The best multi-effects processor is the one that has all the functionality you need AND fits your budget. Multi-effects processors offer great value and variety for beginners and are compact and portable for the touring pro. Electric Violin Shop carries multi-effects processors from Boss, Digitech and Zoom which range in price from under $100 to over $300.
All of the multi-effects processors we carry have at minimum 80 different stored effects, as well as the ability to alter and store changes to any of them. Most have effective floor tuners as well. Things to consider when differentiating between multi-effects processor options include whether you will need:
- Expression pedal
- USB output
- Phrase looper
- Stompbox controls
An expression pedal is hinged like a car accelerator and on most effects processors can be programmed to control volume level, wah, modulation, or pitch shifting. It is highly useful (and fun) to use and we typically recommend it for all string players.
Multi-effects processors with USB outputs allow the player to interface with a computer for home recording. Some effects processors such as the Zoom G1U, Zoom G2.1NU and Digitech RP255 and higher models come with both recording software and effects editing software so that the user can conveniently adjust tones on their computer, using their mouse and keyboard, rather than on the unit itself.
Some multi-effects processors include a short, single phrase looper with overdubbing. This can be a fun introduction to looping but users will quickly find that having storage for only one phrase, and a short one at that, can be limiting. For more complex looping capacity, one should explore loop stations. The Digitech RP255 and higher models as well as the Boss ME-70 include a phrase looper.
For the effects beginner who plans only to play with new sounds in the home or practice room, some of the less expensive models with plastic casing, such as the Zoom G1XN or Digitech RP90, are viable, budget-friendly options. For more seasoned users who will be gigging often with the equipment, a processor with more durability is required. The Digitech RP255 and up, the Zoom G2.1NU as well as the Boss ME line are made with a durable metal casing. That said, the Digitech RP255 and up are ruggedly built too, made of hard plastic and metal.
Finally, the users performance needs are important in determining the right multi-effects processor. All multi-effects processors allow precision fine tuning of each stored effect. The problem with many is that once the effect is set it is difficult or impossible to alter mid-performance. This is not an issue for players who use only a few effects per set. For players who change their tone often during sets or even songs, processors such as the Boss ME-70 allow drastic tone changes on the fly with stompbox-style controls. Each effect type, compression, distortion/overdrive, modulation and delay, is split out into its own on/off footswitch.