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Being a guitarist, it’s always a joy to have plenty of effects pedals to play with. What isn’t so fun is having to lug every piece of gear around between rehearsals and gigs.
Technological advancements have allowed for multi effects pedals to be quite useful in these situations. These pedals offer professional-grade sounds and certainly aren’t the cheap pedals you might be familiar with from the past.
The following are some of the best multi effects guitar pedals currently on the market.
Line 6 POD Go – Best Overall
This multi effects guitar pedal aims to offer just about everything a guitarist could ever need. It comes in a sleek and very modern housing, rugged enough for any working guitarist.
For starters, the POD Go has a massive amount of effects, ranging around 275 different sounds. You’ll be able to take advantage of both the Helix and Legacy libraries here, with effects such as:
The pedal does come with its own rocking pedal so you’ll be able to manipulate the wah with no problems. You’ll also be able to use this as an expression pedal to use in conjunction with other effects.
This pedal allows you to have 10 effects going simultaneously. The caveat here is that 4 of them can be foot-switchable, while the others remain constantly on.
If you’re wondering about presets, the POD Go offers 256 programmable presets. These are split into 2 groups of 32 banks, each of which has 4 presets.
You’ll also be able to utilize the POD Go as a looper, which has the ability to shuffle as needed. In mono, you’ll get 40 seconds of loop time, with 20 seconds in stereo.
On top of that, the POD Go comes equipped with modeling algorithms for over 80 amps and nearly 40 cabinets. You can also choose between 16 different microphone types for the cab simulation.
Every musical situation is covered here, including the recording studio. The pedal has a built-in USB interface that delivers 24-bit audio.
What’s So Great About The Line 6 POD Go?
The POD Go is an incredibly amazing purchase at a relatively affordable price. This pedal essentially costs the same as an entry-level tube amplifier.
Of course, the only difference here is that there’s a lot less to carry around and it’s loaded with features. You’ll be able to ditch your amplifier altogether and plug directly into a PA during performances.
In fact, you’ll probably spend a good amount of time trying out all of the different amps available. All of your hard, experimental work can easily be saved for use later.
Any working guitarist will tell you that setup time is often a chore and needs to be extremely streamlined. The POD Go helps to cut out any unnecessary steps by offering everything you could need.
There’s no shortage of tonal possibilities here, either. The POD Go has software support that you can use to edit effects until your heart is content.
Perhaps the best thing about the POD Go is its ease of use, despite maybe looking complicated at first glance. The pedal has easy-to-read LCD screens that guide you through the process, with everything easy to find.
Pretty much any kind of connection you could ever need is also supported here. You’ll be able to take advantage of features such as:
- Stereo/Mono output
- Connection for an additional expression pedal
- Stereo FX loop
- USB connection for MIDI/recording purposes
- Amp output for monitoring purposes
- Headphone output for quiet practice sessions
Sure, there are higher-powered pedals to be found on the market, and there are also more inexpensive offerings available. However, considering the price and everything that’s offered, the POD Go is one of the best to be found.
Neural DSP Quad Cortex – Best Premium
Are you a professional guitarist that needs a multi effects pedal with extreme versatility and tweakability in a durable frame? The Neural DSP Quad Cortex is the absolute best that money can buy.
This multi effects guitar pedal is quite innovative and is sure to handle the rigors of the road. It offers flexibility and seemingly limitless possibilities when it comes to shaping your guitar tone.
The Quad Cortex is a sleek housing offering 8 footswitches, 2 tempo/bank/tuner switches, and 2 dials. What’s interesting here is that each switch turns and adjusts like a knob on a pedal or amplifier.
This type of feature is designed to emulate the feel of adjusting either a pedal or an amplifier. After all, the Quad Cortex is designed to handle the entirety of the guitarist’s rig (minus the actual guitar).
As far as effects go, the Quad Cortex has over 70 offerings, split up into:
- 12 different reverb types
- 9 modulation effects
- 5 delay types
- 11 filter effects
- 7 pitch-shifting effects
The Quad Cortex has algorithms for over 50 different amplifier types. When combined with its offering of 1000 different cabinets, the sky really does become the limit.
On top of that, the Quad Cortex boasts the ability to loop nearly 5 minutes of audio. This is quite staggering for a device that holds so many different capabilities.
You’re going to be spending a lot of time with this pedal, and Neural DSP understands that. For that reason, the Quad Cortex has 2560 programmable presets, split into 10 different setlists.
And really, this is only scratching the surface of what the Quad Cortex is fully capable of. You can be certain that your money is well-spent here if you’re looking for an all-encompassing permanent rig solution.
What’s So Great About The Neural DSP Quad Cortex?
The Quad Cortex is a far cry difference from the multi effects units of the early 2000s. This pedal is truly built for the professional touring guitarist, and its bulletproof design proves that.
Sure, it might cost about as much as a professional-grade guitar. However, you likely won’t ever have to purchase another amp or guitar pedal again after buying this.
Even if you did come across something unique, the Quad Cortex has an interesting snapshot feature. This essentially allows you to create a simulation of the amp or effect to use within the Quad Cortex.
Furthermore, the Quad Cortex has a built-in WIFI connection, which is incredibly handy. You’ll be able to directly download updates as well as unique patches created by other users.
Of course, if you need a computer connection, the Quad Cortex offers USB connectivity. Using this in the studio is a breeze, offering different audio playback options to suit your needs.
On top of having a massive amount of connection points, the Quad Cortex supports 2 inputs. Somehow, this device is more than powerful enough to handle 2 guitars being played simultaneously.
Plus, you can operate the Quad Cortex in a number of different modes, including:
- Standard pedalboard mode
- Preset mode
- Scene mode (selects groups of effects at one time)
The Quad Cortex is undeniably a complex piece of equipment, but its touchscreen makes everything simple to navigate. You won’t have to learn proper button sequences to be able to edit certain parameters here!
Overall, the Quad Cortex is truly a top-of-the-line piece of gear that any guitarist could put to great use. No matter what your gear preferences are, the Quad Cortex will be able to deliver that exact digital print.
Zoom G1X FOUR – Best Budget
Let’s face it, not everyone can afford the greatest multi effects pedal that money can buy. Not every guitarist has professional goals when it comes to the actual playing of the instrument.
For starters, the G1X FOUR has 2 footswitches and comes with a rocking pedal. The device comes with the ability to have up to 8 effects running simultaneously.
These effects can be engaged by assigning them to a bay and pressing the button corresponding to the effect. This will have to be done with the finger, but the G1X FOUR does have an alternative.
Its footswitches allow you to scroll through the internal bank and find your next effect without interrupting the current setting. Once you’re ready to use the next effect, simply press both switches at the same time.
While it might be inexpensive, the G1X FOUR does offer over 70 different guitar effects. You’ll also be able to take advantage of different amplifier and cabinet sounds to further shape your tone.
The G1X FOUR makes it relatively easy to edit your effects, which can be placed in any order. Plus, you can save 50 different presets for recall at any time.
If that wasn’t enough, the G1X FOUR comes included with a 30-second looper and a built-in drum machine. You’ll have nearly 70 different drum beats to take advantage of.
Furthermore, the G1X FOUR is especially ideal for the bedroom guitarist who needs quiet practice hours. The device has a headphone output and supports an auxiliary input so you can play along to recorded songs.
What’s So Great About The Zoom G1X FOUR?
Is the G1X FOUR the most ideal thing to recommend for a guitarist that plays on the stage? The answer to that would be a definite no.
However, the G1X FOUR isn’t really designed with the professional guitarist in mind. Rather, the hobbyist and beginner guitarist is best-served here.
With that being said, the G1X FOUR is excellent at providing a taste of the multi effects modeler experience. You can even use Zoom’s software to modify effects and download different patches for use.
In fact, the G1X FOUR proves to be a worthy solution in the demo recording situation. You’ll be able to run the software on your computer, taking advantage of all of its features while recording.
For the most part, however, the G1X FOUR seems to be designed to be a practice tool. Having nearly 70 drum beats and minimal looping capabilities can do a lot for the budding guitarist.
The auxiliary input and headphone output are perfect for just about any practice agenda. Plus, you’ll be able to use it anywhere, as it can be powered by USB or 4x AA batteries.
Overall, the G1X FOUR is perfect for somebody who’s never really dabbled in the world of guitar effects. This will provide access to just about every effect under the sun, all while remaining extremely economical.
Yet, the G1X FOUR goes above and beyond offering the mere basics. The ability to experiment with signal chain order and effect modifications is a definite bonus.
You could almost think of the G1X FOUR as the training-wheels version of the professional modeler systems. Using this is a great introduction to the world of algorithmic effects.
Kemper Profiler Stage
If you’ve kept your ear to the ground, you’re probably aware of the impact that Kemper has had on guitarists. Its amp modeler has been one of the sole reasons that guitarists have been selling off their amplifiers.
These modelers have been widely acclaimed, but they still take up the space of a small amp head. The Kemper Profiler Stage (see price on Sweetwater, Guitar Center) brings the same versatility to a pedalboard design.
As far as versatility and storage go, the Profiler Stage is one of the best money can buy. You can get as far down to the minutest nitty gritty of every aspect of your tone as you wish.
There is no shortage of possibilities here, as the Profiler Stage offers just shy of 1000 programmable presets. If you wanted to, you could program a preset for each song, with the ability of 5 usable effects each.
Of course, where the Profiler Stage truly shines is in its amp and cabinet modeling. Just about every amplifier and cabinet combination under the sun can be achieved here.
There are always new things to discover and new tones to utilize, which is one of the best features. Kemper has a very active community of guitarists who share patches of their favorite tone profiles.
You’ll be able to download and use these patches for yourself (or share some of your own if you’d like). Editing these patches in the Kemper software is pretty straightforward and easy enough for just about anyone.
It might cost a pretty penny, but the Profiler Stage has everything a guitarist could ever need for any situation. Try one out for yourself and you’ll see why so many guitarists are adopting this as their main rig.
Line 6 Helix
Many guitarists consider the Line 6 Helix (see price on Sweetwater, Guitar Center) the best available. It is essentially the flagship of the entire Line 6 lineup, providing the best of the company’s offerings.
As such, this pedal offers quite a bit of effects, with over 200 offered and 32 usable simultaneously. The pedal offers the ability to assign effects to 8 different switches, each with its own LCD label for identification.
This unit also has a built-in expression pedal, with the option to connect up to 2 more expression pedals. You’ll also be able to utilize connections with 2 different FX loops for further expansion.
The Helix also has a pair of bank switches for navigating the library during play. This will come in handy when you’re wanting to access the 1024 different programmable presets available on the pedal.
You’ll also have the ability to loop up to 60 seconds of audio in mono (30 seconds in stereo). Along with that, the Helix offers over 100 different amplifiers and cabinets.
The Helix also offers a number of different microphone simulations to color the character of the amp modeling.
This might seem like a complicated setup, but the Helix’s internal software is quite easy to navigate. The large LCD screen makes it simple to see exactly what settings you are adjusting.
For the most part, the Helix is built for the working professional, but it has its applications in practice, too. A headphone output and an auxiliary input provide use during practice sessions at any hour of the day or night.
Setting this pedal up is quite simple and you’ll be opting to use this over your regular amplifier. Plus, it provides a seamless connection to a computer with its USB interface for recording purposes.
Boss is one of the largest companies in the guitar pedal market. It only makes sense for them to produce a multi effects guitar pedal.
Essentially, the GT-1000 uses the same modeling technology that is featured in the Katana amp series. If you aren’t aware, these amplifiers have been highly acclaimed by guitarists of all types.
As such, you’ll find access to all of the classic Boss effects throughout the years. When combined with the amplifier models, you’ll have over 100 different sound prints you can use in your own tone.
Of course, a multi effects guitar pedal is only usable if you have presets that can be programmed and accessed. This offers up to 500 presets, half of which can be completely customized from scratch.
You’ll be able to assign effects to 5 different channels, each with its own footswitch. A pair of switches are assigned for bank scrolling, with some control switches also provided.
Also included is a rocking footswitch for volume, wah, and other effects that can utilize an expression pedal. 2 additional expression pedals can be hooked up, as well as 2 different FX loops.
Overall, the GT-1000 is a viable purchase for somebody that enjoys the Katana modeling technology. This will give you all of that same functionality without the need for an amplifier.
Yes, you can even connect this to a computer for recording purposes. Or, if you wanted, you could use it for silent guitar practice, no matter where you might be.
Plus, you can even use this with a bass guitar if you have the need or desire.
Line 6 HX Stomp XL
While it might appear simplistic on the outside, the HX Stomp XL provides the same great Line 6 versatility. With this, you’ll have 128 different presets (with 4 channels each) that can be used with nearly 230 effects.
The pair of directional footswitches allow you to scroll through the bank while playing. You’ll have an easy time reading your settings thanks to the HX Stomp XL’s sleek LCD screen.
A footswitch has also been added for changing the mode of the pedal, allowing you to edit parameters. Tuning the guitar is also a simple process as the HX Stomp XL has a dedicated switch for a tuner.
Sure, the HX Stomp XL is a bit more basic than some of the other offerings on this list. However, it does offer nearly all of the essentials that the higher-priced pedals provide.
This includes the ability to choose between 80 different amplifier types. You’ll eventually go down the rabbit hole of discovering combinations with its 40 speaker cabinet simulations.
If you prefer using software to edit your effects, the HX Stomp XL is compatible. It comes included with Line 6’s HX Editor software.
You’ll be able to use this in the studio thanks to its USB connectivity. However, if you’re a performer, you’ll likely be making good use of its 60-second mono looping capabilities.
Eventide H9 Max
If you’re looking to add some spunk, the Eventide H9 Max (see price on Sweetwater, Amazon) is a perfect addition. This multi effects pedal is unlike any other on this list, and focuses primarily on effects only, without amp simulation.
As such, the H9 Max makes use of algorithms modeled after every Eventide pedal ever made. You’ll have just over 50 effects that can be combined and modified to create sounds you’ve never heard before.
The H9 Max can be used on its own, but it becomes a visual experience when integrated with its app. This will give you a sense of what is available in each effects category and how your digital path looks.
Once you’ve found a unique sound, you can quickly program it to one of the 99 available presets. You’ll then be able to easily recall this by pressing the preset button and scrolling through the bank.
If that’s not enough, you’ll also be able to download well over 500 different patches from the internet. In other words, you won’t have any shortage of effects and unique combinations to try out.
The H9 Max supports MIDI connections, stereo input/output, and an expression pedal connection. It also has a built-in tuner as well as a tap-tempo feature for any time-based effects.
Plus, the H9 Max retains a smaller size compared to most multi effects pedals. You’ll have no problems finding space for this pedal on your pedalboard.
TC Electronic Plethora X5
Are you looking for a straightforward multi effects pedal that focuses on effects rather than amp simulation? If so, the TC Electronic Plethora X5 (see price on Sweetwater, Amazon) is worth checking out.
This pedal offers the ability to program 5 different channels to a specific effect of your choosing. Each channel has up to 75 different options to choose from, all of which are TonePrints of famous pedals.
Obviously, you’ll have full reign over famous TC Electronic effects such as the Flashback delay and Hall Of Fame reverb. Dig around, and you’ll find TonePrints of pedals such as the Electro-Harmonix Memory Man delay.
What’s great is that programming each bay is a snap, flipping a switch to enter the edit mode. And because no guitarist likes to be limited, the Plethora X5 allows you to save 127 different custom layouts.
Should you find that certain tones need tweaking, you can always connect the pedal to a computer. The pedal has Bluetooth capabilities, allowing you to tweak parameters in the TonePrint app.
What this means is that you could create 127 pedalboards and recall them at any time. While that might be overkill, it’s a great option to have, especially if you have songs that need unique combinations.
You’ll also be able to tune your guitar with the Plethora X5 and utilize live loops during performances. This pedal offers 40 seconds of looping time.
Overall, this is a powerful multi effects pedal for a guitarist who wants a simple, no-frills approach. It has some excellent sounds and is easy enough to use for guitarists of any skill level or age.
What To Look For When Buying A Multi Effects Pedal For Guitar
If you’ve never purchased guitar pedals before, multi effects units can quickly induce anxiety. It seems as if, today, there are more options available to the guitarist than ever before.
While this is great, it isn’t especially awesome if you’re not exactly sure what you should be looking for. Fortunately, if you keep the following information in mind, you’ll have an easier time navigating the market.
Be patient in your research and you’ll be utilizing multiple effects from one pedal in no time!
In the past, it was a priority to consider the number of effects being offered by a multi effects pedal. Nowadays, it seems as if nearly every multi effects pedal is stocked with at least the basic effect types.
Still, you’ll want to go through the list to see if the effects are generic or specialized. Some pedals offer algorithmic replications of some of the most well-known pedals of all time.
Along with that, you’ll want to actually try out the pedal to hear how it sounds. It would be a shame if you didn’t exactly like the way certain effects sound.
Again, fortunately, these types of units have improved greatly over the last 2 decades. In the past, it wasn’t uncommon for a multi effects pedal to sound pretty bland.
Another thing to consider is whether or not the pedal allows you to tweak settings and save presets. This is often the separating line between something that’s actually usable and something that is a mere novelty.
You’ll also need to consider how intuitive and easy it actually is to modify different effects. If it’s too complicated, there’s a good possibility you might not actually enjoy using the pedal.
Furthermore, you’ll also want to pay attention to whether or not the pedal offers custom signal chain paths. This will give you total customization over your tone, allowing for some unique sounds to come through from different combinations.
Something else you’ll want to consider is how the effects are applied during play. Each unit has its own capabilities, so take the time to explore which is the most suitable for you.
Along with the number of effects offered, you’ll need to pay attention to how many can be used simultaneously. Having limitless effects is great, but not being able to use more than 1 or 2 is incredibly limiting.
Depending on your needs, it’s likely ideal to have a bare minimum of 3 different switchable simultaneous effects. This will give you the flexibility to use a few combinations during the performance of your song.
As you might guess, the higher-end models can offer the most depth in this regard. Quite often, you can create a preset tailor-made for 1 specific song.
It’s also not uncommon to be able to have up to 8 usable effects. However, the more inexpensive models will generally have less than 8.
Still, you might find that you don’t exactly need 8 different effects at one time. Take the time to try each out to get a realistic idea of what your needs are.
For the most part, amp profiling tends to be included with today’s multi effects pedals. Some models do exist without, but these are becoming rare as each year passes by.
Amp profiling is an excellent tool to have at your disposal, even if you opt to play through an amp. This will allow you to record digitally or play with headphones and still have some heavenly tones.
However, you wouldn’t want to run an amp profiler through an actual amp. These are designed to be fed into a PA speaker system, eliminating the amplifier altogether.
Essentially, amp profiling is a means of digitizing an amplifier’s characteristics by means of algorithms. You can find amp profiles of nearly any kind of amplifier, including Fender, Vox, Mesa Boogie, Marshall, and more.
On top of this is what’s called cab simulation. This essentially replicates the sound characteristics of certain speaker cabinets and speaker combinations, including:
Along with this, you’ll often be able to simulate the actual microphone used to capture the sound from the cabinet. These generally emulate the highest-quality microphones, allowing you to adjust their digital placement in front of the digital speaker.
As you can see, digitization has opened limitless doors, which is why so many guitarists are raving about amp profiling. Some models will allow you to create snapshots of gear you encounter in the real world for use later on.
It’s probably a safe bet that this technology won’t be going anywhere, and will only get better.
While multi effects pedals are usually stocked to the gills with features, you’ll want to look out for anything extra. Sometimes, its the smallest addition that can make a pedal much more useful than something else.
For instance, it’s never a bad thing if a pedal offers expression pedal capabilities. You can use these in conjunction with the wah, delay, tremolo, rotary, and a number of other effects.
Generally, you can find units that offer a built-in expression pedal so you don’t have to source your own. However, if none is provided, at least make sure you can hook one up to the unit.
Also, pay attention to whether or not the pedal has different operating modes. This can expand the versatility of the pedal, allowing you to use it in ways you have never dreamed of.
For instance, some pedals operate just like a standard pedalboard, pressing switches to engage different effects. Others will allow you to collect effects into groups, with the ability to engage a group of effects simultaneously.
While they do offer an incredible amount of options, multi effects pedals can be quite large. This is, unfortunately, something you’ll want to keep in mind, especially if you’re used to small stages.
Fortunately, with the capabilities of these devices, you might actually save space in the long run. This is especially true if you end up running a rig without a guitar amplifier.
Generally, most of these units are about the size of a standard pedalboard. Some are obviously smaller, and some can be quite large.
For this reason, it’s important to see the pedal in person to have a realistic idea of its size. There’s nothing worse than being crammed on stage and feeling guilty about how much space your effects take up.
Aside from the versatility, if this list has illustrated anything, it’s that these units can cost a fortune. And, while the technology isn’t exactly new, these prices are likely to stay consistent for at least a few years.
Because of that, you really need to consider how much you’re actually willing to spend. This isn’t always the easiest thing, as it’s common to want to have everything you could ever possibly need.
However, you need to take some time to really assess what your specific needs are as a guitarist. Are you somebody who plays gigs every week or somebody who only plays in the bedroom?
The market has options available for just about any budget. As such, you’ll find that these pedals are very similarly priced to how guitars are priced for specific budgets.
It goes without saying that it’s far more logical for a working professional to purchase higher-priced pedals. These individuals are essentially using it as a tool to make an income.
If you’re a hobbyist, it’s best to stick with the budget gear. More often than not, this will still provide excellent effects and a taste of the modeling technology.
With that being said, it’s always worth your time to explore the used market to save some cash. These devices sell at lower costs than you could buy them as brand new in a store.
Typically, even the pedals with the lightest amount of use will still be cheaper than the retail price. Do use a critical eye, and always try the pedal out for yourself before buying (if you can).
While there was a temporary shortage of nearly all things guitar-related in 2020, things are leveling out. With that, the used market is starting to see an influx of multi effects pedals and amp modelers.
Another thing to consider is looking to see if a store will sell you a floor demo version. These models are basically brand new, with the exception of being tried out in the store.
Because they’ve been taken out of the packaging and played with, stores have to sell them as used gear. However, these discounts are usually pretty minimal compared to actually buying from someone else on the used market.
Best Brands For Multi Effects Guitar Pedals
The market is quickly becoming saturated with multi effects pedals from a number of different companies. It can be a little difficult to discern what products are worth your time as a serious guitarist.
Consider checking out the following brands when doing research for your multi effects guitar pedal. Each of these brands has a stellar reputation and is the most recommended among working guitarists.
Line 6 was one of the very first companies to begin to really innovate guitar effects with digital technology. The company was started in the mid-1990s and has been at the forefront of cutting-edge breakthroughs.
Guitarists who were alive in the early 2000s probably remember Line 6’s famous digital modeling amplifiers. These essentially set the stage for the products you currently find on the market.
Kemper is one of the newest companies to enter the multi effects pedal market. Since the introduction of its amp profiler, working guitarists have held the company to high acclaim.
In fact, you’ll often find that many professionals opt to use Kemper’s gear rather than cart their amp around. Many feel that there is very little difference to be had, with the exception of major convenience.
Neural DSP entered the market in 2018 and immediately began to turn heads. The company specializes in algorithmic digital effects to provide a limitless offering of tonal possibilities.
An impressive lineup of professional guitarists is already endorsing Neural DSP’s products. This is sure to continue growing if the company continues to provide innovation and simplicity.
Best Multi Effects Pedals For Guitar, Final Thoughts
As you can see, the sky is the limit with regard to what a multi effects guitar pedal can offer. Of course, you’ll often be paying a premium for this, but it’s often worth it considering the minimization of gear.
Plus, more often than not, you won’t even need to be carting an amplifier, which can save anyone’s back. Give these multi effects pedals a look when you feel your rig needs a massive overhaul and upgrade.