• Pros: Rugged build, sleek and stylish design, easy to use interface and a great degree of tonal versatility.
• Cons: The high gain amp modules can sometimes be hit and miss in terms of tone dynamics.
• Overall: A pedal that offers both a great degree of versatility and value for money.
Over the years multi-effects processors have gone from being the excitable disappointments of the guitar world to becoming a series part of any guitarist’s arsenal of equipment. And over the past few years DigiTech has been a serious player in the multi-effects processor market offering guitarists units that are easy to use, affordable and versatile. Today I take a look at DigiTech’s latest upgrades to its iconic RP series the RP360 and RP360XP; both which pack in some serious effects and functionalities into a handy-sized package.
In this day and age one of the most important aspects of any piece of musical equipment is portability. There’s literally no guitarist in the world that wants to lug around an over-sized multi-effects processor that’s a nightmare to setup and disassemble. And this is one of the areas that DigiTech seem to be paying attention to of late. The larger of the two, the RP360XP measures just 11.5” X 8.5” and weighs just a little over 4 pounds and fits in easily in most gig bags. The RP360’s all-metal casing is also extremely rugged and the pedal looks like it’ll be able to withstand even the shoddiest treatment on stage and on the road.
Another significant improvement in the RP360’s build is its sleek design and minimalist layout. As far as we’re concerned, it doesn’t matter how great a pedal is if it’s confusing nightmare to operate. And the RP360 wins handsomely on this front. The pedal’s minimalist layout is not only stylish and sleek but it is also incredibly easy to operate, even for a first-time user of multi-effects processors. Selecting a preset is as simple as twisting the “select” knob on the right hand side of the LCD display.
And while editing and building presets might seem like a daunting task for most beginners, the RP360’s simplified operating system makes this a breeze to learn as well. To edit or build a preset, players simply have to hold down on the “select” knob. This opens up a signal-chain diagram that shows the amps, cabs and effects that are active in the preset. To change any of these aspects of the preset players simply have to rotate the “select” knob to select the aspect of the signal chain they wish to change. Once an aspect of the signal chain is selected the three adjustment knobs on the bottom of the LCD screen allow players to adjust the various modules and parameters of the effect.
The RP360 also features 2X2 USB connectivity which allows players to hookup the pedal to their Macs or PCs and edit and share tones through DigiTech’s free tone editing software “Nexus”.
Another great thing about the RP360 is that it can be used in three different footswitch modes. Preset mode allows players to scroll through the pedal’s various effects with the A and B footswitches and control the pedal’s looping feature with the C footswitch. This is usually great when you’re jamming at home or rehearsing and have the time to scroll through and try out various presets. Bank mode allows players to assign three presets to the three footswitches and is great when a player needs only a few different sounds for a performance. Stomp mode allows players to switch on or off three effects within a preset. This is great for players that plan on using the RP360 as part of a much larger pedal board. For example, instead of having to purchase separate distortion, delay and EQ pedals, a guitarist can simply assign these three effects to the RP360’s three footswitches and add them instantly to his pedal board.
The DigiTech RP360 and RP360XP both have a capacity of 198 stored presets (99 factory assigned presets and 99 user created presets). The factory assigned presets include tones modeled after artistes like U2, Led Zeppelin, Metallica and even bands like Minus The Bear and Silversun Pickups. And there are also some whacky tones in there that probably only 1% of the guitar playing population will use. So even if you are a beginner that isn’t too good at creating your own presets, the chances are that you’ll most likely find at least a dozen presets which you can use in your own playing.
And when creating your own presets, the RP360 offers a comprehensive range of amps, cabinets and stompboxes. As far as the amps go the pedal includes modulations of 55 classic amps including Marshall, Vox, Laney, Mesa Boogie and Orange and 27 cabinets.
A slight drawback that should be mentioned here is that some of the amp modules can sometimes be hit and miss. For example some of the higher gain amps don’t seem to sound as dynamic as they should. But that said, with 27 cabinets to choose from, you can most often get a decent enough sound from most of them.
The RP360’s 86 stompboxes are quite comprehensive and include some excellent distortion, flanger, chorus, delay, EQ and reverb options. And in the RP360XP, the pedal’s expression pedal can be assigned to control any number of effects parameters as well as traditional expressions like wah-wah, whammy and volume.
The RP360 an RP360XP both come with a long list of additional features like USB connectivity, aux input, headphone output, 60-track drum machine and built-in tuner. But one function worth mentioning is DigiTech’s trademark “Sound Check” feature which allows players to loop a phrase while tweaking various effects and parameters cutting down the time it takes to achieve that perfect tone.
At under $250 both the RP360 and RP360XP are definitely two pedals that offer serious value for money. And although a few of the pedal’s amp modulations can leave something to be desired the versatility of the effects and cabinets on offer and the pedal’s ease of use more than compensate for its very few shortcomings.