I took delivery last night on a Digitech RP350, and I’ve spent a little time working with it.  I’m satisfied already that anyone buying an RP should spend the extra money for the RP350.  The extra control you get over EQ and amp models from the front panel alone is worth the extra $50.  That’s not even including the fact that you can have two foot-switchable amp and EQ setups per patch, meaning that you effectively have 140 patches onboard instead of 70, and there are more amp and effect models onboard than you get with the RP250.  The RP350 (and 250) have been discontinued very recently (to make room for the slightly enhanced RP355 and RP255), so dealers like American Musical Supply and Musiciansfriend are selling 350s for $150 or less, which makes them a very good deal.  (You can find used ones from daddys.com, a reputable online used gear dealer, for even less.) 

As I’ve mentioned previously, working with an amp modeler gives you a lot of insight into the sounds different mics make.  There is now no question in my mind that it’s easier to get a hard-punching sound from any amp with a Shure 545 than with an Audix Fireball V.  I have spent a lot of time in developing my latest patch set for the RP250/350 making sure that there are patches for the Fireball that punch very hard, and I’m sure owners of the patch set who’ve asked for more punch in the Fireball patches will be very happy when they hear the latest versions.  That said, if you want maximum slam on every patch, you’re well advised to use a 545.  (I like to stop slamming every once in a while, but maybe that’s just me.)  Note that the converse is also true: you are never, ever going to get as sweet a sound from the 545 as from the Fireball.  As the saying goes, horses for courses, which in this case means that no single mic does it all. I’m just glad that both mics sell for around $100 apiece, meaning that many players can afford both.

The next version of the patch set will ship with Shure 545, Fireball V, and Astatic JT30VC patches set up for one-shot bulk load for both the RP250 and RP350, which means that patch set owners can load their device in a matter of seconds.  The Bottle o’ Blues patches will be included as single patches that can be loaded one at a time.  It appears at this point in time that none of my buyers are using the BoB as their primary mic, so it made sense to open up some room in the bulk load set for the other mics.  At this point the set includes about 25 patches each for the Shure 545 and Fireball, and 10 for the Astatic.   Those numbers reflect the more limited tonal palette of the Astatic–it’s just not as versatile a mic as the other two, and a lot of stuff that sounds great on a mic with a wider frequency range doesn’t sound very good at all on the JT30.

This update, like all my patches for the Shure 545, Fireball V, Astatic JT30VC, and BoB mics, is free to all current owners.