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Single or Multi Effects?

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Active Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 3
Topic starter  

Just a question but would I be spending my money better on a single pedal or a multi-effect? The only thing I am thinking is that if I buy a single effect I may not like it, while the multi has different options and FX to play with. I am looking at the Digitech Rp50, right now. Just asking for people opinions on this or if you own the Rp50 tell me what it's like.

Illustrious Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 5044

It all depends on what you want to do with the effects. Some multi units have a delay when switching patches, so for gigging might not work too well, some sound real "cheesey", and others are a bit complicated. Single effects can be added/deleted instantly when you want them or not, but can get pretty expensive if you're planning to add a bunch of effects. I have both. Boss GT-6, which is a nice multi unit, and some single effects. I guess you have to decide what sound you are looking for, and what you want your effects to do. I'd suggest going to you local guitar center and trying a bunch of effects out to see what you like.


"The only way I know that guarantees no mistakes is not to play and that's simply not an option". David Hodge

Noble Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 1196

I use a Boss ME-50 for "some" of it's effects. I also have a couple of EQ pedals and additional overdrive/distortion pedals for different sounds. I also have a tube preamp running to my all solid state amps. A tube pre-amp can add some warmth to a solid state amp. It does not sound very good in front of my Vox amp that has a tube pre-amp built into it. That Digitech would be a great start, then, if you feel you need to add different sounds you can. Behringer has a new line of single units out that are really inexpensive, starting at $20 and Danelectro has some also starting in the mid $20's. Those are "on a budget" pedals. As you progress in your playing you may try more expensive pedals that are great, or, not so great. If you get the RP-50, also try an equilizer pedal before or after it in your sound chain. It will help your tone.

It is a small world for metal fanatics. I welcome you fellow musicians, especially the metalheads!

Noble Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 1128

if you are a beginning guitarist, try the multi efx pedals, didgitech and zoom would
be worth looking into, if your looking for individual effects, you have to experiment,
i like mxr.

even god loves rock-n-roll

Illustrious Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 5840

If you are beginning with effects, I would always recommend starting with a low-end multi-fx unit. They aren't (as already said) any good for gigging, but you're not ready for that, anyway - you need to spend time with effects before inflicting them on a paying public. :lol:
A multi-fx unit will give you a chance to experiment and find out what effects you're going to use, on a regular basis. Most multis have more effects on board than you'd ever use live.
A nice side effect is, that they offer a headphone output, so you can play without disturbing others. WARNING!!! a lot of multi-fx box patches (programmed combinations of effects) seem to have been designed specifically for headphones. What sounds good through them may well sound abysmal through an amp!
Once you have weeded out the unnecessary effects, you can consider getting some individual pedals.

I started with nothing - and I've still got most of it left.
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New Member
Joined: 1 second ago
Posts: 0

I started with a Behringer V-Amp 2 I got from eBay and for me it was a good choice. I got to play with MANY effects and find what I like. I just started using pedals to supplement the V-Amp sounds since some are (as mentioned) cheesy. It has a GREAT reverb, delay, echo, flanger, & phaser effects. But some of the distortions, the chorus, and compression could be improved. It does have a delay when switching amp models but changing effects is instantanious. If you plan your patches out right you could gig with it.

I am enjoying playing with the pedals now and I am finding different sounds...and using them with the V-Amp has opened up many more possiblities for tone combinations. I use an overdrive pedal with the tube amp model and it adds some warmth to the sound...not perfect but close to a tube amp. My chorus pedal when combined with the V-Amp's reverb & delay and heavy distortion gave me a close rendition to Randy Rhoad's Crazy Train tone.

The hardest part is deciding in what order the chain should be. Originally I had the pedals after the V-Amp but they just didn't sound right for some reason. I since put them before the V-Amp and the sound improvement is tenfold!

Estimable Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 192

I've had the rp50 for quite a while and I would recommend it as an inexpensive way for beginners to check out different effects as well as the amp and cab models. It also makes a good headphone amp when you don't want to disturb others. The presets aren't so hot, you will find it more useful to experiment with your own combinations of effects and amp/cab models - but that's where the fun is anyway! This is a digital modeler so sometimes you will hear an odd sound at the end of a note and it does generate a bit of noise that you can control by adjusting its output, input from the guitar and the amp level to suit your taste. You might also want to look at the new little Korg unit, it's in the same price range. :D

Life's journey can be hard at times, but you have to realize that you are the only one with the power make it a worthwhile experience.

Prominent Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 779

There is a no cost solution to test different effects :
Use the Kristal Audio Engine(KAE) SW and its KRISTAL LiveIN function.
Connect your mic/guitar to the PC soundcard and play thru KRISTAL using VST effects in realtime.
There is a lot of "free download" effect "units" to use with KAE.

In this way you can use the PC as effect unit between Guitar/pre-amp and amplifier and test/use many effects.

Tanglewood TW28STE (Shadow P7 EQ) acoustic
Yamaha RGX 320FZ electric guitar/Egnater Tweaker 15 amp.
Yamaha RBX 270 bass/Laney DB 150 amp.

Trusted Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 58

I'm also thinking of selling my little zoom effects.

I have a Korg Pandora (silver box) which is okay for practising. I've never really used it though.

Of course I will eventually want to start gigging, however - I'm not even in a band etc, so until I start getting used to how to use effects etc... I won't look any further into that.

Thanks for all the tips above! I'll have a good read tonight.


Gutiars: Sheraton II | Yamaha APX-7A | Taylor 510CE-LTD
Equipment: Hiwatt 40 Amp | Switch Pedal | Zoom 200 FX Pedal
Piano: Roland 236

Noble Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 2171

Multi-effects are really cool for what they can do.

However, I've found that I really just don't like what they do to the signal chain when you're looking for subtle effects and not radical changes.

As a jazz guy, I don't need grunge level distortion or metallica level compression. I need just little tweaks.

For the last 2 months I've been effects shopping. Going to the store and trying different effects in combination. I've found that the digital effects, be they stand alone or multi-fx simply don't do those little tweaks well at all. For subtle, I am sold on seperate analog effects.

So if you're looking for just a small amount of anything, chorus, compression, distortion . . . you'll probably find that the digital stuff doesn't quite give you the sound you're looking for. In my experience the sound is just too thin.

I've had conversations with a few other folks who are much more experienced in signal chain stuff, and they seem to agree with my experience as well.

Since I don't play anything with heavy effects going, I can't speak to how they sound at that end to an ear well-atuned to that style of music. But in my experience, the more of the effect you're putting into the signal chain, the better it seems to sound. I think these multi-fx units simply work best for folks who want to crank the distortion over the top and jam power chords.

But if you want just a little compression and chorus on your version of Misty I don't think you'll be happy with a multi-fx.

"The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side." -- HST