I'm going to be sharing some thoughts/opinions on topics I think we all can share all some insights on. So take my thinkings as a starting point for a discussion (and not fact!)
So comment away, feel free to tell me I'm wrong (or mad) - let the debate begin
I've always preferred multifx to pedalboards. Mainly for one illogical reason - you can store presets.
I don't play or gig a specific sound, so having a set of pedals dedicated to one specific set of noises makes no sense to me. Particularly on delays - I tend to play a lot with delays so I'd forever be fiddling to get that combo of delay&feedback times as I jam about.
The other obvious plus is bang for buck, you do get a lot of toys!. Also, if you are new to the world of fx (outside of drive/distortion pedals) - it's a cheap way to try out a lot of sounds.
There's two main flavours of multifx (though they do overlap)
- Pedalboard style - usually just fx and designed to work with your amp (usually in the fx loop). I think of it as a pedalboard, because you can switch individual effects via the footswitches, without having to change patches. Examples include : Boss ME50, Line6 M9/13, etc
- All in one - Amp/speaker simulations & fx & kitchen sink/coffee maker. Examples include: Zoom, Boss GTxxxx, Line POD/X3/HD
The first downside to the multifx is that the presets almost always suck - unless you have experienced the originals the sims/models are based on - it's challenging to find recognizable tones. How many of us know what a Marshall JTM800 or Fender Blackface sound like cranked to the full spinal tap?
I really started to understand my multifx better, having (even briefly) experienced the originals. Something in my head had to hear a 'sound with a face'. Useful for amp sims and really useful for cabinet sims. In my limited experience, Cabinets can make or break your sound
My memory of a 8x10 cabinet? Thunderous Woof. A 2x12 was balanced and full, a 2x10 bright n punchy and a 4x12 overpoweringly loud. On my b2 I treat Cabinets as a simple one knob eq, from bright (none) to woofy (8x10). If I'm using drive/gain tones, I'll usually use a cabinet sim to tame the fizz before going to the eq section to dial something in/out.
The second is you'll want to 'Get Another Amp' - something that has a full range speaker. Guitar amps/speakers colour the sound a lot, which you'll likely want to be doing in the multifx (if using the amp/speaker sims). In a pinch a bass amp will work, acoustic amp better and a pa might be best.
Thirdly, plan out what patches you want, get old school, paper + pen! My basic patch is as close to the bypassed sound as possible. I aim for the same vol from the patch (no sims/fx) as I'd get from the bypass'ed sound. From that base patch I'll work on
- Sparkly clean
- Slightly dirty blues amp (breakup)
- Gainy metal/rock
- with delay/verb stadium shreddy style
- Fuzzy/synthy autowah
All the while referring back to the basic/bypass'ed sound, trying to keep the basic patch and subsequent patches vol's similar so I don't get a big bump in volume when switching between patches.
Hope you dug Part I, I'll dig more into the topic in Part II