Stomp pedals vs. Multi-effects processors?

Discussion in 'Mixing & Editing' started by brooke, Jan 6, 2006.

  1. brooke

    brooke Guest


    Here's my situation: I was looking around at delay/reverb pedals and found them to be in the price range of $100-150 each, which is fairly reasonable for a brand like Boss. However, I might be able to get a good deal through a friend for a Boss GT-6 multi-effects processor (used, for roughly $150-200 in good condition).

    What should I do?

    I want to use the pedal/processor for jamming and live performance. Most shows I go to, I see people using a bunch of pedals. Is there a disadvantage to using multi-effects processors live or is the reason mainly because bands have accumulated so many pedals over the years?

    Thanks a lot!
  2. tedcrop

    tedcrop Guest

    Most pros you see using pedals may also be using processors behind the scenes.

    Your goal should be to use what sounds good to you. But with that said the feeling that I get is that you would be happier with the GT6 for now. It has all the effects built in and it looks like fun and you want have to deal with cables to connect everything. I don't have one though.
  3. Reggie

    Reggie Distinguished Member

    Dec 20, 2004
    I have a GT-5 or 6 or 3 and I think it is pretty handy. In my guitar rig I use it almost exclusively for delay, modulation effects, the occasional reverb, and the occasional odd noise. I think it nice to be able to step on one button to change everything, rather than several pedals at once. But some people don't like having to program beforehand and prefer loose pedals instead.
    I also use the GT for recording guitarists' scratch tracks direct along with the drummer without having an amp bleeding in.
  4. Pre Amp

    Pre Amp Guest

    IMHO there's no real disadvantage to using either. I think that the multi-effect processors are great. However the fact that they do so many things is a good thing, and at the same time there downfall. Because it's hard enough to get that one certain distortion sound (pedal) that sounds great on guitar. Then you have to look just as hard for the "right" chorus or delay pedal, or reverb stomp box, or tube screamer, or octave doubler, that sounds good and not like a fisher price toy.
    Now try to put all the best into one machine and have all the guitarist around the world agree that all the sounds are the best. Sorry...that's NOT gonna happen.
    So my point is this, that buying each pedal seperate only ensures that you will have the "correct" chorus sound, that is (in your mind) perfect. Same with the distortion issue, and other phycoacoustic effects.
    So as a result, alot of guys go out and buy all seperate pedals. Then they know they are getting "what they want". Sure it takes more time, and cost more money, but if you/they want it a certain way, or you/they want the perfect setup, that's the way to go.
  5. redbort

    redbort Active Member

    Jun 15, 2005
    you will not find a multieffects processor that can do all these pedals
  6. Pre Amp

    Pre Amp Guest

    Nice! :cool:
    What's that knob do? :-?
  7. redbort

    redbort Active Member

    Jun 15, 2005
    that one goes bzzzz
    and this one goes gzzz
  8. Pre Amp

    Pre Amp Guest

    Ohh, then I'm gettin one of those! 8)
  9. IIRs

    IIRs Well-Known Member

    Oct 23, 2005
    All those pedals put together couldn't do most of the stuff I do with my multi-FX:

  10. Pre Amp

    Pre Amp Guest

    I used to own some of those Digitech units, the TSR24-S and a Vocalist. Both were (please don't take this the wrong way) cheap sounding and were pretty much the Fisher price sound that I was suggesting to stay away from.
    Not that all rackmount gear sounds as bad (cheap) as the Digitech gear.
    Now, IIR I'm not trying to say ANYTHING bad about you or your gear. I just don't think you will find people on this site that will agree that Digitech is good, well built, quality sounding gear.
    I hope IIR's setup sound's great, I'm not trying to start a flame here.
    Here's some of what I remember about rackmount multi-effects processors
    1) Load time between presets (about 1/2 a sec. maybe as long as 1 sec. on the larger programs)
    a)this makes a problem, esp when doing live shows and having to load presets during a song, with the 1 sec. sound clip missing, while the program loads the new program
    b)Redbort's pedal setup will not have this problem (there's no presets to load)
    c)Also too many pedals in series is bad as well, (say more than 5 or 6 or so)
    2)Analog pedals Vs. digital processing
    a)most (not all) digital distortions SUCK (I see IIR is using a Mesa pre for his distortion---most likey because the distortion out of the multi-effects processor is not that good)
    b)almost all analog gear sounds better when compared to digital (esp when talking about guitar gear)
    c) there's not a true bypass feature's on the rack mount gear, so the guitar's sound will be effected even with no effects, or even when on bypass (not a true bypass mind you)
    d) with digital prcoessors: your signal must go from analog to digital and back to analog and that's before it's even gone to your guitar amp :shock:

    Now there is rackmount gear out there worth having, but I'm talking about stuff like the Eventide 4000 series or better.
    I didn't even like the Lexicon MPX-1 unit I owned, as much as alot of other pedals for guitar.
  11. IIRs

    IIRs Well-Known Member

    Oct 23, 2005
    Eh?? Nothing like it! About 1/10th of a second at most I reckon. The only thing I miss is the ability to leave a delay repeating after switching to a dry patch.

    Actually the Mesa is the power amp, and I consider that more important than the pre when it comes to distortion sounds..

    I do agree that digital distortion isn't too hot.. fortunately the Digitech Valve FX in my rack has a 12AX7 in the analog pre-amp section, and yes it does glow without the aid of backlighting LEDs :) A good tip for any other owners out there: Use the (analog) compressor gain to drive the input of the valve stage harder, you get a much better "in-between" crunch sound that responds beautifully to playing dynamics :D

    On the contrary: the "no digital" algo is the one I use for most "normal" sounds ;)

    Hmm. Apart from "no digital" there are 33 possible effects configurations, most of which include parallel routings, and all offer full control over internal mixing. (Check the user manual ) The EQ (which is always available regardless of the FX algo chosen) is four band, fully parametric and all bands span the entire frequency range allowing a possible 60dB boost if they are all stacked at the same frequency!!

    In addition, up to 10 MIDI controllers can be assigned to any parameter, including all the internal mixer levels and pans and the EQ parameters, with full control over minimum & maximum values. This allows me to do subtle things like assign my pre amp drive parameter to one expression pedal and the delay level to another, or design my own pseudo filter effects.. or other things that would blow your mind if I described them!

    And I can switch between the wildest delayed-whammy-pitchshifted-detuned madness to a classic smoky valve sound with a single press of a footpedal 8)
  12. Pre Amp

    Pre Amp Guest

    Well at least I was right about one thing :lol:
    That's cool it has the 12AX7 in it. I do remember that model (w/ the tube in it). ---I never owned that model----not that Digitech hasn't made 4 million different types of multi-effects processors over the past 20 years.
    So the Mesa is a power amp? Wow, I cant believe it fits in a single rack space. Do you mind if I ask the wattage? And if its tube? Or solid state?
  13. IIRs

    IIRs Well-Known Member

    Oct 23, 2005
    All valve (EL84) rated 20 watts per channel, but to be honest its louder than I have ever needed it to be so far, and cuts through a mix better than the 50wpc marshall I used before it. I love that amp, it sounds great at any volume but at stage levels it sings!

    There are some issues I have with the Digitech unit: some of the parameters are a bit too quantised for good realtime control for example, and the wah effect isn't that hot I must confess :lol: Fortunately I have a favorite EQ setting which sweeps 2 narrow boosts through the mid frequencies while adjusting the gain of the other two (which are set as broad low & high tone shapers) .. after years of tweaking I have a patch that sounds warm & plummy with the expression pedal fully back, progresses through various degrees of growl as I push it forward, and finally sounds glassy and transparent fully up.. and if I waggle it about it adds expression in a much more subtle and satisfying way than any wah I ever tried 8)

    I would like a 24 bit version too.. but to be honest, if I set the gain staging properly I don't hear that big a difference between "no digital" and the effected sound (the Mesa amp still sings!)

    I suspect it didn't do too well with most guitarists, as it is pretty complex to program.. don't even think about setting up a complex chain from scratch without the manual, as all internal mixer parameters are labelled "7 x 2 mixer gain 3" etc and you need the diagrams to have any clue what that actually controls :roll: Fortunatly I am also an audio engineer so I am comfortable with "Q" parameters on EQs! :lol:

    But the thing is part of my sound, and (at least until Digitech release an otherwise identical 24-bit version) I will not be swapping it.. certainly not for a pile of rusty old pedals like that picture above! ;)
  14. Pre Amp

    Pre Amp Guest

    I dig those pedals (not to be argumentive). There is one pedal that looks like they used it back in Vietnam.
  15. IIRs

    IIRs Well-Known Member

    Oct 23, 2005
    I was careful to follow that comment with a wink. ;) Though I think there are a couple just there to make the collection look bigger! How exciting is a tuner after all, and who the hell needs 2 of them? :lol:
  16. Reggie

    Reggie Distinguished Member

    Dec 20, 2004
    Yeah, I can't recommend a multieffects unit for its distortion capabilities. Some of them can get a decent lead tone, but typically suck for good chunky articulate rhythm tones. I see nothing wrong with using a multieffects unit for digital reverbs, delays, flangers, and etc. though.
    I have tried one of those Digitech pedalboards with the pretty tube in them, and I wasn't really digging the distortion tones even still. It's gotta be a decent amp's gain channel for me.

    BTW redbort: I would NOT wanna have to carry all those pedals around to gigs and stuff.
  17. IIRs

    IIRs Well-Known Member

    Oct 23, 2005
    I have a crunch sound thats totally "clean" when I stroke the strings gently, but rocks like Angus Young if I hit a power chord! I need to drive the input of the valve section hard to achieve this however.. I think replacing the valve helped too (Current one says "Fender" on it iirc)

    <edit> I don't know about the modern Digitech valve units, but the 12AX7 in mine is not starved, it glows properly and gets very warm!
  18. greyskull

    greyskull Guest

    To be honest
    Id rather/do own a pile of rusty old pedals.
    granted the possibilities which you can swtich between instantly in patches with multi effects are more vast ; and a good reverb, will generally come in something 19 inch shaped....

    Other than that no multi effects sound anywhere near as good as stompboxes TO MY EARS and to most other guitarist ears. Nothing sounds like a stompbox in all its glorious analog noise like a stompbox.... oh yeah and it is possible to have patches of sorts, if you buy true bypass loopers as made by robert keeley.

    Just my two errr pence
    no flaming please!! lol
    we're all guitarists after all!
  19. IIRs

    IIRs Well-Known Member

    Oct 23, 2005
    I think there are two reasons:

    1. Lots of nasty cheap multieffects units on the market.

    2. Most guitarists can't even program a VCR!

  20. Jimi_London

    Jimi_London Guest

    Why not use both? Each has their pros and cons but they can co-exist happily. Just get a midi controlled switching system like the Digital Music Ground Control or similar units by CAE or Axess Electronics. Makes using your favorite analog pedals and rack gear very easy, plus with multiple loops they make all your effects "true bypass". :D

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