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Best Multi-Effects Pedal for Multiple Simulation in Guitars 

 June 1, 2021

By  Zen Chung

The term 'multi-effects pedal' is no longer a dirty word, even for the best tone hounds out there. Plenty has changed in the last decade or so, and today multi-effects units are powerful enough to set the world of music on fire. Owning the best multi-effects pedal as a guitarist allows you access a stack of different effects on one unit without taking up a whole lot of space. I mean, who wants to dance around with guitar pedals? They can also provide other functions like amp simulations and accurate impulse responses, meaning you can do without so much equipment.

If reducing the size of your rig sounds is a consideration for you, this guide to finding the best multi-effects pedal will be of help.

Our Selection of the Best Multi-Effects Pedals

1.Line 6 Helix LT Guitar Processor

Line 6 Helix LT Guitar Processor
  • Offers the same award-winning HX Modeling as Helix Floor, Helix Rack and Helix...
  • The Line 6 Helix LT guitar processor features the same advanced HX Modeling...
  • With a streamlined I/O complement and hardware configuration, the Helix LT...
  • The award-winning HX Modeling engine leverages powerful dual-DSP performance to...
  • A large LCD and touch-sensitive footswitches with color LED rings enable easy...

The Line 6 Helix LT Guitar multi effects Processor is overall the best multi-effects pedal for professional guitarists for many reasons. First, it offers the same advanced features and technology found in the Helix Floor and Helix Rack processors, only in a smaller package, also a called cabinet model, and without all the scribble strips and cables. However, it also provides amp modeling and other processing features that you can't get with the HX effects. This tiny package is a musical beast whether you are on stage performing or making a track in the studio.

The small pedal gives the award-winning uncompromised Helix sound quality with 123 dB of dynamic sound range. It also boasts greater DSP power than any other processor in its class to capture and recreate amps, cabs, and effects with authenticity and the best responsiveness. With its robust I/O complement and hardware configuration, this LT provides the highest levels of performance and controls.

Special features

  • Large LCD and touch-sensitive foot switches for easy and fast usage.
  • The I/O complement provides extensive routing capabilities making it easy to integrate the LT into an existing sound rig.
  • It has preset compatibility with existing Helix products and offers Variax guitar control integration.
  • It lets you load custom impulse responses to customize your set-up.

2. BOSS GT-1000 Guitar Effects Processor

BOSS GT-1000 Guitar Effects Processor
  • Flagship amp/effects processor with uncompromising sound quality and unmatched...
  • Industry-leading 32-bit AD/DA, 32-bit floating-point processing, and 96 kHz...
  • Next-generation BOSS DSP engine, custom Designed specifically for music...
  • Aird (augmented Impulse response dynamics) technology realizes boss’s...
  • Highly expressive amplifiers, meticulously crafted with airy

Every guitarist has either owned or played on a BOSS pedal. The company has continued to be a trendsetter when it comes to making the best multi-effects pedals and stompboxes, and this BOSS GT-1000 Guitar Effects Processor is one of the best in the industry. The processor combines everything good in the DD-500, RV-500, and MD-500 units in a sleeker, more modern, and formidable unit.

The BOSS GT-1000 Guitar multi effects pedal debuts the ground-breaking augmented impulse response dynamics technology AIRD following years of research from the company. This is supported by an ultra-fast DSP engine, 32-bit floating-point processing, 32-bit AD/DA, and 96kHz sampling rate. The pedal has benefited from ongoing development with expanding features like new amp models and effects as well as bass support.

Special features

  • The BOSS GT-1000 is built for no-compromise audio performance and boasts fantastic new features.
  • It is specially designed for music applications.
  • It features more than three times the power of BOSS's previous versions and extraordinary effects.
  • It's easier to use, thanks to the big processing muscle.
  • The pedal is light, compact, and occupies minimal space.
  • It is equipped with onboard Bluetooth to wirelessly manage sounds from your phone or tablet.

3. Boss ME-80 Multi-Effects Pedal

BOSS Multiple Effects Guitar Pedal with Looper, MultiColored (ME-80)
  • Compact and powerful floor multi-effects with a simple knob-based interfaceEight...
  • Usb Audio/MIDI interface built in
  • Eight multifunction footswitches and expression pedal
  • Updated flagship-level cosm amps derived from the gt-100

With BOSS being a legend in this niche, it’s expected that the best multi-effects pedals come from there. This BOSS Multiple Effects Guitar Pedal takes the game to a whole new level by putting great tones in one easy-to-use package. The multi-FX device is compact, battery-powered, and comes with a versatile selection of BOSS amp models and effects.

It features a knob-based interface which makes it easy for beginners to dial legendary sounds. If you want to order more complex multi-effects, the set-up is flexible thanks to the easily selectable sound modes. The ME-80 now features exceptional footswitches that offer twice the control while everything else is taking place behind the scenes.

This pedal allows you to decide between the immediacy and the hands-on experience of the stompbox or the multi-FX power when you have set up complex tones. This means you have efficiency when need be, but your creativity is still allowed if that's what you prefer.

Special features

  • With this easy pedal, it’s easy to craft your own sound no matter which music you play.
  • The pedal has terrific built-in effects, including pitch shifters, mod effects, delays, and so much more just a click away.
  • USB audio/MIDI built-in interface.
  • Eight multi-function footswitches and an expression pedal.
  • The free BOSS TONE STUDIO software lets you edit and organize tones on your PC.

4. Headrush Pedalboard Guitar Amp and Fx Modelling Processor

HeadRush Pedalboard | Guitar Amp & FX Modelling Processor With Eleven HD...
  • Find Your Signature Sound – Custom-designed quad-core DSP system with Eleven...
  • Easy-To-Use & Made-To-Move - 7” high-resolution display with intuitive touch...
  • Power To Your Performance - Gapless pre-set switching with reverb/delay tail...
  • Expanded Sound – USB connectivity for loading your own custom impulse response...
  • Studio Grade Capture - Record and reamp via USB with quality up to 24-bit/96KHz

This HeadRush Pedalboard was the winner of the prestigious Music Inc. Product Excellence Award in 2017, and it's still one of the best multi-effects pedals to date. This is all thanks to the vast amount of effects it's capable of, as well as its huge array of cabinet, mic, and amp models. The pedal is housed in a durable travel-ready steel chassis with a cable route at the bottom to help you keep the stage or studio tidy.

The Pedalboard is powered by exclusive Eleven HD Expanded DSP software and boasts a finely-tuned quad-core processor to deliver the most versatile and realistic-sounding amplifier, cabinet, and microphone models ever made. You achieve all this power at the touch of a button thanks to the ultra-intuitive touch display where you can instantly create and edit rigs with great speed and accuracy.

We love that it has so many thoughtful features to help you on stage, such as the bright LED colors and scribble strips showing how each footswitch is being used. You can also drag and drop as you create your setlists for your gig, thanks to the touch screen. This multi effects unit assimilates easily with any existing rig you have, and it has all the connections you would need for performance.

5. Behringer Digital Multi-FX FX600 Digital Stereo Multi-Effects Pedal

Behringer Digital Multi-FX FX600 Digital Stereo Multi-Effects Pedal
  • Ultimate digital multi-effects pedal comparable to state-of-the-art studio...
  • 24-bit high-resolution stereo effects including Flanger, Chorus, Phaser, Delay,...
  • 2 additional parameter controls to adjust delay time, flanger rate, etc.
  • Status LED for effect on/off and battery check
  • Runs on 9 V battery or the BEHRINGER PSU-SB DC power supply (not included)

So far, we have only mentioned multi-effects pedals costing over or almost $1000. This Behringer Digital Multi-Fx 600 is massively cheap compared to the rest, but it's still a value product. It is the best multi-effects pedal on a budget and comes with a whole host of effects in a small package without all the complications you find in other pedals.

The pedal features a 24-bit high-resolution FX engine that turns simple everyday riffs to 3D epics and provides various reverberations. Despite the low price, you still get state-of-the-art processors like flanger, chorus, delay, phaser pedal, tremolo, pitch shifter, and a vocal effects processing device in that small package. The dedicated FX knob has 6 effects, and you can fine-tune them through the two parameters to get the best possible output.

Among our favorite features on this device is the stripped-down device, which allows you immediate access to everything without any complications. The delay feature is also really cool, and it even has kind of a reverse delay without needing any tuning. There are some complaints that the build is poor quality because it's plastic, but it's really a steal for that price.

Buying Guide for the Best Multi-effects Pedal

Before we go to some of the specs you should look for when buying the best multi-effects pedal, it’s important to first clarify your must-haves or non-negotiables. This way, you have an easier way to measure up each product based on what you need, and other features will just be extras. The idea here is to be realistic with yourself and only look for effects that you usually use; as much as a pedal with a hundred effects, including modulation effects, can be exciting.

So, what factors must you consider?

1. Budget

Your allocated budget will play a role in which multi-effect pedal you choose because, as we have seen, they range from $200 units all the way to $1300. As you move up the budget, the quality of the features gets better, but that doesn’t necessarily mean more effects. It’s not uncommon however to find that the best multi-effects pedal can link wirelessly to your smartphone or tablet, allowing for deep editing and settings. They may also come with some extra functionalities like loopers, cabinet Sims and amplifiers, moving them away from a mere effects unit to a musical processing powerhouse.

2. Ease of use

Another vital factor is the ease of use because if the pedal is not easy to use or understand, it will not be of any help. If you don’t have a wealth of experience dealing with guitar multi-effect pedals, it’s good to start with a basic version that only provides stable sounds like delay, reverb, and modulation. Units with a range of effects and parameters can be challenging to use, so only experienced people should handle them. While a pedal with more parameters offers more power and versatility, it can also be a source of option paralysis where there are many settings.

3. Usability and customization

While multi-effects processors come prebuilt with the sounds already pre-determined, the one thing guitarists enjoy most about these units is their ability to change the sounds and the effects as you like. The best multi-effects pedals come with a blank slot that allows you to tweak and edit sounds independently and then save them as presets for later use.

What’s more, you can control how the effects are accessed- a guitarist can save preset sounds, so they are readily available at the touch of a button or flick of a switch. This helps during a live performance because you need specific effects and sounds at your fingertips.

Conclusion

After all is said, only the user can determine what the best multi-effects pedal looks like. As we said in the beginning, get your needs clear and know your budget. With so many options out there, it’s easy to get distracted by the bells and whistles and forget about what you really wanted.

Frequently Asked Questions on the Best Multi-Effects Pedals

1. What is a multi-effects pedal?

Since multi means more than one, multi-effects pedals are simply devices that make it possible to have more than one sound effect from your guitar or piano. These simple devices came to replace an otherwise bulky rig with multiple pedals, amp models, and other equipment. It is a cost-effective and space-saving solution where you can have a one-stop-shop for all your sound requirements. Simply connect your instrument, and you will have a variety of sounds effects to choose from.

2. Can you upgrade multi-FX devices?

In a word, NO. Multi-effects devices come fully loaded with digital effects in one single board, and you cannot change the preamps or the functionalities. Basically, the pedal is a host of hardware that comes with pre-installed effects and functionalities such a built-in tuner, and you can only use them exactly the way they are. If you get the best multi-effects pedal, you won’t need to modify or upgrade it. This can be achieved by noting down the exact effects you want from a multi-FX device and also some of the extra features you may like before buying one.

That said, you can customize the huge range effects to your liking thanks to the versatile controls and make the entire set-up your own.

3. Can I Use a Multi-Effects Unit Instead of an Amp?

Some of the best multi-effects pedals have effects amp and cab modeling, so they can be used live without any need for an amplifier. You will just plug it in your guitar and enjoy the effects. This comes in handy for musicians who are performing fly dates worldwide because it means less equipment. Without the amplifier, you can plug straight into the PA or desk at the studio without worrying about what gear the home band uses over there.

The only downside to this is that such pedals cost more. There is also the fact that multi-FX pedals running through an amp have some leeway, but if you remove the amplifier, you have to ensure the rig has zero margins for error before the performance.

4. Is a multi-effects pedal worth it?

A while back, the answer to this was a resounding no because standalone stompboxes sounded way better than these small devices. Today, however, the digital effects these multi-effects gear are capable of being out of this world. Of course, they also come with the benefit of taking less space and being more portable, not to mention they are a lot friendlier to your wallet and you can even use effects simultaneously.

Zen Chung


I'm Zen Chung, a piano and violin teacher based out of Plano, Texas. I started this blog because my students (and their parents) kept asking about the best musical instruments to buy online. Look no further I'm here to save the day! 

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