Tech 21 is one of the few brands out there which has made it their job to design proper bass distortion pedals. One of their more successful models goes under the name of RIP Red Ripper. It is easily among the most capable bass guitar distortion pedals on the market.
No matter where you look, Tech 21 RIP Red Ripper just shows it means business. Even the chassis itself is enough to know that you are dealing with a serious piece of gear. It is wider than your regular stompbox, but not quite up there with double wide models. With that said, Tech 21 went with a sharp red over white color theme that eerily looks like blood. From an aesthetic point of view, despite how little it matters, this thing looks awesome. What's great is that it can also take some abuse. Build quality is on par with the best out there. In other words, you put RIP Red Ripper through its paces both on stage and in a fast paced studio environment. This pedal is simply not going to let you down. Tech 21 has used proper components which ensure exactly that.
When we move on to controls, there is quite a bit to cover. In many ways, Red Ripper follows the layout of standard guitar distortion pedals. To be more specific, you have your Level and Gain knobs paired with a three-band EQ. However, that isn't all. There is also a R.I.P knob in there. Where adding more gain to the signal makes the distortion meatier, R.I.P knob allows you to choose between several different types of distortion. This comes very handy on a bass guitar considering how hard it is to dial in a good tone that won't muffle everything in its vicinity. Lastly, there is the low pass filter that also helps clear up the response a little. Overall, Tech 21 RIP Red Ripper isn't that hard to use.It takes some time to figure out, but it quickly becomes second nature.
The first thing that struck us when we hooked everything up and pressed that bypass switch, was sheer range this pedal has to offer. In all honesty, just the combination of gain, level and EQ would be enough to make for a great little pedal, but once you add that low pass filter and R.I.P control, things tend to go from good to great in an instant. On default settings, Red Ripper adds that abrasive texture to your signal. You get the distortion but it is well contained in a sense that you're not losing your tone's core profile. Adding distortion modulation made us wonder just how far can Red Ripper keep things articulated. The answer is as far as you need it to. When it comes to distorted bass sound, this pedal gives you access to a premium source that doesn't disappoint.
A simple, well constructed and awesome sounding bass dist box with plenty of gain to boot. Even though it comes across as tame compared to some models on the market, Tech21 RIP Red Ripper definitely brings the heat in a way that makes it a joy to work with.