The bass multi-effects pedals have a reputation for only being suited to the newbie. Over the years, they’ve developed somewhat and now cater to the average user and the more experienced players. We’ve pieced together some of the best multi-effects pedals together that prove that multi-effects units can suit just about anyone.
For me, the winner of the roundup has to be the Boss GT-1B. You might have to fork out for some extra footswitches for live application, but overall, the GT-1B does all the classic effects alongside some really interesting effects at a reasonable price. If you’re looking for dedicated bass pedals be sure to read our guide of best bass pedals.
Bass Multi-Effects Pedals We Recommend
|Image||Bass Multi-Effects Pedals||Controls/Effects|
$219.99 at Amazon
|FX1/LIMITER button, OD/DS button, PREAMP button, FX2/MOD button, DELAY button, REVERB button, Expression pedal|
|$89.99 at Amazon||Pedal Effects: Compression, Exciter, Fixed Wah, Auto Wah, Brn Octave, Acoustic, U-Vibe, Tone, Ring Mod
Modulation Effects: CE Chorus, Multi Chorus, Flanger, Org Phase, Twin Tremolo, G4 Rotary, Pitch Shift, Filtron 1 (auto), Filtron 2 (manual)
Delay Effects: Analog Delay 1, Analog Delay 2, Analog Delay 3, Analog Delay 4, Echo 1, Echo 2, Echo 3, Echo 4
Reverb Effects: Room, Spring, Hall
|Price not available at Amazon||Built-in SansAmp, Octafilter, Compressor, Boost, Chorus, Drive|
|$99.99 at Amazon||Compressors, noise gates, filters, equalizers and octave dividers, as well as boosters, overdrives, fuzzes, phasers, and flangers, plus chorus, pitch shift, tremolo, vibrato, a sub-octave generator, and an intelligent bass synthesizer|
BOSS Compact GT-1B Effects Processor
What’s good: Interesting effects, expression pedal.
Not so good: Could’ve done with some extra footswitches, might take some time getting used to.
Another one from Boss and another pedal that allows you to download patches onto it, the GT-1B (as explained in the full review) is a compact pedal that allows for both standard effects and some more unique sounds like a harmonist and bass synth.
Often times, multi-effect pedals have a hard time imitating dedicated stompboxes, but I’d argue that the GT-1B can get some pretty authentic sounding effects. The GT-1B has 99 presets that can be easily shaped through the FX/LIMITER, OD/DS, PREAMP, FX/MOD, DELAY and REVERB buttons so you can set how much or how little you want out of the presets, plus there’s an expression pedal!
Of course, you can make up your own presets rather than using Boss’s and add various effects or preamps to your heart’s content. Fortunately, you can choose where you want the effects in the chain to be unlike the ME50B, but unfortunately, only one of the footswitches can be used to turn a selected effect or effects on and off; so for a live situation, this isn’t all that practical. You can buy extra footswitches though — cheeky!
For what the pedal offers the price is competitive at around $200, despite the need for extra footswitches you get a whole lot of toys to play with.
VOX StompLab 2B
What’s good: Inexpensive, expression.
Not so good: Poor sounding effects, strange layout.
This tiny little thing might be aimed for people who have small feet, but there’s no doubting its capabilities.
At under $100, the StompLab 2B isn’t going to burn a hole in your pocket so it’s certainly one to consider if you don’t want to spend an awful lot of money.
The presets are a little confusing because they go off genre with ten banks of ten genres like pop, rock, jazz fusion, etc and each having various effects added to them. Why they would be based on the genre is beyond me because “rock” isn’t so black and white, then again the pedal isn’t here to please everyone.
Regardless of the layout, that’s 100 presets to sink your teeth it and it has a tiny expression pedal too. Outside the presets, there’s the option to dial in your own effects and amp modeling settings and you can store up to 20. Initially, the pedal isn’t exactly intuitive to use, but you’ll get the hang of it eventually.
Although there are many effects to choose from like various delays, wah and drives, the sound of the effects themselves leaves much to be desired.
For a professional sound, I’d try something else. If you just want a bit of fun or you are new to effects, pedals the StompLab 2B might be for you.
Zoom B1on Bass Multi-Effects Pedal
What’s good: Really cheap, looper.
Not so good: Not the best sounding effects, no expression.
Another budget bass multi-effects option that’s arguably better than the StompLab is Zoom’s B1on.
Amongst the 100 memory locations, you can add or remove up to five effects for each location and save them accordingly. I found the layout relatively simple to use, put it this way, I didn’t want to pull my hair out when using it. Choosing from a range of 75 effects and the ability to move those effects in the chain is a definite plus — it’s certainly user-friendly.
The loop function is perhaps the B1on’s highest point especially for a pedal that’s only around $50. You can also play along to its built-in rhythm patterns too, which don’t sound particularly organic, but it’s there if you want to keep timing while you play.
The sounds of the effects, again, don’t sound particularly professional or sonically nuanced, but the B1on is not designed to compete with the high-end multi-effects pedals; it’s great for the average user.
Tech 21 Bass Fly Rig Bass
What’s good: SansAmp EQ, high-quality sounding effects.
Not so good: Expensive, limited control over chorus.
If you’re familiar with Tech 21, particularly the SansAmp pedals, you’ll know that they have a serious knack for great tone sculpting abilities. The Fly Rig does that plus a valiant attempt at throwing in a few more effects to varying degrees of success.
In the middle is the SansAmp EQ, which in itself is fantastic though obviously, if you only wanted that then you’re in the wrong place, offering a range of moldable tones in the vein of that classic Ampeg sound and with a DRIVE knob for some nice boosts. There’s not as much variation as buying a dedicated SansAmp preamp, but there’s still quite a lot.
What about everything else i.e. the OCTAFILTER and CHORUS? The OCTAFILTER is a three in one. It can be used in conjunction with FUZZ, OCTAVE and/or FILTER; you can get some seriously nice synth tones especially if used with the COMPRESSOR, but there’s a lot on offer for a range of sounds.
Then there’s the CHORUS. While the CHORUS does sound okay, there’s only one dedicated knob to the depth. Personally, I would’ve wanted more control over the CHORUS considering the hefty price tag.
For $300, they’re asking a lot, it’s arguably overpriced, but with that, you’re getting a lot.
BOSS ME-50B with COSM
What’s good: Classic footswitch feel, some interesting effects.
Not so good: Grouped effects to footswitches, expensive.
The ME-50B is ideal for those who want the feel of analog footswitch pedals as a pose to constantly searching through menus for an effect. It’s a kind of all in one multi-effects pedal that’s designed to replicate having multiple footswitches.
All the essentials are covered like, overdrive, delay, modulation and compression without being in any way complicated and with dedicated knobs to play around with the parameters of the effect, but the ME-50B throws a few original effects into the mix too. The DEFRETTER is an interesting addition, which emulates a fretless bass relatively well, and the SOUND HOLD works like a drone, which is a lot of fun that seldom seems.
The sound of the effects all stack up well even in comparison to dedicated effect stompboxes. The price is around $320 but if you added all the pedals together that this thing has as individual pedals it’s well worth the money.
A glaring issue with ME-50B is how the footswitches are set up with some of its effects. The footswitch effects are banded together in two’s: FILTER/TONE, DRIVE/SYNTH, and DELAY/MODULATION. This means that either one is routed to each of the three pedals so you don’t get as much flexibility with the chain than if the pedals were individual stompboxes. Despite that though, and a few average overdrive sounds, admittedly amongst some nice ones, the ME-50B is a fine addition to the multi-effects pedal world – Boss ME-50B full review and specifications .
Zoom B3n Bass Multi-Effects Pedal
What’s good: Manipulate signal chain, downloadable patches.
Not so good: Not the best sounding effects, looks dull.
Similar to the ME50B, the B3N has three footswitches to help give the feel of traditional stompboxes; the difference is that there’s more control over which effect or amp modeler you choose to load into the footswitches and where it can go in the chain.
Boasting seven effects at once and knobs to control the parameters of each effect, the B3N is a great little stompbox-esque unit or you can use the stored patches. Play along with built-in rhythm patterns or use the pedal as a looper if you so choose, which is always helpful for personal practice. If that wasn’t enough, you can download patches and effects too and add them to the unit so there’s certainly no shortage of effects.
I’d argue that the effects don’t sound as good as the ME50B’s, but the unit is almost $100 cheaper. The B3N is a good intermediate multi-effects pedal that’s moderately priced.
Valeton Dapper VES-2
What’s good: Compact, moderately priced.
Not so good: No control over chain positioning, effects don’t sound as good as the Fly Rig.
Asides from looking fantastic, even if it a little close to Tech 21’s Fly Rig, the Dapper VES-2 is a reasonably priced multi-effects pedal that covers most, if not all, of the essentials reasonably well.
The Dapper is a kind of cheaper version of the Tech 21 Fly Rig; unfortunately, it shows. With five footswitches for CHORUS, OCTAVE, BASS AMP, DIRTY Q, and BOOST/COMPRESSOR the Dapper is easy to use and play as a traditional stompbox unit. You don’t have control over the chain positioning —that I’m afraid is something you’ll have to live with, but there’s still room for versatility with each effect.
One particular high is the OCTAVE switch, based on Boss’s OC-2, the OCTAVE performs fairly well though obviously not as well as the OC-2, but you can get a nice glitchy sound nonetheless. There are knobs to control the parameters of each effect too though not as many as I personally would’ve liked.
The Veleton Dapper has some notable positives and overall is a good pedal, but that little voice inside your head will always regret buying it over the Tech 21 Fly Rig. It should be noted though that the Dapper is much cheaper at around $170 it just might sway me over the Fly Rig.
What’s good: Expression, price.
Not so good: Some presets are too similar, not that suited to a live context.
For the bassist on the budget, the DigiTech BP90 is suited to personal practice rather than a live context.
Amongst the 50 presets is the ability to create 50 of your own presets with a range of all the standard effects like reverb, delay, amp modeling, and a few more that are little more adventurous like a noise gate and fretless. The expression pedal is a notable feature of the BP90, along with allowing for a wah, a sort of lesser version of the DigiTech Whammy can be used—which I know, for most people, this will certainly be a plus, it is for me.
The BP90 is user-friendly. You choose your preamp effects, post-amp effects and then you can manipulate the effects level, which allows you to control various parts of the signal chain. All the effects are clearly labeled so you won’t spend much time scratching your head over how to use it.
Sound-wise, the effects are pretty good, some are certainly better than others and a lot of the presets are too similar. Other than that, for $100, the BP90 is a quality inexpensive option. Between this and the StompLab 2B, I’d hands down opt for the BP90.
What is a bass multi-effects pedal and what does it do?
A bass multi-effects pedal is a pedal that has the ability to introduce different effects into the produced bass sound. This pedal intercepts the bass signal, modifies it by introducing a wide variety of effects, and feeds it into the amplifier.
Analog bass multi-effects pedal
There are 2 types of bass multi-effects pedals. One of these is the analog multi-effects pedal. This pedal consists of a signal manipulation circuit that has transistors, capacitors, and inductors. The circuitry directly works on the analog signal from the guitar, introducing delays and analogously multiplying the input signal to get multiple effects.
After such manipulations, the signal passes through gain ICs where the signal loss is compensated for. After the internal amplification of the processed signal, the signal passes through a high-frequency filter circuit where high frequencies in the signal are attenuated thus preserving the low-frequency bass signal.
The output signal is fed to the amplifier. Since the signal is processed analogously, the analog bass multi-effect pedals have the capability to preserve the natural sound produced by the guitar. On the downside, their signal processing capabilities are quite limited.
Digital bass multi-effect pedal
The digital bass multi-effect pedal works by sampling the signal originating from the bass speakers. To avoid the aliasing effect, the signal is sampled at twice the highest frequency in the input signal. (The highest frequencies which can be detected by the human ear are 20kz. Thus the minimum sampling rate should be 40,000 cycles per second.).
After the signal is sampled, the samples are stored in memory units and processed as distinct, non-continuous streams. The processor digitally manipulates the sampled signal and feeds it into a DAC (Digital to Analog Converter) circuit where the processed signal is converted back to the analog state.
This analog signal then passes through a smoothing circuit to remove the spikes in the converted signal and is finally fed to the amplifier. Since the original signal from the guitar is sampled at the predetermined sampling frequency, there are missed lapses where the instantaneous change of the signal is not captured by the sampler. Such instances introduce breaks into the sound and if the digital processor is not powerful enough, the output sound from the processor may sound a little artificial. On the good side, the digital processors have a myriad of signal processing options.
Why use a bass multi-effects pedals?
These pedals are ideal for those who would like to introduce several bass effects at the same time. They are essential for bass guitarists who wish to have more control over the bass effects. When properly adjusted, the bass multi-effects pedals have the potential to completely transform the bass and introduce a wide variety of effects.
How to choose bass multi-effects pedals?
To choose the most suitable bass multi-effects pedals, consider:
The more the incorporated effects the better the pedals. Choose those pedals which give you a wide choice of effects.
Having stated the price, it doesn’t imply that you should go for the lowest priced pedals. Instead, go for those pedals which promise to meet your music needs and are not so highly-priced.
The power source
Check whether they can be powered directly from the mains. If they have an in-built battery, it’s also advisable to check how long the battery lasts before it needs recharging.
The ruggedness of the casing
Check the material used to make the casing. It’s important to choose pedals which are rugged since they will be able to withstand rough handling and long hours of music. Pedals with a metal casing are usually the best.
The adjustment options available
Go for those bass multi-effects pedals which provide multiple adjustment options such as tuning, ability to rearrange effects, memory support, and rhythm patterns.
What are the benefits of the bass multi-effects pedals?
There are several benefits of bass multi-effects pedals. These include:
One is able to control different effects from one pedal.
As compared to purchasing single-effect units which will produce the equivalent effects produced by the multi-effect pedals.
They are more compact, easy to assemble, and power.
Some bassists argue that bass multi-effects pedals don’t produce the same superior quality of music as compared to single bass pedals. It’s true that single effect pedals have the capability to produce superior sound but the degree of variation is quite limited.
For the experienced bassists, the multi-effect pedals will better do the job since they combine several effects into one. Thus it’s just a matter of comparing the benefits, the cost, and your preferences to gauge the most suitable bass pedals for your music needs.
Prerequisites to using the bass multi-effects pedals
To get the full benefits of this product, you should have at least basic music skills. If you are a bassist, having some knowledge on how pedals operate and how they vary the sound going to the speakers will go a long way in helping you effectively use this product.
But in music, experimentation is the thing! Thus you can buy these pedals, connect them with your music system, play the music, and feel the final effects. Make a few tweaks and adjustments as you learn on the go. Great music is mastered through both training and practice.