A Bunch Of Pedals Or A Multi Effects Unit? | Page 5 | 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. keefsdad


    Feb 7, 2006
    Great thread. I did not use any effects for about the first 15 years I played, I was afraid of being dependent on them, and found them unreliable. now I own ten stompboxes, though my pedalboard only fits 5. Most of them are cheap stuff, with the possible exception of my Boss DD2, and my "71 Cry Baby. Now I play in a blues band, all I use is my Cry Baby, Transparent overdive, Dano tremelo, and my DF-7 on the TS-9 setting. I don't even bother with the board anymore.
    I like having that flexibility, to use only what I need.
  2. crashaholic


    Mar 3, 2010
    Vancouver, BC
    I bought a zoom 9000 sometime back in the early 90's and loved sitting there just creating/editing sounds. I never really thought about it much, but in retrospection; I gave that more attention than my regular pedal chain (flanger, distortion,etc.) Maybe it was ease of use, easy to setup, easy to modify; I don't know, but I do know that when the board fried on it, I barely played my guitar until I bought a modern multi.
    I don't obsess over a sound, but instead like creating different and sometimes strange ones.
  3. Ti-Ron

    Ti-Ron Gold Member

    Mar 21, 2007
    Longueuil, Qu├ębec
    I can't stand multi-effects units! That's it! I always getting lost with the interface and all the knobs. I'm really straight forward, I don't wanna mess with things, just play! For me it's easier to have 5 or 6 pedals in front of me than having a multi unit. I can't navigate thru a multi unit at home I can't imagine myself with one at a gig or practice!!!
  4. Fiveway


    Mar 21, 2010
    Privatize-the-LCBO, Ontario
    Really interesting to hear all the differing opinions! Here's my story:

    When I first started playing in bands I plugged my guitar into my into my amp and called it a day. The simplicity was awesome and I never felt like I was missing anything. I took a few years off and sold all my stuff. When I finally joined another band I was broke and needed a versatile rig, so I sucked it up and bought a big, loud solid state fender and a good multi-fx unit. I gigged with that for several years and it was great. I loved that I could set up an entire bank of sounds for a single song with multiple effects in each patch and one toe tap took me between sometimes radically different sounds. I didn't miss the tubes and I loved the convenience. Even when I recorded, I might use a tube amp for a track, but most of came from Amp Farm.

    Now I'm old and fat and don't play in bands anymore so I've started to mess around with my rig. I bought a simple tube amp (Dark Horse) and have started plugging my multi-fx into it. But I'm not using the models, only the effects and OD/DS. But that led to GAS and now I've got two other overdrive and distortion pedals that I'm running through a loop in my multi-fx.

    So the moral of the story is don't use effects. They're addictive and you'll just end up all GASsed up with an overly complicated rig when all you ever really needed was a nice tube amp and a patch cord.
  5. Steadfastly


    Nov 13, 2008
    Minto, New Brunswick
    The poll shows that more prefer individual pedals instead of a multi-fx unit. There are good reasons why a lot of people have both and why some prefer one or the other.

    I think one of the reasons people prefer pedals is because you can start out with a pedal for $50.00 where a decent multi-effects unit is going to start at the $200.00-$300.00 range.

    Also, the first multi-fx units were not that good and some were not that reliable. A lot of that has changed. They have gotten a lot better and being built to be a lot more rugged than some of the first ones.

    One advantage that the multi-fx unit has, is you would only need to carry one spare but with a pedal board, if you wanted to be able to replace one right away, you would need to have one of each to cover all your bases.
  6. Big_Daddy


    Apr 2, 2009
    Southern Ont
    Well. I would have chosen BOTH if it were an option. After 45 years of playing, this is the rig I have settled on..


    The Nova System's distortion and OD effects are all analog and I actually have the OD set-up so that it has a great, saturated tube sound. If I want to make it more crunchy, I just roll off the guitar's volume knob. The Timmy is set for heavy gain/sustain. Everything else I really need is on the NS and (once I read the manual) I find it is very easy to adjust on the fly with minimal knob-twirling.
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2011
  7. Les~Paul


    Nov 29, 2010
    I'm dont saying the multi effect unit's are not good but they are digital and not analog like regular pedals.
    I think that bunch of hand made pedals are not like digital multi from China or another Asian cuontry.
  8. studiodog


    Sep 10, 2010
    Kitchener, ON
    I have a BOSS ME-25 multiFX unit, but after an initial honeymoon period, it's sitting on a shelf collecting dust. I play very simply - either clean or mildly overdriven/crunchy for about 95% of what I gig. I personally get a lot more mileage and tone from my Roland Jazz Chorus amp + footswitch, and a straight-up volume pedal. The amp has built in reverb, "distortion" (really more of a drive channel) and of course the world-famous Roland stereo chorus. If I want more fx than that, I'll simply add the appropriate pedal.

    That said, the ME-25 is really handy to have around for gigging without an amp (run direct to PA). Its modelling if decent, the range of effects available is good, and it's compact. If it had a DI output instead of or as well as the left/right 1/4" line outs, I'd probably use it more. I do find it somewhat limiting in that you have to set and save your presets in advance; there is no facility to change your sound on the fly (ie adding chorus mid-song) without switching to another preset.
  9. Presto1202


    Dec 7, 2010
    I think we need to be careful not to get trapped into thinking one or the other is always better. The posters in this thread have done a good job of staying away from that. Obviously everyone has their preference and for some people going one way or the other simply isn't a preferable option.

    For a new player the multi-fx unit is probably better because it's a cheaper option and allows someone to experience a wide variety of effects to see which they like.

    I still love my Zoom. It gets some really good sounds, as do some other multi-fx units. It has good distortions which I attribute to the fact that it actually has 2 tubes in it while most mult-fx pedals dont. Plus you can program a wide range of drastically different settings with multi-fx pedals that make them handy. If you're goint to play something like Pink Floyd's Run Like Hell or some other song with some unique effects settings you either have to have pedals dedicated to that song or do a lot of bending over and tweaking between songs. In that regard the multi-fx unit has the edge. It's also nice for recording direct.

    One thing the individual pedals helped me with was finding my own sound. I had to find a couple sounds that work for a wide range of songs with just a few pedal tweaks and I don't think I would've done that had I stuck with just using the multi-fx units.
  10. Milkman

    Milkman Gold Member

    Feb 2, 2006
    Brantford, Ontario
    I've sat on both sides I guess. There is definitely an advantage to using a multi effects or modelling unit, but more so if you go all the way and go direct to PA with them. Eliminating all the junk from the stage and having a direct feed to the mixer works very nicely for a number of reasons. That doesn't only eliminate pedals, it also eliminates the entire amp/cab set up.

    Having said that, you can get a great sound by carefully selecting your pedals and amp. Whatever works for you. I can get my sound either way.
  11. Gene Machine

    Gene Machine

    Sep 21, 2007
    Bedford NS
    I love the idea of a multi-FX unit, but with every one I've tried, I find that the delay time in switching between settings is a deal breaker. With an analog pedal, and at least my DD-5 delay, as soon as I hit the pedal it works, no delay or transition time. If I only use one sound for a song, then yes a Multi-FX will work. but if I want to shift mid song, it just doesn't cut it.

    maybe I'll find one someday, and buy it. but for now my 6 pedals do everything i need them to do.
  12. The Lullaby

    The Lullaby

    Dec 8, 2010
    same thing, the tiny drop out you get on a multibox is a "no deal" for me to. They always sound too processed (yer whole tone) to me.
  13. I have to agree with this user comments about the ZOOM G9. The Two 12AX7 tubes allows you to make some great overdrive tones with the natural harmonics and compression only a tube can add, all combined with the total recall of a multi fx. I tried it against Line 6, Boss and Digitech and after some tweaking with my amps is clearly rose above the pack.
  14. One of the things i enjoy about all multifx is that it pushes me out of the comfort zone. This is not necessarily the best for gigging however when one is being creative or in the studio its a big benifit.
  15. david henman

    david henman

    Feb 3, 2006
    bolton, ontario
    ...i may have to take a look. my zoom a2 acoustic processor is my secret weapon (the trick with this pedal is to delete all the acoustic guitar "models"). i find that zoom products are often overlooked and underrated.

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