THE BOSS ME LINE OF MINIMALIST
multi-effects has been a boon to beginners
and a secret weapon for pros since its inception.
Neophytes enjoy being able to test
drive many Boss effects for not much more
than the price of a single pedal, and for some
professionals, these compact effectors packs
enough processing power for rehearsals or
small gigs that don’t warrant a full pedalboard
or rack system. The ME-25 is a new
model in this classic series, replacing the
No subtle upgrade, the ME-25 ($276
retail/$199 street) completely revamps the
layout, operation, and character of this
multi-effect pedal. For starters, while the
ME-20 contained 17 effects geared for
hands-on performance with everything laid
out in four rows right on the face, the ME-
25 adds amp modeling and requires slightly
more sophisticated programming to get
the maximum bang for its minimal bucks.
Also, where the 20’s three footswitches
accessed individual effects as well as programs,
the 25 uses two footswitches only
to scroll up and down through programs,
and the third to tap delay tempos, control
the new loop function, or engage a “Solo”
boost for any patch.
One of the major upgrades is the use of Roland’s COSM modeling to add amplifiers.
This allows you to plug the ME-25
directly into a mixing board for recording
or live performance. If you wish to use the
pedal’s effects through a stack or combo,
you can simply create a group of patches
with the amp modeling shut off.
The ME-25’s Sound Library lets you
choose among six tonal starting points—
Clean, Crunch, Drive, Lead, Heavy, and
Extreme—by pushing the appropriately
labeled button. A knob then selects ten
variations of each type. You can then immediately
access drive, tone, and volume
parameters from three more knobs, enter
edit mode, add or delete effects, and save
to a user program slot.
While the ME-25’s reconfiguration
seems more a lateral move than an
advance, its USB capability is a definitive
leap forward. Hook this baby up to your
computer and it functions as an audio
interface, for recording and monitoring
through any USB cable. No DAW? It comes
bundled with Cakewalk SONAR 8.5 LE
software. The USB connection also lets
you use included software to save and edit
I tested the ME-25 with my Fernandes
T-type and Danelectro Dead On ’67 guitars.
I have always appreciated the sound
and response of Roland’s COSM modeling;
for me, it is less a case of it sounding
“authentic” than that it sounds musical
and responds naturally to my picking and
volume knob dynamics. The ME-20 adds
a Super Stack button that not only made
the Metal sounds deliver a resounding
thump, but also acted as an excellent overall
“loudness” button, adding bottom end
richness to clean and crunch patches.
The expression pedal delivered authentic
sounding wah and whammy effects, but
I really loved the Freeze mode, where any
chord played with the pedal in heel position
was infinitely sustained as a beautiful
pad effect in the toe position. I could then
solo over the sustained pad; some may find
this effect alone worth the price of the unit.
The manual could be clearer, though, about
how to set this up as well as a few other
things. When one chord got boring I could
either make use of the Phrase Loop function—
with 38 seconds of recording time,
or load some of the included audio loops,
rhythms, and songs into the computer and
If you are seeking something to replace
your pedalboard or rack for small shows
and rehearsals, you are better off looking
for the discontinued ME-20 on eBay, or
moving up to the ME-70, as both offer the
footswitchable access to individual effects
that the ME-25 lacks. (Boss states that the
ME-25 was intended as more of a home -
guitarist tool than a live-performance tool.)
The professional level sounds of the ME-
25 can work live if your show is set in stone;
with 60 user presets, just step through
them as the show progresses. I could also
see adding this compact unit to your pedalboard
as a dedicated Whammy, Wah, or
Freeze pedal. Whether for live, recording,
or practicing alone, at under two bills it
should be easy to find a place for the ME-
25 somewhere in your effects arsenal.
KUDOS Great Boss COSM tones. Fun Freeze
effect. USB recording capability.
CONCERNS Manual could be clearer. No
footswitch access to individual effects
CONTACT Boss, (323-890-3700); bossus.com
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