Boss RE-20 Space Echo Delay Pedal Customer Review
This reviewer purchased this item from Same Day Music.
I have purchased this unit less than a week ago. I am quite able to get very nice echos off the unit. In comparison to the Boss DD-5 I own, this does sound very analog. If one pairs the RE-20 with a Boss DS-1 (Robert Keeley modded), one gets sounds similiar to the 1970s and 1980s arena rock. I can get the Led Zepplin 1 album slapback (ie. Good Times Bad Times vibe). The reverb is somewhat generic. However, I use a 1970s Fender Twin reverb. So, I have that base covered.
As for applications, I have used it live and the RE-20 did not disappoint. I have not used it in the studio, but the unit possess a direct switch on the back. I believe that one would have no problem getting a proper sound from its direct line.
The RE-20 does have a 1/4" jack to add an expression pedal. One would be able to control the rate of echo with it. The pedal also possesses a tap switch to the user can tailor the rate of echo. The unit does not possess presets. In this reguard, it is very much like the unit it was designed from. The purpose of this pedal was to make a COSM very of the RE-201. Boss gives your the control of that unit. However, they don't give the user a major upgrade in control of the unit. The pedal gives your the sound of the old space echo, but without the tape or hiss.
Ease of Use:
There is a manual, but you may not need it. There are knobs everywhere, but one does not need a MA in electronics to run it (like the DD-20). The only real beef I have with the unit was with the power concerns. I use a dunlop brick to power most of my pedals. If I used it on the RE-20, I got a thumping sound. If I switched it from the brick to a PSA-120, that problem was solved. I email Boss and they related to me that dunlop brick was not able to get the twin series enough juice to power them. Bummer.
Please read the manual for power considerations alone. Those of us who don't want to use batteries (the unit is rated 9v but uses AA) will have to read up on this twin series.
This is a Boss pedal. I have sent them off to be modified. NO PROBLEM. I have bought them new. NO PROBLEM. I think this unit will be fine. The only thing I think that can go wrong is one might lose a knob.
As stated before, I have emailed Boss with my power issue. I received an answer via email with 24 hours. Brownie points to their support. I just wish I would have know about that issue before buying. Love to complete specs on Boss unit prior to purchase.
This unit is not cheap ($250-275 street). However, if one wants the tube tape sound sans the tape, you are in the ballpark. Hiwatt puts out their Tube Tape echo rackmount ($500-600 street). Fulltone puts out there version of an echoplex for roughly a grand. Both of those come with unit that a tape that will wear out in time. So, if you have the bread and want that sound. And yes, it is different that Digital Delay. It may not be that costly an alternative when put into context of the what the top units the market has to offer.
The Wow Factor:
Can one make sweet love with this version of the space echo? Yes, one can. What I would recommend is trying the unit with a good chorus/flanger and going for a Andy Summers vibe. I believe one can really get a "Walking on the Moon" sound out of this unit. Couple that sound with the Led Zep favor already stated, one finds a pretty good all around analog-sounding unit. Try anything from the 1970s. Remember, EVH used an Echoplex. If you get a MXR Phase 90, RE-20, and a decent amp with distortion, you might be hitting Van Halen 1 terrority. If the Police, Led Zepplin, and Van Halen are not your gig, then try something else.
I bought this unit to maybe replace my Boss DD-5. It has not replaced it. There are something the RE-20 cannot do. However, one has to remember a tape delay and digital delay are two different animals. Both of the Boss units provide a reasonable amount of control. The Boss DD-5 and RE-20 will let you record over your own playing, just one does it longer.
If stolen, I would get another one. I like that there are stereo inputs and outputs. I have placed my dd-5 outputs going into the inputs of the RE-20. No problems detected as of yet. (Note: I do use a hum elimatinor for grounding issues with two amps.) I do recommend this unit for anyone going for a vintage analog delay sound.