I’ve completed my initial revisions to the RP500 v16 Huntersounds patch set, meaning that I’ve updated all 50 patches in the revised (v17) set with new settings for amp EQ, and other adjustments in many cases. There’s more work to be done to get it ready for release within the next week or so, and in the meantime, here’s what I’ve learned so far.

Top to Bottom: RP500, RP1000, RP355
Top to Bottom: RP500, RP1000, RP355

  • Amp modeled EQ rules. The amp-specific EQ models included in the RP500 sound lots better for amped tones than the global EQ they supply with the 355 and down. It’s also much easier to think about the way an amp’s EQ works than the way the “spectral” EQs supplied by Digitech in the lower models work.
  • The extra chips in the 500 make some of the problems with the 255/355 go away. I haven’t opened my 500 up and counted the chips, but I bet it has more of them than the 255/355. One reason why is that certain issues in the 255/355, like zipper noise when you use the expression pedal to control depth or speed of some of the modulation FX, don’t appear to exist on the 500. When I use the expression pedal on the RP355 to control vibrato depth or speed, moving the pedal quickly produces a grinding (“zipper”) noise that is in no way musical. Not on the 500. The only way you make that kind of problem go away on a digital device is by increasing the processing power available to the pedal, which means more chips or more powerful chips or both.
  • There are some puzzling differences in amp model behavior between the 355 and 500. The biggest difference I’ve discovered so far is that the Direct amp model in the 500 is terrifically weak compared to the amped-up models. On the 355 the difference isn’t so extreme; on the 500 you can barely hear a patch that uses the Direct amp model when your master volume is set to a level that works for the patches that use a Champ, Bassman, Matchless, etc. model. I’ve had to substitute a different amp model for the Direct amp model patches I created for the 155/255/355.

  • In general, the RP500 is a very rewarding device to work with. The thing sounds great, and the ability to put it into pedalboard mode, where you have separate footswitches for compression, distortion, FX, delay, and reverb on/off is hugely powerful for live performance. On many of my v17 Huntersounds patches for the 500, stepping on the compressor footswitch alone immediately makes the tone louder and more intense–just the thing for opening up some room for the harp solo. The RP500’s implicit grouping of patches in blocks of 5–you have to hit two footswitches in sequence to get to the next patch if it happens to be in a different block of 5 patches–is both a benefit and a hindrance: you can’t just hold a footswitch down and scroll through everything, the way you can with the 155/255/355, which is a drag, but in preset mode you can easily jump around in any order you like between the 5 patches in a block. What that means is that it’s even more important to set your patches up on a per-song basis for rapid switching when you need it. Specifically, you want your patches for a particular song residing together in a 5-patch block.

    I’ve never had to use more than 5 patches in a song, and I’m used to setting my patches up in the order I need for rapid switching, so that limitation isn’t a problem for me. Most people don’t do a lot of switching anyway, and so it’s even less of problem for most other players.

    Anyway, I like this box. Stay tuned for the Huntersounds v17 patchset for RP500 release announcement soon.