Digitech RP1000 Multi-Effects Pedal Review
- Pros: Huge size and plenty of pedals makes hands-free operation much easier. Well-modeled amp sounds and plenty of effects options to keep you busy.
- Cons: Some features, such as the drum machine and a single pedal to switch between amp channels, are not included, which limit the potential of the pedal.
- Overall: The Digitech RP1000 is a great option for live players, but realistically it only offers limited benefits over the RP-500. If the size and number of footswitches is important, then this might be the best option; otherwise something cheaper could be similarly effective.
The Digitech RP1000 is the beast of the RP bunch. Packing a massive fourteen footswitches in addition to an expression pedal, it has the most obvious potential for extensive live use out of any of the RP models. There are so many options for multi-effects units, though, and options like the Boss GT-100 and the Line 6 POD HD series combine amp modeling with multi-effects to offer a similar package. The Digitech RP-1000 is the most expensive unit in the entire range, so learning about the features and limitations of the pedal is essential before you make your decision.
Full-Featured, Domineering Size
As you would expect, Digitech doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to the RP-1000. You get a massive 55 amps, 26 cabs and 86 effects, as well as a 20 second looper and a total of 200 preset locations (with 100 editable by the user). Strangely, the drum machine you can find on the 255 and 355 units is not included on the behemoth option, but you still get plenty to play around with.
The Digitech RP-1000 weighs in at over 11 pounds, measuring almost 20 inches long by almost 11 inches from front to back. This gives plenty of space for the huge ten footswitches at the bottom of the unit, as well as the expression pedal to the right and the effects matrix in the center. Six dials are used to adjust parameters and select specific effects, and a LED display screen shows you everything you need to know. To the right of the main display are two footswitches to change the preset (or the bank of presets) and to the left there is a footswitch for the mono effects loop and one to set the tempo for modulation and delay effects.
The amp models on the Digitech RP1000 have been created using the AudioDNA2 processing technology, so the quality is excellent. There are accurate representations of vintage amps such as the ‘62 Vox AC15, the Fender Tweed and Blackface models from the 50s and 60s, and others like ’65 Marshall JTM-45. More modern amps such as the Marshal JCM2000 and the ’99 Peavey 5150 II make an appearance, alongside plenty of options from Digitech themselves. The cabinet models are also modeled on classics such as the 2×12” ’84 Roland Jazz Chorus and the ‘69 Marshall Slant and Straight models. These are matched up to your chosen amp automatically, but you can create your own combinations easily.
The Digitech RP1000 is loaded with all of the effects you’ll find on the RP-500 with some extras thrown in. You can expect the full complement of delays, reverbs, compressors, distortions, envelopes, tremolos, phasers, flangers, vibratos, pitch-shifters, choruses, wahs and noise gates, as well as a three band EQ and a volume pedal. Interestingly, the pickup effects (which allow you to get a humbucker tone from a single-coil and vice-versa) aren’t included on the higher-end units. This isn’t a big deal (it’s a pretty minor effect anyway), but the fact that the larger models don’t include all of the effects found on the bigger ones is pretty unusual. Things should be added as you go up the price range, not removed as well.
The 20 second looper you’ll find on the smaller RP units is also included with the Digitech RP1000, and there is a dedicated button to activate it (unlike on the RP-500, where it’s an unlabelled function). You press the “Down” footswitch to record, playback and overdub, and the irritating need to hold down the switch during overdubbing has been solved on this unit, so a single tap starts overdubbing and another stops it. No complaints with the looper, but for the extra price more than 20 seconds of looping time would have been good, since competing pedals offer more (the Zoom G5 offers 60 seconds, for example).
The addition of an amp loop and a stompbox loop on the back of the Digitech RP1000 is a huge bonus for players who want to incorporate their existing stompboxes or pre-amps into their signal chain. You also get stereo 1/4 inch and XLR outputs, so you can connect to twin amps or directly into a mixing desk, a guitar input jack and a port to connect an external looper control. There is a headphone jack so you don’t have to annoy the neighbors, but curiously no auxiliary input. The USB port allows you to connect to your computer and make use of the included X-Edit and Cubase LE4 software. These are useful for fine-tuning your effects and recording yourself, respectively.
Is it Worth the Cost?
As the most expensive unit in the series, the Digitech RP-1000 is expected to do considerably more than its smaller siblings. What it definitely does much better is work as a companion for live playing. The ten lower footswitches have different roles depending on the mode you use the pedal in. When you set it in Pedalboard mode, the upper five footswitches can be used to activate and deactivate five effects (a delay, reverb, distortion, chorus/FX and a compressor), and the lower five select a preset from the currently selected bank. In Preset mode, all ten switches are used to call up a particular preset from the bank. This means that switching between sounds and removing or adding elements to your effects chain is very easy.
Any fine changes or parameter adjustments on the Digitech RP1000 still have to be made using the six dials underneath the effects matrix, but there are tone and effects libraries which can help you get in the right ball-park without excessive fiddling. The expression pedal is still a little small (and there was room to make it bigger this time), but the fact that you can assign virtually any effect parameter to it is a big plus.
The main issues with the Digitech RP-1000 all come down to the fact that Digitech hasn’t included some features which are present on the smaller versions. For example, the lack of a drum machine is needlessly annoying, and the fact that you can’t switch between the amp channels easily (like you can on the RP-355) makes life more difficult in some circumstances. There are work-arounds, but when you’re spending so much on a pedal it should all be out there in front of you.
There may be some minor issues with the Digitech RP1000, but on the whole the biggest unit in the RP series does what you’d be expecting. It allows you to experiment with more amp models, cabs and effects than the smaller models, with the added benefit of increased potential for hands-free use during a gig. The sound quality is great, and the fact that you can incorporate an amp loop and an effects loop will please any players who want to get the most out of their existing gear. However, the fact that you can’t arrange your signal chain freely (as you can on the Zoom G5 and even Digitech’s own iPB-10) limits the type of sounds you can create. The Digitech RP1000 is a solid pedal, and is well-suited for live use, but it could have been slightly better with a few extra features.