The music industry is always moving forward and developing in countless ways. There was the time when only analog pedals were available, later on they were substituted with the digital ones and now the individual stompboxes are replaced with multi-effects pedals. They are becoming more and more ubiquitous and are convincing many guitar virtuosos to give them a shot. Multi-effects pedals can vary in shapes and sizes, the features they offer and the sound they produce. But they all have one thing in common: they are extremely versatile. The quest of finding the best multi-effects pedal can be filled with different obstacles, that is why we decided to make everything easier for you. This article contains the list of the best deals on the market and will help you choose the unit of your dreams. Keep on reading and figure out, what makes up the best multi-effects pedal.
Top 10 Best Multi Effects Pedals
TC Electronic decided to have it all and combined everything one could ask for in a single unit. G-System is way more than just a simple multi-effects pedal. It offers so many features that you will not need anything else (almost). This bad boy is equipped with 25 effects, including different types of delay, reverb, tremolo, chorus, vibrato, and pitch shifting. As you can see, there are no distortion effects here. That is because TC Electronic knew that every guitarist has his/her favorite drive pedals (and decided not to compete with them), therefore, they included 4 loops that can be connected with your chosen distortions. Additionally, this pedal offers tuner and tap tempo, so that your instrument is always in tune and sounds rhythmical. The selling point for G-System is the amount of presets it provides. Apart from 100 downloadable ones, we have 5 memory locations that can be loaded with 200 presets. No doubt that this is more than enough for any guitarist. This unit powers other pedals offers USB support and MIDI functions. Plus, you can use up to 9 effects simultaneously. G-System is definitely something that will make everything easier for you and deliver great performance no matter what.
- Built like a tank
- Quite easy to use, transparent sound
- Effects sound as good as individual stompboxes
- The manual is barely comprehensive
- A bit pricey
If you are looking for a badass multi-effects processor but you do not want to break the bank, you should definitely check this one out. Line 6 POD HD500X (the name could have been better though) offers top-quality tone-shaping options as well as all the features you could wish for. This bad boy offers more than 100 effects, which is probably more than you will ever need. These effects include different types of distortion, compression, EQ, delay, chorus, flanger, wah, reverb, synth and ring modulation. What is more, POD HD500X has up to 30 amp emulations, containing diverse models (even the uncommon ones). They can be used either individually or simultaneously, or set up in a dual signal path. All the variations and sounds you create can be stored in 512 presets. When it comes to controls, everything is quite clear-cut. The amp dedicated knobs are located in the top right part of the unit next to the effects controls. There are 12 footswitches: 8 of them are manually assignable (you can decide what they will do), one pair allows you to scroll through presets, the remaining two can trigger 48-second looper and tap tempo/tuner. POD HD500X can be connected to PC and controlled with the software. All in all, this processor offers everything you could ask for at an affordable price.
- Great sound
- Can be controlled with the software
- Setting everything up might be a bit time-consuming for newbies
- Confusing interface
If you are looking for a guitar synth that is not a one-trick pony, you have to check out GR-55 from Roland. This bad boy has the most accurate tracking and will give you all the synth sounds that your heart desires. Now, let’s get the issue of GK-3 pickup out of the way. The thing is, you cannot use this pedal with your regular guitar, since it does not have ¼’’ input jack. The version that I am talking about comes with the pickup and allows you to mount the GK-3 on the guitar itself, which will output the synthesized sound. This is a bit of a headache but the tones GR-55 delivers are breathtaking. This unit has two independent sections: COSM part is not a synthesizer, but it can emulate the sound of various instruments, while the PCM part is the actual synthesizer that detects your playing techniques. These two sections can be combined or utilized independently. There are two memory banks featuring up to 900 presets that offer a wide range of synth sounds including organs, pianos, brass, strings, woodwinds and etc. Additionally, GR-55 is packed with amp simulations, signal routing options and a 20 second looper that enable you to create unique sounds. All in all, this unit delivers quality performance no matter what instrument you are playing.
- Allows you to blend different synth voices
- Has a lot of tone control
- Control and expression pedals
- Accurate tuner
- Small amount of looping time
- The need to use a dedicated pickup
What we have here is yet another quality product from Boss. This time we are talking about GT-100 multi effects processor. This bad boy is featured in a solid and durable chassis, which makes it super reliable. First things first, it offers 400 presets: 200 of them are pre-recorded, while the rest is left for you to design. Memory banks can be accessed using the first two footswitches in the upper part of the unit. Now, let’s move on to the effects. GT-100 has all shades of distortion/overdrive, compressor, amp simulation, EQ, delay, reverb, chorus, as well as FX1 and FX2 that can be colored with any effect. All of them can be used either individually or simultaneously (up to 8 at a time). This unit has a 38 second looper and ACCEL pedal, which modifies various parameters of the effects on the fly. You can use the processor as is or select a manual mode, which can be activated by pressing the bank footswitches simultaneously. GT-100 offers 26 amp simulations and 22 overdrive/distortion emulations, that deliver those classic beloved sounds in a single unit. I know it sounds a bit overwhelming, but trust me, Boss did everything in their power to simplify the tweaking process. If you do not believe me, get this pedal and see for yourself!
- Easy to use
- Offers wide range of features
- Manual mode emulates classic pedalboards
- The design is not outdoor-friendly
- Does not have a tap tempo
If you are looking for professional quality and tone control, you should definitely check G5n from Zoom. It offers way more features than its predecessors and delivers all the sounds you could think of. The brand decided to have a new take on the effects (it has 100 in total) and created several multi-effects: Seq Filter, Gold Drive, Reverse Delay, HD Hall and OSC Echo. This bad boy offers 26 amp emulations and includes classics as well as some newly-built cabinets. G5n has 100 pre-recorded factory patches, as well as 200 slots for creating your own. The pedal can be paired with Zoom Guitar Lab in order to download even more presets. You can use 9 effects simultaneously, which allows you to produce thick and saturated sound. Additionally, this effects processor comes with 80 second phrase Looper (stereo and mono), which is probably the best one in this list. It can be controlled with two separate footswitches, making it easier to use on the fly. G5n also has an in-built chromatic tuner with 435-445 Hz frequency range and Tap Tempo with a dedicated footswitch. The settings you choose on this unit will be saved automatically to make sure you do not have to deal with tweaking all the time. All in all, this pedal has everything one could ask for and even more.
- Vast amount of features
- Great deal of memory
- Robust body
- Amazing sound quality
- The amount of footswitches and knobs might not be enough for some
If you are looking for simplicity, you cannot skip over Digitech RP1000. This pedal is an upgrade from previous models and offers even more features than before. Let’s get numbers out of the way: we have 55 amp simulations, 86 effects, 20-second looper and 200 presets (100 of them being editable by users). All of these features are controlled using footswitches and dials spread across the surface. The effects that this unit can deliver include choruses, reverbs, delays, envelopes, tremolos, vibratos, phasers, distortions, compressions, a volume pedal and etc, almost anything you could wish for. This allows you to produce any sound and be in total control of your creation. The looper function is super easy to manage, the Down footswitch triggers record, playback and overdub functions. The only issue here is the looping time, which is way less than other units can offer at this price range. However, it is still usable and might even be enough for many. The selling point for RP1000 is the additional loop for amp and other pedals. This way you can connect your favorite stompboxes in the signal chain. All in all, this unit does everything it claims and offers a wide range of functions.
- The controls are easily accessible
- Amp simulations and effects sound great
- Easy to use
- Small amount of looping time
- Some oversimplified controls do not offer enough options
And we are back to Boss. ME-25 is a powerful member of the multi-effects family. It is packed with features and delivers amazing sounds right at your feet. We have seven effects groups here (each of them offering different variations): Comp/FX, Preamp, Delay, OD/DS, Modulation, Reverb, Pedal FX. This pedal also has COSM amp modeling, which provides you with a wide range of sonic possibilities. By some tweaking, you can produce anything from clean sounds to metal craze. The selling point for ME-25 is probably the Super Stack function, which accentuates low-end and makes your amp emulations go nuts. The Sound Library is quite clear-cut and offers 6 basic sounds: Clean, Drive, Lead, Crunch, Heavy, and Extreme. They all have 10 variations, which are easily accessible by twisting the dedicated knob. Different parameters of your sound can be controlled with Drive, Tone and Volume knobs and an Expression Pedal. Additionally, ME-25 comes with 38-second looper, tap tempo and tuner. Even though some models might offer more features, this unit is quite a decent bang for the buck.
- Built like a tank
- Can be used as an audio interface if connected to the computer
- Relatively affordable
- It’s hard to tweak during performances unless you have saved presets
- Confusing manual
There was a time when multi-effects pedals were extremely complicated and as useful as a glass hammer. But luckily, times have changed and Line 6 has created a revolutionary product that will force you to reconsider your attitude towards multi-effects units. Their Helix LT is a real beast and offers countless useful features. It takes a newer path and provides its customers with innovative DSP and components, which retain the original character of the effects and amps the unit attempts to emulate. It is relatively simple to use, however, you’ll still have to take some time to learn all of its peculiarities. This pedal operates in Stomp, Preset, Snapshot, Looper and Edit modes. Each of them assigns various tasks to the footswitches ad lets you access selected parameters with ease. With Helix LT you have access to 1024 memory banks for saving presets (and eight versions in each). If you want to invest in something that can recreate legendary amps and pedals accurately and provide you with studio quality performance, then this is the one!
- Extremely versatile
- Mind-blowing sonic quality
- Countless memory banks
- Relatively easy to use
Vox has been renowned for the outstanding amplifiers it creates, but we are not talking about that today. The Stomplab IIG is their multi-effects pedal that promises to be as good as those good ol’ amps. This pedal has a built-in expression pedal that is assignable with different functions. Apart from that, we have 100 pre-recorded presets and 20 editable ones. All these presets are spread across 11 memory locations and are accessible with a twist of a knob. The first ten (Ballad, Jazz/Fusion, Pop, Blues, Rock ‘N’ Roll, Rock, Hard Rock, Metal, Hard Core and Other) are loaded with 100 presets, leaving the 11th one for your masterpieces. Just like other multi effects pedals, IIG offers a number of amp emulations and effects, including delays, reverbs, pitch shifters, flangers, choruses, tremolos and others of that ilk. This pedal has Level and Gain knobs, that tailor your sound to your preferences. It is also equipped with tuner that makes sure that your guitar is always in tune. All in all, IIG is a relatively small unit that knows how to get the job done.
- Great sound
- Wide range of effects and presets
- Quite affordable
- Some presets are barely usable,
- The two-figure screen is not easy to read
Zoom G1Xon makes all your budget dreams come true. It delivers multi-effects, as well as some additional features at incredibly small price. It definitely proves that you can have amazing gear without breaking the bank. Let’s dive into the functions of this pedal. This bad boy offers 22 amp simulations that can be utilized in any way possible. We also have a wide range of effects here (78 in total), which are divided into 4 major groups: Dynamics/Filter, Overdrive/Distortion, Modulation/Special Effects and Delay/Reverb. Each of them is packed with the emulations of the best stompboxes out there. You can use up to 5 effects simultaneously which can be stored as patches so that live performances are as easy as possible. G1Xon has a 30-second looper, a built-in chromatic tuner and 68 drum patterns for creating versatile sound. This pedal saves all your settings automatically so that you do not have to fuss with knobs all the time. In short, this is definitely the best multi-effects pedal under 100.
- Extremely affordable
- Wide range of effects
- In-built expression pedal
- Made out of plastic (you could not ask for more)
- The sound quality could be better
What is a multi effects pedal?
If you have been into audio effects for a while now, you probably already know how messy those pedals can be. You keep buying the units of your desire and connecting them to your setup. These create a huge tangled ball of cables and make it hard to grasp what is what. What if you could avoid this fuss with a single device? I am pretty sure you would rush out to purchase one. If so, I have good news, my friend, such a device already exists and it is called a multi-effects processor. To put it simply, it combines a number of effects and gives you the opportunity to have everything in place. It delivers the sounds you love in a single unit and allows you to be as versatile as possible.
A multi-effects pedal will be your best friend if you still have not figured out what effects suit your style. In the process of experimenting it is important to have all options laid out on the surface. This device does exactly that. You can choose between distortions, overdrives, reverbs, delays, tremolos, vibratos, choruses, pitch shifters and basically all the existing effects with just a twist of the knob or the press of a button. Multi-effects processors are relatively easy to use and give you everything you need. Plus, most of them are equipped with some additional features (more on that later) that eliminate the need to invest in various pedals.
The best thing about the multi-effects pedals is that they can emulate your beloved sounds. The majority of the models listed above can simulate those well-known classics. Not only that, but they can also be packed with amp variations, which means you can get the sound of a Marshall amp without investing in the unit itself. This makes multi-effects pedals worth the money and turns them into must-have devices.
The features that make up the best multi-effects pedal
It is always a bit hard to talk about the features of the best multi-effects pedal. As much as we all have different requirements, the set of features that would be enough for me might be too rudimentary for you. However, there are some basics that even the simplest pedal should follow. Let’s discuss some of them together and figure out which features you will need in your multi-effects pedal.
This is probably the most obvious one. The core reason why you are even considering splurging on the multi-effects pedal is the effects. Now, this is the case where number does not matter, because, in most cases, you would not need 100 effects in your performance. Plus, some of them might not even be suitable for your genre. However, the more effects you have, the more versatile sound you can create. It might sound like I am contradicting myself, but I am just saying that the number of effects should not be the determining factor here. For instance, you should not choose a pedal that has 100 effects over something that has 80. The main thing is the range of effects a unit can provide. You should know what you are looking for and make your decision accordingly. You might want something that has distortions and delays, or you might be looking for the unit that also offers reverbs and choruses. One way or another, it is crucially important to know what effects this type of device offers.
The majority of the multi-effects pedals offer amp simulation. This once again adds up to the versatility of the device and gives you a wide range of sonic possibilities. The ability to deliver the sounds of your favorite amp no matter what the actual amp is can be the most practical thing. You cannot always choose the setup in your venue and sometimes you have to be content with the gear available. That is where amp simulation will be your lifesaver. Plus, it gives you the ability to touch up your sound with those sweet tube tones. This is not the most essential feature on earth, however, it can be quite useful if provided.
Tone Shaping options
No matter what kind of pedal we are talking about, it has to have some tone-shaping options. The level of your performance will largely rely on this feature. When you add so many effects to your sound, it is only natural that it will lose some sonic qualities. To avoid such an unfortunate turn of events, you might want to invest in the multi-effects pedal that has tone-shaping options. Simple three-band EQ along with Level control will be everything you will need. Some models might be equipped with dedicated controls for the effects, which is great if you are serious about tailoring your sound to perfection.
Presets (in-built and editable)
One thing that is common among all the multi-effects pedals out there is that they are hard to tweak. Since they offer so many features, it is impossible to have a dedicated control for each and every parameter. That is why all the footswitches and knobs are multi-functional, which also means that you will have to scroll through different settings to find the perfect sound. That is where presets come into play. They allow you to either use the provided patches or record your own. This way you will avoid the headache of constant tweaking and easily switch between presets during the gig. It is all about making things easy, is not it?
This one is more like an additional feature. For the classic utilization of the multi-effects pedal you will not necessarily need a looper. However, if you like to experiment with your sound, you will be quite satisfied with this feature. It allows you to combine different effects or create backing sounds. One way or another, a looper can make your music stand out and add versatility to it.
The tuner also falls into the category of additional features. However, it is one of the essentials. If your instrument is out of tune (if that is not what you are going for), anything you add on top will just sound wrong. Plus, it will be hard for the device to track your notes properly. In short, your tone will be ruined. That is why having a tuner built in your favorite device is always a good option. It provides you with accuracy and makes sure that your music sounds professional. I guess that is what we are all striving for, am I right?
The drawbacks of a multi-effects pedal
Let’s be realistic: we do not live in the perfect world. Everything around us has its advantages and drawbacks. This is especially true when it comes to electronic devices. No matter how good a unit is, it is always possible to find its faults. Knowing both pros and cons allows you to see the whole picture and figure out what you should expect. That is why I decided to list down some of the disadvantages of multi-effects pedals in general.
They cannot substitute your favorite effects pedals
The simulation of something can never be as good as the original. Of course, it is possible to create the sound that resembles those well-known classics, but they will not be identical. This means that the multi-effects pedal cannot replace your favorite effects. If you mainly play one genre, I would suggest sticking to the pedals you own and trust. Or you can go for the multi-effects processor that has separate loops for your beloved pedals.
They are hard to tweak
As I have mentioned before, multi-effects pedals are hard to tweak and take a lot of time in the process. Finding the perfect settings is sometimes quite difficult even with the four-knob stompbox. Imagine what it is like to tweak a device that could easily take up all of your pedalboards. If you are someone who loves simplicity, a multi-effect pedal will drive you nuts. But if you are up for a challenge, this device might be perfect for you.
They are always digital
This is not necessarily a bad thing. The digitalization of the music industry is what has brought us to such high level of development. It allows us to create any sound and be as adventurous as we want. However, certain effects just sound better with analog circuits (for instance, delay). In that sense, a multi-effects pedal limits you in choices, but, if you ask me, it is a small price to pay for the results you can achieve.
Congratulations, my friend, now you have all the information you need to find the best multi-effects pedal on the market. I am sure you will choose something from the list above, since it has something for everyone. As for me, my journey ends here. One last thing: multi-effects pedals are for those who are not afraid to experiment. They require a lot of tweaking, which means you might discover something amazing along the way. Once you get your unit, scrutinize every single part of it, because sometimes the biggest gems are hidden in the most unexpected places. Good luck on your way to the universe of mesmerizing effects!