Although one of the most engaging and most expressive instruments out there, things can get rather complicated with electric guitars. After all, the instrument does nothing on its own and you at least need a simple specialized amplifier to get things going, right? However, quite often, this just isn’t enough. Today’s topic is the best multi-effects pedals.
Most of the experienced guitar players who are gigging and doing studio sessions frequently need to have elaborate rigs. This can either be a nice collection of pedals, amps, and rack-mounted units.
What’s more, some guitarists may spend years forming their perfect setup. But what if you could get past all of this and just use one unit with all the necessary things in it?
In fact, you can use a multi-effects unit and even go straight into a mixer and a PA system, without ever using an amp and microphones. Meanwhile, your tone will get pretty close to what actual amps are capable of.
With all this said, we’ve decided to look more into the best multi-effects pedals which will help you keep things simple, compact, and practical. Of course, there’s something for everyone on this list, covering different price ranges.
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Boss is, by far, the most popular pedal manufacturer in the world. Of course, they’re also responsible for creating some of the best multi-effects pedals that one can find for the price.
However, with a piece like GT-1000, they’ve certainly taken things to a whole new level. This isn’t just a regular multi-effects unit with an additional cabinet emulated output for mixing boards, but rather a full-blown digital amp modeler with a bunch of very convincing effects. Plenty of professional guitar players are also using it both for live shows and studio sessions.
The first thing that’s easily noticeable is GT-1000’s very clear and simple interface. There are five preset switches, along with two preset bank up and down switches. The presets are created easily, and the unit comes with 250 factory presets and 250 user-made ones.
Additionally, every footswitch is accompanied by a light indicator, making it really easy to use on stage. Its 32-bit and 96 kHz processor is capable of delivering pretty convincing amp tones, even replicating the dynamic response and warmth of some tube amps. Along with this also comes the so-called “AIRD” technology for impulse responses, as well as Boss’ own multi-dimensional processing.
There’s a total of 100 amps and effects models on it, allowing for countless combinations for your own preset making. It’s not the cheapest one, but it’s one of the most potent multi-effects pedals on the market these days.
While HeadRush is not as big of a company compared to Boss or some other better-known ones, but they sure are capable of creating some awesome stuff. What really stands out is their multi-effects unit, simply labeled as HeadRush Pedalboard, one of the best multi-effects pedals right now.
Once again, we have a very potent amp modeling unit with a pretty surprising amount of convincing-sounding effects. In advantage to many other examples on the market, this one comes with a 7-inch touchscreen interface, making your tone-shaping process as if you’re using actual individual pedals.
It has a pretty innovative mode of operation, making it possible to practically use it as an actual custom-made pedalboard. There’s also a quality-made expression pedal that can be assigned to plenty of effects presets on it.
HeadRush Pedalboard unit comes with a total of 33 amplifier models, 15 cabinets, and even 10 microphone models, which opens up an abundance of possibilities.
Along with this, we have 40 digital effects of all different kinds. With its onboard quad-core processor, DPS system, and even a looper with 20 minutes of recording memory, it makes for one pro-level multi-effects unit. What’s more, it’s also equipped with MIDI in, out, and thru jacks, as well as USB connectivity.
Line 6 HX Effects
Of course, Line 6 is one of the most common names when it comes to the best multi-effects pedals. In fact, they’re responsible for creating a revolution in the world of digital amp modeling with their groundbreaking “kidney” POD.
Going to some contemporary models, we’re sure that you can’t ever go wrong with Line 6’s HX Effects unit. This is somewhat of a “stripped-down” version of the company’s legendary Helix amp modeler, offering some of the basic features and presets, all while keeping a very simple yet potent interface.
With this piece, you’ll be able to create fully functional digital rigs with all the necessary components. However, the most important thing here is that it comes with great processing power which is capable of creating some pretty realistic tones. There are over 100 effects on it, including digital replicas of some classic amplifiers.
Its connectivity features are also pretty diverse. You can plug it directly into an amp and just use the effects. Then there’s an option for stereo input, as well as two onboard effects loops. The output can be used as either mono or stereo and you can even plug it into a mixer and a PA system.
We can also see an expression pedal input, MIDI in and out, and even a USB connector that allows for some elaborate tone-shaping options via your computer. Packed in a pretty small casing, it’s like having entire rigs that you can take anywhere with you.
Mooer is a relatively new company, formed back in 2010. Nonetheless, they’re a worthy competitor, most notably due to their low prices and an amazing combination of cost and qualities.
The one that we’d single out on this list is the GE300 multi-effects pedal that’s quite popular among live musicians who are gigging a lot and who don’t feel like taking those bulky amps, pedalboards, and rigs with them on tour.
But despite its overall simplicity and a fairly compact package, GE300 brings a lot of functionality and diversity in the mix. The number of amp and effect models is just astounding.
There are 108 amps, 164 effects, and even an onboard looper with impressive 30 minutes of recording time. And that’s not all. There are 43 impulse response cabinet emulators, an integrated 3-voice synth engine, MIDI compatibility, and a total of 256 user-customizable presets.
But all these features are made simple with a straightforward interface and a pretty clear design that makes its use on stage a real breeze. With the onboard expression pedal, you can control the volume level, wah parameters, as well as other effects.
While we could talk about it for days, one of the most impressive things about it is the Tone Capture feature. It allows you to actually capture the sounds of your own gear and create digital replicas of it. This is some Kemper-level stuff for at a surprisingly low price level. One of the best multi-effects pedals for the listed price tag.
Eventide H9 Max
Up next, we have one surprisingly simple and yet extremely potent multi-effects pedal by Eventide. The H9 Max covers territories that many of the larger multi-effects units aren’t capable of, making it an interesting contender for our little best multi-effects pedals rundown.
There are only two footswitches on it, along with a one-knob interface and a few additional switches. With this said, the pedal comes with 99 onboard presets and an option to download up to 500 more using the H9 Control app.
The unit comes with 49 algorithms and an abundance of pretty unique-sounding and yet useful effects.
And the app that we mentioned can help you control these effects in a real-time setting using a simple Bluetooth connection. You can also control these effects using your computer and the H9 Max’s USB connection.
In addition to these features, Eventide H9 Max also comes with an option to use a stereo input, stereo output, expression pedal connectivity, and MIDI in and out. Overall, this is a fairly useful option for those who favor quality compact devices over more elaborate multi-effects pedals. Let’s move on with the best multi-effects pedals!
Zoom MS-70CDR MultiStomp
Zoom is one of the most important companies in the world of digital instruments and digital processing units. But what we have here is an extremely compact unit, the MS-70CDR MultiStomp pedal, one of the best multi-effects pedals when it comes to the smaller units.
In case you need a bunch of effects to use with your guitar amp and a distortion pedal, then this is the one that you’ll want to get.
This compact little thing comes with 86 standard effects models. In addition, there are 6 more “simultaneous” effects that add a new dimension and “spaciousness” to the tone. With so many effects, you also get 30 factory presets, as well as 50 user-made ones.
The pedal comes with an LCD display that helps you tweak parameters of individual effects. Of course, the pedal takes some time getting used to, mostly due to its abundance of effects with just one footswitch on it.
But when you get a hang of it, you’ll have a very compact and potent pedal that will get you covered for pretty much any musical style.
It’s also worth noting that Zoom’s MS-70CDR comes with stereo inputs and outputs. It can also be powered through a regular USB charger.
Line 6 POD Go
Knowing how great their stuff is, it’s hard not to include yet another awesome piece by Line 6. This time around, we’re bringing one of their newer products, specially designed for those who favor practicality over more elaborate solutions.
Developing further on their classic multi-effects units, it all culminated with Line 6’s POD Go. What’s really useful here is that they combined the standard footswitch interface with an additional large LCD display for easier preset-making.
Speaking of which, Line 6 POD Go comes with 270 presets for you to play around with, along with Helix and legacy models. This gives some pretty awesome amp, cabinet, and even microphone models. Pair that up with its onboard Helix effects, and you’re in for a real treat.
Creating these presets is also pretty easy, with parameter knobs right below the display. The expression pedal can also be used for volume, wah, and other effects. You can also add third-party cabinet impulse responses by connecting to your computer via a USB connection.
Of course, with such a piece, it’s expected to have direct outputs for guitar amps, along with a headphone output and a stereo or mono out for PA systems.
And as if this wasn’t enough, you can also add another external expression pedal for more real-time control. Along with an onboard tuner that’s available through the large display, it’s pretty useful for frequently gigging musicians. One of the best multi-effects pedals, for sure.
Another Zoom product worth mentioning here, the G3Xn model brings a lot of things on the table for a pretty decent price. This compact multi-effects pedal comes with two sets of switches and modes of operation.
You can either use it as a pedalboard with three individual dedicated effects or as a regular multi-effects unit with presets and preset banks. The G3Xn pedal comes with three individual sections with three separate displays and parameter controls.
With four knobs for each effect, you’ll be able to do some serious tone shaping with it. Of course, it’s also accompanied by a regular expression pedal that can serve many functions, depending on your own needs.
While the pedal can work with any regular amplifier, it’s also packed with onboard amp and cabinet models. But we also have 5 different amps and 5 different cabinet emulators, along with 68 digital effects of all kinds.
This means that you can plug it into a mixer or a PA system and have a pretty realistic guitar amp tone with it. The backside layout on it is pretty simple with an instrument input, mono out, stereo out, and even an auxiliary input for any device, allowing you to play backing tracks.
Using its USB connection, you can also connect it to your computer and create your own new presets more easily. Overall, it’s a fairly simple and cheap one, coming as one of the best multi-effects pedals for beginner and intermediate players.
While the GT-1000 is definitely one of the best multi-effects units on the market these days, it might be complicated for some guitar players who would rather go with simpler stuff. This is where Boss’ GT-1 comes into play. With this guy, we’ll wrap up our list of best multi-effects pedals
The device comes with some of the same features and tone qualities of the GT-1000 multi-effects processor but with a more stripped-down interface. Of course, it lacks some of the advanced stuff, like the AIRD technology. However, with its COSM amp modeling technology, you’ll get some pretty realistic guitar amplifier tones with it.
This one comes with a fairly simple layout and a display showing your chain. Sure, you won’t exactly make some super-complex virtual signal chains with it, but it will be more than enough for some regular stuff. The unit has those simple up and down switches for choosing your presets.
GT-1 comes with 108 effects and additional amp models. This means that you can just use its effects and go directly into any amplifier or that you can just plug it into a PA system and implement its onboard amp models. In addition to these features, GT-1 also has an onboard looper with up to 32 seconds of recording time.
It’s designed as a budget-friendly variant that can be powered by AA batteries as well, providing you with up to 7 hours of playtime.
While it’s something mostly beginner and intermediate-oriented, we’re certain that this little multi-effects pedal can come in handy even for semi-professional and professional gigging musicians for some smaller shows.
The option to use its onboard expression pedal also helps, and you can even use an additional external one for more versatility. What’s more, the USB connectivity feature turns it into a real audio interface, meaning that you can record, produce, and mix your own music through this fine unit. We hope you enjoyed our list, make sure you’re staying safe and rock on, guys!
For more content, check out our list of best guitars on the market here.