Boss ME-70 Review
- Pros: Easy-to-use analogue-style interface and portability
- Cons: Does not come with a dedicated power adapter. The two-step process for using the footswitches to scroll through banks can be a hindrance in live situations
- Overall: A practical pedal that offers great value-for-money with no compromises in terms of functionality
As far as guitar multi-effects units go, it’s increasingly rare to find units that combine both functionality and simplicity effectively. But that is exactly what BOSS and the Roland Company seem to have strived for with their ME line of pedals over the years. And with the ME-70 the designers at BOSS seem to have come pretty close to hitting the mark. Today we take an in-depth view into BOSS’s ME-70 multi-effects pedal.
There’s absolutely no doubt that BOSS has been a frontrunner in the guitar effects scene for a few decades now. And one of the reasons for this is that they continue to design pedals that are durable. Because let’s face it, a guitarist who wants to bypass the hassle of carrying around an expensive and bulky pedalboard doesn’t want to substitute it for a multi-effects pedal that he has to tiptoe around as well. The ME-70’s outer casing is made almost entirely out of metal and the pedal feels like it could take some pretty rugged treatment. If anything the only weak points of the pedal are its plastic footswitches and knobs. But these don’t look too flimsy either.
Weighing in at around 7 pounds and measuring around 15 X 9 inches, the ME-70 isn’t a bulky pedal by any means. And to be perfectly honest, it sure as hell beats lugging around a fully-fledged pedalboard around. The pedal can also be powered with six AA batteries so is extremely portable.
However, a slight drawback that begs mentioning here is that although the ME-70 comes with a free set of batteries, users need to purchase a power adaptor separately which is a bit of a bummer.
The great thing about BOSS’s ME series pedals is that they seek to combine the simplicity of a regular stompbox chain with the functionality and versatility of a multi-effects unit. The ME-70’s interface consists of four footswitches, each which control compression, overdrive/distortion, modulation effects and delay. And the great thing about the pedal’s interface is that each footswitch has its own stompbox-like section with a series of control knobs to select and tweak the specified effect.
One drawback here that should be mentioned here though is that the pedal has no dedicated footswitches to scroll through the pedal’s preset banks. So players have to hold down the first two footswitches simultaneously to activate bank selection through the first two footswitches. And this can be quite cumbersome in a live environment where a player might need to toggle through various presets fluidly. The ME-70 does offer players the option to connect an external footswitch which can be used to scroll through the banks, but most players might view this as an unnecessary expense and waste of stage real estate.
The ME-70 can also be used in what is referred to as “manual mode” where each footswitch acts as a standalone pedal, enabling players to hook up the ME-70 to their existing rig. This actually makes a lot of sense for this type of pedal since the effects parameters can easily be tweaked using the separate sections on the pedal.
Like its bigger brother the ME-80, the ME-70 comes complete with a sturdy expression pedal which can be used to control expression based effects like Wah and voice and to also control modulation and delay rates.
If what you look for in a multi-effects pedal is a seemingly unending array of tonal possibilities, ranging from practical to out of this world, the BOSS ME-70 is not the pedal for you. However, if what you want is a practical and functional multi-effects pedal that has a solid selection of essential effects, this unit pretty much does the job.
The ME-70 comes complete with a comprehensive and practical array of BOSS effects including ten classic distortion/ODs and ten modulation effects. The modulation section offers players a harmonizer, an octave effect and a delay effect which is separate from the pedal’s main delay section. This is great for guitarists that like to have two delays active simultaneously or intermittently, and it also allows you to have a delay on your guitar while playing over a loop.
The pedal’s COMP/FX section also includes BOSS’s iconic “Slow Gear” effect which gives an automatic volume swell based on the pick attack, which in turn frees up a players hand from the volume knob and his or her foot from the expression pedal. A subsection of the compression effects also includes a function which allows you to make your humbuckers sound like single-coils and vice versa. However, BOSS has sadly taken out their acoustic simulator effect which was included in the ME-50.
A significant upgrade that the ME-70 boasts over the ME-50 is a separate pre-amp section with separate EQ controls. The amp modulations use BOSS’s COSM technology and sound quite excellent on headphones and on recording. However, if you do own a high quality amplifier, you might be able to achieve a better tone by bypassing the amp modulation altogether.
The Me-70 comes with 36 built-in presets and has room for 36 more. It also comes with an “Easy Tone” function which allows players to select a general sound based on musical style and then tweak based on their personal tonal preferences.
A feature worth mentioning that BOSS’s designers have included in the ME-70 is its phrase looper which allows for 38 seconds of mono recording. The feature is super easy to use and players simply have to select it in the delay effects section and use the delay footswitch to start, stop and overdub recordings.
It’s easy to get caught up and carried away with the complexities and eccentricities of various multi-effects pedals on the market today. But there is something to be said of a pedal that is affordable, functional and easy to use. And the BOSS ME-70 is one such pedal that is definitely worth checking out.
Boss ME-70 Demo