Price paid: $ 46.5
Purchased from: Ishbashi Music
Sound — 10
Rat 2's aren't for everyone, but I just love 'em to death. They can get a smooth scooped metal sound with a lot of tweaking and an EQ but to be honest if thats what you're after, look else where, it's easier with a Boss Metal Zone or something. However for a gritty distortion that works great with tube amps it's great. It cleans up nicely with light picking and punches into distortion when the strings are hit hard. Also the attack on these things comes through nice and clear, even at hight distortion levels. You can basically get three different sounds from it. At low levels a mostly clean tone with a bit to grit. A bit higher a nice, dirty, AC/DC kind of classic rock tone. All the way up it almost (but not quite) sounds like a fuzz pedal. I would say this pedal works best for classic rock and indie/alternative rock, where a abrasive, rough sound is wanted. They sound great with single coils too. If you think Blur, Interpol, Radiohead, you get the idea how they sound. RAT2's need A LOT of tweaking. If you are the lazy type that likes to "plug and play" so to speak, forget it. Maybe thats why soem people hate them, they've never actually sat down with them and really tried to dail in a good tone. This pedal rewards patience. The only drawback for me is they do lack a bit of bass but a EQ pedal after or a mod can fix that.
Overall Impression — 10
The Rat 2 is a great, well made, classic distortion pedal, even if the sound seems to be up to personal taste. Keep in mind I have a '80s RAT which I got second hand. I hear the new Rat 2 have a new chip which doesnt sound as good. I use a Fender Strat and a "lawsuit" ES-335, lots of other effects and a Vox Valvetronic at home, Fender Twins for rehersals and gigs. My band plays alternative/indie/post-punk rock like the Cure, the Smiths or Interpol. I can really say that the RAT2 is a BIG part of my sound and until I find something I like better it will always be in my rig. If it were stolen, Id try to get another '80s one and if I can't do that, drunk depressed and probably drink lots.
Reliability & Durability — 10
I've dropped them, played a lot of gigs in rough places with them, even had an idiot stage drive off it. No problems what-so ever. My only gripe is the battery housing. You have to have an allen key, flip the thing over and chage it that way. I had to do it at a gig once and it wasn't a pleasent ecperiance. Now I use AC power all the time (which is a must I feel) and no longer have that problem.
Ease of Use — 9
Three knobs, come on. The only confusing thing is the filter works the opposite way to most tone knobs ie, left is treble and right is bass. The distortion knob is very touchy. Which is a good thing, you can get many sounds but patient tweaking is a must. This is covered more in the sound section.