Reasons to love the RV-5: -Modulated reverb. Yes yes yes yes yes yes yes. -The hall and room modes are really rather good. -It doesn't feature anything useless like dynamic reverb Reasons to not love the RV-5: -the Spring setting is shite. It's got a quack to it like a rubbish compressor.
The thing that consistently gets me about the old Pearl pedals is that they aren't perhaps the best sounding. If you plug this in as a straight-up chorus, you probably won't be blown away (it's more Small Clone than CE-2). The delay doesn't instantly fill you with a golden glow of amazement and wonder. But you then start to play around with the Pearl pedals and there's something interesting to them, they do some things that make me think 'Oh, I like that'.
Take the analog chorus. It's a decent enough analog chorus, no complaints there. As you tinker with the depth, mix, and speed, then you get into the territory of tape warble-type sounds, the Boards of Canada obsessive in me comes out, and it then gets more interesting. Prices: usually under £40. Sometimes much lower.
Just look at it. You can't upload anything, download new settings, USBify, or memstick it one. In a world of plugins and touchscreens and phone apps, there is something almost quaint about the RV-6. It's the shiny top panel that does it, adding a slight air of the swish to it whilst operationally it's everything you'd expect from a Boss pedal.
Stereo inputs = a very good thing. In a perfect world I'd have a DD-500 behind it and a DD-7 in front of it. Instead I've got limited talent at both ends. Going through the modes:
1. +Delay - reverb and delay. The Tone knob acts as feedback controller. I really like this sound. It's subtle, not overblown, very clean. It won't do self-oscillation. Instead it will loop over and over until it fades off. When you use this pedal is 100% wet mode, it sounds really cool and this going into a looper definitely gets my vote. Recently I've had the OBNE Procession and the Earthquaker Afterneath reverb pedals jump onto my testing chair: blah was my response. This one sound alone makes me rate the RV-6 higher than both pedals.
If you listen to this sound using headphones at 100%, you can hear that it's almost a bit of reverb coming in before the delay. It almost reminds me of the way the reverb would come in with the Bloom settings on the Midiverb II.
2. Shimmer. I'm sat here typing with headphones on. The guitar is still opened up going into the RV-6, Audiomulch as my usual DAW host. Every time my arm moves against the Epi Dot and makes a thud on the body, the Shimmer picks up the input. And if I whack the body with my hand? Yes! It's based on the mode 7 setting on the PS-3. Most of you will know how that sounds. Something Mode 7 can't do comes when you wind the Tone knob on the RV-6 down to 9 o'clock and earlier. You take the high-end out and you can get some seriously peculiar sounds. Another fab setting.
3. Dynamic. A setting that was pointless to me on other pedals and so is on this one. Seriously, have you ever seen anyone on a guitar forum rhapsodising about dynamic delay?
4. Room. Pretty workable. Room is seldom that exciting on any pedal but this works nicely.
5. Hall Same as the room reverb in that it's workable without being that exciting.
6. Plate. Now the Hall of Fame had a really nice plate setting in that it was a bit blurry sounding, not hugely clear. The RV-6 is clear even with the tone knob right down. I'm actually liking this more than the hall setting.
7. Spring. Actually pretty good. It'll do the Dick Dale thing with the effect level up to 75%, tone at 50%, time at 75%. Liking this.
8. Modulate. Taken from the RV-5. It's still lovely.
Opening up the doors to the verdict cat... what do you say, verdict cat?
"Mieow mieow mieow".
Which translated means: it sounds like a Boss pedal. It won't blow you away with everything but it's totally workable and the Shimmer and +Delay settings are superb.
Because of the range of sounds in the pedal, I decided to do two videos. The first is a simple run through the effects at 50% effect level. The second is 100% wet.