What is it?
Marshall FR-1 Reflector Reverb. Made in china around early 00’s.
Where all the dirt pedals in small metal series have board designs of their own, the digital ones are, well. Exactly what you’d expect from them. This fact makes the digital designs in this series the most dullest boards. This doesn’t mean that there is anything wrong with the pedals, it’s just that the boards give out a medium intensity meh-factor when you stumble across exactly the same board design in two or more separate effect models.
As for the Echohead i posted earlier, this one holds the same boards, same chips and same filtering and mixing. Meaning that the differences between the Reflector and the Echohead are in code, screen printing and label badge on the surface. The electronics are exactly the same. While the guts contribute to noticeable meh, this still doesn’t mean there anything wrong with the design.
But since the Texas Instruments DSP, Atmel and BSI controllers are in place with crystal oscillator for the clock, i find very little to say about this unit from the electronic point of view. Sure. I could repeat everything i stated on the Echohead post, but there is very little point in that.
Besides, the design is complex and since it shares the same principles as all the other digital effect with its switching, buffering, AD/DA and so on, there’s not much to say. The real topic rises when we start playing. Electronically and by box design, this is what it is supposed to be. A solid chinese made Marshall box. Even though the pedal is pretty much the same as Echohead, the code and the modes are great. As with Echohead, the basic controls are level, or mix, followed by damping and reverb time. There is stereo output and even a place for expression pedal (which i haven’t tried with this one yet). Then, the six modes…
How does it sound?
Here’s the thing. These modes do not disappoint. Hall, plate, room and two slightly different spring modelling modes are good. Decent amount of hifi is present, but not enough to reveal the horrid truth of those too high resolution rack mount reverbs. Those rack mount units are useful for vocals and possibly drum tracks, but for guitar use, too high resolution does not sound right. This can be explained by guitar’s frequency bandwidth isn’t the same as for the instruments mentioned above. Too high resolution usually results in too bright and sharp tone. With this pedal, the brightness is in perfect balance with your guitar’s tone. Sure, the digital versus spring tank. We could discuss this for hours and still end up by saying both are good. Digital will never be able to act as the actual springs, but the effect with this and similar digital reverbs will suffice to almost everyone. But wait a minute. There’s one more mode we didn’t cover. The reverse. I’m not going to say a lot about it, but it is fun to have a pedal with reverse reverb.
2 thoughts on “Marshall RF-1 Reflector”
Hi, I am tending to get this rf-1 reverb pedal, but I have read someone’s experiences that it would not be suitable for distorted/overdriven tones, so it should be used with clean tones only. However, I play mostly overdriven channel of my tube-amp for guitar solos, where I would like to use this reverb pedal. Do you have any experience with use of this rf-1 on overdriven/distorted sounds, please? Maybe the person did not connect it properly (did not have FX loop on his amp and connected it directly to amp’s guitar input), which resulted into poor tone. Anyway, I am surprised that even on youtube I am not able to find any examples of rf-1 used on overdriven sounds… Could you maybe share your experience, please?
Thanks a lot.
in the meantime I bought this rf-1 used (still valid warranty) and am happy with it, even on overdrive mode. So probably that guy, telling that it is not suitable for use with overdrive/distortion, had something wrong there (might not be using FX loop for it or something).
I just wanted to share my personal experience.