The 10 Best Multi-Effects Pedals And Processors (2023)
Multi-effects pedals have become popular and very versatile. They usually contain all kinds of sound effects, as well as simulations of some of the most famous amp models.
These units are perfect for home use. Besides decent sound quality, you can count on several effects that physically can’t fit any pedalboard. Such a great number is an amazing benefit for non-experienced guitar players who want to experiment with their playing before investing in a pedalboard.
My top recommended multi-effects option is the HeadRush Pedalboard. It’s a high-quality multi-effects pedalboard and has a great touchscreen interface.
My second recommended multi-effects option is the Zoom G3Xn for those on a tighter budget but who still want good quality and a compact pedalboard.
The Best Multi-Effects Pedals And Processors (2023) – At a Glance
And now onto the full list:
1. HeadRush Pedalboard
This is probably the best well-rounded option on the market and it instantly mesmerized thousands of guitars players, mainly because of its superior interface. In terms of easiness of use, HeadRush sets some new standards in the industry.
This is the first processor that comes with a touchscreen. Navigation is super easy and intuitive. With just a few moves of your fingers, you can easily set up your favorite tone. As its name says, it works like a classic pedalboard.
Speaking of the features, HeadRush offers pretty much everything you’ll ever need in terms of connectivity. The sound quality is great. On the other side, the offer of amps and effects isn’t as generous as in AX8 or Helix, though it covers the essentials.
There are 33 amp models and more than 40 effects, so you can figure out why the price gap is so big between this one and top-tier products.
2. Zoom G3X
TheZoom G3X is an outstanding budget pick, to say the least. The value you get for a very affordable price is simply incredible.
You probably won’t find a better-sounding multi-effects processor for this price. The sound quality is great, but the number of options is even greater.
There are three footswitches and each one comes with its own screen and knobs. The build quality is not as strong as higher-end models. However, considering the price and sound quality, it’s something you can certainly live with!
A very budget-friendly and compact option to consider if you have a tight budget and don’t want to break the bank on a solid multi-effects pedal.
3. Line 6 Helix Guitar Multi-effects Pedal
When it comes to professional multi-effects units, the Line 6 Helix is a processor that usually comes first to our minds. The core of this processor is a powerful computer that works super-fast and offers top-grade sound quality.
You can count on tons of effects with this one. There are more than 40 amp simulations, 30 cabinets, and 70 effects that you can use. Unlike most top-level multi-effects products that are menu-based, this one works as a stompbox as well, which is a huge benefit for all those who are used to old-school pedals.
The Helix is very easy to use, thanks to a very transparent screen that comes with pretty nice graphics too. When it comes to connectivity, you can count on all kinds of ins and outs, including USB and other ports that are very convenient for recording and other studio purposes.
The only thing that could be considered as a drawback is hardware. Not that its quality is bad, but some additional strengthening would be nice. After all, this is a top-tier product.
4. Boss ME-80 Multi-Effects Pedal
For those who are used to old-school pedals, this is the best multi-effects unit to start with. It is the newest version of the company’s famous ME series, which insists on analog controls.
It practically works as a pedalboard, where you have four footswitches, on which you can assign different effects, and an expression pedal. In addition, there is a pre-amp section, as well as an equalizer and reverb. The most amazing thing is that all these controls are completely analog. The complete hardware seems strong as a military bunker, but that is a usual thing among products that come from Boss.
When it comes to sound quality, you should be aware that this is a relatively cheap product. Still, there is a bunch of effects, amp simulations, and even a built-in looper. The quality of amp simulations is not on par with Line 6 HD series, but other effects work very well.
A big drawback is that you can’t change the chain order of effects. All in all, you couldn’t ask for more, considering the price tag.
5. BOSS GT-1000
With this product, Boss has finally entered the top class among guitar multi-effects processors. The newest model from the renowned company came just recently, with significant upgrades compared to its predecessor.
Besides obviously more features and a stronger CPU, the biggest novelty that this processor brings is a new sound technology. The old COSM is in retire, finally, and it is replaced by the new AIRD (Augmented Impulse Response Dynamics) technology, which should provide a much better amp simulation, which was a weak spot of Boss processors for years.
From what we can hear, the new GT-1000 makes great improvements. Still, if you’ve expected Helix sound quality, you will be disappointed. That shouldn’t be taken as a drawback. This one is much cheaper. After all, the sound has never been GT’s biggest trump.
Its strong points are amazing easiness of use, tons of options, excellent reliability, and super-durable constructions.
6. Line 6 POD HD500X
So far, I’ve been talking about either budget or high-end products. It’s time to mention some mid-grade models. One of them is HD 500X, which is an updated version of the famous HD 500, as you may presume, and a great product at that.
This one offers a great sound library and sound quality that seems spectacular for this price range, especially when it comes to amp simulations.
On the other side, built quality is a weak point. You will have to be a little bit cautious with footswitches and other knobs if you want HD 500X to serve you for a long time.
7. Boss GT-100
Although a little bit outdated, the GT-100 is still probably the most popular multi-effects processor around. It definitely offers a great value for the price.
Compared to its direct rival, HD 500X, it offers completely opposite qualities. While the sound quality is definitely on HD’s side, the GT comes with superior built quality, simpler and more convenient navigation, and more effects in total.
If you want a proven and sure-fire deal then you’ll not find a better option than this one, I mean, it’s a popular choice for a reason!
8. Line 6 POD Go Guitar Multi-Effects Pedal
The Line 6 POD Go Guitar Multi-Effects Pedal is like a little brother to the previous Line 6 products on this list. The positive in this situation is the compact build of the Go Guitar model while retaining good quality multi-effects.
Check out our video review of the Line 6 POD Go below:
While the other holds an edge in versatility and maybe the quality of sound, this model shine with its compact and durable construction and a very good number of effects for a successful and broad playing style. Also, it is way more affordable than the others.
Much like the others, it has a smooth and easy-to-use interface and a footswitch to control the effects, plus an expression pedal for a more custom sound. It’s an overall great mid-range multi-effects pedal.
9. TC Electronic Plethora X5
The TC Electronic PLETHORA X5 has everything you might need in a multi-effect pedalboard. Tone shaping to perfection with TC Electronic quality brand backing it up, all the while with a reasonable price tag attached.
This pedal is probably one of the more versatile on the list as it holds a lot of effects under its belt. The quantity and quality of those effects are simply mesmerizing. PLETHORA X5 can also hold almost up to 130 custom sounds if you like to experiment a lot.
It has a very user-friendly interface that is easy to navigate and has a crisp and appealing look overall. Good quality is a top priority and TC Electronic does not disappoint when it comes to the PLETHORA X5.
10. MOOER GE250 Guitar Amp Modelling and Multi Effects Pedal
When it comes to amp modeling but also a variety of effects, the MOOER GE250 is one of the best out there that still holds a reasonable price. Although not incredibly popular, MOOER’s resume is impressive, to say the least.
The versatility is the first thing I want to mention, with 70 high-quality AMP models, a tone capture function, a third-party loader, and almost 200 effects, this brand and model have certainly reached new heights in terms of multi-effects.
Not to mention the pleasing aesthetics this effects pedal holds with a simple navigating interface that will suit many. I doubt you will find a more appealing option on this list when it comes to variety and amp modeling.
What is a multi-effects pedal/processor?
A multi-effects pedal/processor is what the name suggests but also can be so much more. While storing many effects like delays, reverbs, loops, chorus, distortion, compression, tuner, overdrive, or even a wah pedal, a processor serves the purpose of having all these different but useful effects all in one spot.
Some processors even take it a step further and have amp modeling options or custom setups and even more additional features that would certainly surprise you. Instead of buying one pedal at a time, multi-effect pedalboards are the easier solution, and often times more affordable.
A multi-effects pedal/processor is often considered a more suitable option for beginners, but the reality is all musicians can benefit from it despite their skills level. They store guitar effects, are also usable for bass, and are mostly targeted for home practice use. Not saying that a gig is out of the question just a more suitable environment is beneficial.
What are the best multi-effects pedals/processors (honorable mentions too)?
When it comes to the best multi-effects products out there, a lot a considered the best when it comes to a specific scenario or reason. You will likely come across the same few names that are leading the multi-effects pedal world like Line 6, Boss, TC Electronic, MOOER, HeadRush, and Zoom.
Regarding models, this list holds some of the best out there at the moment. A few more promising ones and my favorite are probably the Line 6 Models, the Boss GT-1000, and the POD HD500X.
Some honorable mentions that aren’t on this list would probably be Zoom G5N that is quite similar to the one on this list. Another is Eventide H9 which is a very portable but useful device. There are a lot of others out there with wide range of effects and great capabilities to explore.
What to look for in a multi-effects pedal/processor?
Multi-effect pedalboards are very useful and compact devices that are much easier to use than the conventional pedalboard that is filled with various pedals (which all need batteries or a power supply). The key features that make a good multi-effects device are a few things and I’ll go over them in more detail.
A multi-effects pedal for guitarists should be a rig with at least 2/3 input jacks for XLR, standard, or other needs that should be filled with as many effects as possible to be able to deliver a versatile playing style and the freedom of choice between said effects.
A great feature to look out for would be AMP modeling. A few processors have amplifier modeling capabilities and can manage to mimic tube amps and cabs pretty well. A headphone option is also good for practicing purposes as well as setting presets more carefully.
A multi-effects pedal is a valuable piece of gear, much like a MIDI, or guitar, or a bass, as it serves a huge purpose and adds variety to playing. Pushing the parameters of conventional playing, a multi-fx pedal should also be compatible with PC, MAC, and a USB Audio Interface option will also come in handy.
It would also be great to check and see whether it’s stereo or mono before purchasing and which kinds of options it allows before committing to one.
A multi-effects pedal/processor is a valuable piece of equipment that holds many effects all in one place to allow for more comfortable and easy playing. They can hold delay, reverb, modulation, compression, phaser, chorus, and so many more useful features that add versatility to playing styles. Controlled via footswitch, they allow for easy switching between patches and use high-quality algorithms.
My top multi-effects pick is the HeadRush Pedalboard. It’s a high-quality multi-effects pedalboard with a smooth interface and a great well-rounded base.
My budget multi-effects pick is the Zoom G3Xn for those who want a decent option and not break their bank in the process.