Blog, Hunter's Effects, Recommended Gear

The Digitech RP360 Firmware Update Finally Took–After 6 Tries

I had to power the device down and up again 6 times, with Nexus running on my computer, before the firmware update worked. The first 5 times, the update started, took a few shaky steps into the RP’s flash memory, then shut down. The sixth time, it went all the way. And to my great relief, the backup I’d saved of the 50 presets in my Huntersounds v17 patch set loaded on the first try.

The RP360XP: maybe it's working now?

The RP360XP: maybe it’s working now?


So I’m up and running again with the RP360XP, ready to test the patch set in the audible world. I still don’t know if the problems I’ve seen with the stability of patches in the RP360′s memory have been solved by the latest firmware update, but I’ll know soon. Stay tuned.

And Digitech, if you’re reading this, would you please fix this s—? I own one of almost every RP you ever made, starting with the RP200. I’ve been programming the RPs for 10 years. And if I didn’t have that history, I would have thrown this thing into the trash on Day One, because so far it’s the buggiest piece of gear I’ve ever bought from anyone. And you must know it, because it’s pretty amazing to see the first firmware rev less than two weeks after a device becomes available for sale. It makes me wonder whether that rev was underway even before the device went public, i.e. whether you knew the thing had some serious issues when it was released. Did you?

Blog, Hunter's Effects

The Digitech RP360 Crashed on a Firmware Update–Will it Come Back?

Last night I completed installing the first set of 50 Huntersounds patches on my Digitech RP360. I immediately backed up the set to my computer using Digitech’s crippled Nexus software. I’m glad I did, because if I hadn’t all that work would have been lost, maybe forever.
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Blog, Hunter's Effects, Recommended Gear

Announcing the Huntersounds Patch Set for Digitech RP1000

Yup. It’s here. If you’ve been waiting for the Huntersounds patch set for Digitech RP1000, wait no longer. $50 gets you fifty killer original harp-ready sounds. Just go straight to our store and pick it up.

The Digitech RP1000: You can load it with our patches starting now

The Digitech RP1000: You can load it with our patches starting now

Blog, Hunter's Effects, Recommended Gear

The Digitech RP360′s Software Still Sucks, But The Front Panel Works

I’ve given up completely on editing the RP360XP via the Nexus software–it’s just impossibly bad crap, and it creates more problems than it solves.

Fortunately, it turns out that editing the RP360XP via its front panel works fine. What a surprise. The front panel in the previous generation of RPs was okay for minor tweaks, but it would start to go flaky if you edited more than a few patches at a time. The RP360XP’s front panel editing is fully functional, stable, and very precise.

So I’m making good headway now on this device, and I’ll probably finish initial setup on the first set of patches this week. Stay tuned.

In the meantime, Digitech, if you’re really serious about software support for your devices, try making software that works. It can’t be that hard. After all, your competitors have been doing it for years.

Blog, Hunter's Effects, Recommended Gear

The Digitech RP360XP Still Sounds Great, and the Software Still Sucks

I spent a few hours converting my RP500 patches to the RP360XP last night, and I discovered another serious design flaw in the Nexus software. This is beginning to look like a trend, huh?
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Blog, Hunter's Effects, Recommended Gear

24 hours with the Digitech RP360XP: A+ device, D- Software

I’ve had my Digitech RP360XP, the latest in their RP line, for about a day now, and two things are clear: the box sounds great, and the software for patch configuration and management, to put it bluntly, is plain not good enough.
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Blog, Hunter's Effects, Recommended Gear

RP Tip #23: Use the Expression Pedal for SOMETHING

This tip’s message is simple. You’ve got an expression pedal. It makes the RP more expressive (as you might expect from a pedal whose name includes the word “expression”). So use it on every patch to express something.
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Blog, Hunter's Effects, Recommended Gear

The RP1000 Beta Patch Set is Done–Now For Testing

I’ve completed initial setup of the first set of 50 patches for the Digitech RP1000. My RP500 v17 set is my current benchmark for excellence in RP sounds, and I’m aiming to make the first RP1000 set sound very much the same.

The RP1000 has a MUCH hotter output than the 500, and I expect to need to deal with that somehow during testing. The 1000 is as loud with master volume set to 11 out of 99 as the 500 is with master volume set to 64. How the hell did that happen, Digitech? I guess somebody had a spare wall at the factory and decided they needed something loud enough to knock it down…

In the meantime, we’re getting closer to the official release for this set, which will be priced at US $50 (one dollar per patch). And then comes the set for the new RP360/360XP. So many devices, so little time.

The Digitech RP1000: it's big, it's bad, it's in our sights

The Digitech RP1000: it’s big, it’s bad, and it’s coming to you soon with our patches in it

Blog, Hunter's Effects, Recommended Gear

Second Impressions on the Digitech RP360/360XP

Digitech has officially released the RP360/RP360XP, and it’s an interesting box. A few highlights:
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Blog, Hunter's Effects, Recommended Gear

Bigger, Louder, Deeper: The Mackie Th15A Thump

Mackie TH15A on left, Peavey KB2 on right.  One of these things is not like the other...

Mackie TH15A on left, Peavey KB2 on right. Click on the photo for a bigger and wider image.

I was given a Mackie Thump TH15A powered speaker this Christmas, and I’ve replaced my Peavey KB2 with it in my rig.

The Mackie is louder, deeper, and lighter-weight than the Peavey. The Mackie has 400 watts divided between the woofer, which is a 15″ compared to the Peavey’s 10″, and the tweeter, which in the Peavey is integrated into the woofer; the Peavey’s output is in the neighborhood of 50 watts. In other words, the Mackie has a bigger pile of watts pushing the speakers, and the bigger woofer and horn together move lots more air at both the low and high ends of the frequency spectrum. (Of course, that’s not critically important to most harmonica players, who are playing an instrument that mostly occupies the mid-to-high-frequency spectrum; in other words, the Peavey coupled with an amp modeler like the Digitech RP has plenty of power and range for a traditional player. But when you use multiple instruments in loops that occupy a much wider range of frequencies, as I do, you need every bit of frequency range you can get.) At 29 pounds the Mackie is about five pounds lighter than the Peavey (34 pounds); either is easily carried in one hand.

The Mackie only has one XLR input (plus an XLR thru), as opposed to the Peavey’s one XLR and two 1/4″ inputs. The lack of 1/4″ inputs on the Mackie was a momentary problem for me, particularly because I was giving the Peavey a mono 1/4″ feed from the Digitech JamMan Stereo looper, which is the last device in my FX chain, and which possesses no XLR outs. Then I remembered that I had a battery-powered active direct box on the shelf. The solution was to run a 1/4″ mono output from the JamMan Stereo, whose own mixer combines the outputs from my voice and instruments, to the direct box, and then run an XLR cable from the direct box to the Mackie.

The Mackie includes a nice EQ with high, low, and middle bands, and the center frequency for the midrange band is movable. The Mackie also includes a rotary volume control on the back panel, which is very useful, though not conveniently placed for access during performance. These are minimal controls, but important ones, and their presence is welcome. The Mackie seems to make more self-noise than the Peavey, which is audible mainly when using the speaker at lower volumes; at higher volumes it just sounds big and loud, with a lot of low-end information that the Peavey just can’t produce.

The Peavey has a signficant advantage in terms of I/O options, though; counting the FX return, the Peavey has 5 inputs (channels 1-3, the FX return, and the Monitor input), as well as an FX send, a monitor send, and a balanced line out. The Peavey even has a headphone output, which is very useful for apartment-dwellers who’d like to be able to practice their instruments without offending the neighbors. For all these reasons, if you’ve got lots of inputs, you may want to stick with a keyboard amp. On the other hand…

I mentioned above that the Mackie weighs significantly less than the Peavey, and to me this is a very strong argument for the powered speaker: the power-to-weight-ratios and power-to-price ratios are both much better. (One might argue that Mackie’s main intention with the lightweight plastic cabinet was to keep the price of the Thump down–i.e., lower price at the cost of quality. Plastic is of course less durable than wood, but it is certainly lighter, and this cabinet feels substantial, so if Mackie saved some manufacturing costs and passed the savings on to me, I’m satisfied with the deal.) The Mackie’s 400 watts just blows the Peavey’s 50 watts away, with much less distortion at high volumes and an extended frequency range. The Mackie retails at $350 new, while the Peavey retails for about $260 new; but that extra $100 buys a whole lot of power in a lightweight package. Anyway, mine was purchased used at about $250 including shipping and a one-year warranty, which is not a unique deal, and that puts the Mackie in direct price competition with the KB2.

As of now, I suggest that players who want lots of loud with their amp modeler and don’t need more than one input should seriously consider a powered speaker. A powered speaker has all sorts of uses, from amping a single instrument to functioning as all or half of a self-powered PA, and it’s got a very high loudness-to-dollar ratio. Keep in mind that if you want more than one input, you’re going to need a mixer, and if the output from the mixer to the speaker doesn’t have an XLR connector, you’re going to need a direct box to make the connection. I’m using a 4-input mono mixer from Nady that cost $25 new, and a direct box that cost around $35. I’m purposely avoiding a stereo setup at the moment, but if I wanted one I’d need to add a stereo mixer for starters, preferably one with XLR outs.

I’ll post some clips of this setup soon.

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