Multi Effects vs. Single Pedal Effects

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by Deathwatch, Jul 30, 2009.

  1. Deathwatch


    Jul 29, 2009
    Owensboro, KY
    Help me out here, I'm in between getting a Multi Effect system or just getting a few Single Pedal Effects. My main problem with the Multi is I'm defiantly not going to need all the effects, maybe just 5 or 6 at the most, I'm thinking Distortion, Delay, Noise Gate, Chorus, Compressor, and just for fun maybe a Phaser. But if I buy the Multi I really will only use maybe half of the effects on them, so help me out do I spend the money for a Multi or do I buy all the effects one at a time. Which do you prefer is more the question.
  2. Joe.shaffer


    Nov 25, 2008
    Cabot, AR
    IME you'll get much better sound out of individual boxes and you'll have a whole lot more options.
  3. I would reccomend buying seperate pedals just because you can choose the exact kind of distortion/delay/gate you want your not stuck with a multi effect pedal that has only a few usable effects on it. However the multi effect would be cheaper in the long run.
  4. Bassman203


    Mar 29, 2008
    Multi-effects units: quantity:: stomp boxes : quality
  5. chondro776


    Mar 6, 2008
    (Good) Multi units are much more efficient, flexible, and practical IMO.
    I know that some boutique pedals offer unique sounds, etc and I can understand that.
    However, when designing a system of effects to accommodate a live situation, the flexibility of the multi unit destroys the alternative.

    ...short of a switching system and multiple units (of the same effect) dialed in differently.

    Oh, and 'all of the effects' will breakdown into a handful of types. It isn't like you wouldn't be using them would be like not using all of the effects in all of the ways possible.

    You don't use a single pedal in all the ways possible, do you?
  6. warwick.hoy


    Aug 20, 2006
    Spokane, WA.
    Beta Tester: Source Audio.
    If you are new to FX,...a cheap multi like the Zoom B series can help you figure out what you'd use/need. Then progress to individual stomp boxes.

    As Joe pointed out; sound quality and options are better with individuals. I'd rather an Silicon or Germanium based fuzz than a digital model of a fuzz,....same with distortion and compression.
  7. Swift713

    Swift713 Supporting Member

    Dec 4, 2006
    Florence, Ma
    What multis are good at is being programmable. The ability to switch eq settings along with effects, or to switch from one setting to another on the fly is really nice. On the other hand, there are ways to get different sounds out of individual pedals without bending down to twiddle the knobs. I think that separate pedals will likely cost more but sound more gourmet. It all depends on the kind of relationship you want to have with your effects and how you want to use them. You can also use a multi for the things they are good at like delay, modulation, pitch shift, etc. and use separates for dirt, compression, and filters.
  8. TheMutt

    TheMutt Guest

    Apr 28, 2007
    This is an area of much debte, but from the way I see it, it's a trade-off. Do you want the convenience of many effects, matched with the (relatively) cheap cost of a multi-effect, while not having as high quality of a sound, nor the ability to route the effects the way you want (although some multi's do have this feature); or would you rather the "higher quality" (because sometimes it is, and sometimes it's not depending on the effect) sound of individual stomp boxes where you create your own signal chain (although some multi's can do this as well) but with a (relatively) higher cost (figuring $75-$150 per effect x 5 effects = $375-$750 spent).
  9. gastric

    gastric Professional product tester for hire

    Jun 8, 2009
    Raleigh, NC
    Everything said here is true. Including that you should buy a multi to start. I'd buy a used one locally so you could sell it back for most/all of your money if you don't like it. But really, even if you get a multi like a BOSS GT-6B which I've seen sell for $150-$200 used with a carry case even if you only like 4 of the effects in it you've saved money over buying 4 individual pedals.

    What's really selling me though is the ability to program patches and recall them easily.

    The juiciest part is assigning various parameters to the expression pedal. Cycle through phasers types on it, whatever you want really.

    Mostly what's pushing me towards multi-effects is the programmability. It's just so damn convenient it's not funny. And the newer ones you can program via your computer which is a ton easier than bending over the pedals. I'm currently venturing into an industrial project and really I need lots of weird sounds and the ability to recall and switch between them fairly frequently. It's tedious with pedals.

    Pedals do really sound a lot better though. Assuming you're buying the good sounding ones. ;) There's plenty of crappy sounding pedals out there. Or even expensive one's you simply won't like.
  10. Nyarlathotep

    Nyarlathotep Inactive

    Feb 5, 2006
    West Coast of Canada
    I've got a bunch of single effects for dirt, and some that make up the non distorted channel of my stereo setup.

    Im planing on getting a multi to cover mod/delay/wah. And to introduce general crazyness.
  11. newbold


    Sep 21, 2008
    Nova system with matching shoulder bag.

    awesome. simple. worth the investment.
  12. bwv1013


    Mar 20, 2008
    southern cal
    i'm in the same boat as the OP. i just recently got into effects again (thank you VT pedal) and looking to take the plunge. i like the idea of easing into it one pedal at a time, having the flexibility of changing out pieces, better sound quality, etc. but my practical side tells me to just pony up for a good multi and be done with it once and for all.

    multi users, what are some of your favs?
  13. cassanova


    Sep 4, 2000

    With a good multi you can really manipulate the frequency spectrum. When I owned a Boss, I used it to accent and attenuate frequencies to make the bass' tone sound fuller.

    For me, it wasn't about having to use all the effects, it was for the EQ'ing cability. I love being able to get in there boost/cut the parameters of the spectrum. Then use a few effects to fatten it up and then fine tune those.

    I've never come across a pedal or even most heads that allow you to manipulate the frequencies on them as much as a good multi.

    One of my clean channels was amazing. Great for a ballad or a dramatic piece. When I needed to go to it, it was never more than a single click away. You'd need click 3 or 4 single pedals to attain the same goal.

    IMO, the quality of effects is good in better multi's. Distortion being the exception.

    For multi-effects I like Boss GT-10B, for reason's I already stated and the GT-B as a runner up.
  14. bwv1013


    Mar 20, 2008
    southern cal
    cool man, very helpful. i have my eye on the me-50b, mostly for price range reasons. the more i think about actual gig situations the more i am leaning towards a single multi unit over several pedals. i guess the only thing left is to get out and play some...