Catalinbread Rah Review – Royal Albert Hall Overdrive Pedal

The Catalinbread RAH Royal Albert Hall Overdrive guitar pedal is a fantastic overdrive pedal. It’s part of a series that reproduces the iconic sound of different classic bands.

The RAH guitar pedal reproduces the unique Jimmy Page sound from the 1970 Royal Albert Hall performance. The effect circuitry design borrows from the actual amp setup from this performance. The result is an incredibly dynamic effect pedal for Led Zeppelin and classic rock fans. The pedal comes with a Herco pick to help you achieve an authentic RAH sound.

Catalinbread is a Portland-based company that has achieved recognition for its guitar pedals. The company is under new ownership following the tragic death of its founder Nicholas Harris in 2016. Catalinbread continues to release outstanding products. 

Top Things to Consider Before Buying an Overdrive Pedal

Overdrive pedals create sound effects by increasing and enhancing your dynamic range. Before discovering overdrive pedals, I would turn my tube amp all the way up to get some distortion. The main issue with this method is tone loss and noise.

Using an overdrive pedal solved all these issues. These pedals deliver the same kind of dynamic sound as you would get with a tube amp, but the result is a lot smoother.

Note that you want a pedal that changes your tone instead of merely enhancing it, a distortion pedal would be a better option. A fuzz pedal is another alternative to consider. These pedals can saturate and clip your sound.

Here is what to consider before getting an overdrive pedal:

  • Does an overdrive pedal make sense, or can you use the overdrive channel on your amp instead?
  • Will you primarily use tone effects, or do you need additional controls like master or gain?
  • Where will the overdrive pedal fit on your effect board?
  • How will the overdrive pedal work with the gear you own, including your guitar, amp, and pick-ups?

Make

Model

Details

Catalinbread

Rah

Catalinbread Rah Overdrive Pedal

PRO's & CON's of Catalinbread Rah

Here are the main pros and cons to consider for Catalinbread Rah Overdrive effect pedal.

Pros

  • Easily adjust treble, middle, and bass with knobs controls.
  • Turn effects on and off with the foot switch.
  • Interactive tone circuits prevent one effect from overpowering the others.
  • Compact and durable design.

Cons

  • Need additional gear like string, picks, and pick-up to reproduce RAH sound.
  • Focus on RAH performance makes the pedal slightly less versatile than other products.

Features and Benefits

Let’s take a closer look at the main features of the Catalinbread RAH Royal Albert Hall Overdrive guitar pedal.

Layout

The overdrive pedal uses a simple layout with knobs. Each knob has a clear label and is easy to adjust, even though it might be a bit small compared to other effect pedals. You will find three knobs for adjusting different tone circuits and two additional knobs:

  • Master: The master control adjusts your output volume. It’s best to choose a neutral setting for this knob and to rely on your amp to adjust your output volume.
  • Gain: The gain circuitry reproduces the input volume settings of the RAH amp used by Jimmy Page.  You can enhance your dynamic range further by turning it up but can achieve a cleaner sound by turning it down. Depending on your pick-ups, you might need to turn it down to eliminate noise.

You can hear Jimmy Page’s iconic guitar performance from the 1970 RAH concert in this video.

Treble

One of the three tone circuits of the pedal adjusts treble. The treble effect circuitry reproduces the range of the Hiwatt amp from the RAH performance.

The treble effect is subtle until you increase the other tone effects. Turning up the treble setting will boost the high end of your tonal spectrum. It creates the screaming guitar effect that defined the classic 60s rock sound.

The treble control is fun to play with and provides a very dynamic feel. It gives you a screaming guitar effect without EQ issues or noise from the lower end of the spectrum. You can hear the treble effect in this video demo of the Catalinbread RAH pedal.

Middle

The middle setting lets you adjust the mid-range tone of your guitar. A lot of novice guitar players overlook the mid-range when experimenting with effects. I’ve found that it’s one of the things that has brought more depth to my playing.

You can achieve a lot of different effects by adjusting mid-range tones:

  • You can create a warm sound if you look for a balance between the mid-range and bass tones.
  • Turn mid-range tones down a little to get a hollow, woody, or crunchy sound.
  • You can get a scooped effect by turning mid-range tones way down.
  • Let mid-range tones overpower other portions of your tonal spectrum for a nasal sound.

Check out this video demo of the Catalinbread Rah pedal to hear the mid-range effects on the classic Led Zeppelin song Since I’ve Been Loving You.

Bass

The overdrive pedal features a bass knob to increase the lower end of your range. Enhancing bass makes your playing sound a lot more dynamic, and you can turn the volume up on your amp without experiencing a loss of tone in the bass range.

The bass control helps you achieve a clean, warm, and punchy sound. I love this pedal because you can adjust the treble, middle, and bass controls to prevent the bass effect from taking over.
Catalinbread Rah 01

Image by Caio Silva (available under Unsplash License)

Interactive Tone Circuits

The interactive tone circuits are one of the standout features of the pedals. Instead of increasing or decreasing each effect independently, the two other values will change in relation to the one you adjust.

Keep in mind that the pedal uses passive tone circuitry. The purpose is to reproduce amp effects and give you a dynamic response. You won’t get the same kind of drastic changes in sound that you can get by adjusting the treble or bass controls on a stereo.

The interactive tone circuits allow you to fine-tune your sound. The effects move in relation to each other to create a dynamic range that sounds like Led Zeppelin. You can hear the subtle effect of the interactive tone circuits in this video demo.

Foot Switch

The foot switch feature is a convenient control that lets you turn the effects on and off with your foot. There is no need to stop playing to switch into overdrive mode.

The foot switch is one of the main reasons to consider adding an overdrive pedal to your effect board. It’s easier than relying on the built-in overdrive channel of your amp.

Catalinbread Rah 02

Image by Clubfungus (available under Pixabay License)

Design

The pedal measures 5x3x3.” Its compact design is ideal if you have a pedalboard and don’t have a lot of room to add new pedals.

The pedal only weighs eight ounces, and its sturdy design is ideal for traveling. Want to add the RAH pedal to an existing board? You can learn how to set up your pedals in this video.

Social Proof of the Pedal

I feel confident recommending the Catalinbread RAH pedal because of the excellent reviews it has received. The product has a rating of 4.5 on Amazon and 4.6 on Google, indicating that it’s a big hit with a majority of musicians.

Catalinbread Rah Review 01

This Amazon reviewer comments on how versatile the pedal is and how it enhances bass when playing.

Catalinbread Rah Review 02

This review mentions how versatile the pedal is and explains how he has created a customized setup to enhance tone and volume.

This review from Google confirms that the pedal sounds very close to Jimmy Page’s RAH performance. It also comments on how much fun you can have with tweaking the different controls!

Catalinbread Rah Review 04

If you can’t get the kind of overdrive effect you’re looking for with your amp, it looks like the Catalinbread RAH pedal is an ideal addition to your setup.

In Conclusion

The Catalinbread RAH guitar pedal is a must-have accessory if you enjoy classic 60s rock. Being able to adjust treble, mid-range, and bass tones makes your playing a lot more dynamic.

I recommend this overdrive pedal because of the many overwhelmingly positive reviews, the interactive tone circuit feature, and its versatility. Even though it reproduces the Hiwatt amp setup from Led Zeppelin’s 1970 RAH performance, this pedal doesn’t limit your playing to classic rock. Click here to check it out!
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