The RAT distortion pedals by Pro Co have attained legendary status for their distinct drive sounds and have become a standard by which other distortion pedals are measured. While many iterations of the RAT have existed over the years, most versions have distinctive similarities: that familiar RAT housing enclosure, 3-knob layout, and a characteristic distortion that has fuzz-like qualities, fitting since Pro Co started out repairing Fuzz Faces before designing the RAT. But after the original RAT pedals and their early 80’s incarnations set the foundation for the RAT legacy, Pro Co released the RAT2, offering classic RAT distortion tones with a convenient on/off LED, easy-access battery compartment, and carrying over true bypass switching and that signature Filter control.
The RAT2 is all about making noise. It’s a surprisingly versatile pedal, too, and covers a lot of ground from boosted overdrive to full-on raging fuzz distortion. Is the RAT2 still the best guitar distortion effects pedal around? We’ll put the legend to the test in our Pro Co RAT2 review. But first, let’s run down the features of the pedal before jumping into the review.
Distortion control knob adjusts overall gain level.
Filter control knob rolls off brittle high-end frequencies, producing a darker tone.
Volume control knob adjusts overall volume level.
On/Off LED light which the original RAT didn’t have.
Easy-access battery compartment.
True Bypass switching for bypassing the circuitry when the pedal is disengaged.
Powered by 9-volt batter or 9VDC power adapter with 1/8” plug.
Sound & Performance:
I started off by dialing in a flat, clean amp setting with the RAT2 between my guitar and the amp. With the Filter rolled completely counterclockwise, I set the Distortion and Volume controls to noon and fired up the pedal.
The RAT2 instantly jolts your sound with some fat drive that’s full of crunchy rhythm tone. The pedal has a very familiar sound, not surprising since RAT pedals have been featured on so many famous recordings over the years. This is one of those few pedals that comes to mind when people think of great distorted rock guitar tone. The RAT2 has a vibrant top-end that isn’t too hairy or frizzy, and the bottom is nice and chunky, with some great low-end grind for chugging out some heavy riffage.
If the top-end is a little too bright, say if you’re using single coils or a very high-output humbucker, turning the Filter control clockwise a bit will help tame those treble frequencies. It usually doesn’t need too much filtering unless you’re specifically going for a very mellow tone.
Pulling the Distortion down around 9 o’clock produces some great overdrive style tones. The RAT2 still packs plenty of bite even at low Distortion settings from 9 o’clock to noon. Dig in for some satisfyingly spanky attack with plenty of that characteristic RAT drive ripping out of your speakers.
Pushing the Distortion up around 3 o’clock and beyond unleashes the monstrous potential of this pedal. It has that fuzz-like distortion character that defines the “RAT” sound. The RAT2 produces a punishing distortion that manages to remain tight and refined even at the highest Distortion settings. This controlled chaos is a testament to the RAT2’s usability when high-gain distortion is needed without all of the uncontrollable feedback and noise. It’s surprising how the RAT2 is still so quite even at high Distortion settings.
One of the main reasons why the RAT has been around so long is that it’s just so damn fun to play. It has a real classic sound that has spawned countless imitations and variants. It’s easy to plug into this pedal and get lost in the inspiration it induces. It’s certainly one of those must-have pedals that offers a unique flavor of distortion for stage and studio use.
The RAT2 carries on a legacy that has been going strong for over 30 years and will most likely remain a staple among guitar pedals for years to come. Let’s see the final result.
The Pro Co RAT2 is an indisputable classic in the realm of legendary guitar distortion pedals. It covers a wide range of overdrive to distortion tones with a sound that is unique to the RAT2. It has a fuzz-like character at high Distortion settings that still remains tight and full. The RAT2’s signature Filter control offers a great way to refine your top-end and mellow out your tone. If you’re seeking the best guitar distortion effects pedal for your hi-gain needs, the RAT2 is certainly worth auditioning.
That concludes our Pro Co RAT2 review. Thanks for reading.
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