Ease of Use: This is the Rocktron XDC Distortion/Exciter. I have reason to believe that it was made in the 80's, although I can't be positive. The switches/knobs include (from left to right): Power, Gain, Brilliance, Level, in/out switch, Exciter 1 Phase, Exciter 1 Mix, Exciter 2 Phase, Exciter 2 Mix, and Output. There are 3 jacks in the back. Output, Input, and Footswitch. It has a footswitch which I'm forced to assume came with it, as it has the Rocktron logo on it. There was no manual when I received it, so I was forced to figure out how everything works in my 2 years of owning it. Once you get the hang of what everything does it is a breeze to work, assuming of course everything is in working order. On the distortion channel with the gain at about 12 o'clock gives a great Led Zeppelin tone. A little more gain plus brilliance and you have yourself a decent AC/DC tone. Distort it all to hell, and you can still get some good sounds of it. Switching to the Clean channel is very easy using the hand switch or the footswitch. The Clean channel exciter does very little to the sound, but it still makes a small difference. Overall it is easy to use, and is fairly straightforward. // 8
Sound: I'm using this with a Gibson Les Paul Studio, and a Line 6 Spider III. I know the Spider III is not the ideal amp, but I only use the Clean channel and the reverb. I have also used this through my friends Peavey Valve King 112, and the sound was more defined yet still similar. The distortion sounds good up until about 3/4 o' clock on the gain knob. It takes my Washburn Wah pedal fairly well. The distortion exciter really brightens up the sound, but at the same time it sounds a tad muddy. I don't like to touch the Level and Output knobs, which I will explain why later in the review. Personally, I love the way this thing works, but I have used much better equipment that I would recommend over this. This box was received by me for free, so I can't complain. But on the basis of a critical review, it is defiantly better than average sound. I have never heard The Line 6 sound so good just using this box. At the same time however, it is not the greatest sound in the world. // 7
Reliability & Durability: Here is where I have a hard time reviewing. I recieved this Box from my goofy uncle who has been playing guitar for around 30 years. He used it way back when, and he gave it to me one day and said "give this a try". Over the couple of years, I have learned 2 critical things.
01: If you so much as brush the output knob at all, it makes a loud static sound not quite unlike the devil himself trying to force himself out of your speaker
02: to cure it of this static madness, rap it on the top of the box with your finger, fist, guitar, beer bottle, whatever you have on hand.
It also has a tendency to start staticing on its own, but it does it less nowadays. Keep in mind that this thing is around 30 years old, and some dysfunction is to be expected. The footswitch is slowly failing as well, but it could probably be fixed. If it was in complete working order, then I would defiantly gig with it without a backup. I am considering sending it in to Rocktron to see if they can refurbish and repair it. (may be fairly hard, seeing as they dont even have it listed on the Rocktron Website)
Long story short: In working order it would be very reliable, and i would use it without a backup. Mine as of right now, not so much.
I would give this section a 6.5, but seeing as I cant I shall round up. This is because if mine worked perfectly, I would rely on it more. // 7
Overall Impression: I am surprised that it has held up all these years. I think that Rocktron has probably made some technological advancements in the last 20 or so years, so I like it because of its Vintage-ness. I play lots of things ranging from Led Zeppelin to Metallica and numerous things in between. Its a great match for the casual rocker, and maybe a good match for the player who is gigging if he/she enjoys the sound. For the more serious and advanced players however, I would recommend something much better. For example, maybe something from the last couple decades. I fall into the casual rocker category as of now, and I love it dearly. If it was lost/stolen, then I would shed a tear. I would get it again if I could find another one for cheap, but if not I would get a more up-to-date Rocktron. The Vintage-ness is great, but there's more things out there with great Vintage qualities like older Marshalls and such. I encourage you to give this one a try if you ever get the chance. It is very unique in its own way, and I hope it will last many years to come. // 8