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Digitech RP55 Modelling Guitar Processor (Multi-Effects Pedal) Review

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Digitech RP55 Modelling Guitar Processor (Multi-Effects Pedal) Review

Due to the amount of time I travel & stay in hotels for work assignments, I’ve recently got into the habit of taking an electric guitar on the road with me to try and get a couple of hours of practice in as and when I can. To make the most of this valuable practice time, I’ve been on the lookout for a cheap multi-effects pedal that I can use with headphones, whilst providing me with a range of overdrive, distortion & modulation effects.

…I can dial in some nice sounding modulation, have fun with a range of overdrive and amp models whilst jamming along to a range of drum patterns…

Digitech RP55 Multi Effects PedalFeatures:

The following specifications are taken straight from the Digitech website, but I’ll explain more about these features later in the review.

11 Amp Models, 5 Cabinets, 20 Studio Quality Effects (up to 8 at once), Built-in drum machine with 30 patterns, 40 user presets, 40 Factory Presets, Built-in Chromatic Tuner, Expression pedal input for Whammy / Wah and Volume, Easy-to-read LED Display, Stereo Output doubles as headphone jack, Low-noise 24-Bit analogue digital converters, Runs on batteries or external power supply – (Requires 6 AA batteries).

The 11 amp models that are featured in this pedal are:

’65 Fender Blackface Twin Reverb, Boutique Head (Matchless?), ‘01 Mesa/Boogie Dual Rectifier, Hot Rodded British Head, ’57 Fender Tweed Deluxe, ‘63 Vox AC30 Top Boost, Clean Tube amp, British Stack, Crunchy tube combo, High Gain tube amp, Vintage fuzz distortion, Flat-top acoustic guitar.

The 5 amplifier cabinets are:

’65 Fender Blackface 2×12 Cabinet, ’57 Fender Tweed 2×12 Cabinet, British Combo 2×12 Cabinet, Vintage 4×12 Cabinet, British 4×12 Cabinet.

Ease of use:

The Digitech RP55 is fairly easy to use. I quickly scanned the user manual but having previously owned a Zoom 505 a few years ago I figured that the principals would be similar.

You can simply plug in and play with this pedal. Selecting the right hand side footswitch takes you up through the presets and the left pedal brings you back down again. There are 80 factory presets configured initially, however, it seems that presets #1-#40 are identical to #41-#80. The reason for this is that you can create up to 40 custom presets, which means every time you store a customised preset it actually overwrites one of the 40 preset spaces allocated, therefore leaving you with the potential use of up to 40 custom presets and the remaining 40 factory user settings.

Finding the tuner was probably the most challenging part of using the pedal. Like the Zoom 505, you have to select both footswitches simultaneously, however, unlike my old Zoom 505, you need to keep both pedals selected for quite a few seconds before the tuner engages. Simply press any of the footswitches to cancel the tuner (there’s no need to press both switches again simultaneously). The tuner is OK, but I found I had to strike the strings fairly hard to get an accurate reading on the tuning scale, unlike the other individual tuner pedals I use.

Creating custom presets is very easy, but you’ll probably need the user guide to hand to understand what amp settings you’ve selected, delay types used etc. To create custom presets you have to modify one of the factory presets and simply overwrite it when you store the new settings. This process was very straight forward, but don’t be surprised if you’re glancing at the user guide from time to time; EQ settings, amp types and delay/modulation were the references required that caused me to pick up the manual in defeat (I’m a guy, we don’t need manuals! 😉 ).

An attractive aspect to this pedal is that it has a built in drum machine – perfect for my nights away from home. Engaging the drum machine is very easy and you have a choice of around 30 drum patterns to jam with, most of which are great fun.

Sound quality:

I never really intend to gig with this pedal – that wasn’t at the forefront of my mind when I purchased the item – it really is for bedroom use and practice. Although there are many amp models to choose from, initially I wasn’t bowled over by the quality. Digitech mention you can dial in a Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifier, (even through 4×12” cab modelling) but I just burst out laughing when selecting this setting; obviously, it doesn’t really compare to the real thing! However, there’s the ability to tweak the EQ, even change the pickup sounds from Single Coils to Humbuckers and I found that after a bit of time, I managed to dial in some sweet sounding overdrive/distortion tones. Some of the cleaner amp models sound quite nice and mixed with a bit of delay and a dash of chorus, you can achieve some pleasant tones. I lost myself for 30mins or so playing away to a couple of Pink Floyd tracks as I was actually quite impressed by the delay, chorus and volume swell available on tap. You don’t have the flexibility of making fine adjustments to the tone as you would do with standalone pedals, which as someone who hasn’t used a multi-effects unit for years, I found a bit frustrating – but I knew prior to purchasing the pedal, that would be the case.

The drum machine sounds OK, with 30 different patterns to choose from, and they’re adequate to jam along with.

I mentioned earlier I wouldn’t really want to play this pedal in a live situation; well I’ve actually used it live a couple of times now, through a Marshall Reverb 12 practice amp. The only thing I would say, as with most pedals and amps – be cautious about the presets you create in the surroundings of your bedroom, as when it comes to playing with other members of a band, your settings may get lost in the mix somewhat. I found that with the overdrive presets I created, I had to make to minor adjustments to the EQ (boosting the mid range & treble). The clean presets I created though were really good, straight out of the box, leaving me pleasantly surprised.

I also found that it makes quite a bit of difference of how good this pedal sounds depending on the amplifier you use it with. Through my practice amp it sounds OK but through my Marshall Vintage/Modern combo it actually sounded really impressive, especially the cleaner custom settings I created.

Reliability:

The Digitech marketing team do a good job with the packaging of the unit. I was sucked in by all the features this pedal offers, but I was really let down when I actually opened the box and placed the pedal in my hands. The pedal is relatively cheap to purchase and to be honest, it feels it. I’m not too sure how long it will last or how durable the switches are – the first thing I did was complete my warranty card!

Overall rating:

I was after a cheap multi-effects pedal to take away with me when I’m on work assignments and this pedal is perfect for my requirements and is fun to use. Not only can I dial in some nice sounding modulation, I can have fun with a range of overdrive and amp models whilst jamming along to a range of drum patterns.

When it comes to playing with this pedal in a live situation, it’s useable, but you may need to tweak some of your settings to cut through the mix somewhat and you may need to spend a bit of time dialling in the overdrive tones. I was really impressed with the clean amp settings and modulation options available.

An aspect I do like about this pedal is the ability to select an amplifier cabinet model to play through and although it’s not outstanding, it’s great fun to imagine you’re playing through a 1970’s Marshall head and 4×12” cab, despite the fact you’ve got your headphones on playing in your bedroom/hotel room.

A pedal priced so low featuring so many features is always a winner and I’m looking forward to experimenting further with custom presets and jamming along to a few more drum patterns. The Digitech RP55 (purchased from Absolute Music) is perfect pedal for beginner guitarists to experiment with a variety of effects and ideal for guitarists who want the convenience of having multi-effects on tap, quickly plugging in and playing through your practice amp or headphones.

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Sam is passionate about talking all things guitar related and started GuitarJar.co.uk to help encourage all guitarists in their guitar playing journey.

12 Comments

  • Very nice review, im serious engaged to buy this one.
    Just a queestion, the headphone input is really usable?
    i mean, do you get a good sound (punchy/bassy) from this?

    Also, is possible to use another pedals before in the chain (overdrive+wah) and get a nice output from the headphones?

    Thank you!

  • Hi Ricardo, thanks for the comment. I can’t honestly say about using additional pedals with the Digitech unit as I’ve created around 8 patches to suit my needs.

    The headphones aspect is very usable – but don’t expect anything special. If you simply want to jam along to a drum pattern and dial in some overdrive and modulation/delay to practice, or pass some time, this unit is more than acceptable. I use it a lot with headphones and it does the job OK. I recently purchased a decent pair of headphones which helped with the EQ spread. It’s a fun jamming tool, that can be used live too, but expect to play with settings when used in a live/band situation.

  • Ok.so i am totaly new to it.i have an electric guitar that i use with my cd player via a 3.5 cnvrtr cable.so ths z the first tym i wd b buyn a guitar amp,and a procsr.i’m cnsdrng sm lw budget s2f as i dnt hv mch pcktmny lft.am thnkng of buyng a stranger cube 20m amp nd use it with ths digitech rp55 procsr.am gna b plyn rock,metal specfcly.so do u thnk the choice z gd as per my budget(total around 140$).also does ths prcsr cms with a gd enough waranty.i’ve heard its made of plastic mainly.bt i mean i dnt wana weep over it jst aftr a few days use.pls hlp.waitng fr ur sgstns.

    • It is cheap, and plastic – but it’s a great practice tool and fun for experimenting with a range of sounds. you can use it to jam/gig with if you spend time dialing in some nice sounds. It does what it does, well for the price.

  • can you tell me is it possible to use rp55 only as an effects pedal? i want to use my marshall distorsion and only add effects on that sound

    • As far as I’m concerned, I always treated my RP55 as an effects pedal – you can isolate specific overdrives, delays etc or have the ability to mix sounds and add the drum loops as an added bonus for practising. Hope this helps.

  • Just bought the RP55 and was trying to find any patches suitable to play Status Quo as I am new to playing the guitar, and would love to set up my RP55 settings, Thanks very much for any input, Alan

  • How about the Digitech RP355? Actually I own that one but feeling quite low after your review of the RP55! So please reply bro… Please try to reply to me regarding how good it is, considering its price, durability and how handy is it for live shows!

    Please help. I found your review helpful and only you can help me get over this confusion…

    • Hi – I don’t know about the RP355 as I’ve never used or owned one. With regards to the RP55 though – I found it fine for “bedroom” practice use, especially with the built in drum patterns to jam along with. You could use it live no problem, but you may find over time, you play on other pedals that sound much more authentic.

      The RP55 is low cost, sounds OK, but don’t be surprised if you end up wanting to buy something different after a period of time, something that sounds less “fake” and more authentic. Happy strumming!

  • My Zoom A2 has recently just died on me, so I wanted to get another acoustic effects pedal/tuner that I could use for practice/small gigs etc without spending a fortune. I realise this pedal is for electric guitars predominantly, but would it still be any good to me with an acoustic?

    • It may sound OK with acoustic using the modulation effects. If it was me, I’d probably look for a more acoustic focussed effects unit though.

  • This effects pedal is nice. Though, i am not really very knowledgeable about it but, my brother is fun of playing his guitar and he also uses effects pedal so, i hear it’s sound when this pedals are used. It’s actually nice and it gives a different and unique sound.

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