Where once there were around 12 Boss 20-Series Double Pedals (per second visual below) - now if you scan through Boss.Info - you will find only a couple still on the books as it were. And I feel that the days of the RE-20 Space Echo and VE-20 Voice Performer are likely numbered too - which is why I’ve done a suggested mockup of what the RE-20 in particular might look like in 200-Series format.
As a long-term Boss and Roland flagship effect - I feel we will certainly see it being revived in a different format - not long after the RE-20 has been finally retired. The 200-Series enclosure would seem to be the ideal format for this effect - while some enterprising individual ’Tubes99’ mocked up a Compact Waza Craft edition of the same - a few years back as below :
However cool that visualised compact enclosure is, it's just not as practical as the 200-Series format - for the necessary Tap-Tempo control - and of course it's much nicer to have presets onboard also. So I feel that the next 200-Series, after the RV-200 possibly, will very likely be something similar to my above RE-200 mockup.
I thought it would be interesting to do a quick overview of those departed and departing 20-Series pedals - in comparison to what we already have and still might have for the 200-Series.
I believe there were around 12 principal ones of these as far as I can tell - while the various Boss references seem to be mostly dedicated to the compact pedal format - and where there area lot less empirical details - origin / discontinuation dates etc. for the 20-Series. I think it's fair to say that the series has stealthily been discontinued over these last 10 years or so, and that those remaining varieties have been allowed to peter out from remaining stock. I don't believe Boss has manufactured any RE-20's in a while - so surely that stock is slowly but steadily dwindling.
Thus far we have sort of 5 x 200-Series pedals - including the RF-10R which I certainly include in that family - despite it's different numerical assignation. So that is added to the original quartet of DD-200 Digital Delay, EQ-200 Graphic Equalizer, MD-200 Modulation, and OD-200 Hybrid Drive - more on all of those later!
For now we will just do a short and simple overview of the departed 20-Series. Only the RE-20 and VE-20 are relatively widely still in stock. There are just a handful of new RT-20's and SL-20's left, while typical used prices for pristine second-hand 20-Series editions on Reverb.com are around $200 :
Controls - Effect Level, Low, High, Brilliance, Ambience, Mode : Rich / Bass / Acoustic / Standard / Dimensional D / CE-1, Rate & Intensity, Depth, 4 Presets, Write, Select.
A classic big box chorus with the key Boss flavours for that modulation - which many players still like, while some find it a touch 'noisy'.
Controls - Effect Level, Feedback, Tone, Mode : Standard / Analog / Tape / Warp / Twist / SOS / Dual / Pan / Smooth / Modulate / Reverse, Tap, Tempo + Light, Delay Time + Hold, Press for Refine, 4 Presets, Write, Select.
Lots of players still seem to really like this - while I feel that all-round the DD-200 replacement is a better proposition, with more appealing algorithms overall and better form factor and features.
Controls - Light, Select + Write, 10 Frequency Bands - 30Hz, 60Hz, 120Hz, 200Hz, 400Hz, 800Hz, 1.6kHz, 3.2kHz, 6.4kHz, 12.8kHz, Level.
In some ways the LCD screen here is preferable as it's more granular and contains more information, while for format and features overall the replacement EQ-200 has it beat!
Controls - Gain, Bass, Middle, Treble, Presence, Master, Model : American Combo / Tweed / Black Panel / Lead / Crunch / JC Clean / Brit Combo / Vintage Stack / Rectifier Stack / Modern Stack / Metal Stack, Variation, Spealer Cabinet : Original / 4 x 12" / 4 x 10" / 2 x 12" / 1 x 12 / Off, Memory / Write.
And interesting relatively early version of an Amp and Cab Simulator - which is likely now replaced by the GT-1000 and GT-1000 CORE units. One of the earliest deployments of Boss's COSM (Composite Object Sound Modelling) Digital Signal Processing and Modelling Technology. Obviously with much less processing power than the more recent Amp and CAB / IR simulators. Obviously a touch out of date now, but with still some interesting tones onboard.
Controls - Type : Acoustic Hard / Medium / Soft / Electric Rear S / Rear H / Front H, Octave Level, Distortion, Level, String Select : All / 2-6 / 3-6 / 4-6/ 5-6 / 6, GK Level, Tone.
This was a pretty cool effect at the time, although it did require your guitar to be fitted with a special Roland GK-2AH / GK-3 Guitar Synth Pickup. Of course much of this functionality is now made redundant by the Polyphonic Mode Range Filter control on the recent compact OC-5 - which no longer requires any kind of special pickup - for near enough the same degree of tracking.
Controls - Drive, Bottom, Tone, Level, Attack Shape : Smooth > Edge / Heavy Octave, Type : T-Scream | Full-D / Dist+ | Centa OD / Guv DS | P-Rat / R-Man | Muff Fuzz / Face | Oct Fuzz / OD-2 | OD-1 / BD-2 | DS-1 / HM=2 | MT-2 / Boost | Lead / Crunch | Stack / Metal | Loud, Variation, Amp Ctrl, 4 Presets, Write, Select.
In some ways the core Mode selection here is preferable to the newer OD-200 - where you have 24 core flavours - where the OD-200 has only 12. The OD-200 is missing the variations options, while it does have 15 different types of boost. Where the OD-200 has only 17 different flavours in total - and is alas missing the very useful Fuzz Face and Octave Fuzz options. Also a pet peeve on the OD-200 is that the Boost is not fully independent - which further limits that versatility. The OD-200 has the superior form factor and obviously a higher fidelity of signal processing than the COSM standard of the OD-20. While there is still much to like about the OD-20.
Controls - Level, Guide / Loop Quantize, Phrase Select : 1-11, Mix Input Level, Instrument Input Level, Reverse, Tap Tempo, Write, Exit + Delete, Auto Start, Mode : Inst & Mic / Normal / Centre Cancel / Flat Amp Simulate.
Obviously we've had a few variations of this - later with RC-20XL and then RC-30 editions - and I believe this is what Ed Sheeran started off with - so it has that pedigree! I've placed the RC-10R as this one's natural successor - while it's rather more likely that is the larger form-factor RC-500. The RC-10R lacks the separate mic input which all those singer/songwriters need - we'll probably get a proper RC-200 Loop Station after all!
Controls - Bass, Treble, Reverb Volume, Repeat Rate, Intensity, Echo Volume, Mode Selector 1-11 / Reverb Only, Input Volume.
I feel this is a legacy iconic pedal in its own right - based on the immense and legendary Roland RE-201 Space Echo Tape Delay Unit. Currently of the 20-Series pedals - only this and the VE-20 are in any sort of distribution - and stock is starting to dwindle now. And while there are versions of this on the DD-200, DD-500 and RV-500 pedals - I still feel that his is such a significant Boss / Roland flagship effect - that it does justify a dedicated pedal of its own - it will be interesting to see if Boss deem it worthwhile too! Just to be safe - I have one of these on order - which should land any day soon - and will be taking over from the Strymon Volante for a few rotations at least.
Controls - Mode : I-IV, Rise Time, Balance, Overdrive, Effect, Direct, Slow, Fast.
There's just a handful of new ones of these left in the wild - where you will mostly need to buy second-hand if you want one. This is Boss's only format of stand-alone Leslie / Rotary Speaker Effect, and one whose legacy I feel should be protected. Of course most of the action for this effect is in mid-size units - which would make an RT-200 a pretty good fit! For me all decent authentic rotary units need to be full stereo - otherwise you really don't feel the full force of the effect.
Controls - Effects Level, Direct Level, Output Mode : Mono, Stereo - Fixed / 360 / Random / 2-way / PingPong / Auto, Bank 1-5 (4+5 Harmonic), Pattern : 1-10, Attack / Waveform, Duty / Bandwidth, Tempo, Pedal Mode : Latch / Momentary.
A really smart Stereo Pattern Tremolo, but also Volume Modulator and Pitch-Shifter - with 5 Banks x 10 Patterns of cool Algorithms with smart wave-shaping. This is a really great Boss effect - which is still somewhat under-appreciated - would love to see this become a 200-Series one day.
Controls - Phrase Loop, Exit, Option Left, Sound / Select / Parameter, Option Right, Menu, Reverb Level.
This really cool Vocal Effects Processor is still actually current and widely available. Adds all kinds of smart vocal effects and ambience - to give your vocal performance more depth and dimension. This is another that is likely destined for 200-Series status - great unit all-round!
Controls - Type : Saw Lead / Square / Ring Mod / Slow Gear / Sitar / Acoustic, Color, Level, Mode : Delay + Chorus 1-5 / Chorus / Delay 1-5, Effect Level.
Another effect which requires your guitar to be fitted with a special Roland GK-2AH / GK-3 Guitar Synth Pickup. Lots of cool waveform effects - including Ring Modulation, Slow Gear and Sitar. In some ways replaced by the more advanced GP-10 - while later synth-style Boss pedals - don't require any special pickups. I'm not sure how much mileage there still is in these GK-enabled devices - I would assume it to be a fairly minority sport overall. Still some cool tones to be had here - while I would think it pretty unlikely to be revived as a 200-Series.
It's been around 2 years now since we saw the launch of Boss's 200-Series - Boss's Mid-size offering which sits between the Compact and 500-Series. To the main extent - this newer series is a more modern and finessed replacement for the 20-Series by and large. It is also a scaled down variation from the 500-Series Editions.
Right at the start we saw 4 units - ranging from the superb DD-200 Digital Delay and EQ-200 Graphic Equalizer, then the slightly flawed OD-200 Hybrid Drive, and slightly underwhelming MD-200 Modulation. As mentioned in Monday's article - it was a mystery to many of us why there was no RV-200 at the time or shortly afterwards. As we had 200-Series equivalents for the DD-500 and MD-500, but weirdly nothing for the RV-500. And while we have a full range of 4 Digital Delays plus 1 Analog Delay Unit, and the MD-500 and numerous stand-alone Modulation Pedals, we currently have just a paltry 2 Reverbs in the range - the Compact RV-6, and the killer RV-500 Dual Stereo with Delays Workstation. I'm still very surprised we have not seen the RV-200 yet - so that must surely be fairly imminent?
The next sort of 200-Series release was the RC-10R Rhythm Loop Station - which comes very much in a 200-Series style enclosure, but is not really a replacement for the RC-20 / RC-30 editions - which I associate with Singer/Songwriters - as those units have both Microphone and Instrument inputs - while the RC-10R has only Instrument inputs. So most likely we will still get a proper RC-200 replacement for the RC-20 / 30.
So 5 down - the RV-200 hopefully the most likely next, and probably the RE-200 in line for some time after that. But what about the rest of the 20-Series range - which of those deserve to be resurrected as 200-Series? If we review from the top - I'm not convinced we will ever see a CE-20 stand alone big box Chorus replacement - I feel Boss has plenty of digital offerings to cover off all that as well as its three Waza Craft compact classic - and I don't think Boss will ever put out a single analog box of CE-1 + CE-2 + DC-2 essentially.
The DD-20 already has a ready replacement in the DD-200, same for the EQ-20 and the EQ-200. Boss's GP-20 Amp and Cab Simulator already has a decent replacement in the GT-1000 and GT-1000 CORE - which is more the contemporary format for Boss's approach to Amp Modelling. So I don't see there being a specific replacement for the GP-20.
We obviously need to lump both the OC-20G Poly Octave and WP-20G Wave Processor together - as both of those require the use of a Roland GK-2AH / GK-3 Guitar Synth Pickup. While Boss's more recent pedals in similar areas - don't require the use of GK Pickups - and those are now optional. Part of the smart Poly Octave Features - the String filtering - is now handled by the recent OC-5 Range Filter on Polyphonic Mode. While the recent Boss SY-1000 Guitar Synthesizer pedal has the GK pickup input as optional - and most opt to just got straight in with their instrument cable signal. So I don't think we will ever see replacements for the OC-20G and WP-20G - I feel those are part of a bygone era now.
Next are the OD-20 - which obviously has the OD-200 Hybrid Drive replacement, and I've already touched on how I feel that the RC-10R is really a 200-Series by design - while it is not a proper replacement for the RC-20 / 30 editions as it needs separate Microphone Input and Control. So most likely we will get a proper RC-200 replacement unit for that eventually.
I've already mentioned how I view the RE-20 Space Echo as an iconic pedal of a Roland/Boss flagship effect. And since it heads this article - I feel that a RE-200 Space Echo Unit is almost a dead cert. It makes perfect sense that it would likely be next in line after an RV-200. It is notable that only the RE-20 and VE-20 are currently properly stocked. I feel that the RE-20 is definitely being phased out - while I'm not sure about the timeline for the VE-20.
The next two I feel are key Boss Effects - not properly available in other units - while those flavours are represented on the Digital Modulation Pedals - in fact both exist on the MD-500 and MD-200 pedals. As they don't exist in any other stand-alone units I do feel that they are worth reviving in 200-Series enclosure - while I'm not entirely sure on Boss's strategy and way-ahead policy there. I also don't have the numbers for the business case for each of those - so don't know if fully viable for further rollouts - while I would very much like to see 200-Series editions of those devices, I think it's currently and outside chance though.
The VE-20 still seems to be going strong - I'm not sure Boss are in any hurry to phase that out or replace it - but most probably that justifies a 200-Series replacement at some stage. So of the 12 x 20-Series pedals - 3 have already been revived - DD-20, EQ-20 and OD-20 - with a sort of pseudo RC-10R follow-up for the RC-20, and of course the additional MD-200 units.
I think we will definitely see an RV-200 unit at some stage, and most likely a RE-200 replacement for the RE-20 - the RT-20 and SL-20 would come next - but currently I'm thinking that those may have somewhat challenging odds. Possibly a Boss petition or two is needed! Obviously the RC-20/30 needs a proper RC-200 replacement also to keep all those Singer/Songwriters happy.
Here follow some further details on each of the featured 200-Series options :
Controls - Time, Feedback, Effect Level, Mode : Standard / Analog / Tape / Drum / Shimmer / Tera Echo / Pad Echo / Pattern / Lo-Fi / Dual / Ducking / Reverse, Param, Tone, Mod Depth, Tap Division / Lock, 4 Presets, Memory/Write, second Tap-Tempo footswitch.
By far and away the most successful of the 200-Series pedals - fantastic selection of great sounding algorithms - with the perfect easily intuited controls. I weirdly prefer this over the even more capable DD-500, the DD-200 is just a fantastically realised and executed pedal. And everyone should have one!
Controls - 10 Bands : 30Hz, 60Hz, 120Hz, 200Hz, 400Hz, 800Hz, 1.6kHz, 3.2kHz, 6.4kHz, 12.8kHz, Level, Channel : A / B / Lock, Presets : Memory / Write, second footswitch for scrolling through presets.
Another superbly executed 200-Series and actually a pretty straight-up replacement for the EQ-20. It does everything it should - can be a little over sensitive in places - tiny moves can be significantly impactful. Not quite as fully satisfying as the DD-200 - but pretty close!
Controls - Rate, Depth, Effect Level, Mode : Chorus / CE-1 Chorus / Flanger / Phaser / Vintage Phaser / Classic Vibe / Vibrato / Tremolo / Rotary / Auto Wah / Slicer / Overtone, Param 1, Param 2, Param 3, Tap Division / Lock, Presets : Memory / Write, second Tap-Tempo footswitch.
I've stated several times that I was slightly underwhelmed with the MD-200. I own and love the MD-500 - and in contrast, the MD-200 is something of a disappointment for me, while I do feel I may have been a little overly harsh in my critique at times. I just feel the the MD-200's nearest competitors - the GFI Synesthesia and Wampler Terraform have overall each a better selection of algorithms and more ease of use.
For me Harmonic Tremolo and Dimension C/D are two of my favourite modulation flavours and the latter a signature Boss / Roland flagship effect that appears on the MD-500, Synesthesia, and Terraform - but not the MD-200. I would have had Harmonic Tremolo and Dimension in place of the Slicer and Overtone algorithms.
An equal challenge is the control topology - specifically those ambiguous 1-3 Param Controls - which vary for each algorithm. I would try to group the most obvious parameters together on a particular slot - and label each Param knob with the 2 most common parameters. For instance 'Tone' is variously applied to Param 1 and 3 - but mostly on Param 3 - so that should be relabelled - 'Tone / Highs'. Param 1 should be 'Resonance / Type', and Param 2 should be 'Manual / Drive' - something along those lines.
I feel the MD-200 needs do be somewhat refined and re-issued to be fully competitive with its peers! It's not quite up to scratch compared to how brilliant the DD-200 is!
Controls - Param, Level, Drive, Mode : Overdrive / Blues / Scream / Centa OD / X-Drive / Distortion / X-Dist / Stack Drive / Fat Distortion / Brown / X-Metal / Fuzz, Low, Middle, High, Param / Pre / Post / Lock, Presets : Memory / Write, second footswitch for Preset Scrolling / Boost.
This is a pretty cool, but slightly flawed pedal - as I detailed in an extensive review. The predecessor OD-20 actually had more core flavours - 24 - in place of the 12 Core flavours here and 15 Boost Types - or 17 flavours overall. I feel the fact that the Boost is not fully independent is an oversight - and I miss the Fuzz Face and Octave Fuzz voicings from the DD-20 - those are all present on my GT-1000 CORE - where the 2 possible Distortion slots mean that you can use the Boost option independently. Overall - the GT-1000 CORE has more gain flavours than the OD-200 - or 35 in total - and which you can double up - so the GT-1000 CORE is a better / more versatile Multi-Drive overall than the OD-200 - while their architecture is somewhat different in that the GT-1000 CORE is all DSP, while the OD-200 is a mix of analog first stage circuitry and DSP.
I think there is much to recommend the OD-200 - it's capable of some wonderful tones - but I unearthed quite a few glitches and flaws in my review - and fell that this could have been an even better pedal than it currently is. I feel it is 3rd in the 200-Series pecking order and quite a bit ahead of the MD-200, but not really close enough to the DD-200 in particular.
Controls - Value / Select, Menu, Exit + Write, Loop Level, Rhythm Level, Loop Footswitch : Start / Stop / Undo / Redo / Overdub, Rhythm Footswitch : Start / Stop / Pattern 1 / Pattern 2.
With its 280 Rhythm Types, 16 Types of Drum Kits, 24 Voices and 99 Memory Slots - this is a fantastic combined Looper and Beatbox. Only just one major issue for me - I use this in full Stereo Mode, and the Rhythm can never get quite loud enough even with the different optimised filters applied, and everything cranked to the max. I've reported that several times back to Boss, and am still waiting for a resolution. Everything else works perfectly - albeit the logic of the control screen is somewhat confusing and slightly bizarre. So this is down as a nice-to-have unit really rather than essential - as it renders rather flawed in my setup. It is still my main looper - and has been for a while - while the level of the drums is never quite satisfactory enough for me to enjoy deploying the Rhythm part. This pedal has huge potential, but is slightly flawed for me. And like the MD-200 and OD-200 - I feel it needs refinement. I would like to use it more - but the Rhythm parts are just not loud enough for them to be deployed to a sufficient degree of satisfaction. When playing rock - you need prominent and fairly hard-hitting drums - which are currently not a possibility in stereo use.
Suggested Controls - Time, Pre-Delay, Effect Level, Mode : Room / Hall / Plate / Spring / Modulate / Dynamic / Shimmer / Dual / Reverse / Lo-Fi / Swell / Space Echo, Param, Low, High, Tap Division / Lock, Presets : Memory / Write, second Memory / Tap Tempo Footswitch.
Obviously featured in my recent speculative Boss Month article - where I try to give Boss a steer on where I think this should be headed. I have put together a very strong selection of Modes / Algorithms - which I feel does not really threaten the RV-500 - but makes the RV-200 as good as it can be - and fully competitive against say the Source Audio Ventris and Electro-Harmonix Oceans 12 - both great mid-size Dual-Channel Reverbs with exceptional feature sets and algorithms.
I would have thought this would have been a shoe-in for Boss - but they don't seem to be in hurry to release this. Boss defintely needs a mid-size option to go between the RV-6 and RV-500. I've set Boss up for success here - and I sincerely hope they follow my lead - I just want the best for everyone!
Suggested Controls - Bass / Input, Treble, Reverb Level, Mode : 1-4 Repeat / 5-11 Reverb Echo / Reverb Only, Repeat Rate, Intensity, Echo Level, Tap Division / Lock, Presets : Memory / Write, second Footswithc for Memory / Tap-Tempo.
And we've come full-circle back to the RE-200 visualisation that is at the heart of this article. Obviously the Space Echo is a legendary and flagship Boss / Roland Effect - which I feel deserves its own stand-alone unit. It is evident that the RE-20 is being phased out - so I hope we don't have too long to wait for its replacement. I've largely just carried the same controls and modes across from the RE-20. I feel this would make for a great 200-Series pedal - which would continue to do great things for the brand.
I really just just did two fairly rough mockups of the remaining pedals for the 200-Series group visual - where I carried across the same controls from each respective 20-Series edition - RT-20 Rotary and SL-20 Slicer. The tricky thing about the Rotary - is deciding what to do / how to embed the virtual rotor display from the original - which I've sort of visualised as a surround for the Mode selection knob.
Of all the discontinued 20-Series pedals those two original units are the most worthy of revival after the RE-20 - and of course Boss will need to do its numbers calculations to figure out how viable those are for modern times. I don't think we'll see these any time soon - or maybe even at all. While I do feel that those are also legendary Boss effects - which kind of demand stand-alone units of their own. We shall wait with anticipation to see what Boss decides to do next!
Overall the 200-Series is a much more pedalboard-friendly format than the 20 Series - and each of those key units is much better off as a 200-Series reformat - while not all have been executed to the same degree of perfection.
Surely the RV-200 has to be next and soon! And the RE-200 cannot be too far behind its soon to be discontinued / phased out former self.
So what do you think readers - have I got this about right? Do you largely agree with my determinations - or do you have a contradictory point of view? Which RE-20's deserve to be revived - and what would you most like to see next as a 200-Series?