RING THING REVIEW
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Posted: 29 April 2010 01:41 PM

I treated myself to a Ring Thing, hoping that it would sound as awesome as it looks on paper while freeing up pedal board space, which I try to keep to a small footprint. I had a Frequency Analyzer, Micro Pog, and Dano Tuna Melt trem that could theoretically be replaced with this one pedal, while giving me expression capabilities that really help a guitar player, well, express himself.

I’m not one for hyperbole, but the Ring Thing is the greatest thing to happen since Jesus and the Beatles mended hurt feelings and got together to defeat Hitler, who was riding on Godzilla’s back.

Here’s why:

Pitch shift is way cool and polyphonic, which means that whole chords are moving with the pitch bend. I never messed with a Digitech Whammy so much, but my impression was that it did not allow this, so I guess it was monophonic or just sucked. The RT replaced my micropog, as it was used mostly to add octave up or octave down after fuzz for solos, and to stand out in a 3-guitar band. Since the RT doesn’t allow you to put an octave up and octave down at the same time, I can’t get that organ-esque tone like the POG series does. Meh, I have a keyboard. Regardless, the actual tracking on the RT is WAY better than the MP. The octave down is so full and natural that I’m surprised they’re from the same manufacturer. Never mind two octaves down, which is pratically subsonic and had dogs in my neighborhood humping other, smaller dogs to satisfy the feelings caused by such a low rumble. Octave up is good too, as good as it should be. MicroPog, thanks but you’re gone.

Using the Boss EV-5 exp pedal works perfectly (EDIT: No it doesn’t. Read on). What did not work were the Behringer FCV 100 and the Yamaha FC-7 keyboard expr pedals, FYI. If I do a full octave dive in either direction, it doesn’t really do a chromatic scale, but if I down tune only a 5th, for example, it pitches chromatically (I guess; kinda like varispeed) from the root note down to the fifth, and this setting lets me get really good My Bloody Valentine type “melting”, and also just good harmony for single notes or full chords, as well as good chorus with the mild detune.

Ring Mod tone is really good. Having owned the FA, the thing I liked best was the hugeness of the analog circuit giving bell like tone. Well I am surprised that the Ring Thing does an admirable job of capturing that feeling digitally. Regardless of minor tone differences, the RT is way more musical. It sounds good on chords and has the great feature of tuning to any note with your foot. You can play a riff, switch to a new position and retune instantly, then tune back when you switch your hands back. Along with that, you can actually hold the tune button down continuously, so its tuning with each new note you hit, which adds just a little life and a cool momentary flam/flange type thing. Cool. And I get a good Tremolo in this mode. Tuna Melt, I like you but let’s just be friends. You are now part of my wife’s keyboard setup. 

Upper Band and Lower Band modes are just simplifed ring mod types and both sound great. Frequency Analyzer, you’ll be missed. We had some fun times, please know that you helped me learn something about myself

Now here’s the part that is making me gush over this pedal: External oscillation control. I’ve never worked with such a feature and wondered what I would try first. Well, I used my Korg Kaossilator, and it has totally transformed what I am capable of producing with my guitar. If you’re not familiar with the Kaossilator, look it up on youtube because they’re totally fun. So I put that in the external mod input and started messing around. Good Lord almighty. In Ring Mod mode I would set the Kaossilator to some melodic sounds: violin, synth bass, piano, voices. Then I would play guitar and use my bare feet to run across the screen and it was like I was tuning the ring mod. I can set scales on the Korg so a Lydian, Phrigian, Ionian, etc., they would all alter what was coming out of my fingers. Magic! So many filters and robot sounds in that thing. Then this was cool: I would put a drum loop in the Korg and as I was playing, the guitar would pulse along with the beat. If I stopped playing guitar, the drum beat disappears. I was doing start/stop riffing ala Helmet all alone.

Even more rocking (and cuter), I have my 5 year old son and 3 year old daughter, who already love the Kaossilator, playing guitar with me. They’re both surprisingly intuitive when it comes to all things Rock, and its fun to include them, usefully, in my music, instead of just locking them in cages so I can play alone.

So I know this was long but it really barely touches what I have seen so far in my 2 weeks with this thing. I am now down to a simple board: Fuzzhugger Phantom Octave>Fuzzhugger ABsynth>Q-Tron+>Boss TU2>Boss DD5>Ring Thing>Memory Man with Hazarai. That’s it. I will be getting a Looperlative LP2 when it comes out but besides that, I think my pilgrimage and search for tools is done! Now I can actually work on music instead of on ebay.

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Posted: 29 April 2010 03:03 PM | Link to this reply (#1)

Awesome review and congrats on getting such a cool pedal smile

Yamaha 302S -> Crybaby -> Electronic Orange Moon Face -> EHX Stereo Polyphase -> Catalinbread DLS -> F5 Tap Tremolo -> Carl Martin Red Repeat -> EHX SMMH -> George Dennis Mighty Mouse 1x12
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Posted: 02 May 2010 10:16 AM | Link to this reply (#2)

Great review.

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Posted: 06 May 2010 05:27 AM | Link to this reply (#3)

thanks a lot for your review,I love the Frequency Analyzer,are you sure that the Ring Thing replace it?In your opinion,is the Ring Thing the evolution of the Frequency Analyzer pedal?

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Posted: 06 May 2010 05:02 PM | Link to this reply (#4)
LOOPMAN - 06 May 2010 10:27 AM

thanks a lot for your review,I love the Frequency Analyzer,are you sure that the Ring Thing replace it?In your opinion,is the Ring Thing the evolution of the Frequency Analyzer pedal?

For me, yes I like the RT better. I can get all the sounds out of the RT that I got out of the FA but the new one is more versatile. Be aware, the FA has a greally great sound, I mean really great. I think it has something to do with the analog design but I think it may have more to do with it being a higher voltage pedal. Like, it just has massive headroom. But it was limited in terms of control, and I’m on a big expression pedal kick, while also trying to limit my overall number of pedals. So for convenience I replaced 3 pedals with this one, and the ring modulator is really close in overall “claaang” to the FA with 10x more control.

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Posted: 06 May 2010 07:30 PM | Link to this reply (#5)

Ok,the RT is much more versatile and has more controls,but my doubt is about its sound.I mean,when I listen to the Effectology vol.2 and vol.10 I love the sound of the FA,especially the “Bells like” sound,but I’m not able to know if the RT will able to reproduce the same sounds,since there are a few samples to listen on the web.
You are right,the FA has really a great sound,I listen to it on youtube,for this reason, my fear is to not be able to obtain the same on the RT or to obtain something of slightly different.

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Posted: 15 May 2010 07:49 AM | Link to this reply (#6)

The manual states it is using a 46.93 kHz sample rate and 24 bit codecs, and internal audio processing is 32 bits.
However, if I use it in pitch shift mode, and try to modulate the pitch, bandwidth seems to be reduced substantially.
Why is this ?
Is there any way to increase the bandwidth of the pitch shift feature, while maintaining the internal and external pitch modulation features ?

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Posted: 31 May 2010 12:53 AM | Link to this reply (#7)

Hey,

“The Ghost of Sim Tut “
re:
For me, yes I like the RT better. I can get all the sounds out of the RT that I got out of the FA but the new one is more versatile. Be aware, the FA has a really great sound, I mean really great. I think it has something to do with the analog design but I think it may have more to do with it being a higher voltage pedal. Like, it just has massive headroom. But it was limited in terms of control, and I’m on a big expression pedal kick, while also trying to limit my overall number of pedals. So for convenience I replaced 3 pedals with this one, and the ring modulator is really close in overall “claaang” to the FA with 10x more control.

Super Review and follow up post on the RT and also on Your Expression Pedal “kick or “big kick”  :rawk:

Glad to hear that the Boss EV-5 has worked out well and bummer on the Yamaha and Behringer FCV 100 Expression Pedals, I too am still looking for “The” Expression Pedal” that will be built well, and useful in most if not all Effect Units with a Expression Pedal Input (such as various EHX pedals, Boss (Line 6 Expression pedal (alone) only works with the $249.00 effect units (and I have a (bean style) PODXT (which has been discontinued per all except one large online gear dealer yet zip on the issue on Line6.com (The PODXT Live has been lowered $100.00 at most sites and the Bass PodXT Live has also been showing up as discontinued ) yet the Pod 2.0 and its floor unit is no change in status nor the PodX3 (? something cooking for Summer NAMM 2010 but Line 6 follows its own beat as far as product releases) Getting back to expression pedals for a (bean) PodXT
You need to get their expression pedal small board (that also has presets) for $99.9 and not the EX-1 for
?29.99 or $39.99 , I have a desk top model of a Vox Tonelab and they recommend a Valvetronix expression pedal/system (which I can not even locate) ? maybe a Midi based unit with dual pedals (or single) and presets (Roland makes one ($$ ) and Behringer less $$ , and surely there must be others)

I may go with the Boss Unit if I do buy one ( I like the Stereo one or perhaps I am thinking of The Ernie Ball models) M-Audio’s pedal (expression for guitar) I have read here works well with EHX pedals (and I have a M-Audio Black Box with the floorboard (one expression pedal) with cable and 1/4 jack and two presets with each having a separate cable with a 1/4 jack perhaps I should give that unit a try (the floorboard) as a expression pedal ( I bought the Black box at deep discount and it included the floor board which is built like a tank (compared to the Black Box)

* Any one ever tried that (Black Box Pedal Board for non M-Audio Products ? * (I perhaps should have made a separate post about that topic and perhaps expression pedals in general as well rather then getting off topic of your great review (which has garnered my interest in the RT !)

Thank You for your great review and my apologies for getting Your Post /Review off Track

ambienttales

:poke:  :rawk:  :D

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Posted: 01 June 2010 12:53 AM | Link to this reply (#8)

i’ve been pushing this thing on my other guitarist for over a month, but i think maybe i want one now too… fantastic review.

they won’t let me link to my music, The Great Canadian Viagra Prohibition, because it looks like spam. but you can look me up on Bandcamp should you so desire: http://canadian*iagra.bandcamp.com, except replace the * with a v.

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Posted: 21 June 2010 12:49 PM | Link to this reply (#9)
ambienttales - 31 May 2010 05:53 AM

Hey,

“* Any one ever tried that (Black Box Pedal Board for non M-Audio Products ? * (I perhaps should have made a separate post about that topic and perhaps expression pedals in general as well rather then getting off topic of your great review (which has garnered my interest in the RT !)

ambienttales

Hello,

I’ve used my BlackBox pedal for several others things with no problem. As far as I can tell, it works exactly the same as the pedal that comes with the HOG.
:poke:  :rawk:  :D

Mark Showalter
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myspace.com/folkstone57

The difference between great music & just noise is silence.

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Posted: 24 June 2010 08:53 PM | Link to this reply (#10)

the ring thing is simply awe-inspiring. the ghost of sim tut basically covered everything i have to say, but i will add a minor complaint: i sort of hate that this pedal does so much. i sat down this afternoon for an hour, just going through the manual and tweaking knobs, and i came to the conclusion that this pedal could have contained HALF the features and i would still feel overwhelmed. and i would still feel like i paid too little for all that i got.

what this replaced on my board:
-HOG. although i will miss the stacked octaves and the freeze+gliss mode, there were only two songs when i used those features. the rest of the time, it was either octave up or octave down, which this does better. presets 4 and 5 are my whammy settings, with the suboctave blended 70/30 against the unaffected signal for maximum big muff stoner-sludge lead lines. preset 9 is 100% suboctave, a luxury the HOG’s scant six presets never afforded me.
-clone theory. the chorus on the ring thing is just phenomenal. sonically, it walks the line between the whammy’s digital detune and the more traditional modulated delay chorus. very lush. preset 1.
-wiggler. i didn’t usually bring this one along because it was so big and because the power supply made it difficult to keep my setup relatively compact, but i loved having the vibrato and the tremolo in one box and it just sounds SO GOOD. presets 2 and 3.

what i gained:
this pedal gets as noisy as you want it to. coupled with an expression pedal and the fuzz factory, there is no stopping the train. also, you can actually duplicate your settings, which means no more midsong ringmod freakouts that absolutely suck live because you could not find the right settings. like others have said, musical ring mod applications!!! the effect that i loved but never used because it was just TOO finnicky is finally at my feet and ready to use.

everything sounds great, although this is right up there with the flanger hoax as far as complexity goes. the settings in the manual are fantastic places to start, but it is probably going to be a few solid hours of tweaking before i can figure out how the knobs react to one another. by monday, i should have it down - but if you’re the sort who found the hazarai intimidating, you really haven’t seen anything yet.

my only semi-legitimate complaint is that the shear breadth of sound you can get from this thing makes it difficult to find a decent place for it in the chain. i like running the octave and ringmod effects into distortion, whereas the tremolo and chorus sound better after distortion. i could solve this issue by rearranging the order of my pedals, but i use a rather tight briefcase setup for my tuner and distortions, with my volume pedal, hazarai, and ring thing sitting on the floor. if i got a proper pedalboard, this would be easy to solve. so basically, i am complaining because there are too many options in a single box and i am stubborn about my pedalboard materials. also, this complaint is stupid because i play clean at least half the time ANYWAYS. so forget i said anything.

HIGHLY recommended.

they won’t let me link to my music, The Great Canadian Viagra Prohibition, because it looks like spam. but you can look me up on Bandcamp should you so desire: http://canadian*iagra.bandcamp.com, except replace the * with a v.

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Posted: 25 June 2010 09:52 AM | Link to this reply (#11)

Great review John, glad you decided to pick one up. The octave up/down is so good.

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Posted: 16 July 2010 07:56 PM | Link to this reply (#12)

UPDATE.  I returned the Boss EV-5.  Say what you will about Roland’s fx, but I always trusted their stuff to work. The Ring Thing went crazy on me while I had the expression pedal plugged in.  I assumed it was the RT because not much can go wrong with the expression pedal I thought.  So the store was kind enough to exchange my Ring Thing for a new one. The problem was gone.  Then it reappeared! Then gone again, then reappeared. I had already exchanged the RT so now the Boss is getting the blame. I returned it to Guitar Center and got my scratch back, and now have decided on the Moog EP-2.  GC didn’t have it so I just ordered one on the bay. Those things are only $40 by the way, vs $80 for the Boss, and the Moog EP2 is made of metal now rather than the shabby EP1. So I’ll let you all know how it goes down but as of now I withdraw my recommendation for the Boss EV5 with the Ring Thing.

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Posted: 17 July 2010 05:09 AM | Link to this reply (#13)

yeah, Tut, i had some problems with the expression pedal and my stereo polyphase, too… good luck with it

Yamaha 302S -> Crybaby -> Electronic Orange Moon Face -> EHX Stereo Polyphase -> Catalinbread DLS -> F5 Tap Tremolo -> Carl Martin Red Repeat -> EHX SMMH -> George Dennis Mighty Mouse 1x12
http://www.soundclick.com/apisanteportas
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Posted: 22 July 2010 02:12 PM | Link to this reply (#14)
LOOPMAN - 07 May 2010 12:30 AM

Ok,the RT is much more versatile and has more controls,but my doubt is about its sound.I mean,when I listen to the Effectology vol.2 and vol.10 I love the sound of the FA,especially the “Bells like” sound,but I’m not able to know if the RT will able to reproduce the same sounds,since there are a few samples to listen on the web.
You are right,the FA has really a great sound,I listen to it on youtube,for this reason, my fear is to not be able to obtain the same on the RT or to obtain something of slightly different.

The sound that the Ring Thing produces is stunningly complex. The tracking is sensational and the tonality can only be limited by your ability to design what you hear in your head.

The Frequency Analyzer is a great pedal. Organic tone and it does have a great tone.

The Ring Thing encompasses so much more potential. Totally flexible and if you like Bells, well having polyphonic tracking of different harmonic regions produces scary good results.

Go try it out and I guaranty you will buy it!

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Posted: 23 July 2010 09:48 AM | Link to this reply (#15)

thanks Rick Stevenson!I’m convinced about the purchasing by now! The nex autumn I’ll to buy the RT,the bass big muff and a good chorus for my bass..

cheers

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