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MGR/William B 11/27/2002

Randall RM 4 : MGR/William B's user review

« Randall RM4 Preamp »

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The Music Stand
3063 W 12 Mile Road
Berkley, MI

$1100.00 per unit (including 4 modules of choice)

What I love most about the RM4 is two-fold: (1) tonal quality and (2) flexibility.

This 4 channel, all tube modular preamp allows for seamless access to a varity of sounds and tones (either through the on-board channel button or via MIDI switching). The modules are dynamic and VERY responsive to variances in picking. The tone controls REALLY work, providing a variety of tones even with subtle EQ/gain adjustments.

The two effects loops (one parallel w/mix knob, and one series) is a really great feature...allowing precise mixing of effected tone with the raw, unaltered sound.

The preamp modules themselves are very good. Now, I will say that their ability to "model" the original tones for which the modules are named after varies somewhat (e.g., the Vox Top Boost module is dead on! But the Marshall Plexi module...while good...isn't quite exactly like an original). However, that is not to say that ALL of the modules don't have a great tube sound to them, because they do!!

I currently have (10) of the (12) available modules. I use (8) of them in a dual RM4 rack configuration. Pumped through a VHT 2502, they allow me a world of tones and flexibility!

I'm primarily using Ibanez JEM guitars with my RM4s, but have also tested the units/modules with a few different Gibsons, and a Strat. The modules were all eager to respond dynamically to whatever instrument was sending it signal (unlike, say, a Line6 digital modeling amp, which basically compresses the dynamics so much, it really does capture instrument subtlties very well).

In closing, this unit sounds great, is built very well and is very road worthy. Hell, I used to lug around a rack of (4) amp heads ... now I just have my (2) RM4s and I'm golden for any gig or session!

The thumbscrews that hold the modules in place are a little on the flimsy side. That is, if you're not careful when you extract a module from the RM4 (which is recommended method -- i.e., that you pull on the thumbscrews), the screws can get bent VERY easily! Caution needs to be taken here, or otherwise you'll be left with very bent (and unusable) thumbscrews!

Very well made. Very solid. Other than the aforementioned thumbscrew issue, I have no beefs with these unit(s).

The RM4 really is a great preamp - the sounds are lightyears above the digital modeling amps, from additionally rivals other high-end tube preamps out there (VHT, Soldano, Bogner, etc.).

My only "wish" is that Egnater/Randall continue to pump out new modules for the RM4. I'd like to see a "Bogner" and a
"Soldano" module...but that's just me being greedy (and not wanting to lug around the rack-from-hell!).

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