RT-20 Rotary Ensemble review by Boss

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  • Sound: 6
  • Overall Impression: 7
  • Reliability & Durability: 3
  • Ease of Use: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 6 Neat
  • Users' score: 9.8 (4 votes)
Boss: RT-20 Rotary Ensemble

Price paid: $ 189

Purchased from: Local Shop

Sound — 6
This is my favorite effect type, however one has to always understand that this will not give you a sound as good as a real Leslie speaker. No pedal will. I'm playing through a Parker P-44 with PAF pro and FRED pup's into a Bogner Alchemist 212. I can get that great "Black Hole Sun" fast rotor sound easily. I always kept it in Mode I which is the standard effect. Mode II has a tremolo in there too; not used as much. Mode III is supposed to be a full stack with Overdrive and the rotor. This mode sounds like mud, and I never used it. Mode IV is a classic Univibe. If you want this to be your Univibe effect, save up and get a Deja' Vibe. The depth is lacking on all modes, and it needs some warmth to the sound. A stereo setup may help bring some more depth, but I haven't tried it. There is an Overdrive built in, but it sounds worse than a cheap first guitar-and-amp pack. However I bought this pedal solely for that first mode, and it does that very well. The pedal is not true-bypass, but I really have found no significant tone loss. When the effect is engaged it actually cancels out any noise due to the phasing nature of the effect. The RT-20 does many things, some well, most ok, some bad. Your individual needs will determine if you should buy this pedal.

Overall Impression — 7
For a relatively cheap pedal to get many rotating speaker sounds, this unit will deliver. Again, someone (like me) who wants just a Leslie sound to get "Black Hole Sun" or even Joe Satriani's "Trundrumbalind" will be very pleased, whereas a player wanting a good Univibe sound may want to look elsewhere. Aside from reliability issues this pedal is worth the money to dive into some trippy textures.

Reliability & Durability — 3
I've had it for about a year and a half without problems. Unfortunately the pedal will not change modes anymore. Moving the mode knob goes through the same effect on each mode and looses the others or the Univibe will skip and stop (as seen by the virtual rotor and by ear). It looks like a circuit problem. I won't bother having it fixed because I usually use only mode I anyway. The casing is solid as all Boss pedals are, but that doesn't matter if the the electronics can't hold up.

Ease of Use — 8
This is one of Boss's twin pedals. It has controls for mode (the type of effect), ramp rate, wet level, dry level, tone (between the horn and bass), slow speed, fast speed, and an Overdrive level. Plenty of controls to play with; mostly straightforward. When in the Univibe setting, the tone knob becomes the intensity of the effect. There is an green LED to indicate power, as well as two red LED's to indicate the effect is on and whether you're on slow or fast setting. The left pedal enables the effect and the right changes the speed. The spinning virtual rotor in the middle gives a great sense of what's going on, and looks cool.

1 comment sorted by best / new / date

    The RT-20 does many things, some well, most ok, some bad. Your individual needs will determine if you should buy this pedal. // 6
    This. /Reviews. ALL OF THEM.