Boss ME 50B vs Digitech pedals

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by dgce, Sep 8, 2004.

  1. dgce


    Jun 17, 2001
    Massachusetts, USA
    I'm basically a plug in and play rock bass player. However I'm now in a cover band that has only one guitar and I'm finding the need to cover more sonic space. My Carvin head already has a compressor and graphic eq that seems okay for my purposes. So I figured I'd get a few pedals from Digitech to help fill things up:
    Bass Distortion/Overdrive, Chorus, and for kicks Synth/Wah. I dig the samples at the Digitech site and figure this was the way to go.

    Then I started looking into multieffects floor units. Though I prefer the simplicity and likely more versatile individual floor pedals, I’d have to get some sort of case and power source for them (or go through countless 9 volt batteries and construct some pathetic pedal board with mini cables all over the place). So I started thinking for a few bucks more, I could get more sounds in one simple unit that I could just plug in and play (the way I like it). The Boss ME 50B seems to be the most happening one in my price range ($300 and lower). But having had a multieffect guitar unit years ago (which mostly sucked played at band levels) I'm a bit apprehensive.

    Has anyone out there had experience with these units who'd like to share a little friendly advice?


  2. dgce


    Jun 17, 2001
    Massachusetts, USA
    Please, not all at once! :smug:
  3. Samurai


    Sep 13, 2003
    Well despite its low price the ME-50B is the best sounding and easiest to use multieffects unit out there. It only lacks in the wierd sound department, for example the Boss GT-6B lets you program whatever chain of effects you want like 2 dalay pedals and 4 phasers in a row, where the ME-50B will only let you do 1 effect per catagory (look for a picture of it online to see the groupings).
  4. dgce


    Jun 17, 2001
    Massachusetts, USA
    Thank you Samurai-san.

    I really don't need anything TOO out there in weirdness sound-wise. I need useable sounds for gigs and maybe a little kooky stuff just for kicks. For instance, we do some classic rock tunes like Sweet Emotion throughout our sets. We only have one guitarist and when he solos, there is a hole in the sound that I can fill but so much with a clean bass tone. Some distortion and perhaps a hit of thickening chorus would likely fill things up but I don't want to sacrifice bottom. I don't need anything too out there for this tune and others like it, just something functional.

    There are some other tunes where slap wah, and some synth fx would be cool too. I'm just apprehensive about multi-fx floor units because in the past I've found them cool in my living room under low volume. But with a full band, they're tinny and the sound is often lost. In fairness, I'm referring to guitar fx units and I'm talking close to 10 year old technology at this point. I can only hope that Boss' technology has advanced quite a bit since the early 90s. I also don't mind a simple lay out even if it means sacrificing some versitility. I'm not all that much of an fx-geek; just give me a few good tones and I'm happy.

    Thanks again!

  5. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    The boss is the best multifx for bass I've tried. Technology has advanced a lot over the last 10 years. The digitech pedals are cool too, the synth wah is an excellent value for money pedal. If you like overdrive/distortion, I found more usable sounds out of the boss.

    While the digitech pedals are perfectly fine, if you're looking for a 'set and forget' type of effects setup then IMO you'd be best with a multi fx.
  6. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    The digitech octaver effect is very much worth mentioning. It has great tracking, and even works high on the neck on my brother's strat copy. I use the BP50 at the moment, which is about one third of the price that you're willing to go up to. There are a few higher end Digitech multi-fx. I don't have any experience with them, personally though.

    The Zoom 708-II is a great pedal -- great drum machine, expandable looping (you can use flash cards or smart media or something to get more time), good sampes, and it's pretty solid. It's about $300 CAD before taxes, so I'd hazard a guess at $250 USD. I've played with it, and the sound is very, very nice.

    I don't have any experience with the ME 50B though!
  7. dgce


    Jun 17, 2001
    Massachusetts, USA
    I'm going to take an educated guess and presume that the Boss unit probably has an octave fx. If not, it’s likely they have some sort of equivalent. Nice plus but not that big of a deal for my purposes. I've seen some very reasonably priced Zoom and Digitech multi-fx floor units out there. However, I question how gig-worthy the lower end stuff really is. The Boss ME-50B strikes me a legit, gigable unit that is fairly straight up albeit not the most tweakable unit around. For my purposes this appears to be the best of the heap in my price range. I don't need a lot of tricks and gadgets; just a bunch of useable sounds I can twirl a simple knob to adjust, a half decent tuner, and maybe some kooky stuff to play around with for kicks. The ME-50B is the only multi-fx unit I'm interested in. Its competition is Digitech's individual bass pedal fx (most notably its new bass overdrive, chorus, and synthwah pedals). If I purchased each of those pedals, I'd still need a pedal board, power source and I'd likely have to pick up a tuner as well. So we're basically talking the same amount of money here. The reason I started this thread was to get a better handle of which way to go; individual pedals from Digitech or one fairly simple floor unit from Boss. Of course advice on other units are more than welcome but to be honest, I find the lower end fx good for the bedroom but not for gigs and the higher end stuff simply over my head (and wallet!).

    But thanks!

  8. From reading this entire thread, I can say that your purposes for the ME-50B were the same as mine and it has filled them with flying colours. Great distortions, cool chorus/flangers and great t-Wahs and synths.

    With my rock band I set up the t-wah, slight boost distortion and chorus/reverb within the 3 dedicated pedals and then simply turn them on and off as needed. With my other more experimental band I set up programs with a slew of sounds and get into more complex features of the unit.

    I find all the sounds of high quaility through my Ken Smith/SWR/Yorkville rig and have used it on many outdoor/studio/club gigs. Built in tuner, headphone with battery operation for down at the end of the dock, and a really simple two cord plus power hook up (I leave extra cables and AC adapter at the jam space for 5 second hook ups).

    All of the sounds are great and although sometimes I wish, for example the compressor was before the synth, the unit seems very pro, with very full sounds that sound great.

    Do a search and find out more. I think you'd like it.
  9. dgce


    Jun 17, 2001
    Massachusetts, USA
    Thanks for the input, BB. Sounds like you have a similar situation albeit with a more sophisticated rig. My set up is a G&L ASAT, an old Carvin PB300 head and an even older KMD 4x10 cab. I plan to replace the KMD with either an Avatar 4x10 cab or an Avatar 15 with tweeter that I’d eventually marry with a 2x10 cab if needed. The Carvin already has a compressor, a graphic eq and even a noise gate though likely not has cutting edge as yr higher end amps and preamps. Hey, it gets my work done and I don’t hyperventilate when a little beer gets spilt on it!

    The set up you use on yr Boss sounds like it’d fit my gig just right. I also like that I could experiment a bit if the inspiration hits me. It might have been on where I read of the compressor not being positioned at the beginning of the chain. It’s very odd that Boss set it up this way. This appears to be the only significant negative critique about the ME 50B. Boss’ compressor is likely much better than the one on my Carvin head. However if I do get the Boss, I’ll try just using the compressor on my Carvin first and see how I do.

    Again, thanks for the feedback. I plan to take my bass and hit some shops to try out the Boss and the new Digitech pedals. However, the way things are looking, I think I’ll be going with the Boss ME 50B.

  10. The Boss ME-50B has a tricky signal chain. To fully understand it you need the manual which has a very easy to understand diagram (I could scan it and e-mail if anyone is looking for it). For the most part the signal goes input into the compressor. Great for things like giving the OCTAVE DOWN a very clean/clear signal (same with distortions/overdrives), but when you kick in the SQUARE WAVE synth, that effect is right after the input and before the compressor. Again you need to check the manual.

    You can't change the order of the FXs but the FXs signal chain is clearly stated in the manual. To me this is a minor issue.

    Also the compressors are heavy handed, which only means that you need to go easy with the Threshold control. I usually put it at 3o'clock which means that the compressor is only kicking in at the loudest of notes (at 12o'clok the threshold would be lowered which would squash more of my playing) The control/concept is used for all of the different compressors except for the D-COMP which uses a "sustain effect". With the D-COMP the more you turn the control clockwise the more you hear the effect.

    Sound complicated? It's not. I'm no techie (I bought the ME-50B instead of the GT-6B with LCD, menus and a hord of buttons) so I kept the manual handy for the first week or so and everything has been smooth sailing. Really easy to understand 6-8 page manual,... it's not a book.

    After having the unit for the whole summer and doing countless different gigs with different basses/amps,... if it got stolen I'd rush out to get another one.

    My 2cents
  11. dgce


    Jun 17, 2001
    Massachusetts, USA
    Cool. Thanks for yr feedback, Ben. I'm not losing sleep over the compressor thing. The ME 50B appears to be a pretty user-friendly fx (hence my interest in the first place). Still, I'm sure a bit of manual reviewing, tweaking, and experimenting will be necessary to get the most out of it. Hell, it might even be kinda fun. Anywho, this weekend I'll be hitting the shops with my bass to actually try the ME 50B out.

  12. RunngDog

    RunngDog Supporting Member

    Jan 22, 2003
    Chicago, IL
    If / when you buy the ME50B, be sure to get a footswitch to go along with it. This will allow you to switch among memory banks without having to bend down and use your hands. Lot more flexibility.
  13. How I really got to know the unit quickly was to set all the parameter controls to 12 o'clock. Then run through each FX control. For example, for the compressor set the THRESHOLD and LEVEL controls at 12 o'clock and then run through the different type of compressors. Same thing for the Overdrive/Distortions, Modulations/Reverbs, etc.

    Hope that helps.
  14. He's right,... but I don't have one.

    You can always get one later on if you find yourself loading up lots of different memory banks (I don't find myself doing that,..............yet!):)
  15. RunngDog

    RunngDog Supporting Member

    Jan 22, 2003
    Chicago, IL
    It's not just for specialized effects in the memory banks. If you want to switch within a song between 2 effects covered on the same pedal (e.g., wah and octave, or chorus and flanger), you either have to bend down to make the switch or load one of the two into a memory bank and use the footswitch to get you there.
  16. swedebasist


    Sep 19, 2004
    IMO the boss owns most other multis on the market, just for simplicity combined with sheer versatility and kickass sounds. I ordered mine this wednesday and I just can't wait to get it :hyper:

    btw: I'm new here, hi everyone :bassist:
  17. BassGod


    Jan 21, 2004
    Dumb question... Does anyone know the dimensions of the Boss? I just wanna know how big it is. You see, my birthday is coming up, and I will either ask for a Crybaby Bass Wah and MXR D.I. Box together, or just the Boss ME-50B. (I already have a DigiTech BP-50) I can't decide :( Thanks :cool:

    Graeme :bassist:
  18. RunngDog

    RunngDog Supporting Member

    Jan 22, 2003
    Chicago, IL
    According to the manual, it's 15-1/8" wide X 8-7/8" deep X 3-1/8" high. Add an inch to the height when the pedal is up.
  19. Jugghaid


    Jun 28, 2002
    Denver, CO, USA
    Another vote for the ME-50B

    I've had mine since the first day they came out.

    I love it.

    Great sounds. Easy as hell to use.

    The only thing they didn't put in it that I wish they would have is an autowah to go along with the Twah.

    The octaver works great btw.

    The synth sounds are sub-par IMO but I have a deep impact to handle that.
  20. ad9000

    ad9000 Supporting Member

    Mar 30, 2004
    Leucadia, CA
    I just picked up an ME-50B and though I haven't really had time to dive into it yet, I have some advice that hasn't been covered yet in this thread - it doesn't come with an AC adapter, so unless you want to go thru a slew of AA batteries, don't forget to pick one up with the unit!
    The correct Boss adapter is the PDA (to be exact, PDA 120-T in the US).
    Also, the footswitch that allows you to step thru the banks is the FS-5U.
    The bonehead salesperson at the retailer where I got mine was totally clueless about either of these add-ons, so I'm glad I did some research beforehand.