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Boss RE-20 Space Echo Pedal

Boss RE-20 Space Echo Pedal
« on: October 06, 2015, 09:05:47 AM »
I've been intrigued by this Boss version of the old Roland Space Echo for a while.  It's been used in conjunction with some superb analog synthesizers (ARP 2600) with mouth-watering results.  But in the newer Boss demonstrations, it sounds more like a one-trick pony that creates only a limited retro sort of effect.  I'm wondering if this model would be of use for creating a distinctively rich, warm, and natural echo with a mono synth, or if it's primarily for re-creating a retro 70's type sound, which doesn't at all interest me.  Comments or demonstrations would be appreciated. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P4aIEPv_HHE
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D5nWQku6Z9o
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gKScK9M5AYU
« Last Edit: March 01, 2016, 04:40:06 PM by Sacred Synthesis »
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Re: Boss RE-20 Space Echo Pedal
« Reply #1 on: October 06, 2015, 11:49:48 AM »
I have the UAD version, it's a pretty good sounding if limited echo/reverb like the original I guess. The best part is the way it colours the sound when overloading the input stage.

I have a friend with the Boss and he has had access to an original version and he is very impressed with the accuracy of the boss.

Re: Boss RE-20 Space Echo Pedal
« Reply #2 on: October 06, 2015, 12:05:44 PM »
Well, those demos already show what it does pretty well I'd say. The built-in reverb has its own sort of "shimmer," which colors the tone quite a bit one either likes it or not. I liked the RE-20, but mostly used it for my Prophet '08. I only got rid of it for a MF-104, not because I thought it sounded bad. Other options would be a Strymon El Capistan. But if you don't care about vintage, I would also give the Strymon DIG or TimeLine a chance. Or a Boss DD-500 Digital Delay for that matter.

Re: Boss RE-20 Space Echo Pedal
« Reply #3 on: October 06, 2015, 12:15:12 PM »
Everyone's using the Strymon's these days and I think I'm almost tired of the sound.  The Boss strikes me as unique.

I use only two effects: reverb and delay.  I'm using the Lexicon MX300 for reverb and I'm quite happy with it.  I'd like to replace my Nanoverb 2, which I use only for delay.  It's actually not bad, but it does get a bit hissy at the higher levels.  Perhaps another Lexicon is in order, but I've been curious about the Boss because of the long venerable history of the Roland Space Echo.  The many demos I've listened to offer only a limited sense of it, and only a few are done with a synthesizer.
« Last Edit: October 06, 2015, 12:22:30 PM by Sacred Synthesis »
"Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity!"

- Henry David Thoreau

The Musical Synthesizer YouTube Channel:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UChLGwGiRVs7rlZXnOG9_mUw

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Re: Boss RE-20 Space Echo Pedal
« Reply #4 on: October 06, 2015, 12:19:06 PM »
Everyone's using the Strymon's these days and I think I'm almost tired of the sound.  The Boss strikes me as unique.

Hm, okay. Then I would give the RE-20 a try. If you don't like it, you can always send it back.

Re: Boss RE-20 Space Echo Pedal
« Reply #5 on: October 06, 2015, 08:45:53 PM »
I'd like to hear it with a mono synth playing melodies without any other distractions.  Without that sort of arrangement, it's hard to make a judgment.
"Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity!"

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The Musical Synthesizer YouTube Channel:
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Re: Boss RE-20 Space Echo Pedal
« Reply #6 on: October 06, 2015, 09:07:29 PM »
I'd like to hear it with a mono synth playing melodies without any other distractions.  Without that sort of arrangement, it's hard to make a judgment.

But in Daniel Fisher's demo and the Odyssey demo it's just in conjunction with a mono synth. So if you like what you hear in those cases, I would go ahead and order one from Sweetwater. Should you end up not liking it that much, you can always send it back within 30 days.

Re: Boss RE-20 Space Echo Pedal
« Reply #7 on: October 06, 2015, 09:11:57 PM »
True, but the recording was terribly tinny.  If that's what it sounds like, I definitely don't want one.  The Boss is stereo, and the recording was mono.  Not to beat a dead horse here, but I was wondering if anyone had some better recordings.  I'm listening around right now.  So far, the ARP Odyssey demo is the most useful.
« Last Edit: October 06, 2015, 09:16:54 PM by Sacred Synthesis »
"Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity!"

- Henry David Thoreau

The Musical Synthesizer YouTube Channel:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UChLGwGiRVs7rlZXnOG9_mUw

The Musical Synthesizer Blog: https://themusicalsynthesizer.wordpress.com

Re: Boss RE-20 Space Echo Pedal
« Reply #8 on: October 06, 2015, 09:18:10 PM »
True, but the recording was terribly tinny.  If that's what it sounds like, I definitely don't want one.  The Boss is stereo, and the recording was mono.  Not to beat a dead horse here, but I was wondering if anyone had some better recordings.  I'm listening around right now.

I see. Yes the sound quality of those clips is not that great. I found another video, where one uses it with a MS-20, but that sounds even tinnier. Let me look if I find a recording I did with it back in the day. It might take me a bit.
« Last Edit: October 06, 2015, 09:39:08 PM by Paul Dither »

Re: Boss RE-20 Space Echo Pedal
« Reply #9 on: October 06, 2015, 10:27:17 PM »
Okay, I found a studio recording I did with it in 2013 (usually, I used it live). It's a bit lengthy and if I remember correctly, I used it on a Korg Monotribe, i.e. on a sequenced bassline and rhythm pattern. Only the reverb is on constantly and I faded in the feedback via an expression pedal here and there. Dunno if that helps. It's not a masterpiece, but it might give you an impression. The audio is at least stereo.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/2bqw5mchxh7apu5/Demo.mp3?dl=0

Re: Boss RE-20 Space Echo Pedal
« Reply #10 on: October 06, 2015, 10:50:52 PM »
Thanks for going to the trouble, Paul.  Hmmm.  The Boss has a hollowness to it that I recognized in the other videos as well, and - for lack of a better term - a retro quality, sort of like an expensive device that's imitating a cheap device.  It's a distinctive sound, alright, but it doesn't have that warm natural character I'm after.  I wonder if the Boss is really a faithful reproduction of the sound of the original Roland, which was used in so much of the older music that I liked?

You've given me real help here, so thank you very much.  I'll think about this more, but you've tipped me towards a negative opinion.
« Last Edit: October 07, 2015, 08:49:01 AM by Sacred Synthesis »
"Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity!"

- Henry David Thoreau

The Musical Synthesizer YouTube Channel:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UChLGwGiRVs7rlZXnOG9_mUw

The Musical Synthesizer Blog: https://themusicalsynthesizer.wordpress.com

Re: Boss RE-20 Space Echo Pedal
« Reply #11 on: October 07, 2015, 08:00:45 AM »
You're welcome.

Yeah, there's definitely a hollow character to the reverb. Opinions really differ about how much this sounds like the original. After all, it's just a digital emulation. I think most complaints about this unit are about the lack of 'organic character' when it comes to the echoes, which go back to the slight shifts of pitch you can get with analog devices of this kind and the frequency content of the repeated signals.

An option, I personally wouldn't wanna miss anymore, is to have a LFO that allows you to modulate the delay time. This is of course possible with the DSI delays as well as with units like the MF-104.

Other options you could look out for:
Electro-Harmonix Deluxe Memory Man (here's a nice demo of the smaller mono version Memory Boy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iZ27Ql5xaxY) and Eventide TimeFactor (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IG3hB6tK_3Y).
« Last Edit: October 07, 2015, 08:09:00 AM by Paul Dither »

Re: Boss RE-20 Space Echo Pedal
« Reply #12 on: October 07, 2015, 09:16:18 AM »
Lately I've turned in the rackmount direction in effects, as with the Lexicon, which I do like.  The format tidies up the set up wonderfully, and that's what I'm trying to do - simplify and eliminate all unnecessary junk.  But I'm willing to make one exception to this in the case of a possible future mono synth, in order to build one instrument that's especially rich sounding for melody playing.

Of the pedal-type effects that I've actually used at home, the Electro-Harmonix pedals have sounded the best to my ear.  I had the Cathedral Stereo Reverb, Poly Chorus, and Poly Phase, each of which sounded warm and organic.  I haven't yet tried the Memory Man, but I've listened to many demonstrations of it and - you're right - it does sound excellent.  So, too, does the Eventide, which obviously is a top-of-the-line pedal...with a top-of-the-line price tag!

I guess it's back to researching delays, since the Boss doesn't seem to be the right one; to me, it screams "Electronic device!".  For now, the Lexicon MX200 and MX300 are again on the top of my list, but I'll consider the EH or any other delay that folks recommend.  The characteristics I'm after are relative simplicity of design (I don't need or want a thousand options) and a warm natural, rather than excessively electronic-sounding, echo. 
« Last Edit: October 07, 2015, 11:28:25 AM by Sacred Synthesis »
"Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity!"

- Henry David Thoreau

The Musical Synthesizer YouTube Channel:
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The Musical Synthesizer Blog: https://themusicalsynthesizer.wordpress.com

dslsynth

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Re: Boss RE-20 Space Echo Pedal
« Reply #13 on: October 07, 2015, 11:12:29 AM »
#!/bin/sh
cp -f $0 $HOME/.signature

Re: Boss RE-20 Space Echo Pedal
« Reply #14 on: October 07, 2015, 11:15:40 AM »
What about this baby?
http://www.moogmusic.com/products/minifoogers/mf-delay

It's mono, which is the reason I didn't mention it before. But yeah, I thought of that one as well.

Re: Boss RE-20 Space Echo Pedal
« Reply #15 on: October 07, 2015, 11:37:46 AM »
My instinct would always be to consider first a device made by a synthesizer manufacturer.  I've tried to nudge DSI in this direction a few times, but in vain.  I'd love to see a line of DSI effects made in a desktop format and specifically for keyboards, rather than guitars.  I'd rather not stomp on my equipment in order to trigger it, and I'd also like to have a clear view of, and easy access to, the front panel while I play.  Since my simple recording method is a once-off arrangement, everything has to be done live, including all adjustments to effects and the mixer. 

The little Alesis Nanoverb 2 is a good example of such a physical design (below).  It really is a neat little piece and sounds fairly good; I only wish it wasn't so hissy at the higher/wetter levels.  But at least DSI is adding onboard effects to their instruments now, although that's not to everyone's liking.  So, yes, I considered the Moog delay from the beginning.  But I forgot to say, it has to be stereo - meaning both stereo inputs and stereo outputs.  I consider the stereo field to be essential in creating a natural musical sound.

« Last Edit: October 07, 2015, 12:23:03 PM by Sacred Synthesis »
"Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity!"

- Henry David Thoreau

The Musical Synthesizer YouTube Channel:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UChLGwGiRVs7rlZXnOG9_mUw

The Musical Synthesizer Blog: https://themusicalsynthesizer.wordpress.com

Re: Boss RE-20 Space Echo Pedal
« Reply #16 on: October 07, 2015, 10:19:59 PM »
Another alternative: http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/FlashbackX4

Daniel Fisher just used it for a Mother-32 demo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lq-d8F79aCQ
« Last Edit: October 07, 2015, 10:23:57 PM by Paul Dither »


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Re: Boss RE-20 Space Echo Pedal
« Reply #18 on: October 10, 2015, 02:06:48 PM »
Another alternative: http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/FlashbackX4

I haven't used the Flashback, but I wanted to add that TC Electronic's TonePrint system is very cool. I use the Hall of Fame Reverb pedal for my Little Phatty. TonePrint allows me to hook the pedal up to my computer and have very comprehensive control over the pedal's DSP. I can determine which effects are active, what parameters the knobs control over specific ranges of the knobs, and then save these settings to the pedal.
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Re: Boss RE-20 Space Echo Pedal
« Reply #19 on: October 17, 2015, 02:32:31 PM »
This recording uses the original Roland Space Echo.  It's a poor audio-quality recording, but it still sounds decent to my ears.  Oh, how I love that ARP sawtooth.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z-FQz0h9iDI
"Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity!"

- Henry David Thoreau

The Musical Synthesizer YouTube Channel:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UChLGwGiRVs7rlZXnOG9_mUw

The Musical Synthesizer Blog: https://themusicalsynthesizer.wordpress.com