ME-20 Guitar Multiple Effects review by Boss

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  • Sound: 8
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reliability & Durability: 10
  • Ease of Use: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 8.8 Superb
  • Users' score: 7.6 (114 votes)
Boss: ME-20 Guitar Multiple Effects
1

Price paid: € 170

Purchased from: Local music store

Sound — 8
I play the unit with an Ibanez XPT700 and a 90's japanese Jackson Performer, through either a Fender FM 212R or a Peavey ValveKing 212. I always run the unit through input 1 on the amps instead of effects loop. Always sounds great. I was searching for a pedal that could do good metal distortion and nice delay and got what I wanted. Being a digital pedal, the sounds do sound less organic than with tube- or ss-powered equipment, but that's to be expected. And as far as the tech on this piece goes, I think the COSM -models sound a lot better than your average digital modeling. Not really noisy, either. Naturally, everything squeals with enough gain and output volume, but this thing has an inbuilt noise reduction unit in it that does a nice job in cleaning the sound and repelling unwanted buzzing and squealing. It won't work any miracles, though. Too much gain and output is too much, regardless of equipment. I play a lot of metal, so the "Metal" -setting is pretty much my favorite. I can easily achieve heavy sounds that sound like Children Of Bodom, Arch Enemy, Lamb Of God etc. Backing the gain off a bit and scooping the mids gives you an 80's trash sound in no time. I also play a lot of blues, and the "Blues" and "Overdrive" -modes handle that well. I've been getting some pretty good SRV and Hendrix sounds by those modes. The EQ on this thing is quite responsive and tweaking it will give you a lot of different options. Instead of one midrange knob on the eq, this thing has two, one for lower midrange and one for upper midrange. An excellent feature that provides a lot of different voicing options, thus making the pedal capable of handling a lot of different genres. Not all sounds are all that impressive, though. Namely, the "Fuzz"-mode of the OD setting leaves something to be missing. The Fuzz is just a bit too thin on pretty much any setting. The "tremolo" effect could be better too, and the "rotary" effect can't seem to be achieved very well at all. The "reverb" -mode of the dealy setting could be deeper and wetter, as it really can't create real atmosphere as it is. Also, the fact that you can't use delay and reverb at the same time slightly takes away the points in my view.

Overall Impression — 8
As said before, metal and blues are my game, and this unit serves me well. I've been playing for about 5 years or so, and I've had many distortion pedals before this: a Boss MT-2, a DigiTech Death Metal, a DOD Death Metal (it IS a different pedal than the DigiTech), a DigiTech Metal Master. This pedal beats all of those by 100-0. I've also had experience with modeling amps, and the delay and chorus at least are better than in most of which I have tried - The Vox Valvetronix -series is pretty much on par with the ME-20 on that aspect. I really like the distortion and the delay, and the fact that it's capable of doing various eq voicings to suit many genres and styles. I's simple to use and changing the patches is easy, so it would be ideal for Live playing. It might not be the greatest unit of this kind out there, but at 170eur (~$200) it's a pretty sweet deal, as $200 would only fetch you 2 Boss pedal. Many of the modes in this unit sound at least as good as single Boss pedals. I'd especially recommend it for metal/rock players, or anyone looking for a quality multi-fx unit for Live playing.

Reliability & Durability — 10
Well, it's a Boss, so I bet it would easily survive a nuclear strike or two. It's in a sturdy & Solid Metal casing, the knobs don't seem wobbly and the switches & expression pedal seem like they'll last. I'd be able to gig with this without getting worried.

Ease of Use — 9
The ME-20 does not really demand expansive knowledge on quantum physics to get good sounds out of it. The same four knobs are used to set all the various parameters regardless of whether you want to edit your OD, Modulation effect, delay/reverb or EQ. You just choose what you want to edit by pushing a button, and the functions attached to each knob change. There's also a 'easy editing' -function, that lets you combine preset ODs, Effects, Delays and EQs into a single patch. Being simple in the matter of editing your sounds, it's still good to read the manual through, as editing and going through presets is not as obvious. The manual is informative and has some good tips in it. It's also very clear, so it won't confuse players Who aren't used to dealing with multi-fx units. There's also a list of all the default presets, which kind of settings they use and what they are best suited for, which I thought of as a nice plus. Even though the same knobs have multiple functions, which naturally makes it a bit trickier to deal with than with knobs that have just one function, I won't rate it down, because having only a few knobs saves space and gives the pedal an overall neat expression.

15 comments sorted by best / new / date

    bass-man9712
    i'm liking mine, the distortion isnt too good out of my guitar but that's only because the guitar was less than the pedal itself.
    fenderfanaticus
    i got a line 6 floor pod puls and im not completely satisfied with it.. im thinking about returning it and get this one instead.. help anyone? is it worth it? its the same price anyway...
    The^Unforgiven
    Portugeezer31 wrote: can anyone recommend a good cheap amp to go with this pedal
    I used to run this through a Fender Fm 212r and it sounded absolutely fantastic, and it's a very cheap amp, so I'd recommend it.
    Ryan Da 4 Eyez
    for it's money its great, but it is nothing to get too excited about, once mastered it is very handy but the effects are very limited in my view
    sincinho
    i meant me20, cause i heard taht the me50 has horrible humming.feedback when played at high volumes
    River1969
    Just bought my Me-20. Absolutely LOVE it so easy to figure it out took me about 30 mins. And the presets are awesome..i hooked up my RC-2 to it and WOW havein a blast!!! This is a real gem for any budding guitarist for the price you pay..i paid $149.00 Can for mine best investment for sound i've ever made..Thank you Boss \m/ (o)_(o) \m/ Rock on!!
    laksana_feruz
    just bougt ME-20 10 days ago, and gig on stage last night. Kick all stomp-boxes ass. Where is the advantage? With one press of the pedal, you got the sound you stored earlier, don't need to reset the level of tone, drive, delay etc. It will be great if someone can tell me where I can find sound patches from guitarist/songs like Gary Moore, Ritchie Blackmore, Malmsteen etc. Thanx Boss
    laksana_feruz
    Just bougt ME-20 10 days ago, and gig on stage last night. Kick all stomp-boxes ass. Where is the advantage? With one press of the pedal, you got the sound you stored earlier, don't need to reset the level of tone, drive, delay etc. It will be great if someone can tell me where I can find sound patches from guitarist/songs like Gary Moore, Ritchie Blackmore, Malmsteen etc. Thanx Boss
    peterjs4444
    Prefab Funk wrote: Has anyone tried out the new Boss ME-25! Is it better than the ME-20 ?
    I haven't tried it but it looks like they've taken away the best thing about the ME 20, the simplicity. I would say buy one of these - they sound great XD