A Bunch Of Pedals Or A Multi Effects Unit? | The Canadian Guitar Forum

A Bunch Of Pedals Or A Multi Effects Unit?

Discussion in 'Effects Pedals, Strings and more' started by Steadfastly, Apr 27, 2010.


An Array Of Pedals Or A Good Multi-effects Unit? Which Do You Prefer?

  1. Multi-effects Unit

    17 vote(s)
  2. An Array Of Pedals.

    79 vote(s)
  1. Steadfastly


    Nov 13, 2008
    Minto, New Brunswick
    I don't understand why people have all these pedals when there are such good multi-effects units available like The RP series from Digitech, Boss and the POD series from Line 6. It just makes more sense to me to have the one unit, that is so very versatile rather than half a dozen or more pedals that, in many cases, are nowhere near as versatile as the multi-effects units.

    If you have a board with a bunch of pedals on it, why are you using them instead of a multi-effects unit?
  2. mrmatt1972


    Apr 3, 2008
    Espanola, On
    There needs to be a "both" option, doesn't there?

    I personally can't stand multi-effects. I owned a little pod unit for a while, but the only effect that i could stand was the delay. I like pedals for their simplicity, speed of set up and, well, unmatchable versatility. Look at how many flavours of fx are out there now. A multi, unless its something spectacular, is only a model of some of those. That said, I'm also pretty spartan in my choice and number of effects.
  3. hollowbody


    Jan 14, 2008
    Toronto, ON
    I've tried a few different multi-fx units from Boss and Vox, as well as a bunch of VSTs, and as versatile and flexible as they can be, I prefer the sound and tactile interface of pedals.

    Modelers tend to sound best direct into a PA or a full-range amp and sound kinda meh through guitar amps. I like my tone through my amps, so I want something that I can use with that tone, not something that changes it entirely.
  4. mspizziri


    Nov 15, 2009
    Vancouver, BC
    I had a Line 6 M9 and it was an excellent unit with a ton of great sounding effects for the money

    I found I just spent way too much time playing around with it rather than actually playing guitar. As well a lot of the effects I just never really had a use for

    Now I just have a my amp distortion for high gain a Keeley SD-1 for low gain and an Ibanez DE7 delay (I may also get a chorus pedal) and I find the setting I like best then just leave knobs where they are
  5. mhammer


    Nov 30, 2007
    Ottawa, Ontario
    People still find reason to use multiple pedals instead of a multi-FX unit because:

    1) Sometimes a particular sound they want is not attainable within the stable of sounds in the multi-FX;

    2) At least for budget units, sometimes you can't get the sequence of effects that you want;

    3) Again, for budget units, imposing too many tasks on the DSP engine in the multi-FX can undermine their sound quality;

    4) DSPs do everything else well but still have a hard time with distortion, particularly when the same processor is doing distortion on top of delay, modulation, amp sims, EQ, etc.

    5) Manufacturers like to be able to save production costs by using displays, menus, and universal adjustment knobs. Players like to be able to reach down and tweak on demand.
  6. jimihendrix


    Jun 27, 2009
    multi-fx have the benefit of a single power supply versus a dozen batteries...and a single patch cord rather then a whole bunch of mini ones to join several pedals...

    some digitech pedals have two dsp chips doing the processing work so there is no sound quality loss due to "over working" the processor...

    they are also more compact and easier to carry than some pedal boards...

    having said that...you are limited to the same "brand" of effects...whereas with separate pedals...you can have boss pedals sitting next to digitech or maxon or ibanez or boutique pedals...for more variety and perhaps your personal signature sound...

    individual pedals can also be modded to suit specific needs of specific players...
  7. Brennan


    Apr 9, 2008
    Kanata, Ontario
    Individual pedals are, in my oppinion, far more versatile than multi-effects processors on stage where it counts. Adjusting anything on the fly with a multi-effects pedal is damn near impossible when you're on stage in the middle of a song. With a string of stomp boxes, it's just a matter of turning a knob or stepping on the right switch. Add to that the ability to mix and match boxes to get exactly the sounds I want, instead of the sounds Line-6 or Boss think I need, not to mention that I have yet to hear a digital effects unit that doesn't sound like a digital effects unit (which I admit could very well be due to a bias on my part).

    Now with the advent of quasi-affordable midi-loopers, you can get the best of both worlds.
  8. Mooh

    Mooh Gold Member

    Mar 7, 2007
    Southwestern Ontario
    Both. For multi units I've only got 2 small ones at the moment (Boss ME20, Digitech RP100R). Of the 2, the Boss is passable, the Digitech not.

    My floorboard of individual pedals is an evolving and de-evolving thing. The trick is to have lots of variables and options.

    Small multi-effects units only do it for me as convenience items, nothing more. I've tried the larger Boss, Carl Martin, and Vox ones and they seem pretty good. Ultimately I prefer the guitar direct into the amp.

    Peace, Mooh.
  9. High/Deaf

    High/Deaf Gold Member

    Aug 19, 2009
    Similar to a hi-fi systems:

    - You can get one box that has the preamp, eq, poweramp, cd player and ipod inputs all in one
    - Or you can have a separate preamp, poweramp, eq (if desired), turntable preamp, separate cd drive and electronics, etc.

    To me its a no-brainer as to which one is better sounding. And the separate pieces are modifiable on a per piece basis (ie upgrade the power amp without changing everything else).

    While I have a couple all-in-one stereos, for my main livingroom stereo, its separate pieces. Same with effects, while I have a multi-fx unit, my 'serious' effects are separate. That said, I've never tried the TC Electronics or other higher-end units, I'm sure they are great but pretty expensive - and you have to buy it all at once, not one $200 piece at a time.
  10. Stratin2traynor


    Sep 26, 2006
    Surrey, British Columbia
    Both for me too. I have a Nova System which I find sounds great and is relatively easy to use (at least for my needs). I like the fact that the effects sounds great and there is not a bunch of power cables and patch cords everywhere. Having said that, if I am looking for a particular distortion sound then I revert to pedals. I have both set-ups and depending on what I'm playing I'll use what I find most appropriate. Generally speaking I'll use the Nova System when I play with modulation type effects and little distortion/OD.
  11. 4345567


    Jun 26, 2008
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2016
  12. gtrguy


    Jul 6, 2006
    Individual pedals for me. I've had multieffects, rack setups with preamp switching, MIDI control, etc. and while regularly gigging with a band, I had a true tone revelation when my rig didn't show up for an out of town gig.

    Luckily I was able to borrow a basic setup from a local musician consisting of a really basic tube amp and a few pedals. What I felt was going to be a disaster ended up being one of my best gigs from a tone standpoint- after some initial tweaking during the first couple of songs I spent the rest of the night just playing and enjoying the simplicity and the sound. What I really noticed is that if I needed to make an adjustment it was just a twist of a knob rather than paging through a menu, tweaking a setting, save, exit, etc. and I had more control over turning individual effects off without changing patches.

    Obviously there are more and more units incorporating front panel knobs for more easily making on the fly adjustments but the flexibility of being able to rearrange your effect order, swap out one unit for another etc. is great. What if your multieffect chorus doesn't do it for you? You're essentially stuck with it.

    Multieffects work for some and I've heard guys get great sounds. Personally I'm much happier with individual pedals.
  13. keeperofthegood


    Apr 30, 2008
    Burlington, Ontario

    Comes a point where you flip a switch, and the multieffects does everything else. Kinda leaves you feeling like your in kindergarten again and the teacher does all the work for you. I mean, with the 450 top guitarists sounds preprogrammed in for your knobby selection, where does that leave you room to be your own self?

    Personally, I would rather be the player that uses an old amp, rusty speaker, loose cables, bent strings, with raspy voice.
  14. Rugburn


    Jan 14, 2009
    I think if your playing atmospheric, effect heavy types of music, a multi-effects unit might be the simpler and more versatile way to go. On the other hand, if your a simple classic rock/blues type player, your probably going to find multi-effects units unconvincing tonally speaking. A friend had a very cool effects unit that was fun for creating unique sounds, but we once tried to assign the expression pedal a "classic wah" effect and it was awful.

  15. My multi-effects unit makes most pedalboards look like a child's plaything. :)

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