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Boss RV-5 Digital Reverb
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Boss RV-5 Digital Reverb
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MGR/Frank Ashley www.ashleyarts.com MGR/Frank Ashley www.ashleyarts.com

« Boss RV-5 Digital Reverb »

Published on 11/08/03 at 15:00
A few years ago, I bought my dream guitar amp: A Marshall triple channel 6101 30th Anniversary combo with blue tolex covering! Man, that baby puts out 100 Watts with four EL34s and a 240 watt special edition speaker. It has 32 switches and knobs on the front and the back panel is loaded too. Here's the point-it has no reverb! I asked Marshall about this seemingly senseless omission. The rep explained that if a bloke could plop down $2300 USD for an amp, then they should be able to use the reverb of their choice and nobody could agree what sort of verb would suit everybody. So, for years, I used Lexicons, Quadraverbs and all sorts of rack mount gear. Lugging around the rack mount was just getting to be an unplesant ordeal. I used lots of reverb/echo pedals and none of them ever came close to the rack mount equipment until now. I heard about the new Boss RV-5 and had to check it out.

I was immediately impressed when I ran it through two amps placed about 12 feet apart in the store. The sounds reminded me of some of the warmth and separation you get with a nice set of headphones. It has both stereo inputs and stereo outputs. Use it with a stereo chorus pedal like the Marshall Supervibe SV-1 and you get that spacious, floating feeling that gives you one of those natural highs. Most pedals seem to have a few great sounds and a hundred useless garbled patches that have names that somebody pulled out of a techno magazine. Let's just say they pulled it out of "somewhere." The pedal has four knobs:effects level, tone, time and mode select. The modes are:spring, plate, hall, room, gate, and modulate. It is quiet and uses the usual FET silent switching. There are plenty of choices.

If it seems like I love the RV-5 so much that I take it for long walks and let it share my bed you should wipe those thoughts away immediately. If you plan on using it on a dark stage, forget about tweaking it since you'll be on your knees with a flashlight; which just doesn't have the stage appeal of Jimi igniting his Strat. This thing is no Lexicon by any means but for $139 USD it shouldn't pretend to be. I was not too fond of the plate setting or the "modulate" effect. I'd say that an Alesis Microverb comes way closer to the plate vibe. If you don't know why they call the sound "plate" you better get on the net and Google around because it's not what most people think. The modulate setting is way overdone and is not what I expected. Keep the settings knobs way down on this baby or it launches into overkill mode in a hurry.I like the FX and tone knobs at 10:00 and the time knob at dead noon. One other thing that really makes me want the settings low is that when I go from the clean channel on the Marshall to a boosted channel the effect goes into hyperdrive. So, I finally dial in a cool setting for clean and switching channels is equivalent to reaching down and tweaking the FX level knob to "11."

It's not as bullet proof as a Marshall or old Vox Tonebender but it sure beats Danelectro and a host of plastic stomp boxes. If the stereo reverb doesn't knock 'em out, just use it as a bludgeon and that'll take 'em out for sure!

I think that the pedal was a bit pricey. I actually bought it locally and got it out the door at $160 USD. I know I could have bought it on the NET for $139 but I had a gig and didn't have the patience to wait around to save $10 bucks (don't forget shipping...er...and handling costs.) I have been looking for years for an affordable stereo reverb stomp pedal and this is a good one. It doesn't rob your tone like the other pedals I've tried. Like I said before, it's still one of those things that you pick a good setting and don't try to mess with it on stage and it definitely does the job quite nicely.

This review was originally published on http://www.musicgearreview.com
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