Digitech has officially released the RP360/RP360XP, and it’s an interesting box. A few highlights:
1) This thing runs the AudioDNA2 chip that’s built into the RP155/255/355/500/etc., so the basic sound engine is the same. However, Digitech’s included some of the most harp-friendly amp models from the RP500 into this device, such as the Gibson GA40 and the Digitech Blues. So in that sense, it’s got a little bit more for harp players under the hood than the RP355 (though not the RP500). it’s also got a few more modulation FX, e.g. a new chorus model or two. The reverbs and delays are the same as in the previous generation of RPs, meaning pretty damn good, and certainly as good or better than dedicated stompboxes selling for as much as this device.
2) The new operator interface, which is graphical (with icons representing amps and FX) is probably a lot easier for most people to use than the matrixed lights-and-dials interface on the older RPs. Ditto the new metal footswitches.
3) You can now use an external volume or expression pedal to control just about everything you can control with the 360XP’s built-in expression pedal. If you’ve already got a volume or expression pedal with a 1/4″ jack on it, you can use it with the RP360 to control any parameter of any effect that you like. You can also add an FS3X footswitch to control the RP360’s looper, so you can use footswitches to control patch selection, FX level, and the looper, all at once.
4) It’s got tap-tempo for the delay. (About time, I’d say, and the pun is intentional.)
5) It’s got the same dual-EQ setup that the RP500 has–an amp-modeled bass/mid/treble EQ, and a semi-parametric EQ with movable center points and slopes for the low, mid, and high ranges. That is a VERY nice EQ setup–it allows you to tune the amp model for the response you want, then use the parametric EQ to make it sit in the mix.
I haven’t put together a patch set for this box yet, but obviously it’s a priority for me. That said, the big question for a lot of RP users is going to be: should I replace my current RP with this thing? My short answer is “no” for most current owners. The sound engine is the same, so the 360 isn’t going to make you sound any different for the most part. The new amp models are useful, but not enough to justify spending $200 to replace a perfectly functional RP that ultimately sounds very much the same.
However, the new features are attractive enough in my opinion to make this box the preferred choice for new RP buyers, especially if you don’t want to go all the way to an RP500 (which is a bigger, heavier, more expensive device, admittedly with some of the series’s best performance features). Digitech’s packed some of the most useful models and performance features of the RP500 into a smaller, lighter package. It’s a good choice of features at a good price point; not a giant evolution upward from the RP355, but a well-thought-out update that addresses many of the areas for improvement in that device. However, you may want to keep your eyes open to see whether anyone starts liquidating new RP355s at half price, which is the kind of opportunity that comes with manufacturer model changes.
Stay tuned for more info as I pull the patchset for this thing together.