Roundup: 5 Multi-Effects Processors

January 30, 2014
IF YOU’RE A HARDCORE STOMPBOX PLAYER, YOU’VE probably already adopted an “I’ll give my pedals up when they pry them from my cold, dead hands” opinion when it comes to any discussion of multi-effects processors. But there are plenty of reasons why a multi-effector can be a smart thing to own. The biggest probably is bang for buck, as the number of effects packed into a processor completely overwhelms what you could put on a pedalboard for the same amount of money. Modern multi-effects rigs typically feature most of the popular effects and amps that guitar players need, and while sonic authenticity is often an issue for tone heads, there’s no doubt that digital modeling has come a long way, and many of the amps and effects that are offered nowadays are authentic sounding and dynamically responsive to your touch and the guitar’s volume setting.

Technophobia tends to keep a lot of players glued to stompboxes, and there’s no doubt that the options and deep editing capabilities of most multi-effectors can be daunting to anyone who resides in the analog world. But most of today’s processors are user-friendly enough to where you can power the unit up and step though presets without even bothering to crack the manual. And with a bit of tweaking on the tone knobs that most effectors thankfully feature, you can quickly have an assortment of useful sounds for whatever the gig calls for.

The five multi-effectors on review in this roundup are highly evolved units that provide all the key effects and amp models needed for a wide range of gigging and recording applications. They also have advanced interfaces that make them intuitive to operate—extra points here for the Boss GT-100 with its dual LCDs, and for the DigiTech iPB-10, which utilizes the drag-and-drop convenience of an iPad touch screen.

We tested these multi-effects units with a variety of guitars from Fender, Fernandes, Gibson, and PRS, and listened to them though headphones, P.A. systems, and amps that included an Egnater Rebel 30, Victoria Silver Sonic, and a Mesa/Boogie Royal Atlantic. —ART THOMPSON

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