Price paid: € 290
Purchased from: Thomann
Ease of Use — 9
This pedal is Idiot-proof. It even tells you when the pedal is too high in gain and/or volume by flashing a little red light on the delay volume knob. I think you have to try hard to get a bad tone from this piece of equipment. I'm not saying it has the tone you like, but it has a good tone. I Needed something that I could set up in about 30 seconds. Perfect! The Manual is very helpful and gets you involved with the pedal instantly. No presets are needed. Plug and play. I personally think that Tech 21 have designed this pedal very well seeing that it can act as your amp and effects and yet it's so easy to get a good tone out of it.
Sound — 9
We've all been there. Playing with the band, loading and unloading heavy pieces of equipment. Soundchecking until we get the tone we want for our gig. Countless hours spent and sometimes we still don't get the results we want without a good technician. What if I told you there is an easier way? Let's leave all our prejudices at the door and speak about the Fly Rig 5 by Tech 21.
The Tech 21 is a little pedal that features (from right to left) a boost, Plexi Distortion, a Sans Amp and a Tap Delay. You can directly plug it in the PA or in front of an amp. Now, I know what you're thinking: "NO WAY! Guitars don't have that feel when plugged in a PA directly from a Pedal, good as it may be." Gentlemen, let me tell you that this is a great pedal and it sounds great where ever you plug it into. I'm currently using it directly into the mixer. It sounds perfect. If tubes are 10, this is a 9. Keep in mind that this pedal is designed as a "travel" pedal, but let me tell you that the Fly Rig 5 outsounds even some amps by major manufacturers. It's pretty versatile but of course the basic sound is that of the Sans Amp and Plexi. The two channels influence each other, mainly the sans amp towards the plexi distortion. You can get some very good sounds from it. I play mostly British music, and I can't complain. I give it a 9 because it's hard to make a product so small (not even as big as two iPhones) that plays this well.
Reliability & Durability — 7
Looks solid. I wouldn't be careless with it though. It's still very little even though it looks pretty fit. I would always keep it safe as if it was my own child. Looking at it, I think it can withstand live playing OK. However it's very dependable, I don't use a back up with it but if I could afford as much as I could I would buy more just to be safe. Finish looks good. I think it's very well made and dependable. Just don't go trowing it around carelessly and you should be fine. It's in a sturdy metal housing and the knobs are plastic (not a cheap one however). They supply you with a 12V power adapter so becareful if you want to use a personal one or a power brick. When it comes to power, be safe!
Overall Impression — 9
I've been playing for 10 years. And I have good equipment: Mesa Express 5:50, Aria TA 80 1967 reissue, Mad Hatter Rat, TC Electronics Flashback X4. I always use a certain caution when purchesing products. However, when I encountered this little thing, I went wild and bought one. Now it's my primary weapon!
I have played various genres in my life. Right now I play my own songs with my band, our influences are The Beatles, Oasis, British musicians as you can see, I love the sound I can get with it. I don't get the sounds I have in my albums but I get good sounds. If you want a machine that replecates every single amp you use, buy a kemper if you have the money. For me, I enjoy this pedal enough. Can play from rockabilly to rock perfectly. If you want to use your pedals or a heavier distortion, it works great with other pedals too. Just remember, if plugged into the mixer directly, Leave the Sans Amp channel always on.