RE-20 Space Echo review by Roland

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  • Sound: 8
  • Overall Impression: 7
  • Reliability & Durability: 6
  • Ease of Use: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 7.3 Good
  • Users' score: 10 (1 vote)
Roland: RE-20 Space Echo

Price paid: C$ 280

Purchased from: Long & Mcquade

Sound — 8
My setup contains: '72 Telecaster Deluxe into a Boss FV500 and then to a WH4 DigiTech Whammy, into a mix(explained later) then into either a Fender TRRi or Mesa Trem-O-Verb via switcher. When I was using it, It was at the end of my chain. Noisy? Here is my biggest problem with this pedal. You remember when I said this thing has a rotary LED? Remember how I also use a DigiTech Whammy? When these two pedals are on the same chain, I get an AWFUL sound comping from my amp. After about 5 minutes of screwing around, I came to the conclusion that the rotary LED in conjuncture with the WH4 was messing with the signal. A loud scratchy swell coming from the speakers was clearly coming from the LED. This problem eventually led to me not using this thing anymore and lending it to my other guitarist. It's sad because I actually really enjoy the sounds I can get out of it. As for effects: Reverb is pretty lousey, but that's not what I bought it for. When combined with the delay effect it's actually nice. Delay/Simulated Echo is actually really nice depending on your taste. When dialed in correctly, you get a pretty similar sound to the Original rack version. The repeat rate knob is unique in the sense that it has a delay of its effect. It emulates what would happen on a real tape device. If you tweak it, it will slowly catch up to the tempo that you want, making for some really kick-ass tracking. The mode knob has 12 settings. 1 for reverb, 4 for delay and 7 for a mix of the two. They differences between them is simply a change in tempo range. I only used 3-4 of the twelve available. The expression input is nice in a studio but not really practical on stage as it requires a spot (and quite a large one) on your pedalboard for it. Boss could have made things so much better if they had the tempo pedal dual function as an expression. When dialed in, you can get some very good early Gilmour sounds. It is a unique sounding delay pedal. Possibly one of the closer tape echo modeling to the real thing I have come across.

Overall Impression — 7
I play experimental Post-rock/Post-metal. It matches these genres reasonably well. I have been playing for 6 years, three years in a band. Since I have stopped using the Space Echo, I now use a Malekko 616(Amazing price for what you get) and a Maxon AD999. I would have liked to know about the problematic rotary LED. It might just be a defect, but who knows? I wouldn't buy it again if lost or stolen. I love the unique flavor of this pedal. I hate the problems and the reverb. My favorite feature would most likely be the tap tempo and the thing I mentioned before about the repeat rate knob. Decent. Not great.

Reliability & Durability — 6
Can't say I would depend on it. After seeing how it reacted to a widely used pedal such as the WH4, who knows what configurations will piss it off? Just takes some tweaking I guess. It would be fine in a gig situation. If you rely on batteries, this thing takes six AA. Just to warn you. Standard Boss Durability. Built sturdy. No problems here.

Ease of Use — 8
Pretty Easy to use and get a decent sound. And I do mean decent, not great. Stereo input and output allows for great stereo sounds--Though, there are better out there in the delay world. Input volume knob is nice to have but not really necessary. Dialing in a decent tone is pretty simple and easy. Delay/Echo is very easy to get going. The tap tempo makes it really easy. The modes knob, I feel, is okay. There aren't a lot of modes that are worth staying on however, but I'll get to that in "Sound". Rotary LED displays your tempo. Having an expression pedal option is nice, but I don't use it. The manual is pretty straight-forward. Just a simple Boss manual with some examples of good sounds.

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