC. Good range of sounds. The OMG section can definitely get into Metallica territory and the boost adds some saturation which is nice for leads. What sort of EQ and drive levels do you use on the sansamp portion?
     
  3. rewihendrix

    rewihendrix Member

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    Just thought I'd mention that although the flyrig sounds very good direct, it's even better through an actual cab (i.e. via the effects return into the poweramp).

    It's actually better with solid state amps in this case, no extra compression or clipping from the tubes is necessary. It's purely the sound of the cab that makes it sound good.

    It makes me think that an EPSI or some other type of IR loader would really elevate the rig.
     
  4. forgivenman

    forgivenman Supporting Member

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    I should have mentioned I'm running it through the FX return of my Atomic Reactor 118. So my signal is guitar>RK5>FX return of the Atomic which as no pre amp but does run on two el84s.
     
  5. C-4

    C-4 Member

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    I just bought a RK5. I've owned Mesa amps for 18 years (1976-1994) and only wish they sounded as good as the OMG section of the RK5. To me it definitely sounds like a Marshall amp, which I believe Richie Kotzen used or still uses on ocassion.
    I'll be taking mine out tonight and running it through a Marshall 1912 cab with a Crate Power Block.

    When I set it up at home to first listen to it, it sounded very organic. I didn't miss the tubes from my Marshall at all.
    If it sounded like a Mesa to me when I hooked it up, I would have sent it back immediately. After playing Mesa amps for as long as I did, I no longer can stand american sounding amps.
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2015
  6. tomsy49

    tomsy49 Member

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    I actually just purchased a Lil' night train off someone second hand for a great price which has the capability to go direct through a headphone out with speaker emulation. I was going to run the RK 5 into this and through the ALTO speaker but i am considering sellin/trading for a cab. My main reason for wanting to keep the PA speaker is for when i get my digitech trio. I think it will sound much better through a PA speaker than a guitar cab
     
  7. forgivenman

    forgivenman Supporting Member

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    That's how I'll be running it tonight. I'm excited to see how it sits in a band mix
     
  8. tomsy49

    tomsy49 Member

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    In your guys' opinions, would it be beneficial for me to get a cab instead of using the PA speaker? Or even something like a mesa cab clone then to the PA? I've read the line out of the Lil night train is not the best but i'm sure it wouldn't sound terrible
     
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  9. C-4

    C-4 Member

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    From your initial post, you seem happy with the sound through your Alto PA cab.
    I'll be taking a direct out from the Power Block to an input at the mixing desk and just run a cab for my own use.

    I set the Sans Amp to a very neutral setting with some verb and run the OMG section at about 11 o'clock as I don't want a fizzy or grainy sound from it. Tone is usually at noon. I set the delay section for one repeat (feedback dial set all the way to the left)and set the delay dial at about 1-2 o'clock. I'm using a Kotzen Tele and it works very well with the unit.
     
  10. rublalup

    rublalup Member

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    I just ordered the RK5.... Hope the OMG works better for my style than the plexi
     
  11. rewihendrix

    rewihendrix Member

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    The fly rig already has an internal speaker emulator so the lil night train is not necessary.
     
  12. forgivenman

    forgivenman Supporting Member

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    I always opt for whatever option saves me the most back pain so my criteria will likely be different than yours. The LNT seems like a cool lil amp but I generally find milking a cab sounds better than an amps DI in my opinion. The beauty of something like the RK5 or FR5 is that it saves you the trouble of having to make that decision. The technology in those pedals is great and organic.
     
  13. holden_caufield9

    holden_caufield9 Member

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    I've used my Badcat Unleash to a V30 with my FR5 a few times and it sounded pretty good. I too use an Alto TS112. We actually made our whole PA with 2 powered subs, 2 Alto TS115's and two (sometimes 3) Alto TS112's for monitors. We played an outdoor gig last summer (no FR5 but a Tech 21 Brit pedal) with this setup and it sounded super crystal clear and surprisingly good.
     
  14. forgivenman

    forgivenman Supporting Member

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    What's your style?
     
  15. forgivenman

    forgivenman Supporting Member

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    I'm still experimenting but there is so much gain on tap I run the OMG currently with the drive pretty low for crunchy rhythm and then kick in the most for more volume and saturation. I also keep the drive on the clean channel cranked up pretty high for an edge of breakup clean sound.
     
  16. rublalup

    rublalup Member

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    Rock / hard rock

    I loved the cleans and the delay on the FR but the plexi was to loose for my taste... I prefer a more punchy, jcm800 type for my rhythm and more compression for leads

    I actually love kotZen tones with the winery dogs, so I hope I can get close with the RK 5
     
  17. rublalup

    rublalup Member

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    I read somewhere in this forum that the guys at Tech 21 told a user that it was safe to use the FR/RK with a onespot... Can someome confirm this?
     
  18. tomsy49

    tomsy49 Member

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    No I definitely don't need the LNT but I've read good things and always wanted a small lunchbox amp. I know Richie Kotzen runs the pedal through the front of a plexi with good results so I'm hoping I can yield something cool!
     
  19. xntrick

    xntrick Member

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    Which of the two has the 'British' tones from the Sansamp GT2?
     
  20. forgivenman

    forgivenman Supporting Member

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    I think you'll really enjoy the RK5 for this
     

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