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Boss RE-20 Space Echo Review!

Published: Wed February 06, 2008  News Feed

Music Radar has published a very positive review of the new Boss RE-20 Space Echo pedal. Which's not surprising! Since this pedal was announced, last April, guitarists all over the world (and blogosphere) have been excitedly waiting for it. Upon it's release, the general opinion was more than positive - the RE-20 indeed captures the sound of the legendary Roland RE-201 rather well. Read on to find what Music Radar had to say...

BOSS RE-20 (click to enlarge)

We'd say that Boss has nailed the character of the original RE-201 both on the echo and spring reverb fronts.

With demand still high for second-hand tape-based Space Echos, it was only a matter of time before Roland's own FX division, Boss, got around to remaking their classic for the noughties. Many producers will testify to this day that there's a certain mojo in the sound of the original Space Echo units that has not yet been matched.

First impressions of the RE-20 are positive. Straight out of the box it feels sturdy and has a reassuring weight (thankfully a lot lighter than the originals!). The pedal's main body is made from tough metal and covered with a textured granite-effect finish, which should stand up well to prolonged stage use and abuse. The dual pedals are made from the same tough material and covered in thick rubber similar to other Boss guitar stomp boxes; it doesn't feel like any corners have been cut on the build-quality front.

The interface may be simple but there are also a number of clever and stylish design cues that hark back to the original RE-201 and instantly transport the user back in time to 1974 (when the 201 was launched). These include the green colour used on the control panel, the peak level indicator and the mode selector dial.

One other feature that seems gimmicky at first but is actually very useful is the red tape speed indicator. It's great to be able to tell at a glance how fast the repeats are before you play in a dark environment (and the light is reminiscent of the one on the front of Knight Rider's KITT!)

Plugging it in

The left pedal toggles the effect on/off and the right pedal is a tap tempo control for easily tapping in the speed of the repeats with your foot. Further to this, the tap tempo pedal can also access what Boss calls the 'twist' function where the intensity rate and repeat rate are simultaneously increased to create distorted sonic mayhem.

So how does it sound? In a word: 'authentic'. We'd say that Boss has nailed the character of the original RE-201 both on the echo and spring reverb fronts.

The wow and flutter is faithfully recreated and there's an inherent randomness to the sound (such as wobbly repeats and subtle chorusing) which adds to the authenticity and tapey-ness. We were dubious at first but this really is as close as you'll get to an original RE-201.

The sound of the input saturation is also faithful and if you closed your eyes you'd be hard pushed to tell the difference between the RE-20 and the RE-201. The controls react in the same way as on the original, although the original still sounds dirtier and warmer to our ears. Roland's COSM technology has paid dividends in this unit - not least because there's no mechanical noise, chance of motors failing or background hiss, even at high gain levels.

Boss has created an authentic, tough and portable alternative to the ageing Space Echo.

read full review here

Watch RE-20 Demo Videos!

Unsurprisingly, it was just a matter of time until dozens of RE-20 videos appeared on You Tube! This is one of our favourites, that demonstrates quite well the amazing sounds the RE-20 can produce.


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Boss RE-20 - Roland Space Echo Pedal

Boss RE-20 Space Echo
The Boss RE-20 Space Echo Twin Pedal is a modern reboot of the classic Roland RE-201 Space Echo. Roland and Boss have recreated every sound. sonic detail and tiny nuance of the original. With the Boss RE20 the user can experience the tape-echo sound synonymous with the original RE-201.
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