Price paid: $ 60
Purchased from: Craigslist (some trades too)
Ease of Use — 10
I had my rig set up within 30 minutes with a perfect clean patch (using the amp control and my own amp's clean channel) and a dirt patch (again; using my own amp's OD channel) - and this is with ZERO GT experience. Granted, I've used MFX before, but never Boss GT. So it's pretty easy and fun to explore. There's so many parameters and controls and assignments that I'm sure I'll either never explore or won't get to for some time, but this thing is wonderful, versatile, and fantastic sounding.
I haven't begun to explore the amp models, but I didn't buy this for the amp models. I bought it for the effects to use in conjunction with my Mesa rather than having a crap-ton of individual effects and a spaghetti-mess of patch cables and power cables. I have actually even eliminated my amp's native 8-button footswitch with this thing! I CAN still use it if I want, but since all I ever use it for is to switch between channels 1 and 3, why bother?
Fellow musicians, as a long-time Line 6 fanboy and a guy who can't justify the expense of an Axe Fx II, I remain in the mid-grade effects market - The POD HD500 is wonderful - in some ways superior to this unit (XLR outs, being able to assign multiple effects in any combination of on/bypass to a single footswitch, to name a few) but as far as tone, versatility, construction... This is one to get! Feel free to email/PM me with any specific questions or leave your comments below.
(P. S. I can admit that perhaps some of my thrill with this unit is that I got it for such a good deal - a few pedals and $60 - not almost $800 like some people have paid or the nearly $600 it still costs new. The guy I got it from bought it but then found out that his family had bought the same thing for him for Xmas so he needed to get rid of his. It was still new in the box!)
Sound — 9
After owning the POD HD500, this thing is right in the same neighborhood as far as sound quality goes. The first guy who was revolted by this thing's tone obviously didn't give it a fair shake - or maybe he didn't have his rig set up right. The first section in the manual tells you how to set the unit up based on your rig.
I'm using the 4CM with my Mesa/Boogie Mark V - and the amp control function allows me to switch amp channels with patch changes! Brilliant!
It was not difficult to initialize a patch and build my tones to work with my Mark V: basically I have a patch for my OD channel that has a Tubescreamer in front of it and a delay and chorus after it. It has several noise suppressors that you can use, but I have them all turned off and I'm not getting any noise...
THERE IS ZERO LATENCY BETWEEN PATCH CHANGES!
I felt it was important to mention that since that's one of my main concerns with MFX pedals - they're getting better nowadays, but most still aren't perfect. This one is darn close.
Reliability & Durability — 10
No issues here. Boss consistently makes heavy-duty pieces of guitar gear. Never have to worry about the switches, knobs, jacks... Just plain solid and sturdy. The box that it comes in is great - I'm sure I'll use it to transport it for several years unless I find a nice case. There are no fragile buttons on this like on the Pod - all buttons are sturdy and recessed and knobs are solid digital encoders so no chance of turning them too far and damaging the unit. The main output knob does have a finite throw though, but it too is darn sturdy. These are the same footswitches (it seems) that Roland/Boss has been using for years. Why fix (change) something that's not broken?
Overall Impression — 9
I play mostly prog rock so I don't always need a ton of tones, but I need good, clear, in-you-face tones. I need versatility. I need options and to be able to tweak parameters. This thing comes through in spades! Almost any footswitch can be assigned to almost any effect, function, parameter - even tap tempo, various looper functions; anything you can think of, this thing can do - ESPECIALLY if you get additional footswitches. I basically traded a few pedals I wasn't using and $60 bucks for this; I have rarely been as satisfied with a purchase in the music world as I am about this.
I give it a 9 based on the somewhat clunkiness of trying to use the looper in a fully decked out patch; while you can assign looper functions to any of the pedals, you're gonna want some of those pedals for turning various effects on/off, changing amp paths, banking up/down, tuner/metronome, manual/patch settings, etc. etc. etc. So... To try to squeeze looper pedals on there too becomes cumbersome, and, while you CAN operate the looper with just the one switch, it's much easier if you have at least two. You could theoretically set your patch exactly the way you want it and use four pedals for the looper, which I guess would work too... See? This thing is so versatile, I can't stop thinking of new ways to use it! Now I must get the additional footswitches and expression pedal!