Price paid: C$ 249
Purchased from: Lauzon Music
Sound — 10
If you want an all-out, versatile delay, then this is not the effects box to buy. The RE-20 is more useful to achieve a warbly chorusing sound than it is for anything else. The Twist function is also very nice once you've learned to use it and can serve to build dynamics in a song. All 12 presets are very usebable, though I usually find myself keeping to the echo-only and the reverb-only settings, as the combo settings tend to be a little undefined. I have my unit set to long mode, which gives a bit more of a delayed sound, but once I purchase a good delay box, I'll set it back to the more defined short mode. The echo quality is very good, though there is a slight volume drop, even with Echo Volume turned to full. The Space Echo isn't noisy at all on batteries. I haven't gotten a chance to try it with an adaptor yet. This is an effect that is best bought to add some flavour to a pedalboard, rather than to serve as an effect in itself. Placed in front of another delay, it adds a gorfeous warbling texture to a sound. On it's own, it's a pleasant sound and a good, simple echo. The reverb is the single best imitation of a spring reverb I've ever heard; the RE-20 is worth it if only for this.
Overall Impression — 9
I play ambient rock, and my main concern is always the texture of my sound. The RE-20 is by far the most essential pedal in my (ever-changing) rig, and it is the only effects box I would never consider trading or replacing. it's gentle, warbling sound is a crucial component to my sound, and I can't imagine going without it. I currently play a Fender Jaguar Special > Boss PS-5 > Dunlop Cry Baby > DigiTech Grunge > Boss RE-20 > Digiverb > Fender JAM, and even with the number of digital pedals I'm using, the tone of the RE-20 is not lost. Once again, this is not a pedal to get as a first purchase, as it is very subtle and is more of a textural Tool than a definite effect.
Reliability & Durability — 7
Boss stompboxes are some of the sturdiest pedals I've had the chance stomp on, but I'm not so keen on the construction of the double pedals. The footswitches simply seem fragile and somewhat wobbly (not unlike DigiTech boxes). The RE-20 is particularly irritating simply because I have to stomp on the right (tap-tempo/Twist mode) footswitch so often. I think as far as tap-tempo switches go, click-switches (such as the ones featured on MXR and EHX boxes) are more reliable. The casing of the double pedals also seem much thinner than that of other Boss units.
Ease of Use — 7
The RE-20 Space Echo is a little hard to get used to at first, simply because there is so much to deal with. The manual helps in this, but only just; it includes information about both this stompbox and the Original Roland Space Echo, sometimes without making it very clear which unit the information pertains to. The Space Echo has eight knobs, two footswitches, and four LED lights. The knobs allow for a very precise tweaking of sound, with addition of a very pleasant spring reverb at will. Such a degree of control over such a subtle sound does mean that it can be a little hard to eork everything at first, but it is worth the effort to learn all about it. It is possible to set this unit in long mode, which makes it a longer delay, but I strongly recommend getting a second delay instead, as long mode makes it a tiny bit muddy.