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Thread: Tech 21 Fly Rig 5 v2, RK5 v2, and those Russian guys

  1. #1
    Mojo's Minions devastone's Avatar
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    Default Tech 21 Fly Rig 5 v2, RK5 v2, and those Russian guys

    A footswitch on my GT-1000 quit working so I was looking for a backup since I thought it might be out for a while getting repaired. I bought an RK5 v2 and worked with it at home for a few weeks then it started making noise when the OMG was engaged, apparently a filter cap or something went pop inside, and looking for more versatility (fx loop, pre/post boost) I ordered one of the silver Fly Rig 5 v2s (I was going to compare them side by side until the RK5 developed the noise). The FR5 is quite different from the RK5, it could be more versatile, but I don't get what they were trying to do with it. The Blonde channel is cleaner and a little brighter than the sansamp on the RK5, more of a twin where the RK is more of a deluxe or maybe JTM45, warmer and crunchier. Although, both of them seem a little dark to me, I definitely make my clean sounds on my GT-1000 brighter. Using the OMG distortion on the RK5 into the sansamp sounds more like a great sounding distortion pedal into a, well, deluxe or old Marshall. The "plexi" channel on the silver one feels like it wants to be it's own channel, not stacked with the blonde. If you stack it with the blonde, you have to dial the level back to ~9 o'clock to not have a huge level jump from the clean setting. It's kind of like running a preamp into a preamp. There are good sounds, but it is harder to dial in a switchable clean/dirty setting, may explain why most reviews don't do both. And, since the footswitches aren't side by side, you can't just switch channels on the fly. Again, nice sounding unit, but IMHO, would have been much better to make it a full channel switcher and give the plexi/cali channel a full EQ (yes, I know they are working with the same chassis for all of them which doesn't have space for that). I also think I hear things different from John and Andrew at T21, but I totally get Richie's choices.

    If I had to pick one to use, it would be the RK5 hands down, even with the limitations of no fx loop and doesn't have the pre/post selectable boost. I guess it would work just going old school and running a phaser and/or flanger in front of it. And even though I had a problem with one, I'm not worried about Tech 21 quality.

    That said, I plugged in my AMT P2 and it feels more like an amp straight out of the cab sim out to the interface and through my monitors. So, I'm thinking a delay and maybe a reverb, and a few other pedals and building a small pedalboard around that (I know, still bigger than a fly rig).

    So, now I have a demo FR5 to send back to Prymaxe for some credit, and the RK5 with back to the Pro Audio Guys here in Denver, so I have credit there. I may just get a delay and micro flanger from Prymaxe and a Q-Strip from TPAG and build something up around the P2, I already have a wah, volume, P45, and tuner laying around, but yeah, now it's a full pedalboard.

    Anyway, lots of jabbering, but if you are thinking about a Fly Rig, hopefully this will be helpful, again, they both sound great, but the RK5 just works better IMHO. Or, if you want a more high gain amp-like experience, the AMTs are definitely worth looking into (I've used their SS tube series in the past and they are great, but the Legend 2 series is pretty awesome for the price).

    BTW, I found replacement switches for the GT-1000 and got some on order, when they got here I decided to just open it up to see what it would take to replace one and found that a screw was loose that attached the piece that actuated the switch on the PCB to the metal chassis mounted footswitch piece, I tightened the screw and all is well again, and it will probably remain my main "rig". I'm getting better at dialing in sounds, but I still hate programming. And now I have a bunch of spare switches I'll probably never need ($25 minimum order to get them from an electronics parts distributor and they were ~$1.30 each).

  2. #2
    Administrator Mincer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tech 21 Fly Rig 5 v2, RK5 v2, and those Russian guys

    I like the darker sound, and I have been liking my FL5II for awhile. I don't like the Plexi pedal so much, so I generally use either a Klone or TS-type.
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  3. #3
    Mojo's Minions devastone's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tech 21 Fly Rig 5 v2, RK5 v2, and those Russian guys

    Quote Originally Posted by Mincer View Post
    I like the darker sound, and I have been liking my FL5II for awhile. I don't like the Plexi pedal so much, so I generally use either a Klone or TS-type.
    Try running the plexi/cali by itself with the blonde channel off and the speaker sim on, it sounds better than running it into the blonde, you might like it that way, just no good way to get there live. The cali setting is definitely warmer/smoother. You might really like the RK5 too, clean channel is darker and whlie the OMG can have a lot of gain, it also sounds good at low gain settings, if I was using a clean amp I would be hunting down one of the OMG standalone pedals. But, the FR won't work for me if it doesn't give me clean and gain sounds in the box.

    They are great little units, the silver just doesn't work for me. I'll give it a few more spins today, but I don't think it is going to convince me. Trying to decide whether to get another RK5 (again would have kept that if it hadn't developed the noise problem), or just get a Q-Strip for the AMT or something.
    Last edited by devastone; 05-25-2020 at 08:10 AM.

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    Default Re: Tech 21 Fly Rig 5 v2, RK5 v2, and those Russian guys

    Quote Originally Posted by devastone View Post
    Try running the plexi/cali by itself with the blonde channel off and the speaker sim on, it sounds better than running it into the blonde, you might like it that way, just no good way to get there live. The cali setting is definitely warmer/smoother. You might really like the RK5 too, clean channel is darker and whlie the OMG can have a lot of gain, it also sounds good at low gain settings, if I was using a clean amp I would be hunting down one of the OMG standalone pedals. But, the FR won't work for me if it doesn't give me clean and gain sounds in the box.

    They are great little units, the silver just doesn't work for me. I'll give it a few more spins today, but I don't think it is going to convince me. Trying to decide whether to get another RK5 (again would have kept that if it hadn't developed the noise problem), or just get a Q-Strip for the AMT or something.
    Right now, I am dealing with the Plexi because of the convenience, but I hadn't tried it without the Blonde on, so I will have to try that.
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    Mojo's Minions devastone's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tech 21 Fly Rig 5 v2, RK5 v2, and those Russian guys

    Quote Originally Posted by Mincer View Post
    Right now, I am dealing with the Plexi because of the convenience, but I hadn't tried it without the Blonde on, so I will have to try that.
    It might work a little better, but would be nicer if the buttons were at least side by side. I'm sending this one back, it just doesn't work for me as is. If you get a chance definitely check out the RK5.

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    Mojo's Minions ErikH's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tech 21 Fly Rig 5 v2, RK5 v2, and those Russian guys

    Thanks for the review. I've been considering both of those Fly Rigs for a while. What caught my attention in the silver v2 was the pre/post boost. I could still run an overdrive out front and set that switch to post boost for solos. With this whole Covid-19 thing, I don't really need it now. Been using AmpliTube and a Focusrite Scarlett Solo at home for practice. Works great for me.

    I like the AMT pedals and might end up going that route with a M2 and S2. Toss a reverb or delay afterwards along with a booster and be done. The best way to set those up for live I would think would be a pedal looper with one in each loop and a single footswitch.

  7. #7
    Mojo's Minions devastone's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tech 21 Fly Rig 5 v2, RK5 v2, and those Russian guys

    Yeah, the pre/post boost, fx loop, dotted 8ths delay, and cab sim switch all kinda made the silver one look good to me, but the RK has much better tone, of course, IMHO, it's all ice cream, YMMV, etc...

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    mild old man perv Aceman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tech 21 Fly Rig 5 v2, RK5 v2, and those Russian guys

    No doubt those are super-convenient, but if something goes down, it likely all goes down.

    I'll stick with mini pedals on mini boards, thank you. But so many cool options today...

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    Default Re: Tech 21 Fly Rig 5 v2, RK5 v2, and those Russian guys

    Version 2 is better, as I had both. It dounds better through a PA, is more flexible, and it has the XLR out. I prefer this over a few pedals, because if something goes wrong with any of the cables btween the pedals, I don't have time to trouble shoot. Also, the Fly Rig is a replacement for the amp, too, which is how I use it.
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    Default Re: Tech 21 Fly Rig 5 v2, RK5 v2, and those Russian guys

    No XLR out was a reason I stayed away from the first ones.

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    Default Re: Tech 21 Fly Rig 5 v2, RK5 v2, and those Russian guys

    Quote Originally Posted by Aceman View Post
    No XLR out was a reason I stayed away from the first ones.
    An oversight that I didn't understand, though I did own one for quite awhile. Sold it to get version 2.
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  12. #12
    Mojo's Minions devastone's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tech 21 Fly Rig 5 v2, RK5 v2, and those Russian guys

    It's been a while since I tried the v1s, but I think the v2s sound better, and the silver one got a lot more options.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Tech 21 Fly Rig 5 v2, RK5 v2, and those Russian guys

    Quote Originally Posted by Mincer View Post
    An oversight that I didn't understand, though I did own one for quite awhile. Sold it to get version 2.
    Yeah - ability to DI one was like "duh"

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Tech 21 Fly Rig 5 v2, RK5 v2, and those Russian guys

    You could do that with the old one, but you didn't have an XLR.
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    Mojo's Minions devastone's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tech 21 Fly Rig 5 v2, RK5 v2, and those Russian guys

    Quote Originally Posted by Mincer View Post
    Right now, I am dealing with the Plexi because of the convenience, but I hadn't tried it without the Blonde on, so I will have to try that.
    Just bouncing this to ask if you had gotten around to trying the plexi/cali channel on it's own and what did you think?

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Tech 21 Fly Rig 5 v2, RK5 v2, and those Russian guys

    I did, and I don't think it is my sound. If I did more hard rock, I'd love it, but there is some compression happening there that I don't like. It makes using the volume knob a little less responsive. If my amp went down at a gig, though, I could absolutely get through the gig with the FR5.
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    Mojo's Minions devastone's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tech 21 Fly Rig 5 v2, RK5 v2, and those Russian guys

    Interesting, I thought it sounded less like stacking preamps that way, but ice cream, etc... I think it would work best as channel switching and a full EQ on the plexi/cali channel, I really like the British pedal, I would definitely go for a Blonde/British channel switching FR.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Tech 21 Fly Rig 5 v2, RK5 v2, and those Russian guys

    Quote Originally Posted by devastone View Post
    Interesting, I thought it sounded less like stacking preamps that way, but ice cream, etc... I think it would work best as channel switching and a full EQ on the plexi/cali channel, I really like the British pedal, I would definitely go for a Blonde/British channel switching FR.
    Yeah, a Blonde/British pedal would be the ticket. The Plexi pedal just doesn't sound that British to me, I guess.
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    Ultimate Tone Slacker
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    Default Re: Tech 21 Fly Rig 5 v2, RK5 v2, and those Russian guys

    Quote Originally Posted by Mincer View Post
    If my amp went down at a gig, though, I could absolutely get through the gig with the FR5.
    I've got one coming to be the backup for my Kemper or in case we want to have a guest join us.

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