Individual pedals vs. multi effects

I started out with a Zoom B1-X with the expression pedal and the whole works. Loved it and used it a lot to explore different effects. Then I sold it to another BassBuzzer and got the Zoom B3n and another expression pedal. Again, I used it to explore the different effects and combinations of effects. In the case of both Zooms, I never used the looper, drum beats, or the tuner (I have a DAI, Reaper, tuner, and drum machine for those functions).
After awhile, I got tired of the multi-effects and decided to get a pedal board and start adding individual pedals (for the reasons you cited in your post).
I brought my Zoom B3n into my local music shop and talked to my bass guy about trading it for some pedals. He took it in and gave me a credit for some pedals. While I was picking out my pedals, he chuckled and told me that they get a lot of guitar and bass players who start out with multi-effects devices and grow out of them, eventually switching to individual pedals just as I am doing.
So, with that story told, your answer is right there between the lines. Start out with multi-effects and get an idea of what each effect does to your tone, then decide to either stay with the multi box or go with pedals and pedal board. Some people here have both the multi-effects box and a pedal board, but to me, that would take up too much real estate on my floor.

P.S. I recommend buying a used multi-effects box on Reverb. That way, if you flip it later on and buy pedals you won’t lose as much money.

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Righteous @PamPurrs

Cheers

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I’ve come full circle, after starting with a Zoom B1on, then a B3n, and then going analog and owning a full pedalboard of excellent, high end pedals - I’ve sold them all off and if I ever have a pedal again it’s going to be a Helix, probably a HX Stomp :slight_smile:

I actually like the sound of effects in the DAW better than analog pedals. Pedals are fun toys to collect, but are kind of ass for utility when recording. Much more convenient to apply effects in software, and I finally had to admit - at this point the good plugins sound better (or at least as good) too. To me anyway.

I would only buy a pedal again if I were planning on playing live. And then it would be a Helix.

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@howard that brings up a question that I’ve been meaning to ask…

I too am contemplating replacing the pedals with effects in Zoom. I currently have Compressor, Octave, Tube Screamer, Chorus, and Reverb pedals. Are there plugins for Reaper that I can install? Or are they already there and I just haven’t found them.

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I’m definitely AC - (analog caveman). I don’t have any form of DAW and don’t record etc - It’s just bass straight into a physical amp. The only time a computer is involved is for Josh’s lessons or playing music to jam along to. Prior to playing bass I’ve messed around with guitars for more years than I can count on my hands and toes and had all sorts of digital multi-effects from Zoom, Line 6, Vox etc. I never got on with any of them. My brain just isn’t wired to drill down through menus and banks to find the effect I want and they never sound convincing to me anyway. I’m sure they’ve progressed massively and a Helix could change my mind about the sound quality but I’d still hate having to navigate the interface. All I want is to be able to stomp on a physical pedal. Over the years I’ve also amassed something like 20 guitar pedals and I thought initially I’d build a pedalboard out of them for bass but I’ve not been happy with any in the way they handle lower registers. The only pedal I am going to keep is the TC Polytune. I’ve replaced every other one with a pedal specifically designed for bass. I’m justifying the cost by telling myself I will sell all the guitar pedals (when I get around to it) but let me tell you, pedals may be the cheaper way in but once you have bought everything for modulation, tone shaping and delay they cost a helluva lot more than a multi-fx unit. But they suit the way my brain works far better. I’m going to take a stab that you are younger than me (I’m in my sixties so most people are) and can get your head around multi-effects menus better than I can and honestly if you are already set up to do recording digitally something like the Helix would make waaaay more sense. Pedals are just so much more fun to me though - your mileage may vary.

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There are definitely plugins you can buy for the effects you like. The problem isn’t finding them. That’s easy. The problem is narrowing down the choices.

The vast majority of music software, and by that I mean like 95% or more, is plugins for DAWs these days :slight_smile:

I have made a whole topic for this.

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Yeah, I remember seeing that thread, I read it and my eyes glazed over. I’ll take another peek at it, but seriously all I want is the ones that I mentioned and to be able to install them in Reaper (which I have no idea how to do)

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One good option to start with might be a Kilohearts subscription to see if you like it.

I love their stuff, and for $10/mo you get it all. All their software. Something like 35 effects, what is in my opinion the best software synthesizer at the moment, and some other awesome tools. Then if you don’t like it you can cancel. And if you so like it, they kick back a $100 coupon to buy their stuff permanently for each year you subscribe. It’s a good deal. They also have a free trial.

MeldaProduction is another good bet for a ton of utility plugins.

You install plugins just like you installed RX8 (which I am sure installed its plugins too).

Anyway something like that is a nice way to find out if you like applying effects in the DAW. After that you can either make your own effects out of those (which is what I do), or try and track down the specific ones you want and buy them. For example, here’s a random Tube Screamer clone:

No idea if it’s good, just found it fast :slight_smile:

Another thing about plugins - in general, never pay full price for them. Wait for sales or bundles. For example, that $20 tube screamer clone is also in a bundle with four other pedals (including a Big Muff clone) for $55. Which will probably go on sale.

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Me too, @chris6 . . . :slight_smile:

It seems that you and I are in the minority around here . . .

Cheers
Joe

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no, I’m just loud :slight_smile:

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I’m the same as you and @Jazzbass19

People rave about the Line 6 HX Stomp, but I just can’t get over the modern stuff :slight_smile:

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I generally don’t use effects when I’m practicing, as I want to focus on how I sound, not how an effect MAKES me sound. The only time I use effects is (a) playing around and experimenting to see what unusual music I can make or (b) when recording a cover IF the song lends itself to a specific effect.

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Thanks @howard I’ll start there

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Cool. An added benefit is Kilohearts has a nice installer to manage all their stuff. And a bunch of support videos showing how to do cool stuff.

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@howard just so I’m clear, with that Kilohearts sub, if I cancel do I still own whatever effects I’ve installed in Reaper or do they magically vanish? In other words, is there an advantage or disadvantage to continuing to pay the monthly cost?

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If you cancel you lose everything except the free effects (there’s five or six free ones).

Plugins are generally licensed and you buy the license. With the subscription, you get a new monthly license every month.

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Okay that doesn’t sound like something I’d be interested in. I’d much rather just pay for stuff and own it forever rather than these monthly subscription plans.

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You can. The sub is just the cheapest way to try it for a while and see if you like it. I own them all permanently myself.

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All I see is a bundle of everything for $499 which I wouldn’t be interested in. Is there a way to buy a specific effect after I’ve tried it for a month? I don’t see it on their site.

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Yes. they have several levels of buy-in, and the ability to buy specific ones. Check the “Products” menu on their site.

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