Rockmodules Introduction

New to Rockman gear? Here's some help. Questions are welcome.
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Rockmodules Introduction

Postby rbc » Sun Jan 12, 2014 9:20 pm

The Rockmodules are a line of professional quality, rack mount guitar effects, introduced in 1986. There are roughly three categories of Rockmodules, the amplifier simulators, the sound processors and the control devices.

The amp simulators include the Sustainor and Distortion Generator. The Sustainor was first released in 1986, along with the Stereo Chorus Delay, which I will describe later. The Sustainor includes a preamp/compressor, a noise gate, distortion and filters, along with a cabinet simulation. Another feature is the auto-clean circuit that allows controlling the guitar distortion by adjusting the guitar volume knob.

The Distortion Generator is a related product that that was released in 1987. Like many of the Rockman products, the Distortion Generator includes compression, distortion and cabinet simulation circuitry. Compared to the Sustainor, the Distortion Generator lacks the noise gate and external loop, but includes a three band pre-distortion EQ.

The sound processors include the EQ, Compressor, Smart Gate, Chorus, Echo and Stereo Chorus/Delay. The Stereo Chorus/Delay was released first (1986), so I will start with it. It can be used as either a chorus or delay. The chorus effect can be mono or stereo. The Chorus/Delay is used for doubling, slap-back and reverb-like short echoes. Combining the Stereo Chorus/Delay with a Sustainor provides a complete system for recording guitar. 1987 brought the Instrument EQ, Stereo Echo and Stereo Chorus.

The Instrument EQ was specifically designed for use with the Sustainor and Distortion Generator. The EQ frequencies were tailored for use with musical instruments, putting an emphasis on the mid range frequencies. Its intended place in a Rockmodule lineup is after the Sustainor or Distortion Generator, but before the chorus and echo effects. It can also be used as a pre-distortion EQ, when placed in the Sustainor effects loop.

The Rockman Stereo Echo is an analog delay. It can be used to provide "slap back" echo when no feedback is used. Increasing the delay time and adding feedback provides standard echo effects. It has stereo inputs, or a mono input if only the left input is used. One possible lineup is to put the Stereo Echo after the Stereo Chorus. The Stereo Chorus was introduced in 1987, following the Stereo Chorus/Delay in the Rockmodule lineup. It is a dedicated analog chorus and adds foot switchable controls for long-chorus and sweep stop.

The Rockman Guitar Compressor is a professional quality compressor tailored for use with guitars. Since many of the Rockman products include a compressor (Headphone amps, Sustainor, Distortion Generator, XP Series and Ultimatum based products), this effect is primarily intended to add compression when it's not provided by other equipment in the signal chain. The Rockman Smart Gate is a dedicated noise gate that builds on the noise gate technology in the Rockman Sustainor.

The control devices include the Midi Octopus and Dual Remote Loop. The Midi Octopus is used for controlling other effects. It could be used with a Midi pedal board, or be controlled by a Midi sequencer. The Dual Remote Loop is used to interface effects and amplifiers that can't controlled by other means. Only 50 were made and they are hard to come by.

The production of Rockmodules continued until approximately 1991. They continue to be used by musicians and traded by collectors.

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