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Multi-effects Boards or Pedals?

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(@the-dali)
Noble Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 1409
Topic starter  

Hi everyone. I bought a second-hand DigiTech RP-12 about 6 months ago and its been fun. It replicates like 120 different amps and amp settings. You can get all sorts of crazy sounds out of it. I was browsing around this forum and noticed that there seems to be a LOT of people who prefer pedals to a full effects board. That got me thinking (always dangerous) about which is the best route? Many "good quality" pedals seems to be $75 - 200 EACH while a decent effects board can be had for $299 - 399 (DigiTech GNX3 or 4). Why the difference?

Why would guitarists use 5 or 6 pedals as opposed to one board that has all the sounds built in?

I'd love to learn more about this. Thanks.

-- One totally uninformed Dali

-=- Steve

"If the moon were made of ribs, would you eat it?"


   
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(@mcdouggy)
Trusted Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 57
 

Many reasons. One is that you have exact control on what your signal goes through - some multi effects suck tone even when they're not on. Another reason is long term cost - if a multi effects pedal breaks, you generally have to get a new one, if one effects pedal goes in a chain of 10, you can simply replace that. It's also what everyone else does, guitarists don't like change that much. Besides, if it ain't broke, don't fix it! :D

Doug

Visit my band's website!


   
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(@jimmybinder)
Trusted Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 32
 

It's always been my opinion that less is sometimes more, in that I'd rather have one little piece of equipment that performs one task really well, instead of one large piece of equipment that tries to do too much. Bottom line though is whatever sounds good to you is all that matters.


   
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(@greybeard)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 5840
 

OK, this is my opinion.
Multi-fx devices are a good starting point. They give you a whole load of different effects in one box. You get a lot of presets, to help you on your way. It won't be long before you discover that you are only using 3 or 4 effects (unless you're in a cover band that sweeps the entire spectrum of music between 1960 and the present day). The rest lie unused.
This is the point to consider a move to dedicated pedals. You can use just those few that you settled on, when you were using the multi-fx device - you don't need any more.
First, the negative side of dedicated pedals - they all need separate power, but that can easily be solved, so, it's no KO criterium.
On the positive side, you'll almost certainly get better quality effects. You can't get an analogue multi-fx unit, only digital (as far as I know).
You can decide on the effect sequence, for yourself - you can even put some into the effects loop (after the pre-amp stage of your amp), which is something a multi-fx won't allow you to do (unless you buy two of them).
The pedals are all discrete units, they don't share any components, like a multi does - the chances are that the multi only has one processor and working memory stack, so that sounds are modified in strict sequence, unlike pedals which take each piece of input and process it immediately.
A defective pedal (or one you don't like any more) can be removed and replaced, a multi is all there or it isn't. You can add new pedals any time you like, into any position in the chain that you like - the multi, on the other hand, pre-determines the sequence of events and adding a pedal can only be done before or after it, not somewhere in the middle, if you see what I mean.

I started with nothing - and I've still got most of it left.
Did you know that the word "gullible" is not in any dictionary?
Greybeard's Pages
My Articles & Reviews on GN


   
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(@afterblast)
Estimable Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 124
 

as greybeard said multi effect pedals are a great starting point. About a month after I got my first guitar I got a digitech RP80 pedal. At the time I had no clue what half the effects on it were. after messing around with all the different sounds on it I switched over to single effect pedals. since I had the basic Idea of what they sounded like I had a much better clue as to what I wanted. currently I use just a gain pedal and my amps reverb. :)

wherever you go, there you are.


   
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(@dogbite)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 6348
 

I guess I went the same route.
started out amassing stomp boxes.
then narrowed to what i liked.
but got tired of changing batteries.

so I got a multi effects unit.
but it felt too generic; sounded like everyone else, original signal and tone of my guitar got lost, but I further learned what I really needed.
so I went to stomp boxes, tossing most of everything I had.
so I began my ultimate tone quest.
now I have just a few pedals. two had been modified by Analogman to my taste.
I have my sound finally.
a very simple rig.
:D

http://www.soundclick.com/bands/pagemusic.cfm?bandID=644552
http://www.soundclick.com/couleerockinvaders


   
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(@prndl)
Reputable Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 199
 

An RP-12 is a very nice pedal with a lot of great sounds.

Most effect units and pedals are designed to make a certain sound, and they mask the sound of the guitar and player.
For instance, with modeling effects you can sound almost exactly "like" Van Halen or Hendrix.
There are two difficulties: many people don't want to be or hear a copy, and the sound is close but not exact.

Some guitarists are trying to find a special tone ... something that sounds incredible, and is unique to them.
For them, separate pedals are the way to go.

Personally, I'd keep the RP-12.
Many pro players use them onstage and keep their valuable pedals and amps safe at home.
Some don't even bring an amp ... they plug the RP-12 right into the mixing board - no more lugging heavy equipment!

1 watt of pure tube tone - the Living Room Amp!
http://www.naturdoctor.com/Chapters/Amps/LivingRoomAmp.html
Paper-in-oil caps rule!


   
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(@jimmy_kwtx)
Estimable Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 115
 

I ahve always played with Stomp Boxes but I am finally looking into getting a Multi FX

My reasoning is--

Live paying -- I want it simple and stomp boxes give this to me. I prefer only a few anyway.

Multi FX-- I am going to begin home recording and I would prefer a preset and a butt load of choices to play around with at the touch of a button. not 15-16 different dials on different pedals.The final sound will be determined after mix down anyway so alot of issues can be tweaked later.


   
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(@pvtele)
Reputable Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 477
 

I used to be very old-school - a valve amp (Vox - usually an AC30) a few analog stomp boxes, a Strat, and that's it.

When I began playing in a church where the only option to get reasonable balance was to go DI into the PA (since any reasonable amp turned up enough to get a decent tone would overwhelm the mix, mic'd or not) I started experimenting with modelling processors. I wanted to get a good basic tone by direct injection - and I was amazed at a) the range between good and bad examples, and b) just how good good could be. The cabinet simulations really did make it sound as though I was using a "proper" amp.

Now, I've grown so fond of my Zoom GFX-1 that I use it on ordinary pub gigs and so on, through a Fender solid-state amp. Light, reliable, and very versatile. I still use the GFX-1 mainly for the amp models - I'm not a major FX user - but the chorus and flanger I do use occasionally, and they're fine. Quite subtle and tweakable. The delay is excellent (there's a tape echo simulation too) and I do use that often.

One thing - do not judge a multi-fx processor on the factory presets. They're usually unusuably over-exaggerated. Far too much gain, fx dialled up till they set your teeth on edge. No wonder people say they sound artificial :roll: But a few minutes editing a patch with care, and it's a different world. I happen to like the Zoom GFX series (professional metal-cased units) best - to my ears they're the least sterile, "digital" sounding of all the makes I've tried. But some people prefer Behringer or Line-6 - and they're very good too.


   
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(@Anonymous)
New Member
Joined: 1 second ago
Posts: 0
 

Or you could be like me and use BOTH! Why would I want to use both? Well, sometimes I just can't dial in the tone I am looking for with the pedals I have so I use the V-Amp. Other times the pedals give me the perfect sound. Still other times I may want to start with a clean tone then switch to distortion. Since many multiFX boards have a slight delay when switching amp models pedals work best.

When switching from one song to another where you might use one distortion sound (say a modern gain sound) and then switch songs without a pause to one that uses more of a fuzz sound the multiFX would work (so would pedals but then you would need more than one distortion pedal).

Being lucky enough to have both options I can see the benefits of both and the disadvantages of both. Plus like greybeard said, since I like playing cover tunes from MANY artists the more options I have the better.

That's my 2 cents!


   
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(@the-dali)
Noble Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 1409
Topic starter  

Thanks for the replies... interesting how we all have very different thoughts... the RP-12 is a great little unit and I have a lot of fun with it... I like it so much that I was just wondering why people wouldn't just go with a board instead of 5 -9 individual boxes. I sort of equated the board with beginners/intermediate players and the boxes with more proficient players since you have more control over the individual effects.

Aside from the RP series from Digitech, do you all have some suggestions for good multi-effects boards? My RP is great, but it is used and the "bank up" doesn't work properly. No big deal, but I'm always looking for new equipment.

Thanks - keep the ideas coming!

By the way - what's the deal with the pedals costing so much more than a full board - or even a stomp box? I think the Jimi pedal from Digitech is like $150 just for that pedal...

-=- Steve

"If the moon were made of ribs, would you eat it?"


   
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(@the-dali)
Noble Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 1409
Topic starter  

One more thing... does anyone own the DigiTech GNX3 or 4 workstations? They seem cool... I read Guitar One magazine and you can download patches from Digitech for the specific songs in the magazine...

-=- Steve

"If the moon were made of ribs, would you eat it?"


   
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(@dagwood)
Noble Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 1024
 

Hey Dali,
If I can make a plug for BOSS products.. only because I own a GT-8 and I thoroughly enjoy it.

This guy, KewlPack as a site:
http://www.thestompbox.net

and he does a shoot out that might be of interest.
http://www.thestompbox.net/ViewArticle.aspx?ArticleID=21

He also has links of web sites dedicated to share different patches for download and for the different makers, Digitech/Boss etc.

Good luck in your search. :)

Research is what I'm doing when I don't know what I'm doing. - Wernher Von Braun (1912-1977)


   
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(@dogbite)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 6348
 

Thanks for the replies... interesting how we all have very different thoughts... the RP-12 is a great little unit and I have a lot of fun with it... I like it so much that I was just wondering why people wouldn't just go with a board instead of 5 -9 individual boxes. I sort of equated the board with beginners/intermediate players and the boxes with more proficient players since you have more control over the individual effects.

Aside from the RP series from Digitech, do you all have some suggestions for good multi-effects boards? My RP is great, but it is used and the "bank up" doesn't work properly. No big deal, but I'm always looking for new equipment.

Thanks - keep the ideas coming!

By the way - what's the deal with the pedals costing so much more than a full board - or even a stomp box? I think the Jimi pedal from Digitech is like $150 just for that pedal...

when pedals start to get spendy it is because they:
dont have a cheap plastic box to hold it all together..
the chips inside are special (beyond my realm of understanding)..
alot of R and D went into the final product...(well, major drug companies say the same thing)..
they, sometimes are not mass produced by major companies..
they actually work well and not try to copy a sound so poorly (like Danelctro's Sitar pedal)..
they dont tone suck, are usually very quiet (no hiss or pop when turning on or off).
my 2 cents.

http://www.soundclick.com/bands/pagemusic.cfm?bandID=644552
http://www.soundclick.com/couleerockinvaders


   
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(@wes-inman)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 5582
 

I owned a RP-12 and used it for years until I loaned it to a kid for a gig and he fried it.

One thing I liked about the RP-12 is that I could turn off all the effects on a preset and just use the clean tone. Then you could turn on the distortion, chorus, reverb delay... Sort of like having individual pedals. This was how this pedal worked well for me.

I did not like changing from one preset to another because this pedal has a noticeable delay.

Like PVTele, I really like my Zoom GFX-1. I don't use too much effects either, just a little chorus, phase, and reverb. I do really like the modelers. I use the FND CLN (Fender clean) for my clean sound. I use the Overdrive model to a good blues overdrive. I use the Marshall model for distortion. Sound awesome.

I have many individual pedals as well. Although I like that you can easily tweak them how you like, I hate the little tap dance you have to perform to turn one off and another one on quickly, especially when trying to sing. Pulls you off the mic.

The GFX-1 has four footswitches. This is pretty much all I need anyway. So it is perfect for live gigs, very simple, and great sound.

If you know something better than Rock and Roll, I'd like to hear it - Jerry Lee Lewis


   
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