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Boss Micro Rack Effects

Article from One Two Testing, May 1986

New effects for the tiny studio

RPQ-10 Preamp/Equaliser

There were five and now there are seven — Boss Micro Rack units, that is. You will remember that a Micro Rack unit is a small, but beautifully formed, grey metal box measuring 218mm x 169mm x 44mm, and that up to five at a time can fit into one of the specially built Boss racks, making everything neat and smart. Alternatively, if you're involved with a proper grownups' studio, two units can be mounted in a 1U 19" rack mount space using the RAD-10 adaptor.

Thus far the MR stable had yielded a flanger, a phaser, a graphic equaliser, a DDL and a compressor; now we are further offered the RPQ-10 preamp/parametric equaliser (£125) and the RSD-10 sampler/delay (£200). The two new devices remain small, grey and smart in the established tradition and are also powered by a plug-in adaptor-type external power supply which can drive two or three units.

As a preamp the RPQ-10 provides three types of input: microphone, instrument and line, the first two of which are on standard ¼" jacks with the third being a phono socket — all fairly sensible. By means of an input and an output level control each with its own overload LED, any one of these inputs at a time can be twiddled with such that it arrives at the output of the device as a standard unbalanced line level signal ideal for connection to the line input of your mixer or to your instrument amp. With the output gain control set at '0' and the input gain set to just below overload you'll get either normal instrument or line level depending upon whether you use the ¼" jack or phono output respectively. If you try to get any extra gain out of it, the output LED flashes to tell you to pack it in or it'll distort. This is good in that it precludes overdriving your mixer though it would be nice to see a little more headroom.

The equaliser section is brought quietly in by the touch of a button or optional footswitch, with a large LED telling you whether it's in or out. It's a single channel, two-band parametric, with continuous control over gain, centre frequency, and 'Q' or bandwidth.

Apart from the input gain, all controls are of the slider variety and have built-in coloured LED's — a truly useful feature if you tend toward low-light environments.

Not a bad unit. It looks good and does what it says well, although don't confuse it with a DI box which is quite different: ie instrument standard to balanced microphone standard. It's possibly a little expensive at £125, although if you ve already got a Micro Rack system, it probably would be worth the money to maintain the compatibility.

RSD-10 Sampler/DDL

A two second digital delay and pitch-trackable sampler for £200 sounds like a good deal. The RSD-10 offers just that and indeed to a degree it keeps its word. As a studio DDL it's rather noisy and offers only a 7kHz bandwidth (quoted for a delay of 500ms), although for budget demo's and live work it would be fine. A regeneration control allows for repeat echos and strange metallic effects, etc, but there is no LFO modulation effects such as phasing/flanging, etc.

Notwithstanding the same noise and frequency response limitations mentioned above, the sampler works reasonably well offering overdubbing and the facility to edit the tail of the sample. There are both auto and manual record triggering modes, plus 'triggered playback' where a single pulse plays the whole sample back, and 'gate playback' where the sample replays only while a trigger is present. You can trigger said sample with a footswitch, a drum machine or, and here's the crux, a keyboard instrument. In this last case, it should be possible to change the pitch of the sample by changing the pitch of the triggering instrument. You are advised to use a concentric waveform such as a sine, square or sawtooth wave, but my experience was that only a pure sine wave from a DX-7 really worked effectively, and even then it lost pitch now and then.

The market is probably about to come alive with sampling keyboards for less than £200 and so as a sampler the RSD-10 isn't all that wonderful, especially as it doesn't track very well. Asa DDL it's not at all bad if you don't need studio quality, although without an LFO it's a bit limited. Whether or not the combination of the two is what you need is, as ever, your choice. Bearing in mind the possibility of an imminent sampler revolution, you might do well to wait for a couple of months or so before making a decision, assuming your need isn't urgent, of course.

RSD-10 Sampler/DDL: £200.00
Micro Rack RPQ-10 Preamp/Equaliser: £125.00

Also featuring gear in this article

Previous Article in this issue

A Ry Grin

Next article in this issue

Yamaha SPX90

Publisher: One Two Testing - IPC Magazines Ltd, Northern & Shell Ltd.

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One Two Testing - May 1986

Donated by: Colin Potter

Review by Chris Dale

Previous article in this issue:

> A Ry Grin

Next article in this issue:

> Yamaha SPX90

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