Tech21 FlyRig5

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Tech21 FlyRig5

Post by Twangboy! » Wed Aug 13, 2014 9:20 am

Local store let me take one home for review.
First, let's set the stage. I love all flavors of amps and have used each extensively. All manner of modellers, solid state amps and tube rump rattlers. Not that I'm an expert, but ive heard or used most of 'em anyway.
I currently am using either transtube SS amps or my Classic 30 in worship.
My backup is either my iPad running Bias and a line6 Sonic port, or my trusty DG Stomp, which works better as floor based. Love the old DG series and the tones i can dial up. Its my normal practice rig when i dont want to power cycle the classic so much.

I have used Tech21 stuff alot. I have an older model XXL pedal that i love, used a PE60 with my POD X3 for a long time and my buddy's original Sans Amp still sounds good.
I think Barta makes great gear. So the Fly Rig has been well anticipated.
Next, lets unbox it. First impressions are its tiny; smaller than i expected even after watching numerous videos. Comes with wall wart power supply too; convenient.
Sturdy!. Small and light, but looks like you could bash your kid brother over the head with it and finish the night out. Typical Tech 21.

In comparison with the DG Stomp, its about 1/10th the size and weight. 3 jacks on the back; input output and power. Simple.
3 basic sections on the front panel left to right: DLA with level, repeats, drift and time and On and TAP switches.
Next is the SansAMP section with level, reverb, hi, mid, low and drive and an ON footswitch
Lastly is the PLEXI section with level tone, drive and hot with footswitches for ON and HOT.

Alrighty. i tested it with my squier tele, peavey generation and a variax 600 through my classic 30 and a Kustom SS 100watt head and 1 -12 cabinet.
Jacked into the effects return of either amp and bypassing the amplifier preamp, lets play.
All sections off, i started with the SansAMP on and dialed up a nice spanky clean tele tone with some big bottom and a tad of reverb. The tone and drive controls here sweep a large range, but my tele still sounded like a tele. Reverb has only a level control, but its a good sounding spring emulation. (i always feel lost on an amp without reverb) This would fix that.
Turning on the DLA side and dialing up a bit of smear is easy and the drift control gives you a bit of warble on the repeats. Nice tone i could use right there and not be dissatisfied all night. Pickup changes gave me 3 different tones and all were really warm and 3D. Tap function is a nice addition. I use dotted 8ths and the like and as long as you know the oneEE and a twoEE method of getting dotteds out of a delay, its easy. And accurate. you can even use the drift as a chorus type sound with the right tweaks.
So there's my cleans.
Things i didnt like so far. Reverb only has one tone and is married to SansAMP channel for speaker emulation. In my setup going to power amp/cab, i didn't really need the speaker emulation, but liked the clean tone and reverb. If you turn off sansAMP, reverb is unavailable.
Next post will be about the PLEXI and HOT component and the shoot out with the DG

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Re: Tech21 FlyRig5

Post by Twangboy! » Wed Aug 13, 2014 9:56 am

Next up is PLEXI, which if I'm not mistaken, is italian for "HOLY CARP!!"
Played thru plenty of Marshalls and the plexis are my favorites. Less buzzy and more ballsy. Use your volume control on the guitar for 50 shades of heyyyy!
Flyrig REALLY shines on this channel. Tons of gain on tap and the tone control has alot of sweep here. From gritty to grind, there's a tone for you. it was almost impossible to get a bad sound out of this channel. Real testament to Barta and his circuit gurus.
The HOT side has a separate level control and footswitch which can be used to increase gain, level or both. Instant lead boost for when the sound guy falls asleep at the board and is too far away throw your beatle boot at.
So you can leave the sansAMP side on and kick on the PLEXI for gain channel and add HOT for lead boost! 3 channels!
The unit is a GREAT tool for travel or even as an alt for a huge pedalboard, unless you NEED more FX or greater FX control.
I could totally use this on a standard gig and play great digging the sounds i get out of it.
Part 3 will be the pros and cons and what it sounds like against my trusty DG Stomp

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Re: Tech21 FlyRig5

Post by Twangboy! » Wed Aug 13, 2014 10:31 am

Part 3: The shootout!

First, lets look at the units: Fly Rig vs. DG
Size: Winner goes to Fly! lets face it, the DG is older tech thats rugged and sounds great still, but its metal heavy and wont fit in a guitar case.
Flexibility: I almost have to give a tie here. There are so many tones available in the DG that its not really fair. For the market the Fly Rig is designed for, its brilliant and the tones are killer! The DG has a separate reverb control and speaker sims can be dumped. The Fly Rig is utterly simple in operation and options. So scrolling thru menus here.
Tones: I have to give a slight edge to the Fly Rig here. Updated circuits. Although the DG uses an SPX900 chipset that still sounds killer, there exist plenty of "processed cheeze whiz tones" available on most modelers. There ISNT A BAD SOUND IN THE FLY RIG IMO.

So, what does all this mean to me? Am I keeping the Fly Rig?

Not yet. Still a baby in product terms and no idea what problems can crop up in early adoption. Track record wise, i don't see that being an issue knowing the rock solid gear Tech21 builds. But i have mucho seat time with the DG and KNOW what it can and cant do. I can make both units sound nearly identical. So for now the DG stays as I really dont need 2 units that cover the same ground for me. I WILL pick a Fly Rig up used one day. it just TOO good of a product.
I realize the FlyRig has a particular price point and a "Many things for all users" ethos. Tech21 cant possibly make 1 device that does everything to everybody. In that regard, they've hit a home run. There isnt an FX loop in either device, but both take pedals well. the only thing that would make a difference to me would be a way to turn off the speaker sim in the sansAMP side ala the character pedals. But i would like to see its reliability tested in the real world abit before i buy.
That said, please remember that this is simply MY impression of the Flyrig and your mileage may vary. You may hate it. You may hate all modelers, especially the DG stomp.
I tried to attack the device as how i would use it in my rig.
If you have any questions, let me know and i'll do my best to answer. I will have the Flyrig for a couple more days. here's your chance if you are so inclined

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Caevan O'Shite
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Re: Tech21 FlyRig5

Post by Caevan O'Shite » Wed May 06, 2015 3:00 am

I'm a little late to the party, but- Hey, nice reviews, and I appreciate your wit and sense of humor salted and peppered throughout!

If you ever get a Fly Rig 5 or any newer iterations (Ritchie Kotzen version?) underfoot again, I'd like to know how:

- it sounds and feels through a PA and stage-monitors (traditional or IEM), minus your slaved guitar-amps

- it sounds and feels with any other pedals before or after it

To me, from what I've read and seen/heard in videos, the Fly Rig 5 seems like a great back-up or super-compact light-packing travel rig, particularly if it plays well with one or a few favorite pedals, such as fuzzes, octave-fuzzes, wahs, phasers, flangers, tremolo, Leslie/rotary sim types, echoes... y' know, bread 'n' butter to candy 'n' champagne.

:geek: Image An effects-loop TRS insert in-between the SANSAMP/Plexi/Hot and the DLA sides- particularly if its Reverb was also post-'loop- would be an EXCELLENT addition to the Fly Rig 5; being able to put favorite modulation pedals, for example, after the preamp but before the delay would be very welcomed. :cool:
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Re: Tech21 FlyRig5

Post by Verndog » Sun Aug 20, 2017 12:42 pm

I have the Bass Flyrig, It has totally re vamped my being amped..... Best thing in a solid tone overtime. It gives front of house a choice, an I use it exclusively as my amp to recording interface. And it has reduced the amount of stomps all over the place.
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