4 Terrific Multi-Effects Units for Guitar (Under $1000)
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Dedicated guitar pedals are expensive. If you have ever tried or already have assembled a nice sized board of quality effects, you know just how much they cost. This reality is one of the driving forces behind the ever-improving all-in-one effects units. Before the 2010s, there really were not that good of options for those wanting all kinds of quality digital effects in one package. Luckily, in the year 2020, solid-state technology is better than ever before. There are some really convincing multi-effect units out there. So much so in fact, many touring/gigging musicians have made the switch entirely. Now, the reason for this also extends to amp/cabinet modeling, but today we are mainly focused on the effects side of things. So, let’s jump right into looking at some of the best units on the market and take a look at what they have to offer.
Line 6 HX Stomp – $599.99
Line 6 really set the precedent for what a modern solid-state effects board should be with their original Helix. And since its release, the Helix family has grown to include a couple more affordable units. The HX Stomp has seemingly become nearly as popular as the original full pedalboard. A big part of its success has to do with its incredible value. The combination of over 300 amp, cab, and stomp models along with 126 presets makes this little guy appealing to those who want a ‘rig-in-a-box’. While you are a little limited with only 6 blocks to choose from at a time, for most people’s purposes, this thing has you covered. Also, if you are looking for a home recording guitar aid, this thing is great for getting studio-quality tones quick and easy. It is hard to think of a guitar player who could not benefit from this box in one way or another.
Headrush Gigboard - $649.00
Headrush, while not nearly as popular, is a company that makes some very comparable units to the Line 6 Helix stuff. And the Gigboard in particular is very similar to the previously mentioned HX Stomp. I don’t want to try and make an argument for which one sounds better because it’s all subjective and super tweakable. However, I will cover a few of the major differences that exist outside of the way these two sound.
First off, one of the major selling points of the Gigboard is that it is the exact same software as Headrush’s flagship pedalboard. The HX Stomp on the other hand is really not the same as the full-on Helix. Another way the Gigboard stands out from the HX Stomp is with its massive touch screen that can be used to control everything. This feature is really nice for quick intuitive editing. The last major difference I will mention is the size of the two. The HX Stomp is quite a bit smaller and lighter than the Gigboard, making it better for travel and putting on a larger board.
Ultimately both the Gigboard and HX Stomp are both some of the best multi-effect in their class. You really can’t go wrong with either.
Zoom MS-50G MultiStomp - $119.99
Next up for this list we have a rather different caliber of multi-effect unit. Zoom’s MS-50G is very small both in size and in price, but it is definitely worth the attention of those on a budget. This little guy has 47 effects and 8-amp models to choose from. And perhaps the most impressive thing about this unit is that you have 6 slots that can all be used at the same time. That means that with just this box alone you can get all kinds of full rig tones. Now, let’s be realistic here. No, these effects are not on the same sound level as most higher-end multi-units. Though, they still sound plenty good enough to get the job done. And that’s exactly what this pedal is great for, taking care of business. Even if you already have a really nice rig this guy can still come in handy. The MS-50G grants you access to nearly every major effect type out there. Basically, this Zoom stompbox is a crazy good value, swiss army knife of guitar tone.
Eventide H9 Max - $699.00
We will be concluding this list with a widely beloved Eventide pedal. The H9 is actually somewhat similar to the MS-50G in that it covers a ton of stuff in a small package. However, given the price, there is obviously something more going on here. The main appeal of this unit is the quality of sound that each and every effect brings with it. If you already know Eventide, then you will be well aware of how great their algorithms are. The H9 Max has algorithms from Eventide’s Space, TimeFactor, ModFactor, Pitchfactor, and even some H9 specific ones. What this means for the user is getting dozens of some of the best sounding digital effects ever made.
Now it’s time to drop the biggest con of this pedal on you. Unfortunately, when using the H9, you only get to use one algorithm at a time. Yes, this is unfortunate, but it is still not a deal-breaker for so many people. First off, a lot of the algorithms combine effects already, so you’re not as limited as you may think. And second, even if it were truly just one effect at a time, the value is still there. The H9 is for people who want a ton of boutique-quality effects in one box. It is amazing for recording and always having access to great versions of nearly every effect.