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Multi-Effects for Electric Guitar
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Reviews Multi-Effects for Electric Guitar


A review of the Keeley Mod Workstation pedal

Mod About You At this year’s NAMM show, Keeley Electronics showed off their new Workstation line of pedals, which combine the functionality of several Keeley pedals in one. Although recently released, the pedals are in short supply, but we were fortunate enough to get our hands on the Mod Workstation. It’s an analog multi-effects pedal with three independent effect sections: Mod, featuring eight different modulation effects; Drive, with two varieties of overdrive, and Drive/Boost, which offers clean boost or a third flavor of overdrive, and all three sections can be run together. read more…

A review of the Boss SY-300 guitar synthesizer

The Guitar Synth Redefined In the past, trying to find a guitar synth that tracked accurately was akin to searching for the Holy Grail. No product, whether it was a guitar synth or MIDI guitar controller was able to accurately reproduce guitar playing down to its nuances. Heck, most couldn’t even handle a string bend very well. But Boss has changed all that with the SY-300, a synthesizer that is triggered by a guitar (or other instrument’s) incoming audio signal, no special pickup required. It’s a revolutionary idea, and from a tracking standpoint it succeeds brilliantly. read more…

Review of the Line 6 AMPLIFi FX100

A Multi-Effects Pedal in the Palm of your Hand Following in the footsteps of the AMPLIFi 150 and AMPLIFi 75 amplifiers, Line 6 has released the AMPLIFi FX100, a floor-based multi-effects pedal controlled by your iOS device. How does this concept translate to a floor unit? Read on to find out. read more…

User reviews on Multi-Effects for Electric Guitar products

Fantastic Modulation/Delay/Reverb with Pure Analog Drive/Distortion (nUX - Cerberus)

By MGR/Brian Johnston, 08/04/2019
Being of 32-bit quality, the digital components are extremely clear in the mix. Coupled with the Analog Drive and Distortion, the Cerberus is a great sounding unit. The delay and reverb are very distinguishable from the main tone – complementary, yet separated (not muddy). The Cerberus allows you to route the delay and reverb in different configurations, e.g., parallel (both act independently of each other), reverb into delay and delay into reverb. Obviously each produce different results and characteristics and both delay and reverb can be mixed with different depths, levels, etc.

There are three chorus selections (from vintage to modern), and all have a good range in sound, without being dissonant or crass when turned up (the notes sound thicker and blend well within the tone). The Modern Chorus sounds fantastic when added to lead. The phaser is impressive, ranging from the subtle to very broad and sweeping, to the point of sounding as much flange as it does phase. The uni-vibe is very unique as it combines elements of tremolo, chorus, rotary and phaser, with each aspect seemingly standing out and depending on the depth, rate and level/mix. The drive is based on a Blues Breaker circuit, which is modest in gain, but it adds a nice amount of fullness and dirt to a clean signal – ideal when playing clean or when wanting a slight edge to some rhythm playing. The distortion is based on NUX’s Brown Anger (which has a British flavor), which seems to impress many who have reviewed the Cerberus. It has an excellent grain to it, sounds full and thick, and definitely analog. Turned up low and it makes for good crunch rhythm, and when turned up high rolls off nicely via a guitar’s volume knob. As you crank up the distortion past 1-o’clock the sound becomes increasingly saturated, which is fine and if you like that quality (up full and its super heavy sounding, ideal for Doom Metal and that thick fuzzy Psychedelic Rock quality). However, if you want to retain that grittiness, then keeping the distortion down (12-noon or even lower) while pumping some drive into it is the answer. Similar to the delay/reverb, you can route the drive and distortion in three different ways: distortion into drive produces a darker and fatter tone, running the distortion and drive parallel (so neither affects the other) produces a clearer quality, and drive into distortion (likely the most common setup) produces a result somewhere between the other two. There’s also a built-in 20dB Boost that can be triggered with a foot switch – even when turned down to its lowest level (controlled at the back) it is very noticeable and seemingly loud enough. Obviously how the drive and distortion sound will be affected by the Cab or IR (impulse response). The Cerberus comes with eight built-in cabinets from which to choose, but you also can upload third-party IRs and purchase additional IRs from NUX (wave file format).

There are several integrated effects units on the market, and at $299 USD you get a lot for your money with the Cerberus. Considering buying a boost, a drive, a distortion, a delay/reverb and a modulation pedal (as well as a pedal board to keep them organized and fixed) and you definitely will exceed the price of the Cerberus. Not only that, the 32-bit quality digital effects coupled with one of the best sounding drive/distortion combinations (both of which are analog, Blues Breaker + Brown Anger) make the Cerberus one of the best values in the integrated pedal category. As well, you can route the delay/reverb and the distortion/drive in various configurations (e.g., drive into distortion, distortion into drive or run both in parallel) and integrate the Cerberus in various ways with your other gear (amps, pedals, etc.). Although the Cerberus is partly analog, you still are able to store 128 presets (16 built-in with the remainder blank) and recall those settings at the stomp of a switch. The unit comes with eight built-in cab simulations, for a host of varying tones, and you can upload 3rd party cabs or purchase additional ones through NUX. This makes it ideal when running the Cerberus direct to a PA, although you can bypass the CAB function and go direct to your amp. There is a built-in tuner and you can attach an expression pedal, which acts as a volume pedal with the Cerberus, route other effects between the distortion/drive and the modulation/delay (so that your add-ons come after the drive/distortion), control your gear via MIDI and get firmware updates via USB (cable not included). Ideal for studio use, the Cerberus is great for rehearsal or practice when you don’t feel like hauling a full pedalboard, and obviously perfect for travel since it has a built-in headphone jack for quiet practice.

Although seemingly complex at first, the Cerberus is not difficult to use with only an hour or so of tinkering – and once you dial into some good combinations you can save them to one of the 128 presets/patches. If you check out the demo video, I work through the Cerberus starting with the delay, which offers up Tape, Analog and Digital. You can select the Time via the tap temp switch or with the dial to fine-tune (you can see the milliseconds in the pedal’s window to zero in on your timing); the delay’s time dial also selects tempo subdivision (e.g., eighth notes). Reverb can be added or removed via the Control foot-switch (which also turns the modulation, drive/distortion and boost on/off). The Modulation section includes three types of Chorus, as well as Phase/Tremolo/Uni-vibe – the Chorus turns on/off via the footswitch in the Modulation section, whereas turning the Phase/Trem/Uni-vibe on/off is done via the Ctrl footswitch. This may seem odd or clumsy until you get used to the unit and, as stated, you can save any setting group as a preset so that all the fiddling is done once.

Each aspect needs to be set, including the Level and Repeats of the Delay, Level and Decay of the Reverb (and what type under each) – the same with the Modulation and the same with the Distortion and Drive. This is no different from any pedal or amp. Allowing you to save these settings definitely is a plus, and particularly since the Cerberus offers you the ability to route the delay/reverb and the distortion/drive in various configurations; having the delay/reverb run parallel sounds very different from the delay going into reverb or the reverb into delay. Likewise, tones are very different if you choose to run the distortion/drive in parallel or the drive into distortion or the distortion into drive (or if you want one and not the other).

The Cerberus has four preset switches on the front, which gives access to four selections at a time (without scrolling through banks), such as a clean with reverb, a clean with delay/reverb and some chorus, a crunch rhythm and then a lead (with or without boost). You can create 32 groupings (of 4) or banks like this, making it ideal for gigging and having each bank represent a different song. Banks are scrolled through easily via two footswitches at the far right of the Cerberus (the Tap Temp and Ctrl footswitches scroll up/down when in Preset/Patch mode). As well, whether in Manual mode or Preset mode you can edit (and save if desired) any settings.

An integrated pedal board, the Cerberus does not feel heavy for its size (I presume an aluminum chassis). Of decent size for a fly rig that contains so much, the Cerberus measures 12.6 (l) x 4.3 (w) x 2.6 (h) inches (32 x 11 x 6.5 cm). There are six foot switches, five of which produce a solid click when stepped on (no noise detected when engaging or disengaging either the drive or distortion), whereas the tap tempo is a soft switch. The footswitches have close proximity to the various knobs, but are at a higher level and should not pose any issues with regular use. There are fourteen knobs, all of which seem to be of heavy plastic, attached to pots that are smooth and solid in feel when turned. There are five toggle switches, all of which feel solid when selecting parameters. There are seven push buttons that feel solid during use. All inputs are located in the back, including MIDI In, Expression, Headphones, Power and Stereo Outs. The ten on/off LEDs on the Cerberus are low profile and will not be damaged from regular use of the pedal. The textured powder coated paint is exceptional and so wearing and chipping should be limited. Surprisingly, and although the Cerberus offers several effects, the unit requires a standard 9VDC power supply while drawing only 500mA of power (available with some pedalboard power supplies), which means not having to purchase any special adapter (the Cerberus does not come with an adapter). Do note that the manual indicates 275mA of current draw, whereas the back of the unit states 500mA.

Likely the best stompbox ever with more sounds than you ever could use (Eventide - H9 Max)

By MGR/Brian Johnston, 27/05/2019
The H9 Max is not an inexpensive piece of gear at $699 USD, but the quality of technology and number of sounds is staggering for this stereo in and stereo out stomp-box (including full MIDI capabilities, built-in tuner and 9v 500mA power supply). If you were to purchase individual Eventide pieces that make up the H9 Max, the cost would be far greater and your pedalboard a lot more congested. If you were to purchase individual pedals from other manufacturers that provide various delays, reverbs, phasers, flangers, choruses, tremolos, vibratos, wahs, etc., you still would not be ahead of the game financially, and the quality of Eventide sounds would be hard to beat.

Overall, the H9 Max is one of those investments that will pay off long-term and a stomp-box that you will refer to regularly, whether you want a simple echo or a deep-space reverb – ideal for rock to ambient and anything between. There are three caveats to the H9 Max. First, there are so many categories of sounds and so many sounds that the unit could be overwhelming for some; however, that is the beauty of this unit, viz., you have a ton of stuff from which to choose and you pick what you want and create your patches accordingly. Think of it as 100 tubes of paint and you get to select what colors you want for your composition. Second, the hardware is not overly complicated to use, but there are a number of button and switch pushing required for editing; however, the included software makes choosing a category (e.g., reverb) easy, as well as any sub-category (e.g., plate) – you then can scroll through and test out the reverb plate types, find what you like and then tweak it with graphic knobs that emulate an actual pedal’s set of controls. It’s like having dozens of reverb plate pedals (for example) that produce a different result and you pick, choose and edit to fit your taste. So far none of the above bothers me and the H9 Max is great fun to use and explore. Third, you are able to use only one algorithm at a time, which is the only downfall I have found with the H9 Max. For example, let’s say there’s a great phaser you like, and you want to add it to a cool delay or chorus that you also like on the H9 Max… you cannot do so. This means you need to have another delay or chorus (or another H9 Max, as Dave Weiner of the Steve Vai does) on your pedalboard in order to ‘stack’ effects. Many categories and effects do have a delay component, but you won’t be able to add a wah (for example) to a deep space type reverb.
Known for its classic, modern and stunning sounds that are so clear and apparent in quality, Eventide technology continues to remain an industry standard. The H9 Max (the next level up from Eventide’s well-known H9) is no exception, as it combines sounds from several of its award-winning stomp-boxes (Space, ModFactor, TimeFactor and PitchFactor), besides some H9 Max exclusives. Sounds range from very simple to utterly complex and beautiful, from a simple slap-back room reverb to floating endlessly in deep space… from a hint of fixed wah to a jet plane flanger swooshing overhead. There also are H910 and H949 pitch-shifting classics from the 80s and 90s to fatten up your tone and make it sound like there are multiple guitars playing. All combined you get the effects used by the greats and that enable you to sound closer to the likes of Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, Brian May and Jimmy Page. Many other companies offer such titillations, but Eventide’s H9 Max definitely competes for first place and sounds so fantastic – not just for the quality, but the available algorithms that you can tweak and save. The demo videos below cover all the various Delays, Reverbs, Modulations, PitchFactors and sounds that are exclusive to the H9 Max.





H9 Max Exclusive Algorithms:

The Editing Software (free for download) is the easiest way to choose, edit and save patches, accessed through a computer via a USB cable (not included) or via wireless Bluetooth with your phone or iPad. Navigation is easy… working through categories is easy… and making changes is easy (just like working with knobs and buttons on a regular pedal or piece of hardware). And if you have an Expression Pedal you can assign any of the controls (multiple controls as well) to the pedal and create even more diverse sounds and tones. You don’t need an Expression Pedal, but sounds like Q-Wah will have a fixed wah sound, rather than a dynamic wah sound. Below is the Overview demo, but in the Sound section you will find demos on each category (delay, reverb, modulation, pitchfactor and H9 Max exclusives). If controlling the H9 Max through its hardware, there is a ‘Hotknob’ that enables you to assign and determine the range of any element, and you can use the large Encoder/Switch (which turns or spins) to control dynamic changes, just like working with an expression pedal (changes made with the Hotknob also affect the Expression Pedal… they control the same parameters and should be considered one in the same). Overall, it took me about 40-minutes to learn how to edit, recall patches, etc., using the hardware controls, but only about 60-seconds once hooked up to the editing software. When using the H9 Max itself for editing, all the information is found in the LED window and there are LEDs all around the large Encoder/Switch to indicate the level of the element being changed (besides a numeric value in the LED Window). In terms of play or live use, the H9 Max is simple enough to use. First, be aware that you can create patch lists, although you can save 99 different patches. For example, suppose you need only 10 patches of various delays, modulations, etc., and that you scroll through those while jamming with friends or playing a gig. You can create and recall a patch list that locks the H9 Max into only those 10 patches, so that you don’t accidentally scroll beyond or get into other patches – thus making on-stage use less worrisome and better contained. Once the H9 Max is turned on, it starts off at the last patch when it was turned off. In order to access (scroll through) the patches you step on the Tap foot switch, which scrolls up to the next patch – you then press the other footswitch (Active) to select it. If you want to scroll down, step on the large Encoder/Switch to reverse directions, step on the Tap switch to find your patch followed by making the new patch Active. You also can access patches by pressing the Preset button and scrolling up and down via the spin knob on the large Encoder/Switch (patches load automatically in this mode). Pressing the Active switch at any time turns off/bypasses the H9 Max, and so you hear only the dry signal. Pressing both Active and Tap (while holding for a few seconds) brings up the highly sensitive and accurate Tuner. Holding down the Tap button for a few seconds gives access to Tap Tempo.

A medium sized stomp-box, the H9 Max measures 133 mm (H) x 118mm (W) x 50mm (D) or (5.25 x 4.65 x 1.96 inches) and weighs 700g (1.53 lbs). The input impedance is 600K ohms (mono or stereo) and its output 470 ohms. The heavy duty chassis has a cream top over a black base. The five editing buttons and LED screen are low profile and far removed from the footswitches to withstand normal use and abuse. The large Encoder/Switch feels both solid and smooth during operation, also set lower than the two footswitches to prevent accidental pressing or foot-stomping. The two footswitches (Active and Tap) are soft switches, viz., no click when engaged or disengaged – there is no popping or significant signal noise when switching (except for the effect being cut off when the pedal is placed in bypass mode). All inputs (cable inputs/outputs, expression pedal, USB, MIDI and power input) are located in the back of the H9 Max to save on pedalboard space and to prevent possible damage from regular stomping use.

Still lovely after all these years (Zoom - 1010)

By PuppetXeno, 30/05/2019
Once bought as my first effects pedal and having used literally hundreds of different pedals and multi effects units from various manufacturers since, from time to time I keep coming back to this little gem.

The pros:

Standalone, it offers a limited but useful chain of effects, suitable for the basics in a band setting. Simply set the pedal in EDIT mode and use the foot switches to turn the distortion, modulation and delay/reverb section on when needed.

In combination with other pedals, it functions as boost pedal, noise reduction, compressor, wah (with proper expression pedal, unfortunately doesn't work well with a generic impendance curve), equalizer and has a neat retro modulation and delay/reverb section. I'd say the chorus is really nice, and the room reverb provides a nice layer of fullness if set correctly.

It has analog distortion circuitry. This feature is actually what makes it still relevant and even excellent to this day. Merely for this fact, this pedal is worth getting your hands on! It offers eight very different (and each one useable) distortion types which all come with optional amp simulator for d/i use.

Has a built in tuner (this is my excuse to bring it along on my pedal board :-D )

It uses standard center-negative 9V adapter.

The cons:

It is mono.
It does not have tap tempo.
It has no battery operation.
Factory patches are all over the place, this is no good advertisement if you want to get a grasp of this pedal by testing the factory patches.
UI is not modern - no turn knobs but push buttons to change parameters instead.
Outdated technology obviously makes it limited in options.

Wrap up:

The compromises made in designing this pedal were clearly well thought through, and yielded a product that was amazingly versatile and it has helped out many guitarists low on budget to give them access to compression, wah, distortion, modulation and reverb/delay in one go. Zoom understood something, and today's Zoom's multieffects show they only expanded on that understanding.

Analog distortion options alone make this is really nice choice for the experimental guitarist on a budget. From fat fuzz to simulated cranked up tube amp - it does it convincingly. The modulation section is retro but the chorus is nice enough.

For todays prices you can't go wrong on this pedal - you will need to fiddle with parameters to get the sound to where you want, obviously, and there's more than just the 3-4 knobs on a regular pedal, so there's that. Despite it's great ease of use it's more versatile than you might think and some patience is required. Well, patience pays off!

News Multi-Effects for Electric Guitar

[MUSIKMESSE][VIDEO] Live from the Hotone booth

Published on 04/08/16
At the Musikmesse, Hotone present a large collection of guitar pedals and mini amp heads.

[NAMM] [VIDEO] Keeley's Workstations

Published on 01/25/16

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