Aahh…the Red Ripper from Tech21

By Wade Craver

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As I sit here looking at my laptop, trying to come up with some “snazzy” opener for this review, I find myself speechless for once. The Red Ripper is indeed the cause of this mind-funk that I find myself in. To put it simple, the Red Ripper is a monster distortion pedal, unlike any other. The Red Ripper combines various levels of distortion with slight characteristics of a flanger or envelope filter. But I’ll get back to that in a minute.

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To start with, the Red Ripper is housed in a rock solid chassis, equipped with 1/4″ input and outputs, a studio quality 3 band E.Q.(Low, Mid, High), Level (adjusts the output level), Drive (adjusts overall amount of gain and overdrive) and of course the R.I.P. control. Once you set the E.Q. to your desired tone, you can then increase the Drive control to reach unbelievable depths of distortion. Then, using the R.I.P. control, phase through various harmonic ranges of distortion. This lets you go from a gnarly fuzz tone to straight up grunge distortion with the turn of a knob. The Red Ripper also features a Low Pass Filter switch that provides a thick low end while engaged. Turning off the Low Pass Filter, provides a brighter tone and harmonic range. A buffered bypass footswitch, means no more pops and clicks when you activate the pedal.

As I mentioned, the Red Ripper, has slight characteristics of a flanger or envelope filter. Though it’s hard to describe in writing, when you play an open E for instance, you can hear a slight phasing in the distortion, similar to a light flanger. The Red Ripper also behaves similar to a envelope filter, by sensing your picking attack. Pick harder for more distortion and pick lighter for less. You’ll get a much better idea when we post the video review to NorCal BASSIX T.V.

Another thing I’d like to mention, or should I say, warn you about. When using the Red Ripper with the Drive set to max, be sure that the level control is set low. While running the Red Ripper through the paces at the NorCal BASSIX studio, we neglected to adjust the Level control to compensate for the increase in Drive. When we activated the pedal, we nearly blew the windows out, not to mention every ear drum in northern California. Did I mention that we were running the Red Ripper directly into a Tech21 VT Bass 1969 head and two B410 cabs? Whew…

So, to be blunt, if you feel like stomping on a pedal with killer graphics and achieving the monster fuzz bomb or a shredding distortion, stomp on a Red Ripper from Tech21 and stand back.

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