Is there a perfect multi fx unit for me?

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by Taustin Powers, Mar 4, 2024.

  1. Taustin Powers

    Taustin Powers Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2002
    Berlin, Germany
    I play mostly without effects, save for the occasional envelope filter. But I am considering adding some hardware to have the following elements in my signal chain:

    - Compressor to even out the volume a little when slapping.
    - Overdrive to add some subtle warmth to my tone (always-on)
    - Envelope Filter for some juicy funky boing-boing
    - Looper to have some fun (entirely optional)

    I already own a Source Audio Spectrum. It has great filter and synth sounds, it's just a pain to operate. I could easily just add a compressor (Empress?) and an overdrive (4 on the Floor?) and be done with it.

    Or, I could buy one unit that does it all. I play many different basses, and it would be nice to just have presets for their different output levels, instead of adjusting e.g. filter sensitivity all the time. Amp/cab modeling would be entirely optional. Cool to have, but not a priority.

    I am looking at units like HX Stomp, HX Effects or the GT1000Core. I am sure there are more. Which unit would you say excels at the few things I am looking for? I will only go this route if it eliminates the need for other pedals.
  2. Taustin Powers

    Taustin Powers Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2002
    Berlin, Germany
    The more I think about it - I would like good amp modeling at least for guitar, as I don't own a guitar amp.
  3. Challanger2


    Feb 13, 2015
    Do you have budget or unit size constraints?
  4. micguy


    May 17, 2011
    The all in one thing is great for some (most ?) folks, but...if you are picky/particular, you will likely find that you can't quite get the sounds you want all from one unit - this or that won't be quite right. In that case, you're better off with separate pedals, as you can get exactly what you want for each effect, and if it's not quite right, you don' t have to ditch the whole thing - you just replace the one part that isn't quite right.
  5. BGroovy

    BGroovy Supporting Member

    Jul 15, 2008
    Denver, CO
    I think the HX Stomp is a great unit for bass. The one downside is the looper. The looper itself is fine, but you end up losing footswitch assignments to it. I’d get the Stomp and a Ditto and you’ll have everything you need.

    I recommend Ian Martin Allison’s presets for the Stomp as well. Great sounds to start with and will show you what can be done with it.
  6. jimfist

    jimfist "Cling tenaciously to my buttocks!"

    Mar 28, 2011
    Boston, MA (USA)
    If you don't have any particular urge to deep-dive into experimentation, and you don't really care about having a gazillion different effects at your disposal, then I'd recommend getting the Tech21 PSA 2.0 (programmable memory guitar/bass preamp/di with overdrive) and whatever analog compressor floats your boat....keep the SA Spectrum. This keeps you in the ballpark cost-wise of something like the Line6 HX Stomp.

    You'll have a straightforward analog signal for your core sound, programming flexibility for various basses (and guitars) with various gain/drive settings, with the digital Spectrum pedal being kicked-in only for special effects. Dedicate the time you would otherwise spend figuring out how to use a multi-fx to becoming fluent with the use of the Spectrum. For most users, it's just a matter of settling on a few good presets which can be fine-tuned using the knobs on the pedal. No need to get too deep into editing if you don't want.

    I'm a big fan of multi-fx, but I enjoy the vast possibilities of experimentation they afford you. With fewer needs, I'd go a different route.
    ET42 and mikewalker like this.
  7. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    Good question(s)! I use a Zoom B3n but it doesn’t necessarily excel at anything nor does it have a DI…add that to your list. Getting tired of pedals & boards…it’s become a fool’s parade…and wouldn’t mind a decent multi I can stick in my utility bag. Yes, concessions will be made but nothing my band mates would notice.

    Bassdirty, ET42, DCErik and 3 others like this.
  8. Taustin Powers

    Taustin Powers Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2002
    Berlin, Germany
    The smaller, the better, the HX Stomp format is fine. Budget is flexible.
  9. I still use my Zoom B3 for most of my effects.

    Currently my board has a Drop pedal (singers...), a Spark boost, and a SA C4 ( For my own amusement), then the B3.

    I could easily get away with the B3 only
    Bassdirty and DJ Bebop like this.
  10. Baker69


    Mar 24, 2008
    I agree, but the simplicity and convenience of having just one “do it all” unit is very tempting.

    I keep looking at the Zoom B6 but am still on the fence with it at the moment.
  11. primussucks9126

    primussucks9126 Supporting Member

    Jan 1, 2008
    Bronx, NY
    I've used a B3n with no complaints and many compliments for like 6 years now.

    I just bought an HX stomp since I joined a wedding band and wanted a smaller footprint.

    The sonic upgrade isn't immediately apparent, but the signal flow options are nice.

    So far, I prefer the compression, eq, and low-mid gain on the B3n. I think the stomp will be better for fuzz and synth type sounds once I really explore those options.

    I also greatly prefer the user interface on the B3n. The stomp was easy enough to figure out without a manual, but I can see myself really missing the knobs and footswitches that the B3n has in the future.
    Bassdirty and Hamrlik like this.
  12. gidbass

    gidbass Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2009
    I love my Stomp. I recently added a Luminite Graviton M1 Midi Controller and 10 button wireless footswitch so now I can everything i can ever need (and more) out of my stomp.

    Good Luck!
    BrentSimons likes this.
  13. Freight Train

    Freight Train Earth-based Alternative Scientist, Sex Researcher

    Feb 25, 2012
    Dallas, Texas
    You've likely considered this, but just in case I'll say it briefly. I think it'd be rare to find a "perfect" multi-fx unit if the player has considerable experience with fx. Reason being, you are stuck with this one manufacturer's concept of what each of those effects should be. If you go with a pedal board you have all the choices out there for what each fx is and you can choose each one for exactly what you want. Multi fx usually (not always, not always) wind up being a compromise somewhere - "not exactly the distortion (or filtering, or chorus, whatever), that I was wanting, but it'll do". In some cases though, each fx in the multi unit does totally meet expectations and you're good to go, plus you've undoubtedly saved money compared to individual pedals, patch cables and the board. However, if you have a technical failure during a gig with a multi fx unit, all of your fx are gone. With pedals, patch around the one that smoked and carry on.
  14. Bag of Lazers

    Bag of Lazers

    Aug 30, 2023
    Athens, GA
    Zoom has units that can do this. I have the b3n, which I think is pretty good. They more recently released the B6, which I'm considering upgrading to. I might be tempted to part with my own b3n; feel free to message if interested.
  15. GroovinOnFunk

    GroovinOnFunk Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2008
    San Diego, CA
    Endorses Genzler Amps
    Neural Quad Cortex if you have the money for it. HX Stomp if you don't.
    Ulf Buck likes this.
  16. I have a zoom ms-100bt in my gig bag. It has everything you want except looping and an xlr out. All the effects and amp sims are free now and there are a ton of bass heads and DI boxes. Plus plenty of effects - some even bass-centric. But best of all it’s tiny and can run off 2 AA batteries. I never use effects or go direct but I carry it around as my emergency backup if my amp ever fails.
  17. edwinhurwitz

    edwinhurwitz Supporting Member

    May 13, 2003
    Boulder, CO
    Endorsing Artist: DR Strings, SMS
    I'd say this is true, but I will be forever furious that Lexicon sold out to Harmon. The MPX G2 was a fantastic all in one and all the sounds were excellent. Programming was a bit convoluted, but with the dedicated footswitch, it was great in performance. Had that been further developed instead of being killed by Harmon, I'm sure Lexicon would have taken their ideas to much greater heights.
    mikewalker and bassbrad like this.
  18. +1 to what @Freight Train and @edwinhurwitz have said and add to the fact that those choices by engineers or marketing folk may not always be the best in the long run. I have been a Zoom fan and user with good and mostly satisfying results but there are always misses.
    All in one box solutions have come a long long way but none are perfect IME at any price, even those way outside my meager budget. .
  19. Ulf Buck

    Ulf Buck Supporting Member

    Mar 15, 2015
    South Florida
    This is the answer.
  20. HX-stomp is a great place to start. If you want more options, add a Midi controller, maybe even an exp pedal. Great little unit