Line 6 has always been a company at the forefront of the guitar world’s latest technological innovations. From high quality amplifiers to powerful multi-effects processors, the company has delivered consistently in terms of quality and innovation. And with the AMPLIFi FX100, its latest member of the forward-thinking AMPLIFi range of products, Line 6 seems to be stepping into the future of guitar effects processors. If this step is a hit or miss, however, remains to be seen as I delve into a detailed review of the AMPLIFi FX100.
There are three main qualities that factor in when creating a great multi-effects unit: sound quality, versatility and simplicity. No one can deny that the multi-effects units available on the market today have come a long way in terms of sound quality and versatility. But the one area that most of these units fall short at is simplicity. However, Roland seems to be nailing it of late with its BOSS ME series multi-effects units. Today I take a look at BOSS’s latest offering, the ME-80.
Over the years multi-effects processors have gone from being the excitable disappointments of the guitar world to becoming a series part of any guitarist’s arsenal of equipment. And over the past few years DigiTech has been a serious player in the multi-effects processor market offering guitarists units that are easy to use, affordable and versatile. Today I take a look at DigiTech’s latest upgrades to its iconic RP series the RP360 and RP360XP; both which pack in some serious effects and functionalities into a handy-sized package.
The DigiTech Element and Element XP are two of DigiTech’s more recent offerings that are both affordable and versatile. Both these pedals are jam packed with hundreds of effects and amp and cabinet modulations, and come complete with a built in tuner and drum machine. The only difference between the two is that the Element XP comes with an expression pedal and four additional expression-based effects.
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.