Price paid: $ 95
Purchased from: Coastal Music, Durban - South Africa
Sound — 7
My main guitars are a 1972 Ibanez Les Paul fitted with EMG HZ on neck and bridge, 1972 Ibanez Stratocaster (both lawsuit copies) with stock 1972 SSS configuration, Ibanez hybrid (Epiphone Les Paul body with 1981 Ibanez Roadstar II maple strat type neck with pups Ibanez Super 70 on neck, and DiMarzio Al Di Meola DP159 - neck on the bridge), 1982 Ibanez Roadstar II stock, 1981 USA Fender Bullet with Ibanez 1981 single coil pickups taken off a Roadstar II. The effect chain consists of DigiTech Whammy DT, Boss Acoustic Simulator, Boss Auto Wah, Boss Blues Driver, Boss Metal Zone, DigiTech RP80, Dunlop Cry Baby and Boss FV50 volume pedal. Main amps are Crate 65 solid state tuned up for rhythm work, and Carvin SX200 solid state tuned up for lead work. In both amps only the power amp of the clean channel is used, I.e. Sound processing comes solely from the pedals. The DigiTech RP80, as you can see, is last in the chain, with only the volume pedal after it. Initially for 2 years I used the RP80 as my sole processor. As a sole processor I found nothing wrong with the sound of the RP80, and used it extensively on stage and in the studio. I found most of the distortions to be fat and meaty, but the Compressor added a bit of 'tin' to the sound, IMHO. The only gripe I have is that there is a fraction of a second of total silence when switching from one program to another, while the effect 'considers' the request. That was extremely annoying on my first pedal, the RP 7 and was the reason to move to RP80, but it is still there, even though a lot shorter. Maybe I am the only one to hear it, but it irritates me. Nevertheless, 2 years of hard touring and studio work and countless recordings later I was very happy with the sound. In 2006 moved to stomp boxes for greater versatility. At the moment, in my effects chain, the RP80 plays the role of Chorus, Delay, Reverb and Noise Gate only, and these are switched on more or less permanently. I do realise that there is a drop in voltage when the RP80 is on, but since it is on all the time, the rest of my rig is adjusted accordingly.
Overall Impression — 8
I play heavy rock, hard rock, classic rock and occasionally heavy metal. The rig I have can perfectly reproduce Gilmour, Blackmore, Iommi, Satriani, Malmsteen or Hammett. The effects I use on the RP80 are very well suited for the job. I probably would not have bought it had I paid attention to the patch changing issue (above), but if I lost it, I would replace it with the same, I do not need more. What I did not like about it in the years of it being the only effect I had is the small size of the pedal, very often in a fit of exaltation I would accidentally push on the 'up' pedal. This is now not an issue, as I do not use the RP80s pedal. I chose this because I was poor. I would choose it again because it is top notch and build to last. I wish it had true bypass.
Reliability & Durability — 10
As I said, 8 years of abuse and nothing wrong, not even a scratch in the sound or a dent in the chassis. I do not use any backup, but then I have enough pedals in my pedal board to get out of any situation unnoticed. Haven't been let down by the RP80 yet, though.
Ease of Use — 5
Very easy to use, though you have to "scroll" through the programs, as it has no 'banks', so if the desired sound is 5 numbers down, you have to press the 'down' pedal 5 times to get there, and that can be a real pain in the butt, especially for live performances! I have put the clean guitar in 4, lead sound in 5, clean again in 6, distortion rhythm guitar in 3, lead in 2, etc, trying to get to the next desired sound with one or two presses of the pedal. Editing is not difficult. I found getting an even volume on all the programs the most time consuming task. The manual is fairly easy to use, explanations do need some imagination, but not Rocket science. I have used this pedal for 8 years now and never upgraded it, I have no idea how and why, nor the need to do so.