I've been playing the guitar casually for about 15 years. During that time, I've been in a few bands in various capacities (lead guitar, rhythm guitar, singer, bassist or combinations thereof). During this time, I have never had much in the way of money to steer towards satisfying a guitarist's inherent gearlust and usually relied on others to provide the heavy duty equipment, such as power amps, mics, etc. Ultimately, my true interest lies more in songwriting and recording, inspired by the King of All Guitar Effects (U2's The Edge) and U2's frequent producer, Brian Eno, who in addition to his own early work with Roxy Music and later solo abstract, super-processed, ambience-heavy compositions, has also worked with David Bowie, the Talking Heads, Jane Siberry and a number of other of my favorite artists. I have always had that passion to create (you either have it or you don't, and those who have it know how playing, composing, recording, and mixing is addictive as any drug!), but it always seemed like there was something that was a greater priority (though these things never brought the sheer joy of making original music). Thus, I have always been diverted from spending the time, energy and money necessary to seriously pursue this goal. However, when facing a series of back surgeries last year, I reevaluated my priorities in life and realized that if I don't start "now", there may never be a "now". So I unpacked my Fender Strat, a small Crate practice amp, some effects pedals and started playing again. I invested some money in Sony's ACID Music Studio software for composing and recording (both affordable, easy to use, and capable of producing a decent quality composition - at least, for purely personal enjoyment.) As I threw myself into recording and mixing, I realized that my meager stock of equipment was limiting the range of tones I needed to produce the type of music I want to make. I needed something that both suited my tight budget (a wife and 3 kids don't leave much for purchasing ripe gear!) and was compatible with my virtual studio setup while providing as many sonic options as possible. Thus, my purchase of the DigiTech RP50 Modeling Guitar Processor.
I had briefly experimented with the Line 6 Pod which I managed to purchase relatively cheaply in a local music store's clearance sale (the unit was scuffed up a bit, but otherwise fine). I loved the flexibility it provided. Unfortunately, I ran into compatibility problems between it and my recording setup which could not be easily or cheaply resolved. I began looking for alternatives that would allow a direct input into the Line In of my computer's sound card. A local music store (Rutland's) had a variety of guitar processors in stock, but most were out of my price range. However, at $69.95, the RP50 caught my eye. It possessed a fair number of effects plus a number of amp models, a built-in tuner and drum machine.
The RP50 has a lot of features that allow the user to create a massive range of sounds. It has 80 separate presets (though only 40 of them are programmable; the other 40 are static factory presets). Some people will always want more, of course, but this should cover most, if not all, a guitarist's basic needs. With this unit, I have the ability to create combinations of sounds that range from simple amplified, unprocessed tones to ultra-fuzzy, crunchy, or stratospheric ambience. When I record, I tend to use a LOT of guitar overlays and ethereal backing tracks to create as deep a nd subtle a feel as possible. This unit is an excellent starting point to achieving those desired sounds (though to truly complete the equation, I also use a lot of plug-ins and digital editing on the computer). For the sake of completeness, the effects available in this unit are: volume level, pick-up/wah effects (it can simulate humbuckers or single coils as well as automating three seperate wah effects), a compressor, 12 separate amp modelers with 9 separate settings (except the acoustic modeler which has a single setting), a noise gate with two separate modes, a basic 3 channel EQ, a host of modulating-type effects (chorus, flanger, phaser, tremelo, bender, Leslie, harmonizer, pitch shifter, detuner, and a few others), three different delays (digital, analog, and pong), and a slew of different reverb effects. The box has two pedals which allow you to cycle through the presets quickly just by holding the pedal down. Programming a preset is extremely easy (though this is due in large part to the very basic nature of the individual effects). Simply put, for my purposes, I have found the RP50 to be an excellent source of creativity and production.
In answering the question "What don't I like about this unit", let me first qualify this answer by saying that I love this unit, despite it lacking a number of different parameters for its effects that a more expensive unit would possess. There are definitely some obvious limitations, so - to use a painting analogy - it is rather like painting with broad strokes rather than, oh, say, the precision of impressionism. In a similar vein, as far as I can tell, there isn't a signal "chain" as such. It looks like all the effects are applied concurrently rather than consecutively. There are times, for example, when I would like to have my flanged signal echoed, or conversely, I'd like to have my echoes flanged. There isn't any obvious way in the unit itself to priorities or order these signals. Regarding the physical construction, the unit is plastic and, while I think it would probably be okay to use on stage, I don't know that I'd feel comfortable without some kind of backup (especially given the style of guitar that I play which tends to rely heavily on effects and processing to achieve a unique sound - what can I say? I'm a very much a product of the Edge/Robert Fripp/Jonny Greenwood/etc. school of guitar work). For my purposes doing pure recording while sitting at a desk, this isn't a problem, but the ability to stomp on a pedal in the heat of a performance without it breaking is worth a few extra bucks, to be sure.
First, this is not a physically large unit - if I had to guess, I'd say it's about 6"x5". As mentioned above, the RP50 is plastic, though it looks pretty sturdy. My kids have gotten ahold of it on occasion and it is no worse for the wear. It has two pedals for cycling through the presets and a small, red LED to display information. It also has 6 buttons on its face: two for cycling up/down the various effects, another two for cycling up/down the settings on those effects, another button to store those settings to a preset number, and another button to toggle the built in drum machine (the other buttons cycle through drum tracks and tempos). There's a tuner built into this unit, too, but I haven't actually used it, preferring my old Fender AG6 automatic tuner out of sheer force of habit. The RP50 is powered either by 6 AA batteries, but it also comes with a power adapter, which is what I use. There is a single input and output jack in the back, as well as the socket for the power adapter and a port for a DigiTech expression pedal. Like the tuner, I haven't used this particular function so I cannot speak with any authority about it except to say that it is there. Unless I'm mistaken, there is a similar unit from DigiTech - the RP70 - that has an expression pedal built into the device itself, which can really help add to a dynamic performance, I'm sure. For the sake of completeness, the effects available in this unit are: volume level, pick-up/wah effects (it can simulate humbuckers or single coils as well as automating three seperate wah effects), a compressor, 12 separate amp modelers with 9 separate settings (except the acoustic modeler which has a single setting), a noise gate with two separate modes, a basic 3 channel EQ, a host of modulating-type effects (chorus, flanger, phaser, tremelo, bender, Leslie, harmonizer, pitch shifter, detuner, and a few others), three different delays (digital, analog, and pong), and a slew of different reverb effects. The box has two pedals which allow you to cycle through the presets quickly just by holding the pedal down. Programming a preset is extremely easy (though this is due in large part to the very basic nature of the individual effects.) Overall, relative to the price, this is a very decent unit.
Bottom line: This is a very good product if you don't have a lot of money to spend on the higher end units but want a fair degree of flexibility and diversity in tone. It has its limitations to be sure, but it has served my purpose for home recording quite well. I wouldn't stake my performance at a gig on it, not because of the sound quality (which is very good), but because it is plastic and might get smooshed by an overly enthusiastic player. If you want something NOW but only have a limited budget, ths is the unit for you.
I have been playing guitar for five years in various garage bands and have played brass instruments for seven years. Currently I use an Ibanez GAX 70 as my throw around practice guitar because I like the agility of the neck, but for live shows and recording, I use an Epiphone Les Paul Classic (honey sunburst) which I love.
I like every style of music, but very electronic music with a lot of layers the best.
It was a Christmas present two years ago, but I think they paid about US$75 (although you can find it for a lot cheaper on musiciansfriend.com)
It has 40 preset effects that are excellent. Many of them dont even need to be messed with because there is such a range you can find whatever style you are looking for. Every setting can be tweaked, or even drastically changed, and saved on the pedal. There is fully adjustable built in drum machine with thirty or so beats that sounds a little electronic but can help you with your improvising and make sure your sticking to one tempo. I play brass too, and use it as a metronome by turning on the drum beat and either playing it though my amplifier, or hooking my headphones to the back up the unit. It is extrememly portable and I take it with me on trips as a private amplifier. You can hook speakers up to the output jack and use it as a little amp unit or you can get another cord and use it to directly record into your computer. It is a lot smaller and lighter than the RP100 series and its possibilities are endless. Good battery life and I have never had any problems with any of the jacks loosening. Extremely durable plastic. The built in tuner is awesome too.
The only drawbacks would be the way you go about adjusting the effects. It is not hard, but would be a lot easier if this model included the adjustment knobs that the RP100 had (I deal with it because the RP100 is soo much bigger).
Excellent. Durable plastic and hardware. Clear display screen with excellent visiblily even under stage lights. The unit is completely functional with one foot.
If you want an effects pedal(40 effects!) and portable private amp for under US$70 all that can be adjusted at your discretion, BUY THIS. Highly recommended.
I bought this unit a while ago now.It was my first effects pedal, and so naturally, having nothing to compare it with, i found it great.
Once you get the hang of the system, it is incredibly easy to edit and store your own sounds. The digitech sounds are very good, these are the same effects found on the higher models that cost £800+, especially the reverbs and the delays, and the drives are good too. Really, because the sounds are so good, you could get away with never upgrading, but you wont listen to that.
There is a couple of silly blue stickers on the pedals, and like any sticker, they start wanting to jump off. However, I fixed this by melting them into the plastic, unconventional, but heartily satisfying.
Also after a while, one of the pedals started to become stiffer then the other, which was embarrassing when you wanted to change effect mid-song, and your band members turn round to see you frantically smashing the pedal repeatedly letting out a fierce war-cry. This probably didnt help much. I have had to open the pedal up and fix the problem twice, but I think its fixed now.
Otherwise very good, apart from the pedal/sticker problem. the pedal survived when a bed was put on top of it.
overall, this is one of the best pieces of electronics I've owned, some effects are better then on my new pedal, a zoom gfx8, and it totally changes the sound of your guitar, and the way you play, so i say, yay.
I got the RP50 at Guitar Center with credit
I had from a keyboard repair that I had paid
for but was decided to be their
responsibility. At the time of purchase, November of 2003, the RP50 ad just gone on sale from 79.99 to 69.99 and then for the holidays: 59.99. I even got a discount over that because the salesman didn't seem
to understand that I was buying it against
house credit... I think I walked away with
it being around 52.00. At this time, the
RP50 is discontinued and they have replaced
that market with an RP80 for 79.99.
Digitech makes a full line of RPs, but I chose this one because in reading the
literature (sent to me by Digitech), I didnt see a great difference in the RP50 , RP100 and RP200. The several added features were ones that I could live without
for the savings. And this being my first guitar pedal, I wanted to get a good value that I could use to learn the world of effects.
The RP50 is a smokin deal! Why? Cause I got it free? No, because it is so versatile and inspiring!
You can get an unlimited variety of tones, sounds, effects, fake amps, etc. You can even change certain parameters and seemingly acquire more ampage from a practice amp. I played my acoustic through it, as well as my electric, AND just for kicks, I even ran a bass through it. (I was challenged to run my keyboard through it but I haven't done that yet...) All three had good response, but the tones from the acoustic and the tones from the electric were not the same at the same settings. (I wanted that said because my A-E is not a true A-E, having a Duncan soundhole pickup. This type of pickup should deliver a similar sound as electric, since the sound mechanics are the same as electrics, whereas a true acoustic electric has the sound magnified from under the bridge). I want to clarify that the RP was good with all three guitars, but the very best results came with my acoustic--a Fender Grand Concert with the Duncan sound hole pickup.
The effects were a bit muddier with my electric (WildKat Ltd by Epi) with the P-90 pickups, and really good with my Ibanez
with the HSS pickups. And as for the bass, its just a matter of time before we add the BP to our family...
Just some facts about it:
1) there are 12 amp models, each with gain and levels
2) EQ, Wah, Noise Gate, Delay, Reverb all come with many changeable parameters
3) 12 effects including panner, detune, pitch shift
4) 40 factory presets and 40 user
5) 13 light LED
ITS REALLY EASY TO USE!
There are several problems with the RP50 that have to be said. I want to make it clear that I think this
unit is supercool, but Im going to be honest about the practical issues Ive encountered.
1) The unit has no on/ off switch. This means you have to unplug every time--a bit of a pain.
I dont mean to be picky, but if you try it or have tried it, you probably know what I mean.
There are 2 pedals, and theyre made for girls! (Im a girl, too!) They are simply there
to trigger functions-- not at all for stomping...
2) Ive tried using this thing live, and if you can imagine, in between sets/ soundcheck, etc, I had to get on the floor to manually unplug the
thing so the battery wouldnt drain and if I needed to do any parameter editing/drum machine triggering in the middle of the show,
the edit buttons are so little, I had talk to my audience while I took off my shoes and prayed I would hit the right button with my big toe at the right time, hoping no one noticed my footsies.
3) There was a little deal Digitech did, offering a $10.00 gig pack including picks and power pack. I went for that offer which
promised my pack in 4-8 weeks. It took a full six months before I received it. (Just for your info, the power pack to purchase
is $25 and the 6 batteries you can use run for about 15 hours. You have to clock your hours because it doesnt die slowly, it just goes.)
4) The built in drum machine is not something you should plan on using for performance or recording.
Its a glorifed metronome with hokey beats and they are all edited by the big toe button.
5) The tuners sensitivity could be improved. Its dull.
As far as the construction, the things pretty tough. Its compact and durable. I had previously ordered from Digitech a
press kit on the full line of processors, (which was quite impressive) and everything I had expected the RP50 to do
from what I read, it did, and did it well. The power cord should be stronger, since it gets a lot of handling.
Other than that, the computer components on the inside and the packaging on the outside should last at least
as long as it takes for someone to be born and graduate from high school. I wouldnt hesitate in buying one used.
Please know that from reading the literature, in my heart, I had already purchased the RP50, and planned to purchase
the RP300 for recording at a later time. The Digitech text is honest and super clear.
Just to balance any of the less than stellar comments, I want to say that a whole new world has opened up for me--
going from acoustic to the unlimited choice of tones, sounds, effects, and power with the RP, AND what a great inspiration
has come from hearing myself through this ---some of the effects make bad playing sound good!
WHO NEEDS ONE?
1) If you are new to pedals, processors, etc, definitely get this. Its so friendly, super easy to figure out even
musicians can use it within minutes!
2) If youre a beginner looking to buy a first amp, save money on the DSP amp--get this
with a cheaper amp without the effects. You can always upgrade your amp and take the effects with you.
4) The RP 50 is a must have for anyone who is in the intermediate stages of acoustic or electric guitar and doesnt have one
(or needs one pedal to do alot).
This unit is the best way to experiment with the sound you want before you invest any further money.
THIS IS A NO REGRET PURCHASE. I would have