Boss RE-20 Space Echo Synthesizer Effect

Boss RE-20 Analog Syn Effects
Boss RE-20 Analog Syn Effects

I recently picked up a used Boss RE-20 Space Echo for my analog synthesizers. I spent quite a bit of time researching this twin effect pedal and finally decided to give it a try. I actually quite like it so far when used with my Korg Poly-61, Roland Juno 106, and other synths. the reverb is very usable and the delay/echo is excellent. I particularly like how the effect trails when playing which is one of the main reasons I bought it. You can also change synth patches and the trails will continue and not get cutoff.

I usually have my analog synths on an Ultimate Stand and I found that I could easily velcro the Boss RE-20 near the top of the stand propped up above my top synth. The knobs are tilted perfectly so I can tweak while playing any of the synths. I must say that the Boss RE-20 sounds really warm. I usually set the reverb in the low 25% range and up the bass a bit. You can also back off on the treble which can fatten things up a little bit. This pedal effect really enhances my analog synths tremendously and when bypassed I hardly notice that much tone loss. I know there is some, but I don’t really hear it that much.

The reverb I suppose can be tinny with a lot used, BUT, this can work well depending on what patch you are using in your synth. I also like the tape nuances in the pedal and the echo really compliments nicely with sounds from my Korg and Roland synths. After reading mostly excellent reviews of the Boss RE-20, I felt it would work nicely with my analog synths adding some delay, reverb, and a bit of extra flavor that the Boss RE-20 provides. I also like the input volume and the distortion you get when cranked which is pretty cool on some gritty synth patches. I feel there is much more to learn about this pedal and I’m happy with the purchase. It’s definitely a lot of fun and like others have mentioned, it does sound nice with analog synthesizers for sure.

Note that the Boss RE-20 is not an analog effect, rather I use it on analog synthesizers. The Boss RE-20 is all digital, but sounds very warm with my analog synths. It’s actually quite a popular twin pedal for analog synth enthusiasts and for the dub crowd which I recently discovered. I’m not particularly into Dub Music, but it’s pretty useful for that genre. The Boss RE-20 is also popular among guitar players of course and I’ve even heard vocalists us it for creating a unique sound for their voice. You can use this for Dub vocals too.

Yamaha FX500 Multi FX with MFC06 Foot Switch

Yamaha FX500 Simul-Effect Processor
Yamaha FX500 Effect Processor

Today I picked up a used but in great condition, Yamaha FX500 Effect Processor along with the Yamaha MFC06 foot switch for $50 bucks. I’m not sure if that was a good deal or not as I know they can be found for quite cheap, but I had a particularly hard time tracking one down in Japan. I also got the manuals, cables, and Yamaha FC5 foot pedal in the package. Overall it’s a pretty cool setup and I’m anxious to try it out on my keys and synths. I had heard that the Reverbs were particularly good in the Yamaha FX500 with the most popular being the “Soft Focus” patch which is similar to the Slow Gear sound. I’ve also been informed that the Chorus, Flanger, and Delays are not bad either. The presets range from 1-60 while the user programs range from 61-90.

The Yamaha FX500 is referred to as a Simul-FX processor, so you can have Compression, Distortion, EQ, Reverb, and Modulation going all at the same time. The reverb section includes several Reverbs, Delay, and Echo, and the modulator can be either Chorus, Flange, or Tremolo for example.

Yamaha MFC06 Pedal Board
Yamaha MFC06 Pedal Board

I think the Yamaha FX500’s main competition back in the late 80’s and early 90’s was the BOSS SE-50 which I used to have for quite a while. I actually had a lot of problems with my SE-50 ( mainly hardware issues ) that prompted me to sell the processor. I’ll be interested to know how the Yamaha FX500 stacks up to the SE-50 and other effects I have. I don’t plan to use it with the guitar, but I’ll probably try it out anyway with my Fender Strat to see how it sounds.

Update: I plugged my guitar into the Yamaha FX500 and I was very impressed. Indeed the Slow Gear sound “Soft Focus” was awesome, but I also particularly liked the reverb coupled with Chorus and/or Flanger. There’s some really lush effects and it definitely reminds me of those 80’s deep reverb and chorus sounds I heard on a lot of albums. By no means am I an effects expert, but to my ears I think the Yamaha FX500 was a pretty nice find and a great price for the effects I got. Note that after I bought the unit I did a factory reset which is “Press [COMP] and [MOD] plus Power On”. I also noticed no power button issues which I know is a common problem with the FX500. I guess it’s prone to giving out, but which can quickly be fixed by soldering the jack inside better. I did this with my Roland GR-1 so there shouldn’t be any problems.

Feel free to comment or visit my new forums at Synth Japan if you have any questions or would like additional info. Thanks!

Roland GP-8 GP-16 Guitar Effects Processors

Roland GP-16 Digital
Roland GP-16 Digital Guitar Effects Processor

Today I picked up a used Roland GP-8 and Roland GP-16 guitar effects processor for a total of a hundred bucks over at the music second hand shop. They were just brought in today and were in excellent condition. The GP-8 was in very good condition considering the age of the unit. The Roland GP-16 was in mint condition which was very surprising. I didn’t get any manuals or foot controllers, but I do already have an FC100 so that should work fine.

The GP-8 is mostly an Analog Effects Processor with basically 8 Boss stomp boxes in one unit. The Roland GP-8 Guitar Effects Processor is one of the earliest (1987) multi-effect racks with 8 effect blocks that included Dynamic Filter, Compressor, Over Drive, Distortion, Phaser, Equalizer, Digital Delay and Digital Chorus. The digital delay and chorus are both 12-bit. There is a slight bit of noise with this unit but nothing that a Noise Suppressor can’t take care of. There also is no reverb, but I can always get that out of the GP-16 or somewhere else.

Roland GP-8 Analog
Roland GP-8 Guitar Effects Processor

The GP-16 is a Digital Effects Processor that contains a Compressor, Distortion, Overdrive, Picking Filter, Step Phaser, Parametric Equalizer, Noise Suppressor, Short Delay, Chorus, Flanger, Pitch Shifter, Space-D, Auto Panpot, Tap Delay, Reverb, and Lineout Filter respectively. I heard a rumor that the Space-D is the same as the Boss DC-2 although that I believe was analog and not digital. So that’s probably the only difference between the DC-2 and GP-16 Space-D. The Parametric Equalizer, Chorus, and Flanger are really good on the Roland GP-16 as well.

I already have the Boss GT10 and GT8 pedal boards. I didn’t need the Roland GP-8 or GP-16, but for $100 together, I couldn’t pass them up. I’m really glad I bought them. Of all my pedal boards now, I think I like the Roland GP-8 Distortion the best. It really reminded me of the boss distortion pedals in my room when I was a kid in the 80’s. It’s really fantastic in my opinion. The Dynamic Filter, Compressor, and Phaser are also really good.

With the Roland GP-16 (1990), I particularly liked the Dimension Space-D, Chorus, Flanger, and Phaser effects. Just about all of the modulation effects are fantastic. The distortion is not as good at the GP-8 to my ears but still usable. The GP-8 sounds fatter and more full, while the GP-16 is a bit thinner, BUT, not as thin as my Boss GT-10 when I first plugged that in. The GT-10 I thought was really really tinny and had a lot of fizz. The GP-8 had no fizz at all in the distortion department and the GP-16 almost nil as well, but it did have something a little fizzy which I can’t quite put my finger on but not so bothersome as with the Boss GT-10.

Overall, I am pleasantly surprised by both the Roland GP-8 and GP-16. I didn’t expect to use them much for guitar, but rather for my older synths and keyboards. However, I think I’ll be taking the GP-8 for it’s wicked distortion the next time I’m out playing. I think the GP-16 should sound great with my keys and even my guitar synth. It’s pretty cool too.

I should also note that both the Roland GP-8 and GP-16 worked perfectly with Midi Quest Sound Librarian and editor. I tested them both today and I was able to transfer all Patch banks for editing. So effectively, I can now edit patches on the computer very easily for both processors. I also have the older Emagic Sound Diver for PC and noticed there is an instrument file for the Roland GP-8. I’ll have to try and see if that works, but for now Midi Quest is good. Both the GP-8 and GP-16 came with the original patches as well, so I didn’t have to go looking for them. Manuals were found on the UK Roland FTP site.

I STRONGLY recommend the Roland GP-8 for a great all around and cheap effects processor if you can find one in good condition. I would also recommend the Roland GP-16 but only after you get the GP-8. I also think both make great effects processor for synths too. If anyone can confirm that the Boss DC-2 is indeed inside the Roland GP-16, please comment. I’d love to know if this is true as I’ve never heard a real DC-2 to compare. The Roland GP-16 Space-D sounds sweet though.

In conclusion, the Roland GP-8 and GP-16 are still very good effects processors despite their age. The Roland GP-16 has some very unique patches and effect combos in it which I can understand bring some people back to them. The Roland GP-8 is just warm and friendly. I love it!

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