Interesting new swiss army knife pedal from Tech21

Discussion in 'The Stomp Box' started by lupowitz, Jan 28, 2014.

  1. euro

    euro Tele-Holic

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    I have a Fly Rig 5 on my shopping list for October. I will be matching it to a small power amp and speaker cab for work in clubs where space is ridiculously unavailable, and work outdoors.
    I cannot wait to get it. Everyone who posted in threads I have read about, has wonderful reviews and it does EXACTLY what it was intended to do.
    From what I have read it has a buffered output, which allows it to run long cables without tone loss.


    Those of you wishing it had this or that added to it might be losing sight of it's reason for being developed. The more complicated it gets, the more it costs, and it reaches a point where it intrudes on another product, which defeats the purpose of it being what it is in the first place. jmho
     
  2. Ian T

    Ian T Tele-Holic

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    I just got one on impulse. I threw out a $219 Best Offer to an Ebay seller and they accepted.

    Some early impressions:

    It's tinier than I expected. Fits in pocket of gig bag. Yet good spacing on the foot switches.

    Nice weight. Feels rugged - including the little knobs that looked a little suspect in the photos.

    It's basically a Sansamp with a boost pedal, a distortion pedal, reverb, and delay/chorus. I thought the Plexi part would be like a Marshall flavored Sansamp but it's a dirt pedal.

    The Plexi a very touch sensitive dirt pedal. You can run it quite a bit of gain yet when you play soft or back off the guitar volume it is sparkly clean. Very responsive to right hand dynamics. Great work by Tech 21.

    The reverb sounds really nice with good decay and eq. My only gripe is that when you back off the guitar volume, the reverb doesn't seem to roll off with it. So it gets a little washier. Minor gripe.

    The boost is pure. It's like having a RC Booster. Just straight clean boost. Awesome for driving a tube amp. A little dangerous if running direct. You'll have to make sure you set levels with your boost on so you don't get harsh clipping when running into a board (or SS amp).

    Yet when you have the Plexi pedal on, the boost drives the input of the dirt harder. So it's like having an extra gain stage. Very cool design that works awesome.

    I used it tonight in front of a tube amp. Just skipped the Sans Amp part. Works very well like this. Really nice to have the 3 flavors of boost - boost, dirt and boosted dirt. Plus the delay.

    The delay is great. The tap button is at the far left of the unit and simply works. Turn the tape echo drift up and with quick slapback you have what sounds like analog chorus. With the drift at 100% it gets pretty extreme. The repeats are nice - not harsh at all, very analog sounding.

    The delay and reverb run in parallel. So if you spike the input they won't compress or limit your sound. And your core sound is not digitized and reconverted. Another nice design.

    The reverb can only be used with Sansamp on. It is non-switchable. Another small gripe for those who may want to use this unit to drive a tube amp without the Sansamp.

    I plugged it into the power amp of my Trademark 10 to compare with the Sansamp that is built into that unit with this newer version The Trademark 10 Sansamp has more flexibility with the EQ, particularly with the bass knob. The FlyRig Sansamp has less sweep to the extremes in the EQ but I had no problem getting a good sound. Other than that, they sound very similar on the Tweed settings. They both sound killer going into the Trademark 10 power section. I never appreciated the Marshall and Mesa SansAmp settings because they couldn't clean up enough. The Plexi pedal is way more touch sensitive than the Marshall setting on the Trademark 10.

    I tried plugging it direct into a JBL Eon 15. It wasn't very good. Very hissy, and had a fatiguing harshness. Though nothing I've plugged direct into the JBL Eon has sounded good so far.

    I haven't tried recording direct yet but will try that over the weekend. I hope the hiss is not excessive.

    I'm still getting a feel for the EQ for the sweet spots for my uses.

    The typical complaints are:
    No tuner
    No footswitch for reverb
    No XLR out
    No button to defeat the Speaker Sim

    These would be bonus features. But the price will go up, too. I feel like I got a sweet deal. It's a cool design, very touch responsive with surprisingly good delay and nice reverb, too. I'm really happy with this thing.
     
  3. Lance

    Lance Friend of Leo's

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    Hi Ian - thanks for the review.
    I've been thinking about one of these for doing simple recording for my online video lessons. I tried a Line 6 Pocket Pod but wasn't thrilled with any of the tones. My Ipad w/apps works better but the FlyRig looks even simpler for my needs.

    I've seen a few threads elsewhere complaining about hiss. If you get a chance to record, I'd be interested in hearing the results.

    Thanks!
    L-
     
  4. davidchagrin

    davidchagrin Tele-Holic

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    I own one and use it regularly. The only hiss I experienced was due to the power supply. Easy fix.
     
  5. tonyp145

    tonyp145 Tele-Meister

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    Hi could you elaborate a little please? Was it hissy with the supplied wall wart or when you tried to use it with another? What was the "easy fix"? I'm concerned about this, I'd like to buy one, but I'm worried about hiss. Thanks.
     
  6. davidchagrin

    davidchagrin Tele-Holic

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    The hiss issue is due to the supplied wall wart when used with the power engine 60(and maybe similar power amps). I just switched to a different power supply that I had lying around.
    Honestly, it's an absolutely fantastic preamp/effects pedal.
     
  7. tonyp145

    tonyp145 Tele-Meister

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    Thanks David, apparently the hiss issue is related to use with the PE60. I got mine yesterday and played it through my Bose Compact -- no hiss and this thing sounds great! It's perfect for me, I play jazzy blues and clean rockabilly and I've been searching all year for a pedal that would give me a basic palette of tones through the Bose with a really easy setup/teardown. So far my favorite sonically was the Eleven Rack, but it was not a convenient form factor. This gives me that clean on the edge of breakup sound I loved from the 11R with a super easy format. I'm in love!

    The reverb and delay are nice too. I won't use the Plexi much (if at all), but it's a nice organic OD. The only thing I might add to this is possibly a Zoom MS-50 just for those times when I need a tremolo, phaser or auto-wah. The kind of effects you may only use once in a set to add a little sonic variety. I figure I can set up a few sounds like that and toggle through them with that little pedal. It's too bad the FR5 doesn't have an effects loop, that would be perfect, but I'll try it before and after and figure out what works best. I'm a happy camper!
     
  8. AJBaker

    AJBaker Friend of Leo's

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    But what about having a standard 9v power supply? If it's to serve as a possible base for a pedal board, it would be nice to not need a separate power supply.
    I'm a long time sansamp user, and I liked the idea the flyrig, but not enough to buy it. I believe it needs a tuner, and a standard power supply, as well as the ability to easily daisy chain other effects (and power supplies).
     
  9. nosuch

    nosuch Friend of Leo's

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    I was curious and ordered one. Thought it would be nice to have a basic set of sound-processing at hand (my main motivation) and a just in case solution if the amp fails or I just don't want to bring one. It arrived today. Here are my thoughts.
    It looks really well built and is really small, fits into a gigbag.
    In front of an amp there is a lot of hiss from the sans amp, plexi and boost (no extreme settings). While the sans amp can be set up for nice breakup I can't find use for the plexi, it sounds harsh OR dull to my ears depending on the setting of the tone control. More hiss and distortion can be added with the boost. The sansamp sounds ok but to my ears there is always a hint of "fake" like from most digital units. The delay is fun with the drift which adds a bit of chaos.
    In front of my studio monitor I get a "close but no cigar" approximation of a (fender) amp, good enough to work in a band situation I think, but not "wow" There is still a bit too much hiss for my taste, also from the plexi and boost. The delay is still nice, still don't believe I'll like the plexi. The reverb is OK, btw. both into an amp or
    I have yet to try it in a band situation but so far, it's more "meh" than "wow". I don't think I will keep it – the hiss is too much IMHO and the overdrive (plexi) is not my cup of tea. I'll take it to a rehearsal this week and see how it works in the band - or just send it back tomorrow?
     
  10. MDMachiavelli

    MDMachiavelli Tele-Afflicted

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    Little more than I usually pay for a pedal but I would like to see one.
     
  11. Lance

    Lance Friend of Leo's

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    Interesting. Mine only sounds hissy when I crank up the settings to max. I hear a little hiss but it's so low that I can only hear it in a quiet room when I turn the amp up. At the gig I hear no hiss at all.

    As a starting point, I've found that all knobs at noon work well....with the high knob for the SansAmp pulled back to about 10pm. With the Plexi - it's only to be used in conjunction with the SansAmp...not as an individual pedal.

    BTW - I think the only digital part is the delay and reverb.
     
  12. Lance

    Lance Friend of Leo's

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    It's actually 5 pedals: delay, mod, pre-amp, dirt, boost. In a way, somewhat of a bargain if you figure that most pedals are about $100.
     
  13. nosuch

    nosuch Friend of Leo's

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    Yeah, thats what I did: Tried it out in my music room/home studio with a blues jr., Mesa Boogie Caliber 50+ (both into preamp and power amp) and my genelec powered speaker - very quiet situation, so all the hiss becomes pretty obvious. I tried to get the sansamp into unity gain with my dry signal, with the drive around noon and the hiss is definately there. I've yet to try it with the band, just got it today. I don't think it will bother me then (my main amp is a "custom" vibrolux and custom stands for noise), but isn't that thing supposed to be a studio tool?

    I just double checked the plexy part against my box of rock. While both pedals should in theory do the same (approximate a plexy marshall) the BoR has much more balls and edge than the "plexy" gagdet. I have succeded in getting nice crunch from the sansamp part and the boost together and separate since through the blues jr. – that works but the blues jr. alone can do it by himself without hiss. Hmmm.
     
  14. Lance

    Lance Friend of Leo's

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    The BOR is going to have much more gain on tap than the Plexi part of the Flyrig. I actually used it a little differently at the last open mic. Instead of the SansAmp being the clean setting, I dialed it back to unity gain...added the Plexi side but with the gain pulled back to give it more of a Marshall clean vibe. For leads, I hit the boost. It seemed to work nicely. The Plexi is voiced bright...but what's interesting is that my 80's JCM800 sound just like it.
     
  15. Lance

    Lance Friend of Leo's

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    Hi Nosuch - I think I know what's going on. My understanding is that the Flyrig is supposed to be driving a clean amp. If I set my amp (a fender blackface style) to clean, there's a little hiss. However, if the amp is running with gain for a mild breakup, the Flyrig is pretty hissy.

    This seems to make sense since one of the uses of the Flyrig is to plug directly into a PA.
     
  16. AirBagTester

    AirBagTester Friend of Leo's

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    I get lots of hiss in front of an amp too, but I didn't notice it requires a 12v power supply... I had been using a typical 9v PS. I will have to try the 12v power supply (I think it came with one but I may have set it aside in my excitement :oops: Should have read the directions!)

    Despite that, the Fly Rig sounds great straight into my recording device even with a 1spot. No hiss at all then. And that's mainly what I use it for.
     
  17. nosuch

    nosuch Friend of Leo's

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    Lance, I just write about my experience and won't hold back with my opinion. I am playing 36 years, I write and produce music, do sound design. I know how to set things to get clean tones and not so clean tones. Hiss is hiss, whether you like it or not.
    Sure, I set the amps clean, I also used the power amp in on the boogie (clean by nature) to use it as an active speaker. And my Genelec studio monitor is clean by nature. I used the provided power supply. The hiss is there in all these situations, it comes from the sansamp (gain at 12:00 - 14:00) level set for unity gain with the bypassed signal) and the boost (a bit above unity gain by nature), not so much from the plexy.
    It is not unbearable (remember I use a "custom" vibrolux on stage, hissy by nature) but also not what I'd expect from a modern solid state preamp designed in 2014. Why are you insisting it should not be there? I hoped that maybe I could use it for direct recording the guitar while playing live with the band and just wished it would be quieter for that. BTW, this is not my first sansamp, I bought one like ten years ago, can't remember the model (it had 3 little switches) but I didn't care for the sound. We'll see if I find use for the FR5.
    On the other hand I was playing a bit more in the evening and found some nicer tone from the Plexy module with the gain and tone turned rather down (like 10:00) still not on par with the Box of Rock for a marshall sim or with a tube screamer for a soft overdrive, but now I think that maybe I can get something useable out of it for my taste and style. I played a bit with my ditto looper and just like you said the hiss does't matter much then.
    I will take it to the studio tomorrow to play with the boys.

    Edit: What annoys me is that the tube screamer is totally hiss-free and the box of rock (both the overdrive and the boost) is much quieter with comparable settings and volumes. I wonder why the sans amp must be so noisy.
     
  18. valvestate

    valvestate Tele-Afflicted

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    wow... so much for an expensive 'multi-efx' pedal. Good thing I did not purchase this.

    Lesson learned, let other purchase it and let them review it 1st hand and not listen to YouTube clips, in my opinion.
     
  19. nosuch

    nosuch Friend of Leo's

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    Oups. Valvestate, I didn't wanted to depreciate the device entirely, I just wanted to share my experience. All I wrote is my opinion, based on my taste and needs. Discussing with Lance I may have overemphasized the negative. Let me put things in perspective.
    Firstly it is not expensive. I paid like 270 €. Not too much for a preamp, boost, distortion, reverb and delay. My box of Rock is 200 alone.
    What is it designed for? A little bread and butter tool and lifesaver if your amp goes down or for any reason you can't use one.
    Would I use it as a lifesaver? Definately yes. It can get close to a real amp, both in tone and feel, so it is not a bad solution.
    I've since also used in into a 200 watts powered monitor with built in preamp and eq. and it sounds OK, really OK. I used the sansamp set up like a clean fender blackface amp with the option to push it a bit with the boost. The plexy also sounds better with than without the sansamp IMHO. It adds a bit of midrange that smoothes it a bit.
    Would I use it as my main rig? I don't think so. I spent too much time with real tube amps to get the difference. But as stated above it gets close. Close but no cigar.
    The hiss is less prominent when used direct into a mixer. It is not gone, but OK.
    Would I use it for recording. Well, it is close, but no cigar. YMMV but I want a cigar when I am recording.
    Would I use it in front of my amp as my main effects rig? I have mixed opinions about that. I find it very hard to dial in something I like in front of a clean amp with the Plexy and Sansamp (set for a little crunch), then there is the hiss - not something I could not stand in a gig situation but I wonder wtf. it is there. The plexy to me sounds kind of scooped, more voiced for a modern rock tone than the balanced crunch I think of when the term plexy is used (I think Clapton with blind faith using a tele in the hide park). There is a lot of bass and treble, but the midrange is dimed – but if that is what you are after it may just be the ticket. On the positive side it is dynamic and cleans up well if you dime your guitar or pick very softly. I get very different results through the different amps I used. While the blues jr. smoothes things out I had to reset everything for the boogie (which is a mean clean maschine), otherwise it sounded harsh and brittle. Honestly, I like my dedicated overdrive pedals (BOR, Tube Screamer, Rat and Soulfood) better, they get better results with less efforts. I like my tube amps better without than with the sansamp also. On the other hand it can add a bit of sparkle or bottom if you like that.
    The boost sounds fine, but it adds a lot more hiss than the boost in the box of rock or the soulfood used as a clean boost.
    The reverb and the delay are nice and I like the fact that they built in the tap-switch and the drift control that adds a bit of wow and chaos. With a little tweaking the sans amp can be set quite neutral so that the sansamp switch may be used just for the reverb (RK uses it that way: www.youtube.com/watch?v=jK5x4NO-Wi4#t=57).
    I didn't want to diss the FR5 at all. I think it lives up to it's name - a little rig you can use in an emergency or fly-in situation. It is a nice self contained unit, well built and designed. I don't like the voicing of the overdrive too much, but that's my personal opinion and taste, it may be perfect for you. I have yet to use it with the band. I still have not made up my mind about the flyrig. So far I think I will return it. I'd rather pay 25% more for better quality and less noise. If they made a version with less noise and a differently voiced overdrive I might be more convinced.
     
  20. valvestate

    valvestate Tele-Afflicted

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    No worries at all bud, all good. To each his own I guess... :p and tone is very VERY subjective.

    Perhaps I should have mention, try the pedal by yourself and only you can judge whether it will work with you music...
    :)
     
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