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?
Here it is: using Nexus, you can order effects within the RP360XP’s FX chain, but you can’t use Nexus to determine whether an effect is placed BEFORE or AFTER the amp/cab model in the chain. Digitech clearly notes in their user manual for the RP360XP that you can use the RP360’s front panel controls to place an effect anywhere you like in the chain, but YOU CAN’T DO THAT FROM WITHIN NEXUS. (Yes, the caps in this case represent me shouting.)
So what’s the big deal? Well, an effect that’s placed AFTER the amp/cab model sounds very different from one placed BEFORE the amp/cab model. In order to experiment with said effect placement, the RP360XP user MUST use the 360XP’s front panel to edit the FX chain. In other words, the user has to switch back and forth between the 360’s front panel and the Nexus software just to find out how placement of an effect before or after the amp/cab modeling will affect the sound. Yes, you heard that right: you can’t accurately program this device unless you literally have one hand on the hardware and the other on the mouse. (UPDATE March 4 2014: as per my updated comments at the bottom of the page, this is true if you are in fact using the Nexus software to edit the RP360; however, the RP360’s front panel functions are capable of accurate editing without the software, so the user has a viable alternative. See below for more information.)
Where I come from, we call that Stupid with a capital S. Digitech’s Xedit software solved this problem elegantly by using a simple switch in the Chorus/FX section to determine whether the modulation effect was placed before or after the amp/cab model. (It’s a measure of how frustratingly bad Nexus is that I am now using the word “elegant” to refer to Xedit’s barely-acceptable functionality.) How come I can’t do that in Nexus? There is no good answer to that question–I guess somebody just forgot to put it in.
Further, and even more frustrating, Nexus doesn’t follow Windows conventions for common program functionality. In other words, functions that are handled in the same, consistent way in almost every piece of Windows software–functions like save, copy, paste, and so on–are handled uniquely in Nexus, and in ways that make the program uniquely difficult to use. Why, for example, does this software use the words “import” and “export” for functions that are named “open” and “save” in every other piece of Windows software? Why, when I right-click on a patch name, do I not see a list of options (copy, paste, etc.) for that patch?
Copying a patch from one location to another should be a simple 2-step process; certainly that’s how it worked in Xedit. But in Nexus, if you want to copy a patch from one location to another, you have to:
1) left-click on the patch name in the patch list
2) Move the cursor to the other side of the screen and click on the menu bar item “copy.”
3) Move the cursor BACK to the patch list and click on the location you want to move the patch to.
4) Move the cursor back AGAIN to the other side of the screen and click on the menu bar item “paste.”
Do that a few times, and you can really get pissed off at the designers of this software. Digitech has managed to do the near-impossible: they have made a software application that is significantly less flexible and functional than the hardware it supports. Wow. Is there an award for that? Oh, and by the way, did I mention that the typeface used on the various FX images is unreadably small on my 13.5″ laptop screen?
The weakness of this software, coupled with the very minimal front-panel feature set, make this a much more difficult device to program than any multiFX box should be–indeed, much more difficult to program than any previous Digitech RP. (And I’ve owned them all, my friends.) This, along with the fact that Digitech doesn’t even have a Sound Community page up on its site for the RP360 yet, makes me wonder why–or whether–they thought they were really ready to release this thing.
I will continue to develop patches for this device, and I’m still converting my RP500 v17 set to it, but as of right now I cannot in good conscience recommend this device over an RP500. Prospective buyers please take note; used RP500s sell for less than new RP360XPs, and they do a lot more to make it easy for users to get the most out of the device.
UPDATE March 4 2014: I’ve discovered that editing the RP360 from its front panel is in fact a functional approach to programming the machine. I apologize to all concerned for my previous overstatements in this regard, and I advise those considering a new 360XP that editing its sounds from the front panel is a reasonably efficient and effective approach, meaning that the RP500 is not necessarily the preferred device. However, my comments regarding the usability of the 360’s software remain valid: it’s crap, and unworthy of the device it purports to support. Someone else, not me, needs to apologize for that.
9 replies on “The Digitech RP360XP Still Sounds Great, and the Software Still Sucks”
Do you recommand buying the RP360XP or buying the RP500 ?
If you intend to change sounds frequently in performance–or to add and remove elements of a sound, such as distortion or a modulation effect, frequently–I strongly recommend the RP500 over the 360. It sounds very good, it’s larger than the RP360 but not too large for a shoulder bag, and its dedicated footswitches make it very, very easy to manage lots of changes to your tone in performance. There are dedicated footswitches for tap tempo for your delay, for compression/FX/delay/reverb on and off, etc., all of them very useful when you’re on stage and want to create a dramatic moment or two. In my side-by-side tests of the RP500 and the RP360 running the same patch setups, the differences in sound are very slight, often unnoticeable, and in my opinion not enough to force the decision one way or the other.
If you don’t change sounds frequently in the middle of a song, or are happy to mainly use the expression pedal to change a particular aspect of your sound in performance, such as the speed of a rotary speaker effect, the RP360 will work well for you. It’s also lighter and smaller than the 500, so just a little easier to haul around–not enough to make it my preferred device, but enough to make it a consideration when size and weight are very important.
If price is very important, the RP360XP wins out, because it’s 2/3 the price of the 500. However, in the USA at least used RP500s in very good condition are widely available at or even below the price of a new RP360XP. (And of course there are no used 360s on the market at this time–give it 6-12 months and there will be.) I bought my 500 used for about half the price of new, and it’s been working fine for over two years. So price may not be a real differentiator.
If you intend to do a lot of sound design, the 500 wins hands down, because its software (Xedit) is far, far superior to the crippled excuse for a patch editor that Digitech has supplied with Nexus. Digitech’s history where its software support for the RPs is concerned is pretty discouraging in this regard, and I wouldn’t count on them to fix Nexus anytime soon. They might, but they very well might not, too.
That’s my list of decision points. I’d start with deciding which of the factors listed above is most important to you, and take it from there.
Regards, Richard Hunter
I just ordered an RP360XP and downloaded Nexus to play around with before it arrives.
I agree, I ran into all of the problems you talked about, except for the complaint in your first paragraph… There is a small black & white icon of an amp that appears just above the effects that you can slide along the line to position the amp block anywhere in the effects chain.
Thanks for the tip! I’ll give it a try. regards, RH
Dude. Indeed yo can placer de FX before or after the amp/cab it is represented by small gray square above the pedals in the chain . that square you can move it. Hope u understand me. Cheers .
Yes, I understand. This was also pointed out to me by another reader a few months ago, so I get it now. I’m doing most of my edits from the 360 front panel anyway these days. Thanks! RH
hello (sorry i’m french & not very good english speaker !!!)
your article was very useful to me to choose a new multieffects pedal
size, weigth & price questions… !!! 🙂
i’m just wandering how to reorder presets ??? it would be very useful to me !!! (& not only me I guess)
well, once again, thanx a lot for this very serious chronicle about rb360
one thing i immediatly notice using this new pedal (new to me)
is that using FOOTSWITCh 3 is often moving the pedal… & i have not such large feet !
all the best
have a nice day
Digitech decided for some unfortunate reason not to include the drag-and-drop facility for moving patches that’s present in Xedit in their Nexus library program for the RP360 and 360XP. With every USB-equipped RP except the 360/360XP, you can easily rearrange patches via Xedit without overwriting another patch–other patches just move out of the way, up or down in the list. Can’t do that with the 360s. You have to overwrite another patch every time you decide to move one. This is true whether you move a patch via the RP360’s front panel or using the Nexus software. Note also that whenever you save a patch to a new location, it remains in the old location too, which may or may not be desirable depending on what you were originally using it for. (If you were editing the patch and save it to a new location, the changes won’t also be saved to the original location unless you make a point of doing so.)
This is one of the reasons why the RP360XP is my favorite rig for recording, but not the stage. It sounds great, and it’s conveniently sized, but it’s extremely tedious to edit the order of patches on it, so it’s not easy to configure for live performances involving specific sequences of sounds. I have one loaded up with my patch set, and I use it for gigs where I don’t have time or the knowledge to assemble a set of song-specific sounds, or for recording sessions, where it’s a very flexible and powerful tool. The patch set has a lot of great sounds in it, so I can always find something that works. But there’s nothing like having all the sounds you want on a song lying in a row in the desired order on an RP, and that’s easier to do on any of the RPs besides the 360s.
On the plus side, the 360 front panel is very easy to use for editing. I just wish Digitech would get the software up to the same level. No drag and drop? Come ON.