The 2.5 pound Line 6 M5 Stompbox Modeler multi-effects processor immediately looks impressive, with its compact design and all-metal black-finish chassis. As the smallest in the company’s M series, the M5 is still able to pack quite a punch in terms of the variety of effects contained within a single unit. There are way too many effects to truly dive into here, but just know that you’re getting carte blanch of all you’ll ever need in terms of guitar effects.
This device offers 19 delays (including analog echo, reverse, tube echo, and stereo delay), 23 mod effects (jet flanger, panned phaser, and pattern tremolo), 17 distortions (facial fuzz, buzz saw, and colordrive), 12 compressors and EQs (tube comp, graphic EQ, and 4 Band Shift EQ), 26 filters (Q filter, pitch glide, and tron up), 12 reverbs (vintage plate reverb, chamber, and cave). Yes, you can really have a field day messing around with this thing.
There’s also a backlit LCD screen which allows for a clear and readable display. You can also store up to 24 effects as presets so you can recall them instantly, whether you’re going to be using certain sounds frequently onstage or in the studio. A built-in tuner is an added bonus, and a tap tempo function allows you to accurately sync time-based effects with the song you’re actually using the effects in.
The Zoom G3X Guitar Effects & Amp Simulator Pedal goes above and beyond when it comes to the versatility and dynamic range of sounds that most players have associated with multi-effects processors. 94 effects and 22 amp/cabinet models certainly provide a range of styles and sounds to any guitarist’s palette, but Zoom doesn’t stop this units capabilities there. The G3X’s built-in expression pedal can alter both the input and output volume of the processor, as well as be used to affect delay time, modulation speed, and pitch bend.
Three LCD screens are matched with their own foot switches and parameter knobs, making a unit that is easy to understand and use; it’s intuitive to have the separation within the pedal so clearly laid out in a visual manner. The onboard Looper allows users to layer up to 40 seconds of performance using the effect configuration of their choosing, and also offers playback so that you can jam on top of the sounds you just made. Finally, included Steinberg Sequel LE software means you can hook the unit up to a computer and have it act as an interface with 2-inputs and 2-outputs, giving you the ability to lay down tracks with zero latency.
Vox’s ToneLab ST provides guitarists with multiple amp/cabinet models in one small package. 33 amp models are available across three banks with each model allowing you to easily craft your tone via the use of gain, treble, middle, bass, and volume knobs. From there, you can choose between 11 cabinets and then 11 separate pedal effects to add into the signal chain; the latter options include various overdrive, distortion, fuzz, treble boost, compressor, wah, octave, Univibe, and acoustic simulation effects. You then have a second chain option in the Modulation/Delay category (which sports 11 types), as well as three Reverb options.
With so many configurations to choose from, it’s understandable that this processor may seem a bit overwhelming; that’s why the ToneLab ST comes with 50 preset programs that allows users to get started immediately. You can also create up to 50 customized settings, which can be saved and recalled for later use. Another notable feature of this product is its auto-chromatic tuner, which features a mute and bypass function so you can quickly tune onstage without drawing any attention.
Packing a multitude of tonal options with you to a gig or recording session just got a lot easier, thanks to the Line 6 Pocket Pod. Clocking in at 0.375 lbs and sporting a design that’s just two inches high by five inches wide, this battery-powered multi-effects processor offers the same quality of sound and range that Line 6’s bigger products come stocked with at a fraction of the cost and size. This unit comes equipped with 300 preset sounds, including choices that have been dialed in by artists such as Tim Mahoney (311), James Valentine (Maroon 5), Steve Pedulla (Thursday), and more.
The Line 6 Pocket Pod can be used in a practice/performance rig in front of the amp, or you can simply plug headphones into the unit to access a range of sounds that makes practice unlimited, both in location and ability. The Pocket Pod also comes with a built-in tuner which can be set to mute, so onstage tuning can be discrete and quick. A USB connection also allows users to hook the Pocket Pod up to a computer, allowing them to customize their own tones as well as organize their own preset libraries for quicker and easier access.
The BOSS ME-80 is an ideal tool for guitarists who are ready to hit the stage but don’t want to have to dance around with dozens of guitar pedals at their feet. The wide scope and reliable quality of the BOSS brand is all here, including multiple overdrives and distortions, pitch shifters, delays, wahs, mod effects, and more. The setup on this processor is designed for the guitarist whose hands are busy playing, so dialing in the sounds you want is as simple as stomping your foot down on the multiple footswitches.
Of course, if you want to get hands-on with sculpting your sound, there’s no shortage of knobs and dials to precisely craft the tone that fits the song perfectly. The ME-80 also comes with free Boss Tone Studio software that gives guitarists the option to edit and organize their library on their computer. This function also allows players to preview and download free patches from the Boss Tone Central website.
The BOSS GT-100 COSM multi-effects processor doesn’t just give you access to an array of effects at your feet; it also gives you the ability to sculpt your tone with a variety of amp emulators and settings. Skim through the sounds and settings of dozens of vintage and classic amps, or tweak the parameters to create your own customized sounds. Dual LCD screens and an eight-knob interface makes the library of effects and amp settings easy to navigate and you’ll have quite a few effects to dig through on this unit. Choruses, delays, echoes, modulation effects, pitch-shifting settings, baby it’s all here.
The GT-100’s Accel pedal gives this unit more of a performance-driven control. You can affect multiple parameters like the Feedbacker, Twist, or S-Bend live in real-time with this component of the processor. But why stop at just those sounds? This unit also includes a guitar-to-MIDI conversion straight out of the normal 1/4-inch input, meaning you can use the sound coming from your instrument to trigger sounds from external MIDI-friendly devices, VSTs, and more.
They say that good things can come in small packages and that can definitely be said about the DigiTech RP360. Unassuming as its physical form might be, this guitar multi-effects processor really packs a punch, with 126 effects (including 32 amps, 18 cabinets, and 74 stompboxes). Although all of these sounds are able to be edited, you can also dive right in and work with 99 factor presets. Find a sound that you like? Simply save your own creation in one of the 99 available user preset slots.
You can also loop the sounds that you create with this pedal via a 40-second looper. 60 high-quality drum patterns are also included to allow you to build up riffs or song ideas in a way that is presentable and easy to record to. DigiTech lives up to its name with the addition of a USB port that makes it easy to transfer and load the pedal’s presets from your computer for editing and further tweaking via the included editing software. The USB port also gives you to ability to record guitar tracks into DAWs like GarageBand, Pro Tools, Ableton, and more.
The guitarist seeking a single unit to produce a wide range of sounds and tones will feel like a kid in a candy store (or more accurately, a guitarist in a guitar store) when using Line 6’s M13 multi-effects processor. More than 75 effects pedals are grouped here, including the already popular Line 6 staples such as the DL4 delay, MM4 modulation, DM4 distortion, and FM4 filter modeler. Line 6’s nomenclature for their effects organization is based around “Scenes.” Each Scene can hold up to four presets, and guitarists can run up to four Scenes at once. Needless to say, this puts a lot of “crayons” in your creative toolbox.
While this may seem like a lot to keep track of, the M13 makes it all quite fun and intuitive to navigate through, thanks in no small part to the four LED screens that adorn this unit. You’ll be able to comb through your virtual rig in a way that instantly feels welcoming and exciting, thanks to the bright and flashy interface. The M13 also includes an on-board looper, giving guitarists 28 seconds of record time. The loop can be run pre- or post- effects, which gives you more control over how you choose to process your sound.
It’s easy to overlook the Vox Stomplab IG guitar multi-effects processor, but that is also part of its appeal. The unit only weighs 20.8 oz and its size is 5.7 by 2.24 inches, making it a welcome compact addition to the effects rig of any guitarist who finds free space becoming an issue. Despite its tiny size, the Stomplab IG holds 103 effects including 44 different amp configurations, 18 drive effects such as Octa Fuzz and Brit Lead, 12 cabinet models to choose from, nine modulation effects, three Reverb settings, and more.
Beyond having all of these presets to choose from, guitarists can also create their own settings and save them in the 20 user programs available in the processor. The IG also comes equipped with a three-LED-driven tuner that also comes with a mute function; not only can you save even more real estate in your effects rig, but you can also make tuning adjustments onstage without anyone in the audience knowing!
With the Zoom G5, guitarists are able to use up to nine of the 125 built-in effects simultaneously. Users can dial in these settings using the four on-board foot switches, while the unit’s Z-Pedal gives you the ability to control functions requiring more of a hands-on (or feet-on) control such as wah or volume. The Z-Pedal also rotates from side to side, giving even greater control and playability to this aspect of the processor. You won’t be able to go back to the traditional wah pedal configuration after this.
When it comes to amp simulators, this unit has the usual suspects available, but also goes with some more obscure settings that give this pedal added tonal capability. The same goes for the effects, which feature the traditional distortion, delay, and modulation effects; however, you also get synths, slicers, and combination effects that make this multi-effects processor a great asset for the musician who wants to invent sounds and parts outside the box.