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Multieffects over Individual Pedals?

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by markdoherty42, Oct 12, 2013.

  1. I've been playing bass for a while and am considering starting to use effects. I won't be playing many gigs as I'm a teenager, but would still like the option to use effects. Would it be better for me to buy a multieffects board or buying the individual effects pedals and patch them together?
  2. mmbongo

    mmbongo Five Time World Champion Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2009
    Individual effects is the only way to go.

    Multi effects = jack of all trades, master of none.
  3. Bassmike62

    Bassmike62 Punch'n Ooomph provider Supporting Member


    It's kind of a trade-off, in my mind. Multis are convenient : one pedal to hook-up, all-in-one kind of solution, less crap to carry and some of them offer top quality effects. But even though I love the Snow White Auto Wah sim on the MS60B, it cannot beat the real one. So for me the solution is having single pedals for my favorite/must have effects and a multi for the stuff I play around/experiment/need once every other moon.
  4. FretNoMore

    FretNoMore * Cooking with GAS *

    Jan 25, 2002
    The frozen north
    Before you know what you want it's not a bad idea to play around with a multieffects unit; maybe a MS-60B, maybe any reasonably modern used unit. Chances are you'll move on to individual effects if you're serious about effects but it could (or will, rather) be expensive to go on a shopping spree before you know what you actually need.
  5. This is a topic that gets hit pretty regularly, I think there is a place for both.

    There is a mystique and character to analog circuits, even mass produced analog effects can have minor variations from one unit to another, plus in many cases they do offer more individual control.

    Multi effects offer a lot of sounds and functionality in a compact and affordable package, you can save your sounds and have dozens to hundreds of scenes on tap. Digital effects will never have the character of an analog circuit but they are getting better all the time and the further plus is you may be able to access effects that are very expensive and rare to find. On my B3 for example they have a Jet Phase and a MuTron BiPhase models that are very good not to mention the other effects. Further the overdrive/fuzz and distortions sounds are quite good, good enough that my analog fuzz boxes are off my gig board.
  6. a_ribbon


    Apr 10, 2008
    the people that spend $200 a pedal will tell you multieffects will never be as good as individual effects. there's a reason. they're wanting to think that their $200 per pedal was justified. the thing is though... the multieffects units have sounds that are just as good. they're just different. two different types of chorus effects from different manufacturers are not the same. why would an effect in a multieffect be exactly the same?

    i say play around with both at the store and see which sounds you actually like and then go from there.

    don't get caught up in thinking that analog pedals are magically automatically better. it's the same as the people on here who buy boutique pedals instead of boss pedals. they ignore the point of diminishing returns on their investment and think that $250 darkglass pedal is infinitely better than a boss od or a big muff, but they're not. they're just different.

    find what sounds the best to you and buy that and don't listen to what anyone else has to say about it. it's your tone and your money. don't let other people dictate either of those things to you.
    ZtuxBP14 likes this.
  7. FretNoMore

    FretNoMore * Cooking with GAS *

    Jan 25, 2002
    The frozen north
    Well, you're entitled to your opinion, but multieffects generally speaking are simply not as good as the best individual pedals - depending on how you define what's "good", of course. Different, yes, and if you like the sound, who cares if it's a pedal or multieffect? Trust your ears, I agree with you on that. For the record I own and use both multieffects and individual effects, and they both have their pros and cons, but to say multieffects are just as good doesn't agree with my experience.

    In terms of outright sound quality my boutique pedals are indeed better than the multieffect versions. Having said that, the latest multieffects have come a long way, they are seriously good and in terms or value for money they beat individual pedals hands down. For live use many hold their own nicely and may well be "good enough" depending on what style of music you play. If you're in a loud band with walls of distorted guitars no-one will hear a difference between your multieffect and individual pedals.

    As to diminishing returns, what's good value or what's affordable is highly individual. Personally I like to have the best toys/tools I can afford, it's part of what makes it fun to play music.
  8. a_ribbon


    Apr 10, 2008
    that's like saying that analog pedals are automatically better than digital pedals. and there's even people that use a digital chorus that they spent $150 on that they say is automatically better than the effect in a multieffects. which simply isn't true. they're just different.

    people on this site like to spend the money on sadowsky's and $400 b7ks and that's fine. that doesn't automatically mean that they're better. there's plenty of really nice useable great sounding equipment that you don't have to spend so much money on. and i feel it's a disservice to tell someone that those things are "better" simply because you want the most expensive toys you can afford.
  9. a_ribbon


    Apr 10, 2008
    i'd also like to highlight this part of things. assuming this person is a teenager and still in highschool they can't possibly be working full time at a decent job yet so they're better off buying a cheap multieffect (so they can have many to play with) instead of buying one pedal that they could spend $200 on that gives them one sound that they may get sick of shortly after getting it.

    this persons situation is a lot different than someone who has a career and plenty of expendable income to throw around.
  10. FretNoMore

    FretNoMore * Cooking with GAS *

    Jan 25, 2002
    The frozen north
    It's a kind of meaningless discussion unless you first define what you include in "better", it's quite subjective, and it's not even only about sound quality.

    I think it's borderline insulting to say it's only about bragging rights - if a boutique pedal sounds good to me then how is that different to when another pedal or multieffect sounds good to you? I have no problem using a lower cost product when it fulfills my needs and wants. I'm sure there are those who only buy based on high price, but believe me I've owned, used and listened to cheap as well as expensive and the old saying you get what you pay for is often true. Buy cheap, buy twice is often also true, though you may of course recoup some by selling and trading. What's "good enough" is another matter, as I said it can depend on your music genre and other factors.

    I don't think we completely disagree though, of course there are useable effects both in multieffects and individual pedals. If you back up a bit in the discussion you'll see I actually recommended buying a multieffect. ;)
  11. mmbongo

    mmbongo Five Time World Champion Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2009
    If that were true, then people would be buying multi effects pedals instead of individual pedals. But, they don't. Because multi effects are crap compared to individual pedals.
  12. Hey guys, thanks for all the feedback, it's greatly appreciated. Forgot to mention I have a budget of £200. Giver or take £25. If this affects your opinions please post again telling me so.
    Thanks again!
  13. Swift713


    Dec 4, 2006
    Florence, Ma
    Lots of people buy multis. They have a number of advantages over singles beside bang for the buck. The newer models sound great are extremely flexible. I have a few singles and a multi that I use together.
  14. AaronVonRock


    Feb 22, 2013
    I think multis are a good tool to play with at home by yourself to find out what kind of sounds you like. In my experience, playing with all of those different settings can lead to some new ideas for songs. However, I prefer individual pedals in band and performance situations.
  15. sevenorchids

    sevenorchids Supporting Member

    The key here is this is a teenager asking for advice with a low budget who has never used effects before.

    Multis, especially something like a MS-60B, would be the best option for him, AT THIS POINT IN HIS PLAYING LIFE. Runs about a hundred dollars, contains enough effects to give you an idea of what effects you will like and which you could live without. The modeling is decent, certainly better than most that existed a few years ago. If/When you tire of it, you can sell it and not lose a heck of a lot of money. Or keep it, since it really only cost you a little over 25 cents a day in the first year...

    Keep in mind that if you start down the individual path you'd better have a decent income or nothing else to spend your money on. There's always something newer/better/more intriguing out there.

    Also, your audience cares little about what name is on your pedals.
  16. gregmon79

    gregmon79 I did it for the muff... Supporting Member

    Dec 20, 2012
    Chicago IL
    IMO, individual effects are the way to go. Otoh though, if you're just starting out, maybe do yourself a favor and get a zoom B3 or a 60b. They have all kinds of effects in them and they are extremely usable. Great stomps for the money. That way you can sort of get really familiar with all effects in general and pick and choose what individual ones you want later down the road. Otherwise, be prepared to spend lots O money to get where you want to be effects wise. That's how it was for me anyway. You may not be the same as me. All I know is, once I started with a few pedals here and there, I've probably gone through, flipped, kept and or traded about 50 pedals in the last 6 months of so. Now that may not be much for some, but for this guy, it is. But I'm extremely happy I did. I learned A LOT and got some awesome effects and a kick a** board in the process and have enough left over for a second great board.
  17. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    Only if you play crap multieffects. About 0% of the people who completely slag multieffects have ever put in the money for good multieffects.
  18. tylerwylie


    Jan 5, 2008
    Dunwoody, GA
    Considering how many people are going to Fractal Audio setups, this statement ++
  19. UncleFluffy


    Mar 8, 2009
    Head Tinkerer, The Flufflab
    If you've never drank wine before, there's no point starting out on a $200 bottle. Get a bunch of cheaper stuff of various styles and find out what you like and don't like in wine first. Then go taste some fancier stuff and spend the big money when you have it. And when a friend comes over who loves a particular type of wine but you're all out, you can give them one of the cheap bottles instead and odds are they won't notice.

    If you have little experience with effects, get a multi to play around with and figure out what suits you. Then you'll be better equipped to decide (with your ears) what you want to buy when you afford it. And you'll still have your multi around as a backup when something breaks. You might notice, but odds are the audience won't.
  20. Crystalman85


    Nov 30, 2008
    Chicago, Il.
    Some multi-effects processors can work for live performances, while others usually don't because they color up your sound. but really, that depends on how you set up the patches on the multi-effects processor you use. the zoom b3 is one of the good multi-effects processors to use for live performances. they don't color up your sound that much and they deliver awesome sounds. I've used it for live performances many times before and I've had no trouble with it what so ever. other than that, I use it for home recordings. multi-effects processors are oftenly good for home recordings, but some can be good for live performances. I would suggest purchasing a zoom b3. if you're on a tight budget, go for the zoom ms-60b.

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