Technology is changing the world around us by the day, and multi-effects pedals are no different. The Digitech iPB-10 uses the iPad as its display screen and user interface; all you have to do is download the free app and dock your iPad into the unit. This idea builds on the smaller iStomp, which you could hook up to an iOS device and load a stompbox model onto. Now you can have up to ten different pedal effects, one amp and one cab model simultaneously on a multi-effects unit with a drastically-improved user interface.
Fender’s Mustang series of amplifiers are digital powerhouses, coming equipped with amp models and in-built effects to play around with. The success of this series has led Fender to fully enter the world of digital multi-effects with the Fender Mustang Floor. It’s essentially the disembodied processor of the Mustang III/IV/V shoved into a sturdy metal chassis that looks like it’s designed to survive a nuclear apocalypse.
Line 6 spoils us a little with their M-series multi-effects pedals. We expect basically everything, and the M13 is the epitome of this approach. You can combine any four of 109 effects at will, and you have 15 footswitches to play with. The M9 is smaller, boasting seven foot-switches and the same number of effects. The M5, the baby of the family, is the size of a fat stompbox (a similar size to a Big Muff) and still packs in the same catalogue of effects. However, you have just two pedals to use and can only apply one effect at a time.
The marketing for Line 6’s POD HD300 is nothing short of excessive. They claim that the new models are ten times more accurate than their original POD amp modeling, stuffed with “10 times as much amplifier DNA.” If the term “amplifier DNA” didn’t raise an eyebrow itself, the idea that the precision of the modeling has increased ten-fold is a somewhat dubious one that will leave most guitar effect aficionados stroking their chins in disbelief.
If Goldilocks were to choose a Line 6 POD HD series pedal, she would undoubtedly moan about the abundance of pedal switches and the sheer mass of the 500 and whine about the relative daintiness of the 300. The 400 falls right in the middle, the Goldilocks-zone for multi-effects pedals. In terms of price, size and functionality, it aims to strike a balance to suit players who play live, but don’t have the bankroll to splurge on the HD500.
The Zoom G5 builds on the success of its predecessor, the G3, to offer an unparalleled array of effects, amp models and cool additional features like a built-in looper. It’s also fairly cheap, so it’s an endearing prospect for those new to the world of multi-effects and people looking to upgrade their old units. In essence, it provides 297 different pedalboards in one solid unit – enough for a different effects setup for every single song in your setlist with hundreds of slots to spare.
The POD HD500 is Line 6’s new favorite toy. The unit packs in all of the features from the 300 and 400 models, as well as boosting the storage space and the potential for hands-free control. It increases the number of simultaneous effects you’re permitted to include, and removes the irritating limitations that prevented you from mixing effects however you like on the 300 and 400.
Clad in a stylish, tattooed case, the Tone Tattoo from Electro-Harmonix is something of a Frankenstein multi-effects pedal. It’s a cut-and-pasted amalgamation of three of their best-selling pedals, the Metal Muff distortion, Neo Clone chorus and Memory Toy delay units. It’s all analogue, so you’re getting the real things and not some digital reproduction.
The GT-10 is a legendary beast. Boss has a reputation of producing top-quality effects units, and the GT-100 is their new go-to-guy. It’s an updated version of the GT-10, and aims to become the new king of multi-effects. From a purely financial perspective, putting out a new effects pedal regularly makes a lot of sense. People are reminded of the things they love about their favourite pedals and eagerly order the new unit for even the most trivial of upgrades.
As multi-effects units get more and more powerful, behemoth devices like the Line 6 M13 offer 109 different stompboxes with 15 footswitches to operate them. The only problems with the M13 (in a practical, real-world sense) are the cost and the mammoth size, so Line 6 released the M9, a smaller version of the same unit. They’ve crammed the same 109 effects into it and it still has a fairly formidable seven foot-switches on board, and its reduced price-tag makes it more appealing to less serious players.